Karen Briggs

Karen Briggs is the author of six books, including the recently updated Understanding Equine Nutrition as well as Understanding The Pony, both published by Eclipse Press. She's written a few thousand articles on subjects ranging from guttural pouch infections to how to compost your manure. She is also a Canadian certified riding coach, an equine nutritionist, and works in media relations for the harness racing industry. She lives with her band of off-the-track Thoroughbreds on a farm near Guelph, Ontario, and dabbles in eventing.

Articles by Karen Briggs

Your Barn's First-Aid Kit

A barn's first-aid kit, with all the essentials in one place, is a great idea for any horse owner. Read More

Equine Sense of Smell

Horses rely far more on chemical messages in the air than on their relatively indistinct eyesight. Read More

Blue Plate Special: Senior Horse Nutrition

Develop your senior horse's diet with geriatric conditions and challenges in mind. Read More

The Many Faces of Colic

Considering the length and volume of the equine digestive system, it’s little wonde Read More

Tackling Tendon and Ligament Injuries

The latest therapies for injured tendons and ligaments focus on rebuilding tissue to its original strength. Read More

Forage Alternatives (Book Excerpt)

If your horse suffers from chronic respiratory allergies (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also called "broken wind" or "heaves"), has dental troubles that make chewing hay difficult, or is very elderly, one of these alternative forms Read More

Hay Quality (Book Excerpt)

Much of the assessment of the quality of your hay can be done the old-fashioned way: Break open a bale and scratch n' sniff! Good quality hay should be green rather than yellow or brown. Read More

Understanding Forages (Book Excerpt)

The protein content of hay is largely determined when it is cut--the younger the hay, the higher the protein. Hay cut past the mid-bloom stage (when about 50% of the plants have flowered and gone to seed) is a good deal lower in protein content, and Read More

Hay Feeders Uncovered

Is there a better way to feed hay to horses? There are dozens of hay feeder options, as it turns out, each with its own advantages. Hay feeders are designed to keep hay off the ground and sheltered from the elements to reduce wastage. Read More

Minerals and Vitamins

Vitamins and minerals pack a nutritional wallop several times the size of their portions. Read More

Filling a Need? (Supplements)

When was the last time you stepped into a feed room that didn't contain a wide array of buckets, bottles, and tubs of supplements? There might have been a time when horses were fed on hay and oats alone, but these days we're much more likely to be Read More


The latest models of automated waterers and feeders can take some of the work out of horsekeeping, and automatic stall cleaners can even minimize your time wielding a pitchfork!

Finding it difficult to schedule enough Read More

12 Months of Feeding Tips

Here's how to roll with Mother Nature through the seasons, nutritionally speaking. Read More

Skin Deep

Your horse's skin is a huge and complex organ that serves as a barometer for his inner health.

We tend to think of a horse's skin as just the envelope that contains all the important stuff. But the skin is an organ--the Read More

Drug Protocol Turns Rescued Mares into Nurse Mares

A medication protocol that can induce lactation in "open" mares has changed the way prominent Kentucky Standardbred nursery, Walnut Hall Ltd., manages its nurse mare herd, while giving more than 20 rescued mares a new

Walnut Hall's vet, Joe Read More

USDA Ordered to Release NAIS Data

Agricultural journalist Mary-Louise Zanoni has succeeded in keeping the USDA from applying Privacy Act safeguards to information it has collected from livestock owners as part of the Read More

Vitamin Function (Book Excerpt)

Here's a primer on the function of each of the vitamins important to the horse, beginning with the fat-soluble vitamins. Read More

Industry Debates Animal Identification System's Impact on Horses

Despite considerable opposition from groups who say the program is unworkable or an invasion of privacy, the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is making inexorable inroads into the lives of horse owners.

Jim Morehead, DVM, Read More

Energy and Carbs (Book Excerpt)

If forages provide the "maintenance" energy horses need for the workings of everyday life--grazing, sleeping, wandering from pasture to pasture, maintaining internal temperature--then cereal grains are the turbo-charged portion of the diet. Read More

Animal Relief En Route to Myanmar

After weeks of resistance from the military regime which governs Myanmar (a country in southeast Asia formerly known as Burma), animal welfare workers from the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) finally have been given permission to Read More

Insurance: Not Sexy, But Essential

Insurance: It's not sexy. No one wants to think about it. Heck, I wasn't all that keen to write about it. But when something happens, aren't we glad we have it? Let's face the ugly truth. In today's litigious society, insurance is a must. While we Read More

Fats in Your Horse's Diet (Book Excerpt)

Studies have shown that as much as 20% overall fat in the diet is well tolerated by horses, with no ill effects noted. Indeed, fat might well be easier for horses to digest than carbohydrates. Read More

Equine Nutrition: Fiber (Book Excerpt)

Grazing is a full-time job for horses. Given their druthers, they would graze for 12 hours or more every day, their broad, flat teeth and sideways chewing motions making short work of the tough, stemmy grasses and weeds they favor. Like all true herb Read More

Equine Nutrition: Protein (Book Excerpt)

Of all the components of your horse's diet, protein is probably the most misunderstood. Long assumed to function as an energy source for the body, protein mainly functions to provide amino acids (the building blocks of bones, muscles, and soft tissue Read More

Vitamins for Your Horse

Horses can become vitamin-deficient, and these deficiencies can have devastating effects on their normal functions, but equally dangerous are toxicities from an overdose--a real possibility with some (but not all) of the vitamins. Read More