The Top 10 Horse Health Articles of 2013

Several of the most popular articles of 2013 focused on hoof care.

Photo: Erica Larson, News Editor

With 2013 in the books and a whole new year of horse health news and articles ahead, the staff at took a few moments to tally our top 10 most popular articles of the past year. Covering a variety of topics related to horse health, the following articles received the most views in 2013.

Study: Some Horses, Riders have 'Co-Being' Relationship
If you’ve ever considered your horse to be your “better half,” you’re not alone. Norwegian and American researchers recently found that riders and horses can enter into a unique state of interspecies “co-being” with one other. Co-being refers to a state of relationship in which each partner evolves to “fit” better with each other, both physically and mentally. Read More

How Much Does a Horse Cost?
Because for many the dream of horse ownership is not to be denied, let's take a look at what it really costs to own a horse besides the initial purchase price. How much an owner is willing to spend to support this "habit" varies, of course, depending on the equestrian sport she pursues, her geographic locale, and whether she keeps the horse on her home farm or boards him. Read More

How Much Weight Can Horses Comfortably Carry?
Horses might be strong, but the riders horses carry can be heavy—sometimes too heavy for the horse to carry comfortably. But new Japanese research has revealed a reliable method for ensuring our horses aren’t getting overloaded. By measuring gait symmetry—the evenness of a horse’s left steps to its right during various gaits—scientists are able to gather significant information about loading, or the weight horses can carry on their backs. Read More

To Blanket or Not to Blanket? A Good Cold-Weather Question
The chilly months from late fall to early spring are generally a time of slowed activity for horse and rider, but attentiveness to horse health and management is just as crucial during the cold season. Primary considerations in horse blanketing are hair coat and environmental temperature. Here is some information that will assist you in making the right blanketing decision for your horse. Read More

Veterinarian Reviews the Barefoot Concept
Horsemen around the world continue to debate whether horses should wear shoes or be barefoot. "This controversy has been going on for years and is not likely to be resolved any time in the near future," said Debra Taylor, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM, of the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. Nonetheless, she noted, more people seem to be jumping on the barefoot bandwagon. Read More

Study: Barefoot Trimming Can Impact Hoof Conformation
A team of researchers at Michigan State University's McPhail Equine Performance Center offers hope to horse owners facing underrun heel and flat-footed woes with a 16-month study examining the short-term and long-term effects of a specific barefoot trimming technique on hoof conformation. Read More

Spring Cleaning? Don't forget Sheath Cleaning
The coming of spring is, in some ways, a rebirth. It's the time when many horse owners dig out their grooming supplies and clippers and breathe fresh life into their furry charges (aka, the Spring Cleaning Frenzy). Some owners have "The Frenzy" down to a science, but others might forget to clean of one of the darkest—and possibly dirtiest—places in the barn: your gelding's or stallion's sheath. Read More

Physical Exam of the Horse Hoof
Abnormal hoof conformation has become so very common that many horse owners and veterinarians have become "numb" to it, says one veterinarian. But taking some time to become familiar with the healthy hoof can sharpen their ability to readily identify problems that could be contributing to lameness. Read More

Oklahoma Horse Owners Face Tornado Devastation
After two days of high winds and driving rains, horse owners in Oklahoma are assessing their losses while bracing for yet another round of strong storms. According to the National Weather Service, a series of an estimated 14 strong storms swept through the Southern Plains May 18 through May 20, cutting a swathe of devastation through Oklahoma. The storms were particularly damaging to Moore, part of the Oklahoma City metro area, and nearby regions including Carney, located just northeast of Oklahoma City. Read More

Researchers Study Head, Neck Positions' Effects on Muscles
The physiological effects of horses' head and neck positions (HNP) while being ridden is a topic of fierce debate. And until now, there hasn't been any data on head and neck position's effect on muscle activity, especially that of the muscles controlling these positions. Researchers recently evaluated electromyography (a tool that allows researchers to read muscle activity through sensors attached to the skin) activity of three major head and neck muscles when horses performed three characteristic HNPs: free, gathered (competition frame with head high, neck flexed, and nose in front of the vertical), and hyperflexed (with the mouth pointing toward the chest, or behind the vertical). Read More

About the Author

Erica Larson, News Editor

Erica Larson, News Editor, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in three-day eventing with her OTTB, Dorado, and enjoys photography in her spare time.

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