Heather Smith Thomas

Heather Smith Thomas ranches with her husband near Salmon, Idaho, raising cattle and a few horses. She has a B.A. in English and history from University of Puget Sound (1966). She has raised and trained horses for 50 years, and has been writing freelance articles and books nearly that long, publishing 20 books and more than 9,000 articles for horse and livestock publications. Some of her books include Understanding Equine Hoof Care, The Horse Conformation Handbook, Care and Management of Horses, Storey's Guide to Raising Horses and Storey's Guide to Training Horses. Besides having her own blog, www.heathersmiththomas.blogspot.com, she writes a biweekly blog at http://insidestorey.blogspot.com that comes out on Tuesdays.

Articles by Heather Thomas

Probiotics and Prebiotics

When the levels of the good bugs wane--as in cases of stress, travel, or antibiotic administration--there are ways to replenish them with the help of probiotics and prebiotics for your horse. Read More

Sand Colic in Horses

Horses in some management conditions are susceptible to sand ingestion; here's how to avoid sand buildup and resulting complications such as colic. Rarely do we see our horses lapping up sand like it's some rare commodity. Read More

Managing Manure

Manure is something all horse owners must deal with, but it can be worth its weight in gold as a fertilizer if properly composted.

There is no shortage of manure on a horse farm. We're simply rich with the stuff. And Read More

Horses and Tight Budgets

Here are a few ways to spend less on horsekeeping. Read More

Windpuffs in Horses

Windpuffs are soft, fluid-filled swellings toward the back of the fetlock joint, resulting from inflamed deep digital flexor tendon sheaths. Most commonly, these puffy enlargements are symptomless blemishes--old and cold, the result of years of hard Read More

Corrective Hoof Trimming

The term "corrective shoeing" is often overused and misunderstood. It sometimes implies that the farrier can correct conformational faults of feet and legs. In reality, often very little can be done to change the way a horse is built. Trying to fix Read More

Fields and Fences

Make the most of your pastures by maintaining fences and fertilizing.

There's a whole lot more to grazing management than simply turning your horses out when the pastures green up. Regular fence maintenance, careful Read More

Shoeing for the Job (Book Excerpt)

There are many kinds of horseshoes; try to select shoes well suited to your horse's work. While a horse with a problem may need a farrier to create a special shoe, many horses get along fine with factory-made shoes. Read More

Flies and Bugs

Mites, lice, flies, and mosquitoes can cause irritation to horses and carry dangerous diseases. Read More

Internal Parasites

The days of just rotating and deworming every six to eight weeks are gone; today there must be a strategy.

There are several major internal parasites of horses, and control is aimed at reducing their numbers at certain Read More

As the Sperm Turns

Conception in the horse seems simple--a uniting of one healthy egg and one healthy sperm--but there is much more going on in this virtual soap opera of creating a new horse.

Fertilization is the beginning of a new Read More

Impending Arrival

Determining when a mare will foal is art and science, but there are tests to help you pinpoint the due date.

Gestation in mares is estimated to last about 340 days, but this is just an average, since mares often foal as Read More

A Need for Compounding

Veterinary compounding is an alternative source of medications when there are no commercially available products that meet the needs of a particular patient.

Compounding, by definition, is tailor-made preparation of a dru Read More

Cribbing: Can You Stop It?

Many horses kept in unnatural environments and subjected to the stress of performance careers resort to repetitive behaviors (called stereotypies) such as cribbing, weaving, or stall walking. Read More

Barn Upkeep/Equipment

High-quality products and maintenance can save time, money and providing a safer environment for your horse. Read More

Hope for Navicular Horses

Know the injury to your horse's foot before calling it "navicular."

In earlier years, a diagnosis of navicular disease was often considered career-ending for a horse. Chronic lameness was typical, in spite of therapeutic Read More

Investigating Palmar Foot Pain

“We have two papers that will be published this year comparing horses without radiographic changes that were diagnosed by MRI with damage in the heel region,” says Sarah Sampson, DVM, of Washington State University.

“We looked at 72 Read More

Cases that Mimic Navicular Disease

"With MRI we've found horses with coffin bone fractures that weren't visible on X rays, but were treated like navicular horses because they blocked to the heel," says Sarah Sampson, DVM, of Washington State University. "If these are managed like Read More

Making Hay

Learn what goes into growing and harvesting quality hay so you can recognize and select it for your horses.

The difference between good hay and poor hay is often in the harvesting. Poor timing of harvest processes or bad Read More

Reconditioning After Layup

After any layup an athletic horse needs to be brought back to peak condition gradually. Read More

Biosecurity on the Farm

Disease can come home with you in exposed horses, on your equipment, and even on your skin and clothing. Here’s how to avoid these scenarios and keep your horses healthy.

Reducing the risk and frequency of contagious Read More

Options for Ex-Racehorses

Only a handful of racehorses continue racing for more than a few years. The most talented runners are retired Read More

Sleep Over Safely

Tips for before, during, and after your trip to help your horses be safe, comfortable, and healthy.

When traveling with horses, it's important to make sure they stay safe and healthy during their trip, and they don't bring Read More

Grooming Products

Good management is as important as good products when caring for your horse's coat, mane, and tail. Read More

Urinary Tract Problems

The urinary tract is a vital system; if a problem develops, it can rapidly become a crisis. Read More