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

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

Fencing on the Rocks

Over, around, or through, when your fencing runs into rock, there is a variety of choices to solve the problem Read More

Feeds and Supplements


The key to a good feed program is to start with the proper type of forage for the individual, then (if needed) pick the right concentrate or supplement.

Most horse owners try to provid Read More

Emergency C-Section


With the right care, mare and foal can survive this critical event.

The first step in the decision to do a Caesarean section is that all other forms of help have been exhausted. Often, Read More

Working With a Nutritionist


Using a qualified equine nutritionist can help you manage your horses to live and work better.

Feeding horses properly is an art and a science. Sometimes it helps to work with a Read More

Be a Hay Connoisseur

Good owners know whether the hay they are feeding is the right type and the right quality. Read More

Bedding Choices


Investigate which bedding choice is safe, healthful, and cost-effective for your operation. 

Stalls have traditionally been bedded with materials that provide cushion and Read More

Breeding Challenges of Older Mares

New technology and better ways of handling older mares improve the chances for breeding success. Read More

Wound TLC

Proper and prompt care for each type of wound can make a difference in healing. Read More

Safety for Horses During Hunting Season

Horse owners often worry about safety of their animals during hunting seasons, especially if the horse's color might be mistaken for a deer or other large game animal. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to help distinguis Read More

Feeding to Avoid Developmental Orthopedic Disease (DOD)

The way you feed young horses could help them develop strong, properly formed bones and joints. Read More

ACell Therapy for Injuries; Powder Form Again Available

Tissue-engineered products such as extracellular matrix (a graft material that can be implanted at the site of damaged tissue) are being used by a growing number of equine veterinarians to stimulate swifter and better healing for tendon and Read More

Feeds and Supplements for Older Horses

Equine nutritionists discuss a variety of feeds and feeding practices to help horses cope with problems. Read More

Feed Supplements for Horses

A feed supplement is anything fed to a horse in addition to a natural diet of forage. Technically grain is a supplement. But the term has come to mean any additional nutrients (such as certain vitamins and minerals, extra protein, energy, etc.) tha Read More

Health Problems of Young Horses in Training

Young horses in training are vulnerable to a wide variety of problems--everything from respiratory disease to training injuries. These horses are often taken off the farm where they grew up, transported to training facilities where they Read More

Tapeworms

Tapeworms are becoming more of an issue in horses as we learn more about how they affect horse health. Some regions of the country have a greater risk of equine tapeworm problems. In the upper Midwest (Wisconsin and Minnesota), for instance, studie Read More

Chronic Laminitis

When a horse founders and the damaged laminae that hold the coffin bone to the hoof wall release their grip, the coffin bone is no longer held in place. It rotates (tips down at the front) or slips downward in the hoof. The goal when shoeing these Read More

Correcting Shelly Feet

Shelly, crumbly feet can be a challenge for horses and their owners. The feet break down too readily if the horse is barefoot, and they are unable to hold nails if he's shod. In this article we'll look at several causes and potential treatments for Read More