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

Lice on Horses

Horses occasionally get lice, and a horse owner needs to know what to look for and how to treat these irritating parasites. Bill Clymer, PhD, of Amarillo, Texas (now a livestock parasitologist on the professional services staff of Fort Dodge Read More

Waterers That Work in Winter

Fresh water is important to horses all year, especially in winter. Some waterers are designed to remain functional in cold weather--with an insulated tank or bowl, a heater, or a combination of a heating unit and insulation. Following are some o Read More

Water Access in Winter

Make sure horses have good access to water and are drinking. They drink less during cold or wet weather, but still need an adequate supply or they may become impacted. Read More

Winter Respiratory Health

If a horse is confined in a barn during winter, he is at risk for respiratory problems. Read More

Allergic Reactions: Types and Treatment

An allergy is a condition in which the body reacts adversely (locally or systemically) to a certain substance (allergen). Allergic reactions can be triggered in horses by many things--environmental allergens such as dust, pollen, and mold; insect bit Read More

Blankets and Blanketing

Most outdoor horses are better off without blankets, but a blanket can help keep a horse comfortable when trailering, during a severe winter storm, or when a horse is sick and having trouble staying warm. A clipped horse will need a blanket in cold w Read More

Feeding in Winter

A horse's nutrient requirements increase with cold weather; he needs more calories to generate heat to keep warm. Mature horses in good condition usually don't need grain, however, if they have good winter pasture or grass hay. A little alfalfa hay Read More

Winter Riding

Give your horse longer warm-up and cooling-out time in cold weather to prevent tendon injury. Frozen ground, cold temperatures, and stiff tendons (not warmed up) can result in damage or even a bowed tendon. Read More

Accounting Software for Owners

Computers can make our lives easier in many ways, and a growing number of horse owners are using computers for recordkeeping. Some horse owners just want to keep track of horse records (deworming, vaccination, breeding records, etc.), some want Read More

Winter Skin Problems

Some of the skin problems that can plague a horse in winter are ringworm, lice, and mites. Ringworm is a skin disease caused by a fungus, and many kinds are contagious to other animals and to humans. Read More

Feeding the Problem Horse

Editor's Note: This excerpt is from Chapter 3 of Care & Management of Horses by Heather Smith Thomas. The book is available from Read More

Practical and Safe Horse Handling

Editor's Note: This excerpt is from Chapter 3 of Care & Management of Horses by Heather Smith Thomas. The book is available from Read More

Feeding the Finicky Eater

Some horses present special challenges in feeding, especially if they won't eat enough to maintain proper body weight. Sometimes a lactating broodmare, a horse in hard training or steady work, or a horse recovering from illness or injury Read More

Horse Care in the Fall

Fall deworming is important; winter is usually when internal parasites do the most damage and rob the horse of vital nutrients. By fall the worm eggs and larvae eaten during spring and summer have matured and are living in the digestive tract unless Read More

Pulling a Shoe

Even if you have a farrier do your shoeing you should still learn how to pull a shoe properly. There are situations where you should not wait for a farrier. A shoe may loosen when caught in a bog, hooked on a fence or some other obstacle, or stepped Read More

Ulcers in Horses: Problems of Domestication

Domestication has created problems for the horse, including stomach ulcers. Stress of confinement and unnatural conditions, stress from emotional and physical aspects of athletic careers--all the stresses that go with trying to adapt to human managem Read More

Stallion or Gelding?

A cryptorchid, also called a ridgling, is a male horse in which one or both testicles do not descend into the scrotum. In the developing fetus, the testicles are formed within the abdomen. As the fetus nears term, the inguinal rings and inguinal Read More

Why Horses Stumble

The onset of stumbling might indicate a shoeing problem, or could be a warning of serious health problems. Read More

Bumps and Bruises

Horses often get banged and bruised by running into things, being kicked by another horse, falling down when running and bucking, etc. It's not unusual to suddenly discover your horse has a large, soft lump on some part of his body. The most Read More

Saddle Sore Spots

Saddle and girth sores are common in horses which are ridden ridden with poorly fitting tack. Read More

Spaying Mares With Newer, Safer Methods

Spaying a mare (ovariectomy) means removing her ovaries so she no longer comes into heat and has a more mellow attitude, like a gelding. An ovariectomy can be done standing (under sedation and local anesthesia) through a flank approach or a Read More

Living on the Edge

Keeping equids in a "backyard horse" situation, subdivision, or small acreage presents a different set of challenges than keeping horses on a large farm or ranch. In urban/suburban settings, some of the important considerations include zoning, Read More

Hereditary Disease Research Into HERDA

If we have any doubt about a horse with lesions that look like HERDA (also called HC), we can test to see if that animal does have this disease. Usually it's easy to diagnose, once you've seen a few. Read More

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: Healing Under Pressure

HBOT is one of the most powerful tools available as an adjunctive form of therapy, and in some cases it works well as the primary therapy in horses, says Casner. Colic and laminitis are the number one and two killers, respectively, of horses Read More

The Role of Antioxidants

Oxidation is a process the body uses for normal energy production and immune function. This is part of the process that enables the body to transform nutrients such as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into energy. During oxidation (the "burning Read More