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

Dung Beetles

Dung beetles are amazing insects that spend their lives mucking out your pastures. The adults use liquid contents for nourishment, and they lay eggs in small manure balls (brood balls) they bury in the ground. In the process, they serve as Read More

Photosensitization in the Horse

 

Photosensitization is a serious skin condition characterized by "sunburned," crusty skin that dies and sloughs away. It is usually caused by a reaction to something the horse has eaten, but the skin problem does not appear until the Read More

Weaning Foals

There are many ways to wean foals, so choose a method that will work best for your horses and farm. Read More

Ponying for Exercise

Ponying is leading one horse from another. The pony horse is the one you are riding; the ponied horse is the one being led. Ponying is a good way to exercise a horse you don't have time to ride or one that can't be ridden. If you need to keep tw Read More

Innovative Mare Milker

A new invention by Buck Wheeler called the Udderly EZ mare milker is helping breeding farms manage colostrum collection and the sometimes difficult task of milking a mare.

The device is a hand-held, trigger-operated pump that fits on a Read More

Salmonella in Horses

Salmonellosis affects humans, horses, most mammals, and birds. It can cause debilitating--and even deadly--diarrhea. Salmonella bacteria can affect both foals and adults, and they spread easily by horse-to-horse contact and by fomites Read More

Controlling Influenza

Editor's Note: This is the fifth in a 12-part series of articles on vaccinations for horses.

Equine influenza is a common respiratory infection. While it affects many horses, it has a low mortality rate; horses generally recover. Read More

Settling Down: Reproductive Problems in Performance Mares

Let's say you've got a great performance mare you'd like to breed. But getting her in foal might not be as simple as swapping arena for breeding shed. Mares in performance careers can sometimes be hard to breed because these mares are under more Read More

Fetus at Risk

When a pregnant mare develops a problem that puts her fetus at risk, what can be done? Some of these foals can be saved if the problem can be discovered early and the mare given proper treatment to reverse the condition.

Jon Palmer, VMD, Read More

Diarrhea in Young Foals

Infectious diarrhea in young foals can be fatal without prompt treatment, and the age of the foal can make a difference in his vulnerability to certain pathogens and how deadly they might be. In foals less than a week old, the cause is often Read More

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