Karen Briggs

Karen Briggs is the author of six books, including the recently updated Understanding Equine Nutrition as well as Understanding The Pony, both published by Eclipse Press. She's written a few thousand articles on subjects ranging from guttural pouch infections to how to compost your manure. She is also a Canadian certified riding coach, an equine nutritionist, and works in media relations for the harness racing industry. She lives with her band of off-the-track Thoroughbreds on a farm near Guelph, Ontario, and dabbles in eventing.

Articles by Karen Briggs

Can Garlic Help Your Horse Fight Disease?

Garlic has been touted to have many health-related properties, from boosting your horse's immune system to repelling bugs just by the garlic odor in his sweat. In a recent study completed at the Equine Research Centre in Guelph, Ontario, a garli Read More

The Science Behind Herbs

Science is beginning to catch up with traditional uses of "holistic" medicine, and it is important to understand the reasons and risks behind using herbal products. The third annual Nutraceutical Alliance (NA) conference was held May 10-11, 2002 Read More

MSM and Inflammation

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), a white, tasteless crystalline powder, is already a favored supplement in the horse industry. Years before any scientific evidence supported its use, it had earned a reputation for helping alleviate many of the Read More

Designing Your Horse's Home

When I was a teenager, I took a tour of the Royal Mews in London, England. I had imagined a staggeringly opulent setting for Queen Elizabeth's horses, and I wasn't disappointed--the carriage house alone was worth the price of admission, and the Read More

Collapsible Cross-Country Fences to be Tried in Britain

In the wake of several fatal injuries to international-level three-day event competitors in 1999 and 2000, cross-country course designers began working to come up with safer fence designs, including fences which "give" on impact. Over the past Read More

Can You Influence Hoof Growth?

We ask an awful lot of an animal who walks on his middle toenails. Humans have recognized for centuries that the foundation of a horse's soundness lies in his hooves--"No foot, no horse" is about as basic a principle as there is. It all comes Read More

Water Contamination

Any treatise you've ever read on caring for horses probably includes the line, "Provide access to plenty of fresh, clean water." Although we all understand that this is good advice--all living things need this simple, essential liquid--we don't Read More

Some To Grow On

The studies have been done, the jury is in, and the verdict is unanimous: if you want your foals to achieve their optimum growth, with the least risk of developmental orthopedic disorders like contracted tendons and physitis, plan to "creep feed" Read More

Nutraceutical Alliance Symposium

The second annual Nutraceutical Alliance Symposium, hosted by the Equine Research Centre (ERC) in Guelph, Ontario, on March 23-24, brought together leaders in the fields of nutraceutical research and manufacturing. Symposium organizer Wendy Read More

Non-Toxic Linseed

Horse owners wanting to take advantage of flaxseed's omega-3 content can rest easy. Flaxseed, or linseed, has a reputation as a toxic substance to horses when fed uncooked--earned because the seeds contain a small amount of cyanogenetic Read More

Ovuplant: Improving the Odds

If you're a breeder, frankly, it pays to be in the livestock business. Cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs all make life easy for those trying to produce young stock--they are all "facultative-induced ovulators," meaning that matings early in their Read More

How to Read a Feed Label

How long has it been since you really looked at the content of your horse's concentrate feed? If you're like many of us, you probably stand in line at the feed store, ask for "three bags of the 12%," heave the feed into the back of your truck, Read More

Botulism

With foaling season upon us, vaccination for botulism is one of many management considerations facing North American horse breeders. This disease can be deadly in foals, and in adult horses which are unprotected, and it can be tremendously Read More

Bioabsorbable Screws

A unique type of bone screw made of a most unlikely material is making waves in equine fracture repair at the Equine Research Centre in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. The results indicate that the screws also could have important applications in human Read More

Grains of Glory

It's five p.m., and up and down the aisle of a large boarding stable, the nickering and rumbling begin. What's the cause of the excitement? Nothing more than a metal scoop digging into a bin of grain, a sound that tips off every equine resident Read More

Combined Immunodefiency in Arabians

A newborn Arabian foal is possibly one of the most beguiling creatures on Earth. Elegant of feature and blessed with beauty, he's full of promise for the future--and often descended of royal blood and worth many thousands of dollars. Imagine how Read More

Restraint Techniques for Breeding

When a mare and a stallion meet, love might be in the air...but there's the potential for danger, too. Particularly when humans get in the middle of it all. In our efforts to orchestrate the best possible combinations of Read More

Freezing Semen

The technology that allows us to freeze a stallion's semen for future use has opened up a world of opportunities. Not only does it allow the stallion's DNA to be available to mare owners around the globe, but it enables a stallion to stand at stud wh Read More

Probiotics and Digestive Aids: Microbes to the Rescue

While the horse receives the bulk of the nutrients as his food is broken down, he's not the only one who benefits; the microbes take their share and thus maintain their populations. Their presence is essential to the horse, who could not digest fiber Read More

Housing Your Horse

In the back of your mind somewhere there lurks a Dream Barn. Go on, admit it. You've planned it down to the last luxurious detail--from the Olympic-sized riding arena (with the climate-impervious perfect footing) right down to the automatic fly Read More

Amazing Minerals

Of all the ingredients of a horse's diet, minerals are unique. They contain no carbon, which makes them inorganic molecules. In fact, essentially, they’re rocks--and it can be difficult to imagine their being digested by a horse. But minerals are a Read More

Trauma-Free Trailering

If you feel insecure about assessing your trailer's safety, it's best to take it to your local trailer repair center for a complete going-over, but there are a few simple things you can do at home to give your mechanic a head start. Read More

Breeding Facilities

Any way you look at it, building a barn is a major undertaking. Doing it right the first time, to avoid headaches later, is the smart approach. In addition to the usual considerations of location, aesthetics, cost, and Read More

Tending To A Tender Foot

Although the equine hoof is a marvel of resiliency, it's not made of rubber, or titanium, or diamond. As a living structure, it has its vulnerabilities, and when faced with unusual stresses, it shows them. Stone bruises, those Read More

Solitary Confinement

There are few things sadder than a horse not in contact with other horses. A herd animal by nature, the horse always feels safest and most content when in company of others of his kind; isolation doesn’t come naturally to him. But in certain Read More