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

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

Soil and Water Testing

As you push your shopping cart down the aisle at the supermarket, it's likely become routine for you to do a quick scan of the nutritional analysis printed on the side of every cereal box and container of yogurt you select. Instantly, you know how Read More

Hemp A Hit In Ontario

Proponents say that hemp can be used for everything  from making clothing, to rope, to paper…even automotive parts. Now, a Delaware, Ontario-based Read More

Heavy Metal: Farm Tractors

Keeping horses on your property? Then you don’t need me to tell you how much work there always is to do. In addition to all the actual horse care, there are endless weeds to whack, riding rings or tracks to be harrowed, bales of hay to be moved fro Read More

Safe And Secure Fencing

Sandra had installed her fencing in good faith, on the advice of "experts" - yet in only weeks, one of her horses had been seriously injured. Would another kind of barrier have been any safer? It seems everyone's got at least one fencing horror story Read More

Genetically Altered Feeds: Modified Munchies

Since their introduction on a commercial level in 1995, genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, have become widely incorporated in livestock feeds. It's estimated that some 80% of the genetically modified corn produced in the United States is used Read More

Dietary Needs: Striking a Balance

You can't watch TV for more than half an hour these days without viewing at least one ad preaching the virtues of a balanced diet. Public service announcements emphasize the value of getting enough servings of fruits and vegetables. Cereal Read More

Fly Protection Uncovered

These days, we have quite an arsenal at our disposal to attack and repel flies. From electric bug zappers, to pheromone traps, to parasitic wasps that feed on fly pupae, we've explored all sorts of ways and means of getting rid of flying insects. Read More

Echinacea Proven Effective In Horses

The Equine Research Centre (ERC) in Guelph, Ontario, in the past year has undertaken an exhaustive series of studies on the safety and efficacy of herbal supplements for horses. Many of these studies are the first quantifiable, species-specific Read More

Extruded Feeds

The first time you saw extruded feed, you probably thought, "Ick. Dog food!" The nondescript brown lumps do look a lot like your hound's kibble, or some sort of uninspired version of Cocoa Puffs, and in fact they're made by the same process--but Read More

Secrets Of Rubber Mats

Where would we be without rubber? Make all the jokes you want; rubber's indispensable stuff, especially in the barn. The tire on your wheelbarrow, the handle grip on your longe whip, your two-year-old's first snaffle bit, that flexible curry Read More

Shoeing The Laminitic Horse

Of all the medical crises that can afflict a horse, laminitis surely is one of the most alarming. Horribly painful, and potentially devastating to his long-term soundness, the strange syndrome whereby the coffin bone inside the hoof begins to Read More

Big Appetites In Big Horses (Drafts)

Nothing says sheer power like a draft horse. Nothing else exudes such strength with such a mild-mannered attitude. To watch these gentle giants in action is to get a sense of our own history and the invaluable role horses played, and continue to Read More

Permeable Stall Flooring, Some Options

Permeable stall floor coverings function differently than rubber stall mats, whose main purpose is to provide cushioning for your horse's legs. Rubber is basically waterproof, so urine and other liquids pool on top of such a surface, to be soaked up Read More

Nutrition 101

You don't need to be a novice to be confused about the subject of equine nutrition. Many long-time horse owners have never dabbled in the mysteries of feeding because their horses always were kept at boarding stables or managed by Read More

Are You My Mother?: Maternal Behavior

Anyone who has witnessed a foal's first few minutes in this world might agree that one of the most miraculous parts of the process is the way a mare greets and bonds with her newborn. With a deep sniff at the baby's nostrils, that distinctive Read More

What's in Your Feed? (Contamination)

"Yuck!" you hear your friend exclaim from the feed room as you move down the barn aisle one evening, doling out flakes of hay.

"What is it?" you call over your shoulder.

"There are huge lumps of molasses in this bag of feed!" she Read More

The Latest on Laminitis

Of all the ailments a horse can suffer, laminitis is the one that unfailingly strikes fear into the heart of an owner. Nothing else has as devastating an effect because while laminitis is not always fatal, it promises weeks or months of agony fo Read More

MSM Helps Sore Muscles

A recent study performed by Ron Riegel, DVM, on 30 racing Standardbreds confirms that the popular nutraceutical supplement MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) can have far-reaching effects on the ability of equine muscle tissue to rebound from exercise Read More

Flaxseed Might Help Fight Sweet-Itch

A University of Guelph Equine Research Centre (ERC) study indicates that flaxseed (linseed) can relieve symptoms of sweet-itch, an allergic skin condition more formally known as recurrent seasonal pruritis. Sweet-itch is a common complaint in Read More

Parasite in Horses: A Primer

Even at low concentrations, internal parasites have a less than ideal impact on your horse's health and well-being. Parasites steal nutrients from their host and can leave him undernourished and anemic. They can produce open sores and intense itching Read More

Forage Alternatives

Man might not live by bread alone, but horses can live on forage just fine. As grazing, herbivorous animals, forage (grasses and plants that grow on pastureland) is what they're designed to eat. Other components of the equine diet--grains, fats, Read More

Big Ben Dies

Showjumping champion Big Ben was laid to rest on Dec. 11,1999, after suffering a final, fatal bout of colic. The towering Belgian warmblood gelding was 23 and had been retired from competition since 1994. His legendary partnership with Ian Millar Read More

Which Bedding is Best?

Every horseperson has his or her preference when it comes to stall bedding. Some like the smell of sweet cedar shavings, some the traditional look of a deep straw bed, others the absorbency and softness of peat moss. But which bedding really is bes Read More

Canada and Germany Locked in CEM Conflict

A 7-year-old warmblood stallion from Germany is at the center of a storm of controversy after testing positive for contagious equine metritis (CEM) upon importation to Canada. The horse, appropriately named What’s Going On, had tested negative for Read More