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

Your Horse's Gastrointestinal Health: A Contented Colon

If you have a veterinary textbook somewhere on your shelves, chances are you've seen one of those photos of a sick horse's innards-miles and miles of wet, purplish loops of intestine, spilling out in all directions. The poor equine posing for Read More

Better Breathing

When you walk down the center aisle of your barn, does the ceiling drip condensation on your head? Does the smell of ammonia make your nostrils twitch and your eyes water--even when the stalls are freshly cleaned? Worst of all, was that a hollow Read More

Nutraceutical News

The Equine Research Centre of Guelph, Ontario, furthered its reputation for leading-edge health initiatives by hosting the first annual symposium of the Nutraceutical Alliance, a newly formed organization committed to delivering natural health Read More

Hay FAQ

Ask any Average Joe on the street what a horse eats, and chances are he’ll answer, ‘hay.’ Even those who’ve never picked a foot or mucked a stall recognize that fibrous dried forage as the foundation of a horse’s diet. Given that, it’s surprisin Read More

Horses and Humans: Eating For Two

Equines are obligate herbivores, meaning they are designed to eat plants and only plants; they're not equipped to eat or to digest animal flesh. Humans, on the other hand, are true omnivores, meaning we'll eat practically anything. Read More

Stall Design

That stall is very likely the place where your horse is going to spend the bulk of his existence as a domestic animal. Even if he is turned out every day, and exercised regularly, up to 16 hours of his daily life could be whiled away in that familiar Read More

Minimizing Feed Costs

Let's face it, those aren't gerbils out in your stalls and pastures. They're 1,000-pound herbivores, with appetites wired for perpetual hunger and teeth designed to make short work out of massive amounts of fiber. If your feed bills are starting Read More

Pan Am Games

Short of the Olympics, the Pan American Games are the biggest deal in equestrian sport in this hemisphere. Every four years, the best horses and riders in the sports of dressage, show jumping, and three-day eventing, from 42 nations in North, Read More

Feeding Horses Cattle Feed: Just Ruminating

On the surface, cattle feeds might look like an appropriate choice for your horses, but nutritionally, there are a number of important differences. They have major digestive and metabolic differences that make their dietary needs quite diverse. Read More

Gait Analysis

Ever since the 1880s, when Edweard Muybridge set up a series of cameras to capture the character of footfalls of a racehorse, we’ve been fascinated by how horses move. No doubt you’ve seen that early sequence of photos, which demonstrated that Read More

Feeding Racehorses

On several occasions in the past year or two, we’ve discussed in this series the intricacies of feeding young horses for optimum growth. We’ve also walked you through the pertinent points of fueling the high-performance equine athlete, for Read More

Ration Balancing Made Easy

Don't panic. That's probably the most helpful thing I can say about calculating the balance of nutrients in your horse's diet. Most people are perfectly comfortable speaking about  calcium or vitamin E levels in the abstract sense, but when Read More

Sarcoids And Melanomas

Tumor. Now there's a word guaranteed to strike fear into anyone's heart. Loosely defined, a tumor is an uncontrolled or incorrect growth of cells, which can invade normal tissue and disrupt functions. It can be benign (meaning Read More

The Power of Hydrotherapy

There's something almost spiritual about the healing properties of water. Humans have used this life-giving liquid to encourage healing, in themselves and in their horses, since the dawn of time. Water cleanses (in fact, several of the world's Read More

Home Sweet Home

So when we consider the construction of stalls, we shouldn't underestimate how important it is to provide a comfortable, welcoming, and most importantly, safe, environment in which our horses can live. Read More

Feeding Beet Pulp

Q: I've been told I should feed beet pulp to help put weight on my skinny Thoroughbred. But I'm worried about the stories I've heard about beet pulp expanding in the horse's stomach and causing colic -- or worse! Is beet pulp a goo Read More

There Was a Crooked Foal

A newborn foal, teetering on spidery legs, has a knock-kneed, awkward charm that can melt the hardest of hearts. But it's not so charming if, after a couple of weeks, his legs still look as if they're bending in all the wrong places. Some Read More

Eating For Two

No one ever said mothering was easy. As your broodmare gets closer and closer to her due date, you've been noting, with some satisfaction, her bulging belly, her increasingly matronly attitude, and the look of lazy contentment in her eyes. But Read More

Exercise Equipment

Like busy professionals everywhere, horse people often find there just aren't enough hours in the day. What with stalls to be mucked, arenas to be harrowed, fields to be bush-hogged or mowed, fencing to be repaired, hay to be baled, tack repairs Read More

When Should You Supplement?

Look around any barn and you'll see the evidence. Do you know a feed room that doesn't have a collection of jugs and buckets, pails and little plastic scoops, pellets and powders in a rainbow of colors? The ingredients range from high-tech Read More

Feeding The Orphan Foal

Every breeder dreads finding himself or herself with an orphan foal--a baby left alone when his dam dies of foaling complications or from a later, unrelated injury or illness; or a foal rejected by his mother or for some reason, unable to nurse. Read More

Stormy Weather and Horses

The good news is that horses are naturally well-equipped to weather practically everything that winter can dish out. They are far more tolerant of cold conditions than we poor hairless humans are; in fact, horses tend to be far more stressed by heat Read More

Genetic Testing: The Secret World Of Genes

Genetic testing in horses helps us learn about their physical characteristics, diseases, and much more. Read More

Communicating With Your Farrier

If you're anything like me, you find farriery a bit of a mystery. After years of horse ownership, I can give an antibiotic injection prescribed by my veterinarian without flinching, I can spot a slipped stifle at 100 Read More

Strategies for Keeping Weight On Horses

A skinny horse is not a pretty sight. With ribs protruding, and hip bones threatening to serve as a hat rack for the next passerby, he gives an immediate impression of ill health... and it's no illusion. A too-thin equine is one who has no energ Read More