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

Bar Shoes

Once regarded as pretty radical, bar shoes now are experiencing something of a renaissance. In particular, egg bar shoes are being fitted to more feet now more than ever before-even those belonging to horses in high-intensity athletic careers, Read More

Long in the Tooth

Old age treats some horses better than others. Many continue to lead happy, healthy lives well into their 30s--a little slower, maybe, with some loss of muscle tone or a bit of a swayback, but otherwise in good flesh and good spirits until Read More

Mystery Solved: Guttural Pouches

What an amazing athletic machine is the horse. Few other animals of similar size and bulk manage to move with such efficiency, grace, and sheer speed. But despite our having worked side by side for Read More

Feeding Older Horses: Cuisine For The Golden Years

Horses which have been correctly fed all their lives are far more likely to live to a ripe old age. Read More

Incredible Edibles: Horse Treats

Horses tastes when it comes to goodies can be quite far-ranging. Read More

Nutraceutical Supplements

Every tack shop, every feed store, every veterinarian's mobile dispensing van is virtually bulging with them these days--the buckets, tubs, and bottles of nutritional supplements available for your horse. Every horse magazine, including this one Read More

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


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

I need to put weight on my skinny Thoroughbred. Would beet pulp be a good addition to my horse's diet? Read More

There Was a Crooked Foal

A newborn foal, teetering on spidery legs, has a knock-kneed, awkward charm that can melt hearts. 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