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

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 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

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

Feeding The Geriatric Horse

Rusty's been your faithful companion for many years, and he never seemed to show any signs of getting older...until this past winter, that is. One morning, you looked at him and noticed that he had dropped some weight, and that he didn't Read More

The Aging Equine

The average lifespan of a horse is said to be about 24 years; but as with humans, a horse's chronological age isn't always a good indicator of how old he really is. Some horses still are active at the age of 35, while others suffer significant signs Read More

Feeding the High-Octane Horse

But because forages are not high-energy feeds, the athletic horse's diet needs to be supplemented in order to provide enough energy for him to perform at peak capacity. Traditionally, this is done by feeding grains, which are rich in carbohydrates Read More

Weaning Strategies

No one looks forward to weaning time. There's nothing quite as heart-rending as the sound of a panicky foal, galloping up and down the fence line calling desperately for the mother who's been taken away--unless it's the sound of his dam calling Read More

Hay Alternatives

Although regular baled hay is the mainstay of equine diets across North America, it's sometimes more trouble than it's worth. Heavy to stack, bulky to store, prone to vitamin breakdown, and -- heaven forbid! -- also spontaneous combustion, not t Read More

Determining Conditioning

Among the animals we call "livestock," horses are unique because they are the only ones we regard as athletes. Unlike other animals that are bred for better milk production or tastier flesh, horses are bred for athletic performance, each type Read More

The Battle of the Bugs

We don't tend to give external parasites--creepy little critters like mites, lice, and ticks-a lot of consideration in our day-to-day horse management, but they can have just as much impact on our equines' health as the internal parasites (worms and Read More

Feeding Yearlings

Yearlings are a funny bunch. Gangly and half-grown they're at that gawky stage where hips are higher than withers and where legs seem all knobby knees and hocks. Sometimes it seems that designing a correct feeding program for them is almost as Read More

The Fat Farm: Nutrition for the Overweight Horse

Is your mare looking a bit rotund lately? Does her gait have a waddling roll to it? Has her spine disappeared in a dimpled groove along her back? Has she outgrown her girth, her winter blanket, and the stall door? If she’s not due to foal, then Read More

Trailering Your Horse: The Movable Feast

Alas not only are horses dedicated herbivores but the average horse trailer doesn't fit that easily into a fast-food drive-thru. Other solutions must be sought. If you travel with your horse in tow whether it's to the local Sunday morning gymkhana Read More

Vitamins: Diet Fundamentals

Vitamins: tiny organic compounds that have a huge impact on the health and well-being of your horse. Sometimes gleaned from the diet, sometimes manufactured within the digestive tract, vitamins have the power to promote and regulate virtually Read More

Sound and Pictures

One of the most significant advances in equine management in recent years has been the advent of ultrasonography, or ultrasound. Through this technology, which bounces repeating sound waves off tissues and structures in the horse's body and Read More

Cooking Supper: Bran Mash

Bran mashes are traditional meals for a wide variety of horses. Read More