Feeding Behavior in Horses

Horses are strongly motivated to forage (eating hay and grazing pasture) based on their inherent nature. In free-ranging horses, 70-80% of their time is spent eating. Pastured horses show a similar pattern to free-ranging horses. They will eat 10 to 12 hours daily in 30 to 180-minute bouts. The amount eaten during a grazing bout is related to the type and availability of forage, level of nutrient demand, satiety cues, taste and textures of the feed, and external cues. Free-ranging horses never fast for more than 3 to 4 hours.   Read more about Feeding Behavior in Horses

Types of Joint Injections

Joint injections are a way to control inflammation and treat joint issues in horses, specifically equine athletes. Joint disease generally has inflammation (see the image below). Reducing inflammation is a goal in the treatment of joint disease.  Depending on the horse and their need, they may be treated with joint injections only a few times or receive treatments on a regular basis. There are three types of joint injections, depending on where the treatment is injected. These include intra-articular, intramuscular, and intravenous injections.

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Stomach Ulcers in Horses

Stomach ulcers are a health issue that affects many horses, and can be difficult to manage and treat. These stomach ulcers appear along the lining of the stomach, and can cause many issues with digestion as well as create discomfort & pain for a horse. Stomach ulcers are more prevalent in equine athletes, as 50-90% of horses with this health issue perform athletically, such as racing, showing, endurance, etc. Read more about Stomach Ulcers in Horses

Vibrant Club Horse Resources

Horse Vibrant Club resources are designed as fun, informational activities for volunteer leaders to teach youth about the horse. The resources are practical building blocks for youth to investigate horse-related topics. In addition, the activities can be used for preparation to compete in the annual Hippology and Horse Quiz Bowl contests.

4H 3547 Horse Quiz Bowl -- Vibrant Clubs Read more about Vibrant Club Horse Resources


Horses Have A Highly Developed Sense of Smell

Olfaction (smell) is important for horse’s survival. Smell helps horse select what they eat (horses are sensitive to poisonous plants, moldy forage and grain, dirty water, etc.). Horses use smell to detect other horses by smelling feces, urine, and body odors. Smell is very important in detecting the sex and stage of estrous in mares. Read more about Horses Have A Highly Developed Sense of Smell

The Horse's Ears and Hearing

Horses’ ears are a means of communication and listening for sounds. Using ten muscles, a horse can rotate each ear independently, up to 180 degrees, to locate, funnel, and magnify sounds. This allows the horse to position itself towards the sound that is making the noise.  Horses hear sounds over a wider range of frequencies than we do. In general, horses are good at hearing both higher and lower frequencies than humans. Horses can experience a reduction in hearing as they age. Read more about The Horse's Ears and Hearing

Vision in the Equine Compared to Humans

The horse is a prey animal, relying on their senses to assess their environment. Prey species are designed for scanning the environment compared to picking out sharp details. By scanning larger areas, prey is safer from a surprise attack from a predator. Horses use vision to orientate themselves, detect motion and distance, and evaluate the consistency of the environment.

The horses eye Read more about Vision in the Equine Compared to Humans

Coloring Gone Wrong?: Lethal White Overo Syndrome (LWO)

The American Paint Horse is known for being a lovely breed and exceptional when it comes to flashy colors and patterns, good disposition, and adaptability. This breed portrays three patterns recognized by the American Paint Horse Association (APHA): tobiano, tovero, and overo. The tobiano pattern is characterized by patches of white coloring (usually oval or round) that cross the topline somewhere between the ears and the tail. Most of the time, the tail is two colors, and all four legs of the horse are white, starting below the knees. Read more about Coloring Gone Wrong?: Lethal White Overo Syndrome (LWO)


Electrolytes and the Exercising Horse

Exercising muscles generate heat via metabolic reactions. Heat produced must be dissipated to prevent overheating, thus the horse sweats and evaporative cooling dissipates the heat. The amount a horse sweats depends on environmental conditions, the type of work performed, and the horse’s fitness. Horses may lose 5 to 7 liters (1 to 2 gallons) of sweat per hour when trotting and cantering for one hour under mild temperatures. As the temperature and humidity increase, sweating rates have approached 10 to 12 liters (>2.5 gallons) per hour. Read more about Electrolytes and the Exercising Horse

Hagyard Equine Medical Institute Internship Summary

Hagyard Equine Medical Institute offers three undergraduate internships including surgery, medicine, and ambulatory care. As a surgery intern you assist in emergency surgeries, take daily care of patients in the two barns consisting of over 50 stalls, and handle horses of all breeds and disciplines including holding for standing procedures and x-rays. As a medicine intern it is your duty to care for your assigned patients and assist with their procedures. Read more about Hagyard Equine Medical Institute Internship Summary


Calcium and Phosphorus – Two Important Macro Minerals for the Horse

Calcium (Ca) and phosphorus (P) comprise around 70% of the mineral content of a horse’s body. The majority of Ca is found in teeth and bones. Calcium’s major role is to provide bone strength but it is also necessary for blood coagulation, temperature regulation, enzyme activity regulation, neuromuscular functions as well as energy generation. Phosphorus works with Ca to give strength to bone. It also has a role in energy metabolism, cell membranes, and buffering fluctuations in pH. Read more about Calcium and Phosphorus – Two Important Macro Minerals for the Horse

Water Quality for Horses

Water, the essential nutrient for life should be freely available for horses. The amount of water consumed by a horse is the best measure of water adequacy. The average daily intake of an idle horse weighing 1,100 lbs. under thermoneutral conditions is between 6 and 9 gallons. Heavy workloads and high heat and humidity may double to triple the requirement to 12 to 18 gallons per day. Lactation also increases water intake to a minimum of 8 gallons per day. Diet will affect water consumption. Grazing of lush, green pastures in the spring tend to decrease water consumption. Read more about Water Quality for Horses

Horse Operations Contingency Farm Plans

The University of Minnesota Extension Livestock Team has released a set of customizable forms that can be used to create an operations contingency plan for their farm. The contingency forms are meant to provide livestock owners a starting point to outline essential livestock care if they and/or their managers become sick with COVID-19 or another emergency occurs. In these situations, care would likely need to be administered by a non-household member. The contingency plan is meant to cover short-term (e.g. Read more about Horse Operations Contingency Farm Plans


Why a Clover Leaf Pattern?

Where did the famous barrel racing of the modern day today come from and why has it become so popular? For how long I’ve know about barrel racing I never really knew the history behind how it all started. I wanted to dig into the rich history of rodeo and the infamous clover pattern. It all started in the 1930’s when Faye Blackstone from Parrish, Florida as she was in her trick riding career, but it seemed to become replaced she started her horsemanship to the barrels. She began the barrel racing event with a couple other cowgirls in 1950 in Florida. Read more about Why a Clover Leaf Pattern?


Setting our Sights on Equine Glaucoma

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma in the most general sense refers to a group of eye conditions that can result in blindness. Medically speaking, it results from intraocular inflammation due to equine recurrent uveitis (eye inflammation). What happens is that the aqueous humor inside the eye becomes obstructed causing pressure within the eye to increase. The increased pressure leads to reduced blood flow from the retina to the optic nerve. Ultimately, the reduction in blood flow leads to cell death, compression of the optic nerve, and complete blindness. Read more about Setting our Sights on Equine Glaucoma


Energy, Feed Ingredients and the Horse

Energy is supplied to the horse via the diet but fundamentally energy is not a nutrient. Horses need energy to carry out their body’s essential daily functions, including the digestion and absorption of food, activity, growth and reproduction. The total energy contained in a feed is called gross energy (GE). The GE of a feedstuff is not a good indicator of the energy available to a horse from a feedstuff. Thus, with horses, we use digestible energy (DE) which is GE minus the energy contained in feces. Digestible energy is expressed in Mcal which is a multiple of the unit of energy calorie. Read more about Energy, Feed Ingredients and the Horse

Fiber and the Horse

Forages as hay or pasture make up the major share of the horse's daily intake. The energy and nutritive value of forages varies considerably and to a large extent is determined by the fiber content and fiber quality. Fibrous carbohydrates, also known as structural carbohydrates, are not digested in the small intestine but rather are digested by billions of bacteria in the hindgut. Some of the end products of bacterial fermentation include substances called volatile fatty acids (VFA) which are absorbed from the hindgut and used as a valuable source of energy. Read more about Fiber and the Horse


Life Cycle of the Mosquito

Mosquitoes are one of the most noxious pests in the world. They carry fatal viral diseases with many being zoonotic or able to transmit diseases to humans. Mosquitoes go through four stages in their life cycles: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The adult mosquito emerges from the mature pupa as it floats on the water surface. Mosquito eggs are laid singly or in a raft-like structure that floats on water. They hatch one of two ways. Read more about Life Cycle of the Mosquito


Iowa Equine Needs Assessment Survey Results

The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Equine Program conducted an online Equine Needs Assessment Survey to identify the educational needs of the local equine community. Participants were asked to check topics they would like to learn more about. Additional questions focused on program formats and resources. The survey was voluntary and anonymous. A total of 250 individuals answered the Iowa Equine Needs Assessment Survey. Results of the survey are listed below. The majority of individuals completing the survey have horse related questions five or more times per year. Read more about Iowa Equine Needs Assessment Survey Results

Saddle Up Safely

Saddle Up SAFELY is a rider safety awareness program. This app will help you decide whether the person that had a riding accident needs to be taken by ambulance to the hospital, can be driven to the hospital, or if they are ok and can go see their doctor the next day. Read more about Saddle Up Safely