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

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, exceptional in flashy colors and patterns, with good disposition and adaptability. This breed portrays three patterns recognized by the American Paint Horse Association (APHA): tobiano, tovero, and over. The tobiano pattern is characterized by patches of white coloring (usually oval or round) that cross the topline 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. The heat produced must be dissipated to prevent overheating. Thus, the horse sweats and evaporative cooling dissipate 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 a horse consumes 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 decreases water consumption. Read more about Water Quality for Horses

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?


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

Make Sure Horses Have Water in the Winter

The average size horse drinks 10 to 12 gallons of water per day. Draft horses may drink up to 15 to 20 gallons of water a day. A lactating mare or a horse that has sweated a lot will drink more. Cold weather increases feed or energy intake so the horse can tolerate the weather. Many horses consume more hay. Water has a role in moving digesta through the intestine. Lack of fresh, unfrozen water is the number one cause of colic during the winter due to intestinal impaction. Read more about Make Sure Horses Have Water in the Winter

ISU Equine Students travel to Lexington, Kentucky to Fasig Tipton Sale

Lecturer Nikki Ferwerda teaches Animal Science 317B, Equine Behavior and Training - Yearlings. Part of the class includes a trip to Lexington, Kentucky, to observe the November  Fasig-Tipton sale. Fasig Tipton is an auction house for Thoroughbred horses founded in 1898. It is the oldest auction company in North America, and the November sale is the world's premier breeding stock event. Read more about ISU Equine Students travel to Lexington, Kentucky to Fasig Tipton Sale


May 31 Nelore Seedstock Operation

The last full day in Brazil was planned out to travel a couple hours to see a purebred Nelore seedstock operation in the morning and travel back five hours to Goiania for a Brazilian style barbeque.  The day was derailed from the beginning as we had bus problems and were on the side of the road in the middle of Brazil for over two hours. By this time in our trip we were in central Brazil so it was fairly warm outside in the sun.  We were eventually saved by a mechanic from town manned with a pair of jumper cables.  Read more about May 31 Nelore Seedstock Operation


Brazil Study Abroad - Meat Packing Plant (06/01/16)

This morning, we went to a beef packing plant called JBS. I have very little beef background and had never been to a meat packing plant before. When we got there, we had a fantastic breakfast while we learned a little bit about the plant. After that, we put on some marshmallow suits that were white and clean. We got some boots and a helmet and a very thick sweatshirt that I (and several others) wished we could bring home with us because they would be perfect for Iowa winters. After we all got dressed and took a group picture, we started the tour of the plant itself. Read more about Brazil Study Abroad - Meat Packing Plant (06/01/16)


JBS June 1st

Our Brazil trip has been a blast. From the first day we got here to the last day we were here, it has been nothing but pure fun and education. The first part of the trip was about equine. I first only came for the beef part of the trip, but after experiencing the full experience of horses, I have developed a new appreciation and love for horses. When we finally went to the beef farms, it was like something I had never seen before. It ranged from a giant feedlot that held 33,000 bulls to a giant cow/calf ranch that took forever to drive around and see all the Nelore cattle. Read more about JBS June 1st


Resort Day # 2

Yesterday we had another relaxing day at Rio Quente resorts. There were slides we could go on and very relaxing hot springs that we could go swim in. We were able to meet Pedro and his family at the resort, Pedro works as a consultant for Cargill. Pedro is going to be our tour guide as we go to Goies and visit some of the cattle stops. Today we visited one of the largest cattle feedlots in Brazil. They usually raise around 35,000 bulls a year that they take to harvest. Read more about Resort Day # 2