Equine Extension

Horse Racing Industry In Iowa Is Stronger Than Ever Before

The horse industry in Iowa is growing faster than ever before. From activities surrounding horse breeding, showing, racing, housing, training, riding and care, it employs more than 2,100 people and accounts for millions in revenue each year. The economic impact from horse breeding and owning is doing much to support our state’s ag-centric economy, and we need you to play an important part in making this message heard.

Don’t Just Put Them Away for the Winter

November 29, 2016

Horses, unlike ATVs, can't be put away for the winter just because they're not being used. Horse health care is a year-round process, and good nutrition, vaccination schedules, parasite control, and other care should be continued throughout the winter. Here are some reminders about winter horse needs for good ventilation, exercise, feed and water management.

AAEP Vaccination Guidelines for Horses

Vaccination guidelines intended to be a reference for veterinarians who utilize vaccines in their respective practices. They are neither regulations nor directives and should not be interpreted as such. It is the responsibility of attending veterinarians, through an appropriate veterinarian-client-patient relationship, to utilize relevant information coupled with product availability to determine optimal health care programs for their patients.

Increase Hay Intake for Winter

Cold temperatures combined with wet, snowy and windy conditions increase the feed requirements necessary to maintain the body condition in horses. Extra calories are necessary to meet the energy requirements necessary for keeping warm. The best way to meet the increased energy requirements if feeding more good quality hay

Horse Project Leaders Needs Assessment

Equine Science LogoThe Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Equine Program is conducting a statewide Equine Needs Assessment Survey to identify the educational needs of the horse project leaders. We are asking for your thoughts and input on a variety of topics, events and training's related to your role as equine project leaders. The survey results will be used to develop effective, science-based, equine education programs and resources aimed at improving the management and enjoyment of equine. The survey is voluntary, anonymous and should take about 15 minutes. You may skip questions you are not comfortable answering and withdraw from participating at any time. Your responses will not be linked directly to you by name, as all data will be combined and used in summary form only. Thank you for your helping us continue to improve the Iowa 4-H equine project.

Horse Project Leaders Needs Assessment Survey

Area Youth Earn Top Honors at Western National Roundup

2018 3rd place 4-H hippology teamArea youth competed in one of the two 4-H National Horse Judging Contests … Western National Roundup, in Denver, CO January 4-7, 2018.  Mackenzie Berkland, Ruthven; Skyler Morphew, Bancroft; Ariana Umscheid, Terril and Madison Strief from Dubuque County, represented Iowa 4-H. They placed 5th as a team in the performance (riding) classes, 1st as a team in Oral Reasons, and first as a team overall.  Teams came to compete in this contest from across the nation and Canada.

Team members also placed very well individually.  Berkland was High Individual Overall, and received 1st place in Halter and Reasons and 3rd in Performance.  Umscheid placed 3rd in Halter, 5th in Reasons and 8th place Overall.  Morphew was 2nd in Halter and 8th in Reasons.

This contest requires contestants to place in correct order 4 horses in each of 10 different classes including 4 halter classes, western riding, western horsemanship, western pleasure, hunter under saddle, hunt seat equitation, and reining.  Each class has its own set of criteria with different penalties and credits.  Youth then defend their choices on 4 classes by giving oral reasons.  Reasons are evaluated based on accuracy, relevancy, terminology, organization, and presentation.

Judging experiences contribute to the development of critical and logical thinking skills, self-confidence, communication and presentation skills.

Much appreciation goes to the following local businesses and individuals whose support made participating in this trip possible.

Ag Performance Iowa Trust and Savings Bank
Bancroft Implement James and Helen Ricke
Bank Plus Jaycox Implement
Bob Boland Ford Jeremy’s Welding
Buchanan, Bibbler, Gabor and Meis Ken’s Auto Repair
Central States Agency Kollash Repairs
Cornerstone Insurance Kossuth Friends of Kossuth Youth
D & S Pork Noble Medicine
Dietering Brothers North Iowa Lumber
Ed’s Service North Kossuth Auto Supply
Emmet County 4-H Foundation North Star Bank
Fairchild Manufacturing Palo Alto County 4-H Foundation
Farmers and Traders Savings Bank Riverview Trucking
George and Sandy Vaske Rodney and Jodi Smith
GKN S & R Auto
Hager Foods Shear Shack
ILEC Sibley Vet Clinic
Iowa State Bank Standard Nutrition
The State Bank Tigges Chiropractic
VonEhwegen Seed  






















Lisa Berkland |  4-H Youth Development
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

4-H Youth Development Specialist

Make Sure Horses Have Water in the Winter

Horse drinking waterThe 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. One of the worst disasters is if the horse does not have access to water. If a horse cannot drink or the water is frozen, the horse becomes dehydrated. Twenty-four hours of water deprivation can cause a horse to lose 4% of its body weight. Forty-eight hours of water deprivation can cause a horse to lose 6.8% of its body weight and after 72 hours, body weight loss has increased to 9%. Dehydration symptoms may include dry mucous membranes, sunken eyes, slow capillary refill, tucked up appearance and loss of elasticity in skin. The horse will also start reducing feed intake and may ultimately refuse to eat.

A heated water bucket, heater in water troughs, and a heated automatic watered are options to provide unfrozen water. Without heaters, make sure the ice is broken on the horse’s water supply. You could encourage the horse to drink by providing lukewarm water or water between 40 oF and 75 oF.  If you are using a submergible electric water heater in a water trough, check to see if it is giving off stray voltage and shocking the horses when trying to drink. Personally, I have had problems with horses stopping drinking even with electric water heaters in troughs. I would place my hand in the water trough and they felt fine but the horses were not drinking. I then took water buckets out to the horses and they drank freely. Most likely, the water heater released a small current that the horses felt but I did not with my hand. I replaced the heater and the horses started drinking again.  Automatic waterers are more difficult to assess. Make sure the heating element is on and there is no stray voltage. Try to observe the horses drinking to get a true assessment if they are using an automatic waterer.

Equine Reproduction… We’re Not Horsing Around!

Most studeThoroughbred foal born Jannts at Iowa State walk by the beautiful horse barns to admire the animals. Only few get to experience a part of what it takes to run an equine facility. One of the many equine specific courses students are able to take in conjecture with our Domestic Animal Reproduction Course (An S 331) is an Equine Reproduction Lab, 332E, taught by the Horse Barn Manager, Nikki Ferwerda. This course provides incredible hands on experience unlike any other university. Topics discussed and demonstrated include every aspect of reproduction from breeding both thoroughbreds and quarter horses to foaling. In an average class, we might watch a few palpations, assist in a live cover, and collect a quarter horse stud to ship semen.