Heather Smith Thomas

Heather Smith Thomas ranches with her husband near Salmon, Idaho, raising cattle and a few horses. She has a B.A. in English and history from University of Puget Sound (1966). She has raised and trained horses for 50 years, and has been writing freelance articles and books nearly that long, publishing 20 books and more than 9,000 articles for horse and livestock publications. Some of her books include Understanding Equine Hoof Care, The Horse Conformation Handbook, Care and Management of Horses, Storey's Guide to Raising Horses and Storey's Guide to Training Horses. Besides having her own blog, www.heathersmiththomas.blogspot.com, she writes a biweekly blog at https://insidestorey.blogspot.com that comes out on Tuesdays.

Articles by: Heather Smith Thomas

All Eyes and Ears

The horse in the wild depends on keen eyesight and acute hearing to detect danger and flee from predators before they get close enough to attack.

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Contracted and Sheared Heels

A number of factors must fit together seamlessly in order for a horse to remain sound and healthy: His hooves must bear weight properly in order to stay sound, with multiple structures sharing the load. If there is too much stress on any one part, or if some parts are not bearing adequate weight to maintain proper blood flow and hoof expansion, problems might arise.

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Tetanus in Horses

Tetanus proves deadly in 50-75% of cases, so ensure your horse is adequately vaccinated.

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Basic Hoof Care

A horse is only as sound as his feet. Care and management of the feet will vary, however, depending on the individual horse, his conformation and hoof structure, environment and climate, and use. Whether he needs to be shod or can be left barefoot will also hinge on these factors.

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Horse Hock Health

The hock is one of the most complex and hardest-worked joints in the horse’s body, so it must be strong and sturdy to avoid injury. Much of what we ask our horses to do, whether high-performance dressage, reining, jumping, or simply going up and down hills on trail rides, requires strong and well-functioning hocks. In this article we’ll examine hock conformation, injury, ways to counteract

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Preventing Equine Gastric Ulcers

Tips on how to manage your horse’s diet to avoid ulcer development.

“This is giving me an ulcer!” These probably are words our horses would utter if they could speak because many performance horses and racehorses develop

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Hock Problems and Age

Horses can suffer hock problems at any age. Scott McClure, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, an assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at Iowa State University, points out that some horses develop juvenile spavin as foals.

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Fences and Machines: Ways to Trim Expenses

Fences and machinery are some of the higher-ticket items on a farm, and in this iffy economic climate, it might be overwhelming to even consider replacing these everyday necessities with new products. Having an organized, planned maintenance program

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ELISA Blood Test for Equine Pregnancy Tracking Available

Horsemen have a new option when checking mares for pregnancy this breeding season. Biotracking, a company created by Garth Sasser, PhD, a professor of animal science at the University of Idaho, came up with a blood test for ruminants (BioPRYN) a few years ago. Now BioPRYNes, an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test that detects estrone sulfate molecules in blood, is available for

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Poll Recap: Readers Share Their Top Nutrition Sources

Probiotics and Prebiotics

When the levels of the good bugs wane–as in cases of stress, travel, or antibiotic administration–there are ways to replenish them with the help of probiotics and prebiotics for your horse.

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Sand Colic in Horses

Horses in some management conditions are susceptible to sand ingestion; here’s how to avoid sand buildup and resulting complications such as colic. Rarely do we see our horses lapping up sand like it’s some rare commodity. But inevitably horses end up with burdens of sand in their intestinal tracts from grazing sandy pastures or eating off the ground. In areas with sandy soil

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Managing Manure

Manure is something all horse owners must deal with, but it can be worth its weight in gold as a fertilizer if properly composted.

There is no shortage of manure on a horse farm. We’re simply rich with the stuff. And whether our farm is large or small, we need to have a plan for what to do with the seemingly endless supply of often-odiferous waste.

The typical

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Resolving a Common Swelling

Windpuffs in Horses

Windpuffs are soft, fluid-filled swellings toward the back of the fetlock joint, resulting from inflamed deep digital flexor tendon sheaths. Most commonly, these puffy enlargements are symptomless blemishes–old and cold, the result of years of hard work.

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