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 Art of R&R

It has taken months of preparation for this moment. You’ve done the roadwork, marched your horse up and down hills, put in miles on the training track, added the speed and agility sessions, plugged in that heart rate monitor, and assessed your horse’s growing fitness by the numbers and by feel. And the hard work and dedication you’ve put into it have paid off–your horse just successfully

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Ringbone and Sidebone

Back when the sound of heavy, steel-shod hooves rang out on cobblestone streets, every horse owner was familiar with the signs–heat, swelling, shortened or shuffling stride, and the bony ridges developing where all used to be smooth and sleek. Ringb

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Exercise and Ulcers: Is it the Norm?

University of Florida (UF) research has shown that any exercise above a walk could force acidic gastric juices up into sensitive areas of the equine stomach, which could be why ulcers develop or worsen in horses in training (affecting more than 80% of performance horses in some studies).

Alfred Merritt, DVM, MS; and Mireia Lorenzo-Figueras, DVM, have found that gastric tension changes

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Horses At Risk For Ulcers

Horses moving faster than a walk could be at greater risk of developing gastric ulcers. Alfred Merritt, DVM, MS, and Mireia Lorenzo-Figueras, DVM, recently discovered that changes in gastric tension during intense exercise can push acidic stomach contents up into the vulnerable, squamous-cell-lined portion of the stomach–a circumstance that hints at why ulcers often develop or worsen when

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No Live Foal Guarantees

Subconsciously, you’ve been holding your breath for months. From the moment your mare was confirmed in foal, it’s been a tense waiting game. And although she will be foaling soon, you know a healthy foal is still anything but a given. Between breeding and her foaling date lurk a few dozen tragic ways in which she could lose her foal. Whether you call it “slipping a foal” or bluntly label it

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Malicious Mycotoxins

Leave your saddle sitting in a corner of your tack room after you and your horse are caught in a rainstorm, and you’ll get an eye-opening look into the world of fungi and molds. Within days, your leather tack will have sprouted a patchy coat of

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Forever Foundered?

Is there a way to return a foundered horse to a useful, productive life, and to successfully manage his discomfort and all the associated fallout from laminitis?

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Can Garlic Help Your Horse Fight Disease?

Garlic has been touted to have many health-related properties, from boosting your horse’s immune system to repelling bugs just by the garlic odor in his sweat. In a recent study completed at the Equine Research Centre in Guelph, Ontario, a garli

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The Science Behind Herbs

Science is beginning to catch up with traditional uses of “holistic” medicine, and it is important to understand the reasons and risks behind using herbal products. The third annual Nutraceutical Alliance (NA) conference was held May 10-11, 2002

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MSM and Inflammation

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), a white, tasteless crystalline powder, is already a favored supplement in the horse industry. Years before any scientific evidence supported its use, it had earned a reputation for helping alleviate many of the

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Designing Your Horse’s Home

When I was a teenager, I took a tour of the Royal Mews in London, England. I had imagined a staggeringly opulent setting for Queen Elizabeth’s horses, and I wasn’t disappointed–the carriage house alone was worth the price of admission, and the

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Collapsible Cross-Country Fences to be Tried in Britain

In the wake of several fatal injuries to international-level three-day event competitors in 1999 and 2000, cross-country course designers began working to come up with safer fence designs, including fences which “give” on impact. Over the past

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Can You Influence Hoof Growth?

We ask an awful lot of an animal who walks on his middle toenails. Humans have recognized for centuries that the foundation of a horse’s soundness lies in his hooves–“No foot, no horse” is about as basic a principle as there is. It all comes

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Water Contamination

Any treatise you’ve ever read on caring for horses probably includes the line, Provide access to plenty of fresh, clean water. Although we all understand that this is good advice–all living things need this simple, essential liquid–we don’t”P>Any treatise you’ve ever read on caring for horses probably includes the line, Provide access to plenty of fresh, clean water. Although we all understand that t”>Any treatise you’ve ever read on caring for horses probably includes the line, P”A

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Some To Grow On

The studies have been done, the jury is in, and the verdict is unanimous: if you want your foals to achieve their optimum growth, with the least risk of developmental orthopedic disorders like contracted tendons and physitis, plan to creep feed”he studies

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Non-Toxic Linseed

Horse owners wanting to take advantage of flaxseed’s omega-3 content can rest easy. Flaxseed, or linseed, has a reputation as a toxic substance to horses when fed uncooked–earned because the seeds contain a small amount of cyanogenetic

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