Ask an Expert

Advancing a Cow

June 27, 2016

AQHA Professional Horseman Al Dunning offers advice on working a cow.


What is the best way to keep your horse from wanting to advance on the cow and press toward it? How can I help my horse stay back and work the cow from a distance?

— Brooke Hayward


Hi Brooke,

All horses that are “cowy” want to go toward the cow. While training, we make sure our horses fully stop before they turn. That keeps the horse’s axis centered so they don’t roll toward a cow when they turn. I do a lot of what we call “driving off,” where I drive my horse toward the cow and break off to a parallel line with the cow when the cow moves. This keeps the horse on a line and reinforces the proper axis of the turn.

We always want our cutting horses to have what we call “draw.” That means when the cow stops, the horse Read the rest of this entry »

Hoof Wall Integrity

June 20, 2016

A horse with problematic front feet needs special attention paid to hoof wall separation.


I have a huge Quarter Horse gelding with small front feet. He had shoes on when I bought him, but had numerous cracks and two quarter cracks on each front. He can not keep a shoe on because of flare and separation of hoof wall. I pulled his shoes and have been on a two-year rehabilitation program. The quarter cracks grew out and he now has better looking hooves. He was very sore when shoes were pulled but now is able to walk around on grass, dirt, or pavement and even small limestone. I use hoof boots when I ride, just on the front. I have been very pleased with them. I am sure that using shoes caused an excessive force on his front feet causing them to break out in quarter cracks. I think some horses can wear shoes and some can’t. This horse can’t and barefoot was the only option I had. He is better off and hopefully I can keep him sound. I soak him in White Lightening solution every now and then, to keep out any bacteria due to any wall separation. Seems to work for him. Hopefully the flare will eventually grow out with proper trimming. I get him trimmed every six weeks and in between trims, I rasp out the rough edges. Read the rest of this entry »

Horses’ Water Needs

June 13, 2016

Depending on where you live, your horse has certain water requirements.


My  horse doesn’t drink much water when we’re on the road for trail rides. I don’t think he likes the unfamiliar taste. How do I know if he is getting enough water?


Daily turned to the American Association of Equine Practitioners for advice.

Most people involved with horses have heard the phrase, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” Unfortunately, while it may seem like a simple subject, getting a horse to consume the appropriate amount of water can be difficult. Age, body condition, fitness level and workload, reproductive Read the rest of this entry »

Cushing’s Disease

June 6, 2016

Learn to spot symptoms of early Cushing’s disease.


I have an 18-year-old gelding that is considered obese. I went out to feed, and he was all sweaty. I know he hadn’t been running or my other gelding would have been hot, too. He had no fever. I checked him hourly and got him cooled off. He is very fuzzy from his winter coat, and he always sheds out just fine. It’s not curly hair, either. I only feed him grass hay (brome/crested wheatgrass), and he has a 20-percent lick-tub, so there is no grain. Any idea if something is wrong?


Yvonne Rocens

Read the rest of this entry »

Foal Limb Deviation

May 31, 2016

Details about a surgical procedure to help young horses with limb abnormalities.


How successful is the “screws and wire” procedure that is so commonly performed on yearlings as it relates to preventing soundness issues? Why is this procedure so necessary and recommended by vets? How can you tell if the surgery was a success?


Daily turned to the American Association of Equine Practitioners for advice.

Abnormal angle of the limb starting at the knee can lead to abnormal weight bearing during exercise. This can result in joint and foot problems that cause lameness later in life due the unequal load transmitted up one side of the limb.

If a foal, weanling or yearling has an abnormal limb deviation (the lower part of the limb angles in or out from a straight line from the shoulder to the ground), which does not respond to normal foot trimming and Read the rest of this entry »

Body Condition Score

May 23, 2016

What condition is your horse in?


I’m concerned my gelding is overweight, but I’m not sure how to tell. Please help!


To answer this weight-related question, we found a great article from America’s Horse magazine, along with some photos to help you determine the condition of your horse and the best course of action to keep him healthy. Good luck! And remember to always consult your veterinarian about your horse’s nutrition.

Keeping Score

From America’s Horse magazine

Horses are like people; they come in all shapes and sizes. But being too thin or too heavy can affect their Read the rest of this entry »

Hoof Abscess

May 16, 2016

Know the signs, symptoms and treatments of hoof abscesses and learn how to keep your horse pain free.


What are the signs, symptoms and treatments for hoof abscesses?


Daily turned to AQHA Educational Alliance Partner American Association of Equine Practitioners for an explanation.

The scenario is all too familiar for many horse owners … yesterday your horse was sound, but today you find him crippled, with no apparent injury! What could have happened? Odds are this horse has a hoof abscess. Sooner or later, nearly all horse owners will encounter this problem. Fortunately, most horses make Read the rest of this entry »

Bad Manners

May 9, 2016

Help for a horse owner whose gelding has less than desirable ground manners.


I have a 9-year-old gelding that I have had for three years. We show walk-trot English and western. My husband and I are still novice to the show world. My gelding has been a 4-H show horse since the previous owner purchased him as a long 2-year-old, so I know he knows his job.

I am concerned because he has just recently tried biting. He pins his ears back when putting his saddle on (the vet sees no problem with his back), and he rubs his face on me when we are done riding. How do I solve these ground manner issues? He also consistently picks up the wrong canter lead when riding clockwise. I have tried leg, body weight, crop and side pass then lead off. I know that he knows what I am asking; When Read the rest of this entry »

A Horse That Cribs

May 2, 2016

Help is on the way for the owner of a cribbing horse that might also have gastric ulcers.


I purchased my gelding three years ago in very bad condition. I noticed after we got him home that he cribbed. I contacted my veterinarian, who examined him and decided the horse had been cribbing for a long time and thought he cribbed only after eating grain because he had gastric ulcers. After switching his grain to what the vet had recommended, he Read the rest of this entry »

Colic and Riding

April 26, 2016

Learn why you should never ride a horse in colic distress.


One day, my young horse was colicking, and I didn’t know it. I took him out for a ride, thinking he was just misbehaving. Since then, I’ve always made sure not to ride colicking horses, but I wondered, does riding affect them at all if they are colicking? Does it worsen the colic?


Considering that it wasn’t easy for you to tell your horse was having a bout of abdominal pain, this must have been a very mild colic, something like a gaseous or spasmodic event.

In general, it isn’t safe to get on a horse that is experiencing colic, primarily because the horse is focused on his inner pain and will not notice you on his back if he decides to drop and roll. This puts you in jeopardy.

Read the rest of this entry »

Storing Manure

April 18, 2016

You can manage your horse’s manure in an environmentally friendly way, even on a small farm.


I want to keep my four-acre horse farm as environmentally green as possible. How do I manage my horses’ manure to leave the least impact on the environment?


America’s Horse Daily turned to Country Living Association for the answer.

To manage stockpiled manure on small farms, abide by good practice rules to keep nuisance and environmental issues to a minimum. Here are Read the rest of this entry »

Going Forward

April 12, 2016

Tips to help a young horse find his “forward” gears.


I would appreciate a tip on how to keep a horse moving forward. I have a young horse that wants to stop and freeze up. I don’t use spurs and am not sure if a crop is the way to go.

— Patti Jo Runyan


We sought the wisdom of Patrick Hooks of Texhoma, Oklahoma, a clinician, horse trainer and longtime colt starter:

Don’t feel alone. I’ve been in the same boat many times. I will offer some solutions, rather than quick fixes. Keep in mind that my suggestions will take a lot of hard work and patience on your part.

Any time I help with a problem, whether I’m present or not, I evaluate a horse according to four separate categories: physical, Read the rest of this entry »