How do I deal with flies? How do I find a good farrier? How do I prevent unwanted behaviors?
Find useful information from University of Minnesota Extension equine experts on caring for horses and managing their behavior at all stages of life.
Basic care and management
- Determining a horse's bodyweight is important for managing weight, nutrition and health.
- Make use of improved equations that help predict bodyweight accurately.
- Conformation, fitness, activity level and equipment affect the weight-carrying capacity of horses.
- Conformation refers to the shape or structure of a horse, and it can impact a horse's athletic ability.
- A horse can move best with a short back and long neck.
- Correct legs structure can improve desired performance and reduce lameness.
- How often your horse's feet should be trimmed or shod.
- How nutrition impacts hooves.
- Learn about common problems such as cracks.
- Routine hoof care is essential to your horse’s health.
- Horses usually need a trim every 6 to 8 weeks.
Learn how to deal with hoof problems, such as an abscess.
- Be prepared. Have a first aid kit, evacuation plan and other essentials ready in the event severe weather, fire or other emergencies.
- Learn ways to prevent barn fires.
- Proper moisture at baling is the single biggest hay fire risk factor.
- Baled hay becomes a potential fire hazard when the temperature inside the bale doesn’t decline.
How to care for your horses during Minnesota’s "stay-at-home" order and COVID-19 restrictions provides timely information on caring for your horses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Download these forms to help you plan for emergencies
- Operations Contingency Plan for Privately Owned Horse Farms
- Operations Contingency Plan for Horse Boarding or Training Farms
- Fillable PDFs to outline essential livestock care if you or your managers experience illness, injury, or another emergency when you may need outside people to provide care.
- These contingency plans cover essential care only. They are not comprehensive care plans.
- Use the appropriate form to complete your farm’s Operations Contingency Plan.
- When managed properly, composting can be an environmentally friendly and low-cost option for carcass disposal.
- You can use the end product of carcass composting as a soil addition in agricultural fields or flower gardens.
- If you are working through a loss, treat yourself kindly and find others who can do the same.
- If you know of someone who is grieving a horse, reach out, even in small ways, to let them know you are available to listen.
- Legal options in Minnesota include burial, composting and cremation.
- Biosecurity measures are key to keeping your horse healthy while traveling during the show and trail season.
- Vaccinating your horse, keeping equipment and facilities clean and avoiding contact with other horses are all good biosecurity practices.
- Good composting locks in the nutrients, speeds up the breakdown, and kills weed seeds and fly larvae.
- Don’t spread manure on pastures with more than one horse per two acres.
- Taking preventative measures to manage mud on the farm can save time and keep horses healthy.
- How to prepare your horse and facilities for winter.
- How to adjust feed and water.
- Horse blanketing strategies.
- Tips to keep your horses cool and comfortable.
- How to cool an overheated horse and recognize dehydration or other issues.
- Many horses and ponies can live into their 20s or 30s with good health care.
- As horses age, their health needs change. Thus, you should change your care to meet your senior horse’s developing needs.
- Learn about common flies in Minnesota.
- Learn what works and what doesn't in controlling flies around your horses.
- We reviewed which products best help horses avoid flies including sprays, leggings and leg wraps.
Fly control basics
More detailed fly control information
Lifecycle of flies and how to interrupt it
Fly control options
- Common examples include cribbing, biting and weaving.
- Horses sometimes pick up unwanted behaviors from past events.
- While these behaviors may never stop, we have some tips to manage horses with unwanted behaviors.