GFM Network News


Adequate sleep is one of the essential building blocks of a strong immune system.

A war no more

Horse Health: Our understanding of the immune system has evolved past the war on germs analogy

In horses, as in humans and many other animals, the immune system is a powerful biological force that plays a profound role in maintaining health. Most of the time, it works so effectively that its true value is often overlooked, even minimized. The traditional view of an immune system is as an army poised for

We ask a lot of a horse’s feet, so we need to be able to identify when they’re a source of pain and discomfort.

Take care of the tender foot

Horse Health: Horses are far too good at disguising their generalized foot pain

As animals of prey, horses are adept at masking pain – especially foot pain. Therefore generalized foot pain in the horse is often overlooked for its contributing role in equine lamenesses, behaviour and performance. Foot pain matters deeply to the physical health and psychic well-being of the horse that, at a primal level, relies on


Yearlings are like early teens — they can be physically mature, but they still have plenty of maturing to do.

What to do for a yearling?

Horse Health: They’re often pressured into growing up too soon which is a husbandry error

As the equine version of an early teenager, the yearling is a bit of a peculiarity within the modern-day horse world. Yearlings generally appear and act physically ungainly, have a naive mindset and are often emotionally raw. For these reasons a pressure and haste is often placed upon the yearling to be more than it

While the vast majority of shod horses can make the change to barefoot, the transition is much more likely to be successful, comfortable and enjoyable for both the horse and owner if the horse is properly assessed before transition is undertaken. Although the quality of the hoof wall in this back foot is in poor condition the structures at the back of the hoof (frog and heels) are in good health and thus the transition period for this horse from shod to barefoot will be reasonably quick and uneventful without complications.

Taking their shoes off

Horse Health: Transitioning the shod horse to barefoot

Horse owners come to the decision to transition their horses from shod to barefoot for a number of reasons — curiosity, cost, research, friends, frustrating lamenesses, and unfortunately at times a death sentence due to a diagnosis of intractable navicular disease or laminitis. Regardless of what drives the decision to transition a shod horse to

The intense bond between horse and caretaker can make end-of-life decisions emotionally taxing.

Providing “a good death” for your horse when the time comes

Horse Health: One of the hardest decisions for a horseowner can also be the best for the welfare of the animal

The term “euthanasia” comes from the Greek words meaning a “good death” and is the practice of intentionally ending a life to relieve pain and suffering. At times the decision to euthanize a horse is clearly obvious. This can occur when a horse has a severe injury or an unrelenting and non-responsive illness such as


Timely trimming can prevent many hoof problems.

Good hoof trimming practices vital to equine health

Horse Health: Hoofs should be trimmed diligently and in a timely fashion, to prevent a myriad of problems

Whilst there are many husbandry practices that horse owners can take to create positive change in the health of their horse’s hoofs, it is the action of timely and diligent hoof trimming that can bestow one of the biggest benefits towards developing and maintaining a sound and healthy hoof. Taking care to maintain the hoofs of a

Humans use all manner of tack to change the position of the horse’s head and neck — often for the worse.

Neck and head position affects horse soundness

Horse Health: Forcing the animal into an unnatural position is harmful

A visit to any local equine tack shop will showcase a striking array of tack and accessory tack available to place upon the head of a horse with the promise of improving horsemanship, fashion or a horse’s performance. Many of these devices are potent tools that have the ability to leverage and compound tensile forces

Herbicides and horses

Herbicides and horses

Horse Health: A ubiquitous herbicide is beginning to come under increased scrutiny by scientists

The implications for the widespread use of glyphosate-based herbicides in our environment has been increasingly mired in controversy despite regulatory assurances of safety. After close to three decades of use there is a growing body of scientific evidence emerging which presents unintended biological consequences of this chemical and its formulation. Research is postulating adverse mechanisms


Laminitis has been found to be closely related to cresty necks in horses, and can even be predicted by the condition of the neck fat.

The ‘cresty’-necked horse

Horse Health: Neck fat is a valuable barometer of horse health

The observance of a cresty neck in a horse indicates some level of metabolic sickness and reflects more than just a fat horse. Although the fat or obese horse is burdened with a form of metabolic illness, the appearance of a cresty neck signals further metabolic complications along the continuum of diseases associated with obesity.

A healthy foal starts with a healthy mare and minerals are an important part of ensuring her health.

Minerals and the broodmare

Horse Health: For a healthy and well-nourished foal, start with a healthy and nourished mare

The physical demands placed upon the body of the broodmare are extraordinary, especially as the number of offspring she is expected to bear increases. These demands and expectations easily position the broodmare as a top performance horse in the horse industry. The broodmare relies on body reserves and nutritional resources to fund a smooth breeding cycle, gestation and lactation — a