Wisconsin Farm: Blister-Beetle-Infested Hay Kills 15 Horses

The Horse spoke with the farm owner. Learn from her firsthand experience, and find out how to protect your horses.
Posted by Diane E. Rice | Jan 21, 2020 | Hay, Horse Care, Horse Industry News, Nutrition, Poisoning & Toxicity, Welfare and Industry

In September 2019, Cindy Kanarowski-Peterson of Red Ridge Ranch, in Mauston, Wisconsin, owned 110 horses that carried tourists from surrounding states on trail rides, hayrides, sleigh rides, camping trips, and at summer camps. People even stopped by just to say “hi” and give their favorite horse a pat.

By January 13, Cindy had lost 15 of her horses to a mysterious disease. “It started with just a couple of horses with light colic symptoms,” she says. “They’d eat their grain, stop eating, stand there, look at me like they had a belly ache, hang their heads, and maybe lie down,” she says sadly. She responded as she usually does to colic, “and they popped out of it.”

But as one horse after another repeated the cycle and then started losing weight and even dying, she racked her brain trying to determine a cause. Was it grain? Was it worms?

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