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In Understanding the Horse’s Feet, the author encourages farriers to fully comprehend the complex subject of the horse’s foot, hoof care and the plethora of conditions that affect it and be prepared to share much of the information with horse owners.
The author is a British veterinary surgeon, now living in California, who has been deeply interested in this subject for many years and is a frequent attendee at farrier conferences.
The book starts with a chapter that describes the changing leg and number of toes of the horse’s ancestors as it evolved. The need for speed, stamina and standing rest are cited as reasons for the change to one toe and the suspensory apparatus.
The anatomy chapter is very good with beautiful illustrations. Farriers are visual people and these diagrams are matched by an easy explanation of terms. The anatomy section does not just cover the foot, but also includes the limb and the circulatory system.
There is a good description of blood supply and the section on the lymphatic system fills a void in John Hickman’s highly popular Farriery: A Complete Illustrated Guide, which was published in 1977.
The bars have never been better described and illustrated than in this book. Stewart has given them almost a chapter to themselves and rightly says that they have been sorely ignored.
In the chapter on “Examining Feet,” the author encourages farriers to take pictures from ground level and notes that it is not necessary to lay…