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This 384-page work by Professor Russell has been a source of valid information for farriers for nearly 140 years. Hardly an article or research paper is written today without containing some reference to his work. That in itself speaks to the necessity of every farrier having this book on his or her bookshelf.
Russell was indeed ahead of his time. While reading this book, the apparent differences between language spoken in that era and today are obvious. The very eloquent and descriptive first chapter on observation and evaluation of the equine segments ends in an eight-line sentence summarizing his perspective.
In regard to the anatomy of the leg and hoof, Russell provides a narrative that amply describes this complex subject and couples it with over 600 hand-drawn illustrations that are very accurate in detail. It is also fun to find new terms for the common terms we use today, such as cutigeral cavity (for coronary groove).
Russell pays close attention to the development of skills in trimming and balancing a horse’s foot with its leg. Believing that this can’t be left to guesswork, he utilizes numerous instruments to give him a true picture of the limb and hoof while analyzing the differences in each horse.
Russell provides a good narrative on shoeing different types of horses. During his lifetime, racehorses (both running and cart) and draft horses were the most elite animals. Although he offers interesting comments on the need for shoeing these horses for their individuality…