on July 12, 2003
This book is fundamental, in multiple ways. The main topic described and discussed is the horse's hooves. Anyone who knows horses understands that hoof care is truly fundamental to the soundness of the horse. This is the best explanation I have ever seen of how nature intended horse hooves to function, and how our removal of horses from their natural environment impacts their hooves, thus their ability to move as nature meant them to. The author's deep and broad knowledge of horses is especially to be appreciaed. In addition to opening our minds to a greater understanding of their natural locomotion, he also explains clearly many other apsect of horse behavior in the wild, and how their needs change as we put them in unnatural situations and make unnatural demands on them. Anyone responsible for a horse's care, rider or not, should be required to read this book. Anyone who just loves these magnificent beasts will appreciate them all the more for the enhanced understanding of them this book makes possible. If you are thinking of acquiring a horse, make this the first book you read.
on April 29, 1998
The old adage goes "No hoof, no horse," but you don't know what that means until you read this book. Jackson has done the (unfortunately) radical thing of asking Nature how a natural horse is made, and made to be happy and healthy. What he found through looking at horses in the wild -- exhaustively, scientifically, and compassionately -- should do nothing less than change the way we treat our horses: it defines our responsibilities as caretakers, the all-important issue of natural hoofs that permit natural movement, and the way to understand an animal with whom a partnership leads to happiness all round -- and with whom a dominance-based, consumerist approach leads to tragedy. Oddly, for a book that is based on fact, diagram, observation, measurement, description -- the result is at times as emotionally moving as the most genuine work of art. If you care about horses, you must read this book.