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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Book Announcement: "Leg and Hoof Care for Horses" Sorts Out Lameness for Horse Owners

Leg and Hoof Care for Horses: A Complete Illustrated Guide
by Micaela Myers with photographs by Kelly Meadows
256 pages, 450 color photos, soft cover, November 2008

Hot off the presses this week is "Leg and Hoof Care for Horses" by Micaela Myers, former editorial staffer at Bowtie Press in California. Micaela has done a great job of compiling information about almost every imaginable disorder of a horse's hoof or leg.

Maybe readers of Hoofare and Lameness Journal and this Hoof Blog don't think they need this book, but most horse owners surely do. The reason? We have lots and lots of books on the foot and on lameness that explain every disorder and treatment but this book takes the novel approach of spreading information and photos about each problem over two pages, showing the problem in nice color photos and adding colorful boxes with notes.

This means that if an owner or junior rider or a parent needs to understand what stem cell therapy for a tendon injury is, or what ringbone is, they can just open up the book and voila! there it is. No looking things up in three different chapters. No footnotes. And there's that aha! moment of "Oh my gosh, that is just what Moose's leg looks like!"

Never underestimate the value of the simple approach. Or big, colorful photos.

As I flipped through this book, I was reminded of a quote I read earlier today, something to the effect of "If you can't explain your subject in a few simple words, then you probably don't really understand it yourself."

Also on the plus side, Micaela Myers dances like a prima ballerina around the subject of whether horses should be shod or not. Like everything else in the book, it gets two pages. She does differentiate between normal and therapeutic shoes, and she does include photos of Natural Balance and AANHCP (Jaime Jackson) trims, and discusses Strasser hoofcare briefly.

On the down side, the book is inconsistent in the quality of photos and their labeling. Many photos are nicely enhanced with arrows and callout text, not always pointing to the right thing. Some photos would only confuse an owner, such as a photo showing the bottom of a foot with a bar shoe and pad to illustrate a keratoma.

The book really shines in the veterinary sections more than the hoof sections. The radiographs are big and sharp. The section on how to sweat a leg with DMSO and plastic wrap could help a lot of people stay out of trouble; seeing the sweat section next to the poultice section helps people understand the difference between these two leg wrapping treatments.

The feet in the photos are pretty average, and the shod ones are not wearing notable, fashionable or even clipped shoes, usually. They appear to be normal horses of the Quarter horse persuasion, which is pretty much what most American horses would look like. There is virtually nothing on racing or even sport- or breed-specific problems.

We live in an age where few people are going to sit down and read a book unless they have to. For a book to earn its place on a shelf, it has to be a tool with a specific job to do. Micaela Myers has given us a book that can point you to a photo and detailed explanation of an annular ligament injury or a capped elbow in five seconds or less.

The other great quality of this book is its price: just $25. It's a great price for such a thick, colorful book. It's a nice bright package, but we all know better than to judge a book by its cover. Use this book as an asset to keep next to your more serious, in-depth library of lameness books. Don't loan out those icons--Denoix, Pollitt, Van Nassau, Clayton, Dyson--but offer Myers instead. Be generous: It's a book anyone can understand, navigate, appreciate...and afford to replace.

Ordering details: $25 plus $6 post in USA, plus $15 air post to other countries. Pay in US dollars. Visa/Mastercard accepted. Allow a few weeks for delivery. Available 18 November 2008. Mail orders to Hoofcare, 19 Harbor Loop, Gloucester MA 01930. Telephone orders to (01) 978 281 3222 (leave details on voice mail); fax orders to (01) 978 283 8775. Click here for fax/mail order form. Email orders to

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission.

Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page).

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