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The British Horse Society Complete Horse and Pony Care

The British Horse Society Complete Horse and Pony Care

Contributors: Catherine Austen, Karen Coumbe, Judith Draper, Jeremy Michaels, and Seamour Rathore; pictures by Rolando Ugolini, Bob Langrish, Ifor Williams, Margaret Linington-Payne; HarperCollins. 288pp. RRP £20. ISBN 000-717467-5.

Well illustrated and thoroughly researched, this is a book that could well become "the bible" for horse owners, especially those new to the wonderful world of horses, or those thinking about becoming part of it.

All topics are covered in this reference book, which is written in a chatty, friendly style. Nothing verbose - just the facts. Twelve sections cover everything from choosing a horse (riding proficiency, conformation, breeding, questions to ask when buying, viewing the horse and vetting, and getting the horse home), to health disorders and injuries, and everything in between.

It is profusely illustrated with photos throughout so you can see what you're supposed to be doing or seeing (helpful for plaiting and bandaging!).

Each topic is broken out into smaller sub-sections, with extra notes and bullet points in some cases, making the information easy to digest.

As our horses are mostly at grass at most times, the section on grass management should prove helpful. Topics covered here include pasture care, making your own hay, fencing, shelter and poisonous plants. Of course some of the information is specific to British conditions, but the basics remain the same no matter where you live, and New Zealand most often can identify with British horse-keeping conditions.

Exercising, schooling, and getting a horse fit are also covered, and there is a good section on transporting your horse. Some of the regulations differ, but again the basics remain the same, with advice including checking your rig, driving, and loading.

No horse care manual would be complete without a look at health issues; as well as giving advice on what to look for when there's something wrong with your horse, there is also information on keeping your horse healthy and what to look for in a normal horse and how to prevent any potential problems.

Overall, this is a fabulous book for those getting into horses, or those who want to keep a user-friendly user-manual close at hand.

Full marks to the BHS.



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