Good Horsekeeping: A Comprehensive Guide to all Things Equine
By: Elizabeth Iliff
Publisher: T.F.H. Publications, Inc.
Publication Date: October 2005
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: March 2009
Have you just purchased a horse and need to quickly learn how to care for your new equine friend? Then you should pick up a copy of Good Horsekeeping and read it cover-to-cover. You’ll soon have a solid background in caring for your horse.
Good Horsekeeping starts with an overview of horses, including terms, colors, body parts, measurements, and grooming. The text then jumps into horse behavior and how to read an animal’s body language. From there, the book continues on to other facets of horse care.
Good Horsekeeping alleges to be a comprehensive guide and in this respect it lives up to its intentions. The author’s writing is clear and concise without being dull, making it easy to get through the 300 pages of text. What I particularly appreciated is that Iliff makes it clear at the beginning of the book that purchasing a horse is an enormous responsibility and should be looked at as a lifetime commitment.
There are six broad sections in Good Horsekeeping, with each divided into several chapters, covering topics as varied as popular horse breeds, feeding and nutrition, to first aid. Each chapter is further divided into sections and subsections, making it simple to jump around from topic to topic, depending on the information you require. There are also numerous light blue boxes which offer additional advice on a topic, such as the top 15 questions to ask a seller. Finally, the author has included a large number of one or two sentence circled suggestions, such as “Don’t rely on snow to provide your horse’s water needs. Horses will eat snow to get some moisture, but they still need a clean source of fresh water,” or “One rule of thumb to remember: Never underestimate a pony. Although small in stature, ponies have a disproportionate amount of strength, talent, and personality!” Any experienced equestrian will verify that statement! Finally, pictures that accompany the text are found on almost every page and contribute to the enjoyment to the book.
Quill says: An excellent manual for the first-time horse buyer.