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An easy-to-read primer for horse selection, care, and training ideal for readers of all ages, Your Happy Healthy Horse covers every topic a new or potential horse owner will need to become his or her horse’s best friend. Author Lesley Ward, an accomplished horse trainer and the editor of Young Rider magazine, has provided an excellent starting point for beginners who are ready to purchase their first horse and take on the responsibility of husbandry and training.

The selection of the most appropriate horse for an individual is key to the new owner’s having a great time with his or her horse, and the opening chapter “Finding the Right Horse” discusses all of the necessary considerations (personality, mare or gelding, breed, size, etc.). Acclimating the new horse to a barn and field, possibly with other horses, is the subject of “Footloose in the Field.” This chapter discusses field requirements such as fencing, water, and shelter and the everyday and monthly tasks of a horse owner. Health is an important consideration for all keepers, and the chapter “Staying Healthy” addresses recognizing a sick horse, first aid, veterinary care, parasites, tooth care, hoof care, and grooming. There is an excellent section on therapies that owners may be interested in exploring, from chiropractics and massage to basic stretches and tail whirls. In the chapter on feeding, the author offers ten essential rules that effectively serve as feeding guidelines for companion horses. She also discusses types of feed and supplements as well as the how to maintain the horse at a healthy weight.

There are three chapters devoted to training and riding the horse, emphasizing the importance of choosing the right (and properly fitting) gear, conditioning the horse, riding lessons, and more. The chapter “When Good Horses Go Bad” offers advice on how to avoid and correct common bad habits, including cribbing, weaving, wood chewing, irritability, biting, kicking, bucking, rearing, and bolting. Appendix of useful addresses and glossary included.

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