By: Moira C. Reeve and Sharon Biggs
Publisher: BowTie Press
Publication Date: August 2011
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: August 25, 2011
There are so many horse books on the market today. How to train your horse, how to raise a happy/healthy horse, how to be your horse’s best friend, etc., etc. Do we really need another horse book? Well, yes, if that one book can put lots and lots of handy information all in one place and that’s just what The Original Horse Bible does.
The authors, both well-known to the horse writing community as experienced equine journalists, exhibit the clear, crisp writing that they are known for within the pages of this book. Without fluff or extraneous text, they get right to the point and cover a myriad of topics from horse breeds, to selecting your first horse, training, breeding your mare, and even exercises to keep you in tip-top condition for riding.
For a book that covers a little bit of everything equine related, there's a whole lot of everything within its pages. For instance, the section on breeds includes not just the major breeds familiar to most equestrians (Quarter Horse, Thoroughbred, Arabian, etc.) but many unusual breeds. In order to fit the huge selection of breeds within the chapter, some of these lesser known breeds don’t get the full page/large photo that the more popular breeds garner, but instead have a “breed in brief” quarter page section, with a smaller photo. Have you heard of the Sumba? What about the Karabair? They’re described in this book. And making it easier to find each breed than many other books where breeds are covered by region or type, The Original Horse Bible lists breeds alphabetically.
While no book of this nature can cover every topic in depth, and you might want to consider another book on just that one topic you’re interested in, this book will definitely give you a good overview. If you’re going to breed your mare, there is no substitute for a good discussion with your veterinarian. First, however, read the chapter on breeding because it will give you a good base for beginning that talk and asking the right questions.
Finally, it should be mentioned that this book has a ton of great photos. From the various breed shots to photos to help the reader visualize various concepts (what a fat horse looks like, pulling the skin to check for dehydration, a close-up of a braiding job on a show horse), there's at least one photo for just about every topic discussed. There are also a lot of sidebars with snippets of information related to the topic on that page (in the section on clothing there’s a sidebar on “fitting your helmet” and another on “helmet do’s and dont's) as well as numerous “horse talk” sidebars with definitions of terms used in the text.
Quill says: New horses owners need to read this book cover-to-cover and experienced equestrians should keep it close to use as a handy reference guide.