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Gregory’s Textbook of Farriery


Published in 2011 by Chris Gregory of the Heartland Horseshoeing School, this book is a comprehensive reference tool on equine hoof care, written from the perspective of a farrier who has been shoeing since 1987 and teaching the trade since 1992. Gregory says this book is appropriate for the professional farrier, a novice farrier, or any interested horseman. The content of his book is partially based upon the work by Dr. Doug Butler, The Principles of Horseshoeing II, a book which Gregory used for over 12 years as his reference guide.

The General Introduction describes the craft of farriery, its rules and ethics, and includes some non-shoeing considerations. But the majority of the textbook is devoted to aspects of shoeing the equine hoof. Section 2 describes all types of farrier tools used. Section 3 is an in-depth description and discussion of the anatomy of the equine hoof, followed by conformation in Section 4. Section 5 describes the horse’s gaits and gait faults. Section 6 deals with horsemanship and equine psychology.

The “meat” of the book begins with Section 7: General Principles of Farriery, describing good shoeing, all the aspects of trimming a hoof and keeping it in balance, and the particulars of shoeing. Section 8 continues the shoeing theme, describing modern farriery, bad shoeing, common sense in the “to shoe or not to shoe” debate, and myths of farriery.
Section 9 is devoted to “hot” shoeing and working shoes and iron in the forge. Section 11 describes all types of shoes in the “farrier’s arsenal” and their uses.

Section 10 returns to the horse’s anatomy, describing a myriad of lameness issues and their pathology. Section 12 discusses the various ways to treat lame and abnormal feet with different types of shoes.

To understand equine anatomy and how hoof care involves the whole leg, and thus the whole horse, Chapter 13 provides graphic pictures of a whole horse dissection, showing the intricate inner workings of the horse’s structures, starting with the anatomy of the leg. Gregory wants the reader “to see where the extensor and flexor tendons traverse down the leg; identify the course and position of the suspensory ligament, check ligaments, sesamoidian ligaments,” and more. Photos of the inside of the hoof reveal the sole, sensitive laminae, access to the coffin joint and the navicular bone. Once the dissection is completed, “You have now exposed, touched, and defined many of the major structures of the horse’s leg.” Photos are not for the faint of heart.

Of special interest to the horse owner may be Chapter 43 Lameness. Beginning with the basic definition of lameness (abnormal gait due to pain), the chapter describes how the causes of lameness are determined, and then how to decide on the proper procedure to deal with the problem, including informing the horse owner of the cost. There is a check list of steps in lameness diagnostics, helpfully supplemented by photos. Also important to horse owners in this section are detailed descriptions of the various pathologies of the horse’s hoof – from abscess to white line disease and all in between – and pathologies of the horses’ limb, from bowed tendons to windpuffs.

The textbook is thorough, but a better arrangement of the sections would give a more logical flow of information.

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