The first book we will look at in our review series is Practical Farriery by C. Richardson FWCF. First published in 1950 in London this book was originally written with a young farrier or apprentice in mind. At just about 70 pages long in the 1968 edition I have, it is a relatively short book compared to the others we will be looking at.
Richardson covers very basic anatomy of the hoof and leg as well as some pathologies. There are also some sections on trimming and shoeing techniques. At the end of the book is a glossary and a list of sample questions for higher exams. The anatomy section begins with the structures of the hoof. As much of the anatomy that we know and use today was originally recorded long before this book was written most of what is here is still accurate even if some of the names in common use have changed. Bones from the knee and hock down come next. Again there is some terminology that while we don’t use it everyday is still quite correct. Chapter 3 deals with joints and ligaments. A fantastic feature of this book is a list of the ligaments involved at each joint from the fetlock down. Tendons take up chapter 4. In this chapter the names of tendons are quite different to what we use today of some of the tendons; however it is still quite readable. Chapter 5 is the longest chapter being dedicated to the treatment of various pathologies. The last chapter is full of hints and tips for young farriers/apprentices.
Reading through this book I am struck by the ease of reading due to Richardson’s writing style. This makes it a good primer for a younger apprentice as well as an enjoyable read for a seasoned farrier. While this book is not on the recommended reading list for any of the tests we take, it still deserves a place in the library of any farrier. This is a quick read that will be interesting to any farrier as well as some horse owners. This book could be put anywhere on the list of books to read and is one I would probably recommend as a “filler” book when you want something to read that isn’t too taxing.