Monday, October 31, 2011

Millwater's Farriery... It's Alive!

Millwater's Farriery:
The Illustrated Dictionary of Horseshoeing and Hoofcare
Encyclopedic Reference for Students, Professionals, and Horseowners...

The Millwater Publishing website has been updated...

The book is available in Trade PaperbackHardcover,  and on Amazon.
More information available on our main blog and FaceBook.

Happy Hallowe'en, y'all!

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cover Story: Putting the Horses Back Into Horseshoeing.

   A considerable segment of the horse owning public, especially the barefoot horse enthusiasts, seem to think farriers are preoccupied with beating on iron and playing in fire.

   They might just have a point.

         The farriers on FaceBook and the F&HRC post a multitude of pictures showing off their hand-forged horseshoes of all types.  Fullered, swedged, concave, straight bar, heartbar, whip-across, onion heels, trailers, patten shoes, etc., etc.  And darned if there isn't some beautiful work on display.

   And the ability to properly form horseshoes (whether forging from bar stock or modifying keg shoes) is indeed essential to good farriery.  These skills are certainly worthy of praise and admiration...

   But they're ultimately only a means to an end...  And that end is a sound, useful horse.

   When I started the lexicon project with the Pocket Dictionary, my only practical choice for the cover design was black ink on a light-colored background.  In the years since then, mass-printing tech has given publishers more options, including full-color covers on most books.

   Many recent horseshoeing books take advantage of this with photographic covers.  The most common theme seems to be brightly glowing shoes, flames, and sparks.  Guys hammering-away at the anvil are popular.  Tools, shoes, radiographs, and diagrams...

   Conspicuous by their absence are HORSES.  Very few horses are seen on these covers, except maybe the parts of the critters unavoidably included in pictures centered on the farrier and the shoe he's burning or nailing-on.

   Forgework is just the most obvious thing that distinguishes the serious, professional farrier from the Cheap John shoer.  So it's natural that farriers, and authors writing about the trade, would focus on it.  Even to the point of omitting the horses from the shoeing picture.

   I'm familiar with many of these authors and their work, and know full-well that they are aware that there's more to horses than nailing iron onto their feet.  Most include relevant horsemanship and care in their writing.

   It's just a sort of subliminal effect that the lack of horse images has...  Of course, it's not just horseshoeing books.  Even the logos of the farrier organizations tend to be horseless.  Bar shoes, anvils, tools...  The GPF features at least part of a horse in the logo.

   Of course, Millwater's Farriery features the usual hot steel, sparks, and smoke on the cover...  Along with the common feature of diagrams and some tools...  But I made a conscious effort to "horsey" it up a bit.  A reminder that all the forgework, tools, technical study, and smoke exist to serve sound, working horses like those featured on the cover.

   It was also a chance to give some of our four-legged favorites, past and present, a bit of a cameo.

   By the way, the trade paperback proofs have been approved, and the hardcover proofs should arrive tomorrow or the next day.  The official release is coming soon!

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Millwater's Farriery: "Rotation"...

   Well, Millwater's Farriery: The Illustrated Dictionary of Horseshoeing and Hoofcare is pretty much wrapped-up and should be going to the printer for proofs this week!

   So the promotional push will be kicking into gear.  Please feel welcome to pop-in and say "hi" and maybe even "friend", "follow", "like", "circle" or whatever applies at the various places in cyberspace where you can keep-up with the project!

and, of course
This Very Blog!

And maybe tell a friend or two!

   Now, back to our regularly scheduled program...

   One of my pet peeves with founder cases is folks talking about "x-rays" and how many "degrees of rotation" the vet says a horse has...  As though this really meant something.

   For one thing, they don't usually know which kind of rotation they're talking about.

  For another, their "measurements" are a often total guesses.  To measure capsular rotation, you'd need to properly mark the dorsal wall to make it clearly visible in the rads.  It only tales some duct tape and a little soft wire, but it's often neglected.  To measure true PIII rotation, you need a pre-laminitis rad to establish the horse's "normal" alignment.  Some horses never were at textbook normal to begin-with!

   Of course, any horse with a substantial toe flare is going to show capsular rotation on rads.  Many a serviceably sound horse with mild club feet might be judged to have PIII rotation based on rads.

   Then there are sinkers...  The worst of the founder cases.  They may show no rotation at all. 

   This is why I'm not all that enthusiastic about racing to get radiographs on horses in acute laminitis.  Truth is, they don't really tell you much that's going to change how you manage the horse anyway.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Millwater's Farriery: Hoofcare for Horseowners...

   When the first modern lexicon of farriery was done in '94, we didn't have the wherewithal to do a lot of fancy stuff like in-context illustrations, so we settled for an appendix of line-drawings to which the dictionary entries could refer...  Later versions got the in-column illustrations, but the appendix was retained as an efficient way to provide full-page illustrations that could serve multiple entries.  While the illustration appendix pages stayed the same, the illustrations have been upgraded as available print quality has allowed.

   Now, for the first time, we're actually adding some new appendix pages for Millwater's Farriery: The Illustrated Dictionary of Horseshoeing and Hoofcare.

   This one touches on something I've been trying to get across for some time...  

   Horseowners often complain that it's hard to get a decent farrier to come out to there area to do their horses.  The pros seem to only want to do big barns...  Well, part of the reason for that is that pros think about more than just making the trip out to shoe your horses.  They know that shoes sometimes get stepped-on or pulled.  Not too much of a problem at the big barn, where the farrier probably swings-by on a regular basis and can do patchwork without screwing-up his schedule.  If he only comes out your way once every six weeks, and your horse messes up a shoe halfway through the cycle, he knows he either has to make your horse wait (which sucks for you), or shuffle around his schedule to get out there to patch (which sucks for his other clients)...

   To avoid this, a farrier will often simply not take-on clients he knows he can't provide full service to...  A horseshoer might just short the heels, nail behind the bend, and use other physiologically unsound methods to keep the shoes on tight between visits.

   But, if more horseowners would put together an inexpensive kit, and learn a few basic skills, farriers would know that his clients won't be SOL if Dobbin' eases a heel.  

   Pulling off a bent shoe, flattening it out, and nailing it back on through the established nail holes doesn't require the skills or tools of a qualified farrier.  Used to be a pretty common thing for horseowners to be able to do.  With competent farriers getting to be spread pretty thin these days, this ability will make one an asset to the horsekeeping neighborhood.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Millwater's Farriery: Navicular and Eggbars.

   A double-shot sample from next year's Millwater's Farriery: The Illustrated Dictionary of Horseshoeing and Hoofcare, combining the related topics of navicular disease and eggbar horseshoes.

   Terms within the entries printed in italic boldface have their own entries in this encyclopedic dictionary.  Illustrations here have been reduced in resolution compared to the printed version.

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