Friday, November 29, 2013

Millwater Publishing: 'Tis the Season...

   Hope you all had a fine Thanksgiving!  Now that it's Black Friday, let's see what kind of holiday specials we've got going on...

   You can order Millwater's FARRIERY trade paperback directly at this link, and enter the code: YPLFZ3CT for a 25% discount.

   Amazon has the trade paperback at 10% off.  Even lower through some of their independent resellers.

   Promotional copies of both the trade paperback and deluxe hardcover are usually available on eBay at a great deal.

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Millwater's Farriery: There's More Horse Above Knee-Level...


   I've commented before about how many farriers these days are somewhat over-focused on hooves and forgework at the expense of appreciating the whole horse.  Part of that no-doubt stems from the rise of professionalism and its accompanying specialization in the '90s.  (Before that it was pretty-much expected that farriers would float teeth, break horses, etc. in some areas.)

   The general impression I get from farriers in recent years (and feel free to correct me if I'm mistaken) is that many have very little to do with horses aside from working under them.  I was in that mode myself for quite a while...

   Now, despite the fact that my best-laid schemes gang aft agley, we're trying to get back into horse production here at Prophet's Thumb.

   Note that I said "horse production"... Not just "foal production"

   With all the talk about overbreeding and the horse market being so bad, you might wonder why on Earth anyone would get back into breeding horses at this point.

   Well, from what I've observed, there aren't so much too MANY horses, as too many of the WRONG horses. 

   I've been watching the market pretty close lately, even did a bit of horse shopping myself.  And it seems that there are good reasons why some folks can't sell their horses, and it's not just that the market is in the tank...

   Size Matters:  It's true that I've long bemoaned the harm done to breeds like the American Quarter Horse by people breeding for height above what is normal for the type.  But that doesn't mean you're going to be able to sell scrawny little ponies.  Many ladies like to visualize themselves as elite equestrians riding into international competitions on a majestic warmblood.  Men may still like to see themselves as Six Gun Heroes riding tall in the saddle upon a fiery steed.  Pretty much nobody wants to be the fat comic-relief sidekick bringing-up the rear on a tiny burro.

   Versatility Pays:  So many horses out there are bred for trick gaits, 'special' coat colors/patterns, and other characteristics that actually appeal only to narrow segments of the horse world.  The Paso enthusiast may think a fino-fino horse is the most awesome thing around, but 95% of the horse folk out there just see a high-priced, psychotic pony who doesn't do anything remotely useful.

   'Prime of Life' is More Than an Expression:  Nobody is in enough of a hurry to expand their equine graveyard that they're going out of their to buy horses who are quickly approaching the final slide.  Yes, there are a lot of impressively healthy older horses out there... But they're still older horses.

   At the opposite extreme are babies...  Buyers who aren't competent horse trainers willing to make the investment of time and effort in youngsters, and don't already have something else to ride or drive in the mean-time, are wise to avoid these 'prospects'.

   Dollars May Not Be Sound Anymore, But Folks Still Don't Want to Spend Them On Unsound Horses:   So many horses out there are advertised with use limitations, known issues, or just untested soundness.  Seriously?  Why would anyone pay to take-on someone else's problems like that?

   Failure To Launch:  The purpose of a horse is to be ridden and/or driven.  For them to serve that purpose they have to be properly trained.  Seems like an awful lot of people have forgotten this.  I remember when we assumed any unbroken five year-old must be some kind of hell-spawned widow-making bronc.  Now we see middle-aged horses advertised as "green" or just "started under saddle" all the time.  People buy mature horses so they can ride 'em NOW.  If they're going to deal with a green horse, they'd may as well get a youngster who hasn't already missed half its career.

   There is always a market for decent-sized, adaptable, prime-aged, sound and healthy, well-broke horses.

   That's why I said we're getting back into HORSE production, rather than FOAL production.  The horse world doesn't need more foals growing-up to be pasture ornaments.  We're breeding the kind of stock that should be in demand regardless of which direction equestrian styles go, and plan to keep them here until they're three years old, so that they'll graduate fully broke to drive and ride, ready to begin a useful life.

   Which means that, with luck, the new stud's just-completed season will produce the PT Graduating Class of 2017. 

   It's good to be back in the saddle again...

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Millwater's Farriery: Barefoot Movement Revisited...


   Scuttlebutt over on the Facebook is that a horse magazine article has the whole Barefoot Horse cult back in the spotlight.  Of course, we'be been around this track a whole lot of laps over the years, so I'll just give us a quick round-up...

On this very blog-

A refutation of the BAU-definition of the "traditional farrier trim" and the whole notion that the "barefoot experts" can accomplish some magic via horn removal that farriers are somehow to ignorant to comprehend.

How all the claims of special trimming techniques (complete with endless diagrams and critiqued photos online) on horses left barefoot are inherently silly given the fundamental limitations of unshod hooves.

Horseshoe Alternatives, and the ridiculous lengths the BAU will go to avoid conceding the value of conventional farriery.

On Doug Butler's blog-

Leading farrier educator, internationally credentialled author of the foremost textbook of farriery (Principles of Horseshoeing 1974, expanded editions 1985 & 2004) gives his take on the whole barefoot movement.

On Click & Trim-

Barefoot horse enthusiasts concede some of veteran farrier Rick Burten's points with good humor.

Moldy Oldies-

My go-arounds with the Barefoot Movement from over a decade ago.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Millwater Publishing: 2014 Project...


   Well, since the Mayans came-up short with the whole End Of The World and all, I suppose I may have to get a publishing project for '14 underway.

   But which one?

   Two possibilities come to mind...

   The 2010 New Dictionary of Farrier Terms and Technical Language has done okay in Kindle and other digital formats.  I could focus on formatting the Millwater's Farriery encyclopedia for digital publication...  It'd take some doing, because this time I'd want to do it right, with hypertext cross-referencing throughout.

   While doing the historical reference appendix of Millwater's Farriery, I became fairly adept at reproducing pages from old texts...  I have the ability to put entire books back into print in both hardcover and paperback now.  While they are in Public Domain, and may be available in digital versions online now, that's not quite the same as an actual, printed book to many readers.

   So, do I take the new book from paper to digital, or get an old book or two back onto paper?

   If the latter, which book(s)?  Centaur did a fine reproduction of Dollar some years ago, but I believe it's been out of print for a while.

   Or is the whole 'dead tree' thing hopelessly obsolete?

   Opinions welcome!


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