Down-To-Earth Natural Horse Care

by Lisa Ross-Williams (Talking Horse Publishing, 2011, 294 pgs., $21.95)

Lisa’s journey to becoming an expert on natural horse care began when she got an Arabian named Rebel. She couldn’t find a solution for his issues in the “normal” horse care literature, so she researched natural ways to help him and other horses. This book is a compendium of all her research.

She advocates creating a natural living environment for your horse—a common-sense approach that includes providing stimulating toys and turn-out time to roam the natural terrain with a companion horse. The book also covers natural hoof care and horsemanship basics. There’s a list of poisonous plants and photos of a few, though it would have been helpful to have photos of all of the plants listed.

An explanation of different types of hay and feeds and how they affect the horse’s well-being was fascinating, particularly how the thyroid and glucose levels are impacted. Complementary therapies including homeopathy, herbs, and flower essences are discussed—including dosages helpful to horse owners who prefer a holistic approach to their horse’s health problems.

There are lots of interesting tidbits in this book: Horses who eat trees may have a copper deficiency and in turn may have low immune function and a high parasite load. The section on parasites was really informative, with discussion of herbal and homeopathic remedies.

I particularly liked the very end of the book, where the author includes a bio of each of her horses, and the way she was able to help them using natural methods. I would have loved to see her write about her horses earlier in the book, and intersperse their stories and how she was able to help them using the tools and methods she discusses. If you’re interested in helping your horse be healthy in mind, body, and spirit, this book is a good resource.