Backyard Horsekeeping, New and Revised: The Only Guide You'll Ever Need


Experienced backyard horsekeeper Joan Fry leads the prospective horse owner through the process of assessing suitable land; choosing a veterinarian and farrier; constructing and furnishing a small barn, paddock, and arena; purchasing a horse; and feeding and care. Of special value to both novice and experienced owners are the sections on feed, which take into account the most up-to-date nutrition research, and training the horse for safe and enjoyable trail riding. Written with encouraging cheer and plenty of ...

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Experienced backyard horsekeeper Joan Fry leads the prospective horse owner through the process of assessing suitable land; choosing a veterinarian and farrier; constructing and furnishing a small barn, paddock, and arena; purchasing a horse; and feeding and care. Of special value to both novice and experienced owners are the sections on feed, which take into account the most up-to-date nutrition research, and training the horse for safe and enjoyable trail riding. Written with encouraging cheer and plenty of “horse sense,” Backyard Horsekeeping leads the way to maintaining and enjoying your own horse on your own property.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Acton resident Joan Fry has turned out a responsible but entertaining manual. Fry adroitly covers hundreds of topics on horse-keeper basics. Even the advanced horse owner will benefit from Fry's insights."—Antelope Valley Press "The title caught my attention because I think the 'backyard' horse and rider have been neglected. Your book, in my opinion, goes far beyond the scope of the backyard horse and should be informative to all readers." Dr. Robert Miller, author of The Revolution of Horsemanship
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599210612
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/1/2007
  • Edition description: New and Revised
  • Pages: 424
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Joan Fry has published countless articles, celebrity profiles, and short stories on a wide range of subjects. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Poets & Writers, Black Warrior Review, Westways, and nearly every major horse periodical. She is also the author of The Beginning Dressage Book. She and her husband, John, live with an assortment of four-legged friends in Acton, California. Her Web site is

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Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from p. 175: Important Questions If you do reach the owner, the first thing to do is verify the information you saw in the ad. If it described the bucksin as a five-year-old gelding, make sure that's the horse you and the owner are both talking about. Ask all the questions on your list. One of the most important is, "Why are you selling this horse?" This question is particularly pertinent if you know the owner is a small breeder, because most breeders want their horses off their account books and out of their paddocks as soon as possible. Realistically, that means by the time the horse is three. Why has the gelding been hanging around for two additional years? Listen closely to the answer—is it believable? To me, an answer like "My daughter rode this horse but she's getting married and moving out of state," sounds believable. An answer like, "He did a lot of winning for us but now it's time for him to move on," does not. Why is it time to move on? Did the horse hurt himself? Did the horse hurt his rider? Some shoppers like to ask this question twice: once on the phone, and a second time when they ride the horse and their riding instructor or trainer is standing there listening.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     xi
Introduction     xiii
Property, Time, and Money: How Expensive is a Backyard Horse?     1
The Backyard Horse: A Definition     2
Horse Property     2
How Much Time Will Horse Care Take?     4
How Much Money Will It Cost?     8
Where Do All the Road Apples Go?     11
The Bottom Line     11
Choose a Riding Style     13
The First Great Debate: Cowboys versus Fox Hunters     13
Tack for You and Your Horse: A Checklist     35
Choose a Horse     37
Horse Breeds: An Overview     37
You As a Rider     38
A Purebred with Papers     40
Other Options     43
More Tack: A Checklist     56
Where to Keep Your Horse: Gimme Shelter     57
Indoor Living     59
Rings and Other Enclosures     70
Outdoor Living: Semi-Roughing It     73
Outdoor Living: Really Roughing It     79
Where to Keep Your Horse: This Old Barn     85
This Old Barn, Refurbished     86
Shelter: A Checklist     90
Why Your Horse Needs a Veterinarian and How to Choose a Good One     95
How to Find a Veterinarian     95
Necessary Shots     96
A Healthy Horse     99
How to Take His Vital Signs     100
A Sick Horse: Common Ailments     103
Alternative Medicine     114
The Long Goodbye     116
First Aid for Your Horse: A Checklist     117
First Aid for You: A Checklist     118
Why Your Horse Needs a Farrier and How to Choose a Good One     119
Definitions     119
Basic Hoof Care     122
How to Find a Farrier     126
When Your Horse is "Off"     126
How to Keep a Farrier     131
How to Help a Farrier     135
Hoof Health: A Checklist     136
Basic Food Facts: Feeding and Watering Your Horse     137
When Horses Were Wild     137
Protein, Fat, and Fiber     140
Balancing Nutrients     145
The Second Great Debate: Calcium versus Phosphorus     146
Hay: Where to Buy It and What to Look For     147
The Horse Condition Scorecard     148
Kyle the Goat: A Survivor's Story     156
Feed: A Checklist     159
Advanced Food Facts: Supplements and Senior Horse Care      161
Why Feed Supplements?     161
Educate Yourself     163
Senior Care from Teeth to Tail     164
Do the Right Thing     168
Don't Eat That-It's Poison!     169
How to Buy a Horse (Finally!)     173
Do Horses Read?     173
Questions for the Owner     177
Five Buying Tips     186
What Belongs in Your Grooming Box: A Checklist     187
Delivery Day: How to Prepare and What to Expect     189
Day 1     190
Day 2     194
Feed: The Big Switch     199
Day 3     200
The World According to Horses     201
How Horses Defend Themselves: Flee, Fight, or Freeze     203
The History of Horses     204
Kissing Cousins     206
The Horse's Five Senses     208
The Herd Instinct     215
Buy Your Horse a Buddy     216
Does Your Horse Trust You?     217
Time to Saddle Up and Hit the Trail     219
But First-Breakfast     220
Getting Ready to Ride     220
Riding with a Buddy     231
Riding with a Group     239
Camping with Horses     242
Riding Solo     243
Whispering to Your Horse: Basic Training     249
What Your Horse Already Knows     250
Bad Behavior     250
Annoying Behavior     257
Horse Logic     265
What You've Accomplished     266
Whispering to Your Horse: Longeing at Liberty     267
Working With Your Horse     268
The Only Essential: A Longe Whip     270
Introducing Your Horse to a Longe Whip     271
Keep Your Lessons Short and Sweet     273
Free Longeing     273
Start, Trot to the Left, and Stop     276
Revetse and Trot to the Right     278
Keep Your Horse on the Rail     281
Canter to the Left     281
Reverse at the Canter     284
Walk Both Directions     284
Completely Free Longeing     286
You and Your Liberty Horse     286
Whispering to Your Horse: Longeing to Solve Problems     287
Longeing: An Overview     287
The Necessary Tack     288
How to Longe Your Horse     291
Problem Solving on the Longe Line     297
Horse Chores: What and When      303
How to Keep Your Horse Happy: Establish a Routine     303
The Third Great Debate: Blanketing Your Horse     315
Showing Off     321
The Fourth Great Debate: Do You Need a Horse Trailer?     322
Warning: Showing Horses Can Be Addictive     328
Show Grooming     339
Keeping Fit: You and Your Horse     345
You     345
Your Horse     352
You and Your Horse     355
Riding with a Disability     360
A Glossary of Horse Terms     363
Additional Sources of Information     381
Magazines, Newsletters, and Books for General Horse Care Information     391
Internet Sources for General Horse Care Information     392
Index     393
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