The Perfect Horse addresses an issue that any potential horse owner faces: how to select an equine partner that will fit exactly what the owner/rider wants. This generous book – an oversized 8-1/2” x 11,” with a glossy cover and full-color photographs – expertly breaks down the many aspects of this potentially confusing and daunting task into manageable sections.
In the Introduction, author Barbara Burkhardt gives an overview of the book, explaining “conformation” and “type” and why they are important in selecting a horse. “The fact is, while ‘conformation’ is the proportions and angles of the individual parts of the horse, ‘type’ is the correct angles and proportions of the animal as required for the “job” he is to do… In this text I will show you that different conformations (or ‘types’) are needed for different performances.”
Part I addresses basic conformation of the horse and the correct way to assess its angles and proportions. It includes a chapter examining the many different jobs that a horse can have, from racing, to showing, to driving. The author touches on each discipline, accurately describing which type of horse would be most appropriate.
Part II, comprising the majority of the book, looks at each of the horse’s parts — hindquarters, forehand, head and neck and so on — analyzing how they relate to the rest of the body as well as how the conformation of each part makes a horse a suitable (or unsuitable) candidate for a particular discipline.
This thorough reference book is well organized and clearly written, with useful photographs and drawings to illustrate the concepts. A copious amount of information is imparted, enough to be useful to any prospective horse owner yet not so much as to be overwhelming. The book also includes a very comprehensive glossary of terms, as well as an index that readers will appreciate.
Also available in hardcover.