Book Review | Video Review

A Lifetime of Soundness

By Dr. Vet. Med. Hiltrud Strasser

Edited and Translated by Sabine Kells

Copyright 1998; Dr. Vet. Med. Hiltrud Strasser

ISBN 0-9685988-0-3

Published by Sabine Kells

PO Box 44

Qualicum Beach, BC

Canada V9K 1S7

Available through; 623-935-1823 and; 870-743-4603

Paperback, spiral bound, 190 pages; Approx. $25

If there ever was a book whose time has come, it is A Lifetime of Soundness, The Keys to Optimal Horse Health, Lameness Rehabilitation and the High-Performance Barefoot Horse. For millennium it has been known that certain conditions are helpful to a horse's feet and certain others are not. Ancient proof as well as more recent statistics and documentations have been pointing the way toward better care for the horse's hoof. Why is it that today we shoe horses more than not? Dr. Strasser answers this question and many, many others. It is time that we reexamine the needs of the hoof and the horse, and redefine soundness as not just the lack of a limp but as an overall state of health, in the body and the hoof.

Dr. Strasser's two-part book begins with an introduction to horse health and environment. To understand why there are so many afflictions and health problems for our domesticated horses we must first understand the biological needs of the horse, as dictated by nature and evolution. This involves the study of the horse's natural environment, in the wild, in which we don't see the problems we have with our domesticated horses. The horse's natural environment and optimal boarding practices are described in great detail throughout Part I of the book, and the author presents the information in the following sections: Environmental Temperature, Movement, Lifestyle, Nutrition, Body Posture, Body Weight, Exposure of Hoovers to Water, Resting Places, Presence of Grease or Oils on Hooves, Immediate and Direct Ground Contact of Hooves, and Clothing and Protective Wear. Comparisons are made to conventional boarding practices and the consequences of many such practices are explained. It becomes clear to the reader how we can greatly affect the health and well-being of our horses by our horse-keeping practices.

A Lifetime of Soundness discusses in even greater detail the complex function of a most important organ, the hoof. The Hoof: Health, Lameness, and Healing is Part II and it begins with an introduction explaining why the hooves are necessary for survival. Part II continues with sections entitled: Anatomy of the Hoof, Hoof Functions, Horseshoes and the Effects of Shoeing, Transition to Barefoot, The Basics of Physiologically Correct Trimming, Lameness: Cause, Effect, and Healing, and Conclusions to Lameness and Healing.

Dr. Strasser's book contains clear and detailed descriptions and diagrams throughout, explaining the parts of the hoof and the functions of each part as well as the function of each hoof for the rest of the body. Dr. Strasser explains why the hooves are not just something to stand on but are actually organs that must function properly for the benefit of the whole body. The effects of shoeing are also clearly explained and depicted with various illustrations and photographs, including thermographic images. Much valuable information is presented in a clearly explained manner.

This book underscores the fact that barefoot is NOT just a romantic fantasy. Barefoot is the best thing for the horse. Scientific documentation has been proving for centuries that a horse in shoes is compromised greatly. The bibliography in the back of the book cites over 50 previously written works supporting that fact. The Appendix also cites some previous works by veterinarian Bracy Clark of London on the harmful effects of the horseshoe and its effects on lameness and longevity. A Lifetime of Soundness emphasizes that shoeing works contrary to the hoof and the horse, as do many other common horse-keeping practices. Heredity also has little to do with the condition and quality of the hoof; hoof care, including the living conditions and overall care of the horse, are what matter most.

A Lifetime of Soundness is an informative, easy to read text that is simply packed with helpful, correct information on caring for the horse and the hooves. It is interesting reading as well as a valuable reference book. This wonderful book is a must-read and a must-have, and perhaps ordering multiple copies makes the best sense because, since it is not yet available in some countries' bookstores, friends will want to share or borrow it until they can get their own copy!

Equine Raindrop Therapy

Featuring Heather Mack, VMD

Holistic Veterinary Services

PO Box 597

Mountain Home, Idaho 83647


Approx. $40

© 2000 New Era Productions

PO Box 1634

Fallbrook, CA 92088


Heather Mack is a veterinarian whose practice includes the use of essential oils and other complementary therapies. Many of the horses she works with are performance horses, and she deals with some complicated problems. But whether a horse is a performance horse, a backyard pony, or a trail horse, the benefits of essential oil therapy are the same – wonderful.

In this enlightening and informative video, Equine Raindrop Therapy, Dr. Heather Mack explains and demonstrates the application of essential oils using a gentle, soothing, yet stimulating technique called Raindrop Therapy. The horse, as she describes it, is mind, body and spirit and Dr. Mack's goal is to bring each individual into balance – physically and energetically. If horses can vibrate 100 percent and stay healthy, they can perform to their optimum.

Dr. Mack uses Raindrop Therapy to do just that – strengthen the horse's immune system, uplift the emotions, and help realign the spine. This is preventive medicine as well as therapy. She explains that essential oils are antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, antiprotozoal, and emotionally uplifting, as well as soothing for sore muscles and useful for pulling toxins out of the system. Performing a Raindrop leaves the horse with an aura that keeps him from getting sick. She has also discovered that Raindrop therapy is helpful before a chiropractic adjustment to relax muscles and realign the spine, and helpful afterward to maintain an adjustment.

Equine Raindrop Therapy acquaints the viewer with various essential oils and their benefits. Dr. Mack explains that to be able to do a Raindrop, one should get familiar with the various essential oils. She briefly describes some of the oils and blends she likes to use and why she chooses them. Different conditions and different horses may require different oils.

The Raindrop technique is very interesting, and though Heather demonstrates a routine order, specific body areas, a specific number of drops and a specific number of maneuvers at times, she also points out that it can't really be done wrong. One does not need to be a veterinarian or practitioner to do this. She explains that anyone can do it if one follows a few recommendations, and observes a strong caution about staying out of the sunlight during, and for a few hours after, the treatment because of the nature of some of the oils.

It is recommended in the video that the viewers experience a Raindrop themselves. Once this is felt and experienced, one can understand the powerful energies that are inherent with this treatment. The benefits are evident in the horse's responses as the therapy is being applied to him. Dooley, the big, beautiful gray in the video, seems to love the treatment.

This video provides some helpful and insightful tidbits of holistic information as well. Dr. Mack's knowledge is extensive because she uses several therapies in her practice, including chiropractic, acupuncture, homeopathy, performance mouth dentistry, herbal and nutritional therapy, ozone therapy, and chelation therapy, as well as essential oils.

Equine Raindrop Therapy is an enjoyable and educational video with a clear presentation of a useful treatment that can be readily performed at home. The captivating footage of equine athletes in action at the beginning and end is entertaining and reminds the viewer of the power and agility of the horse, as well as the demands we put on them. So why not learn Raindrop Therapy? As Dr. Mack says, "There is no reason NOT to do a Raindrop!"