Horseman's Handbook:

Horse Ownership, Care & Enjoyment

by Joe B. Armstrong (Author)


| Reviews Below


Horseman’s Handbook is a comprehensive guide to horse ownership. Packed with step-by-step expert advice for the seasoned equestrian and aspiring horse owner alike.

Fully illustrated with +250 detailed drawings and photographs, it is an indispensable resource for the serious horseman, and a treat for the curious reader.

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Horseman’s Handbook is a complete guide to ownership and care, an indispensable resource for the serious horseman, and a treat for the curious reader. From selecting the right horse to feeding and nutrition, training and safe handling, health care and common concerns, riding and horsemanship, mare care and foaling, farm management and more, it is packed with step-by-step expert advice for the aspiring horse owner and the seasoned equestrian alike.

Fully illustrated with over 250 detailed drawings and photographs, each page of this comprehensive guide is a wealth of knowledge, filled with practical instructions and proven methods for providing the highest level of care and safety for both the horse and handler.

Drawing on professional experience acquired around the world in a distinguished career spanning seven decades as an international judge, educator, breeder, consultant, coach and competitor, Armstrong shares his lifelong passion and knowledge of horses in a clear and concise manner that is accessible to readers of all experience levels.

Maximize your enjoyment and investment in horses with the Horseman’s Handbook. Become a more knowledgeable, responsible owner, and enjoy the ride with one of God’s most magnificent Creations!

Author: Joe B. Armstrong
Foreword: B.F. Yeates

Part 1: Obligations of Ownership

Part 2: Purchasing Your Horse

Pg 6 – Your experience and/or ability level

Pg 7 – A Place 

Pg 8 – Advisor, Agent, Professional, Confidant

Pg 9 – Breed, Registered or Grade

Pg 10 – Gelding, Mare, Stallion 

Pg 12 – Horse Colors

Pg 14 – White Markings on the Head & Legs

Pg 16 – Age

Pg 17 – Training

Pg 18 – Conformation

Pg 22 – Front Leg

Pg 32 – Hind Leg

Pg 34 – Musculature

Pg 36 – Blemishes

Pg 36 – Prepurchase Veterinary Exam 

Pg 38 – Genetic Defects and Undesirable Traits

Pg 42 – Other Purchasing Considerations

Part 3: Now you Own Your Horse

Pg 50 – Equine Behavior

Pg 51 – Safety

Pg 51 – Horse’s Field of Vision

Pg 52 – Catching & Haltering

Pg 53 – Tying a Rope Halter Knot

Pg 54 – Lead Ropes

Pg 54 – Handling

Pg 55 – Walking Behind the Horse

Pg 56 – Unhaltering & Releasing

Pg 57 – Knots & Hitches

Pg 60 – Cleaning The Feet

Pg 62 – Gentling Young or Old Horses

Pg 64 – Restraint

Pg 65 – Twitches

Pg 66 – Tranquilizers

Pg 66 – Tying Up a Front Leg

Pg 67 – Tying Up a Hind Leg

Pg 68 – Hobbles

Pg 68 – War Bridle

Pg 69 – Chifney Bit

Pg 69 – Chutes

Pg 70 – Needs

Pg 71 – Equine Welfare

Pg 70 – Nutrition

Pg 72 – Water

Pg 74 – Feeds & Feeding

Pg 74 – Hays: Alfalfa & Grasses

Pg 79 – Cereal Grains: Oats, Corn, Barley & Milo

Pg 83 – Salt & Mineral Blocks

Pg 83 – Additives/Supplements

Pg 85 – Shelter 

Pg 88 – Health Care

Pg 88 – Internal Parasites (Deworming)

Pg 91 – Weight Tapes & Formulas

Pg 92 – Vaccines: Tetanus, EEE, WEE, VEE, WNV, EHV, Rabies

Pg 93 – Vaccination Schedule

Pg 95 – Coggins Test (EIA)

Pg 96 – Teeth: Inspection & Floating

Pg 99 – Farrier 

Pg 102 – Vital Signs

Pg 102 – Temperature

Pg 103 – Respiration

Pg 103 – Heart Rate

Pg 104 – Hydration

Pg 105 – Blood

Pg 105 – Temperament, Lameness & Colic

Pg 105 – Thrush

Pg 105 – Laminitis or Founder

Pg 106 – Navicular Syndrome

Pg 106 – Distemper or Strangles

Pg 107 – Colic

Pg 108 – Muscle Strains & Chiropractic Issues

Pg 108 – Traveling

Pg 108 – Quarantine

Pg 109 – Veterinarian 

Pg 110 – Horse Trainers

Pg 112 – Showing

Pg 114 – Trail Riding

Pg 115 – Packing & Outfitting

Pg 120 – Travel With Your Horse

Pg 122 – Costs

Pg 126 – Horses & Land as a Business

Pg 131 – Breeding Your Mare

Pg 132 – Enjoyment & Personal Satisfaction

Part 4: Riding Your Horse

Pg 139 – Warming Up

Pg 140 – Grooming & Saddling

Pg 141 – Tack & Equipment

Pg 144 – Mounting

Pg 145 – First Thing

Pg 146 – Dismounting

Pg 147 – Unsaddling

Pg 148 – Horse Training

Pg 149 – Forward Movement

Pg 150 – Give the Head

Pg 150 – Backward Movement & Stopping

Pg 151 – Give the Shoulder (Rollback)

Pg 152 – Give the Hip (Turn on the Forehand)

Pg 153 – Sidepass

Pg 154 – Leads

Pg 156 – Lead Changes

Pg 158 – Working Cattle

Pg 160 – Bits

Pg 162 – Spurs

Part 5: Reproduction

Pg 169 – Gestation & Estrous Cycle

Pg 170 – Breeding Fees: Stallion, Booking & Mare Care

Pg 172 – Breeding Methods: Pasture, Hand, AI

Pg 176 – Foaling: Parturition Stage 1-3

Pg 179 – Foal Vital Signs

Pg 179 – Foal Heat

Pg 180 – Weanling Care & Weaning

Part 6: In Case You Wondered (About the Author)


Pg 233 – Weights & Measures

Pg 235 – Index

Published October 1, 2023
By Gunsight Media, La Mesa, NM
ISBN 9798988710905
LCCN 2023913557
256 Pages, 70# Matte 4cp/4cp
7” x 10” Paperback

Author: Joe B. Armstrong
Foreword: B.F. Yeates
Contribution by: Josh Armstrong
Formatted & Illustrated by: Ed Armstrong

Printed in the United States on paper sourced from Forest Sustainability Council certified forests.

This book is a reflection of Dr. Joe Armstrong.

November 15, 2023

Like my friend of almost 50 years, this book is credible and based on integrity. Read it and believe it. In Joe’s sparse, kind, and direct manner, he tells what you need to know, and no more. We are fortunate that he has taken the time to write it down. Joe addresses important topics, commissions, for example, that some would stay away from. If you are only going to buy one book on horse care and management, buy this one.

Gary L. Carpenter life long horseman and current NRHA Commissioner

Fantastic Book

October 21, 2023

Wonderful book. It is full of knowledge and also a fun read with all the personal items. I have long been a fan and friend of Dr. Armstrong, yes it still takes me a while to just call him, Joe. It is a great book for a beginner thru seasoned horseman.

Suzie Duff Retired Medical Technologist Horse owner since 1967 and rider since 1955.

A lifetime of the consummate horseman's wisdom and stories!

September 30, 2023

My family and I have always had the privilege of being well mounted, thanks to Joe. My family and I have experienced show success at all levels, and recreational enjoyment, with his horses and guidance. What gifts he has shared with us in Horseman’s Handbook.

Jason Spier horse enthusiast

A book for every horseman

September 27, 2023

A fantastic all-encompassing guide to horse ownership. Whether you are an experienced owner or are just starting out, this is the book to have. Joe Armstrong is a wonderful and experienced horseman and it shines through in the book

Taylor Becker

For a "non-horseman" such as myself, Joe's book is a treasure.

September 27, 2023

Joe and Rusty Armstrong are dear friends of mine, so having this book is a real treat. I’m not a horseman. My late wife, Linda Pummell, owned two horses: a Welsh pony named Triana (who now enjoys life at the Armstrong Ranch); and a Norwegian Fjord pony named Elke, who lives in Boise, Idaho with her “adopted” family. I learned to love those horses and the folks who breed, train, and care for them. Joe Armstrong is the consummate horseman. This book is like his manifesto, and it reveals the man in full color. There is nothing theoretical here. It’s lived out by Joe every day. He practices what he preaches. Yes, I’m a bit biased, I must admit. Joe and Rusty are personal friends. But even for a layperson like me, the book is an enjoyable and immensely practical read. I highly recommnend it.

John A. Pummell - Retired from the military 27 years total service My wife owned two horses and I helped care for them and grew to love them.

UNPARALLELED OPPORTUNITY to read the wisdom shared by a great horseman!

September 26, 2023

What a wonderful blend of practical and scientific knowledge shared in an easy to understand way. I love the “Thumb rules” shared in the book. They alone are worth the price of the book. Anyone interested in horses should own a copy of this book. One of the last great horseman shares his wealth of knowledge.

Craig H. Wood - former President of APHA and Judge member of the APHA Hall of Fame Professor and Assistant Extension Director for Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Kentucky


September 22, 2023

I had the opportunity to read a draft version of this book several years ago. I knew then that Dr. Armstrong’s education, experience, hands on knowledge and vision would create a great horse reference book. Dr. Armstrong willing shares his wisdom and wit of the unique horse world in this volume. Ask the question and the answer is there.

Anna Riggs-Eader AQHA Director at Large New Mexico Quarter Horse Association

Enlightening and entertaining - wonderful book

September 18, 2023

Reading the Horseman’s Handbook was both enlightening and entertaining. Dr. Joe Armstrong provides information he’s gleaned during his years of horse breeding, owning, showing and teaching about horses to readers in a straight-forward manner that allows for easy understanding, even when the subject is complex. It’s a wonderful book for beginner horse owners / riders as well as a useful tool for horsemen, and women, of all levels.

Kate Bradley Byars - Writer Photographer Horsewoman

Great book! Factual and up to date

September 5, 2023

Dr. Joe Armstrong’s new book is great. It is factual and up to date on the science of our industry. Joe is unique in the world of academics. He’s a horseman who has “been there.” This book also includes a lot of pictures that depict Joe’s lifetime of being involved in the industry.

Jim Heird - Former AQHA President & Judge, former Professor at Texas A&M, CSU & Texas Tech, Texas Horse Racing & Cowboy Hall of Fame Honoree

All new horse owners need this book

August 24, 2023

I am amazed at the breadth of this book – all new horse owners need this book because they have no place to go for this knowledge.

Bill Myers - Horseman, Breeder (Frenchmans Guy), Owner at Myers Performance Horses
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