Horse shoes and horse shoeing: their origin, history, uses, and abuses/Chapter XI
|←Chapter X||Horse shoes and horse shoeing: their origin, history, uses, and abuses by
the establishment of veterinary schools in france. treatises on shoeing. clumsy specimens of shoes. lafosse, sen., the greatest authority on modern farriery. the evils of shoeing. destructive paring. improved shoeing. the short shoe and the incrusted shoe. opposition of the parisian farriers. lafosse, junior. bourgelat, the founder of the veterinary schools in france. the adjusted shoe. burning the hoofs when fitting the shoes. jeremiah bridges. the influence of locality on the hoofs. the ‘screw’ shoe. numerous diseases of the foot. osmer. complaint against farriers. english shoeing. contracted hoofs. navicular disease. the evils of paring. the seated shoe. just remarks. the use of the rasp. the flat shoe. expansion of the horse's foot. clark's treatise. prejudice against improvements. the earl of pembroke. unshod horses. management of the hoofs. defective shoes. clark's shoe.
In the 18th century, when veterinary schools were established in France, treatises on shoeing were abundantly multiplied. With 'L'Ecole de Cavalerie' of La Guérinière (1733), 'La Parfaite Connaissance des Chevaux' of Saunier (1734), 'Le Nouveau Parfait Maréchal' of Garsault (1755), and others, appears the ' Nouvelle Pratique de Ferrer les Chevaux de Selle et de Carosse' (Paris, 1756) of Lafosse (Maréchal des Petites Ecuries du Roi). This veterinarian, a man of great observation, and an enlightened practitioner, may be said to have been the most advanced of that school which, for two centuries, had been endeavouring to improve the vicious courses adopted by the farriers in their treatment of horses' feet. The principal of these practices were injudicious removal of the horn, and the great weight and length of the shoes. We have seen that the Italian writer, Fiaschi, had already protested against the use of calkins, which were becoming of greater size as time advanced. An example of this, from the church-door of Saint-Saturnin, has been already given. During the reign of Louis XIV., this absurd fashion appears to have been at its height. No thought seems to have been bestowed on the injurious influence such shoeing might have on the form or quality of the hoofs, on the true or false disposition of the limbs, nor yet on the horse's natural movements. Chargers and ordinary riding-horses wore strangely-shaped masses of iron, which, for weight and clumsiness, could scarcely, one would think, be carried by a strong waggon-horse of our own times. This unreasonable and most pernicious custom, which makes us wonder how it was possible that anything like quick progression could be accomplished without serious damage to the limbs of horses and riders, is shown in the paintings of Lebrun, court-painter to the Grand Monarque, which may be seen in the galleries of the Louvre, and in which Alexander and other heroes of antiquity are represented on horses whose feet are cumbered with tremendous 'crampons.' In the Gobelins' tapestry, manufactured under that artist's direction, these massive projections are also depicted. A shoe of this description, copied from one worn by a saddle-horse, on a piece of Gobelins at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh, and made in 1684, will perhaps give some idea of their proportions (fig. 182).
In the reign of Louis XV., however, the large calkins were generally abolished by the farriers, though the shoes were yet as long, if not longer, than before, and towards the heels were made heavy and thick.
Against this absurd fashion Lafosse uses every argument. Informing us that in Prussia, the fore-feet only were shod; in Germany, the fore and hind—each shoe having three calkins; in France, only calkins on the hind-feet; while in England the shoes were wide, thin, and with thickened heels, so that the frogs could not reach the ground, though without calkins before or behind; he says that all strangers visiting France carried in their train a farrier to shoe their horses in their own fashion, thinking it preferable, and that French noblemen did the same. Not that the mode of shoeing of any country was preferable to another—for native and foreign horses were alike badly shod—but because it was less an affair of reasoning than fancy and habit.
'The practice of shoeing horses appears to me to be good, useful, and even necessary on paved roads; but it is on the form and manner of applying shoes that not only depends the preservation of the feet, but also the safety of the limbs and the harmony of movement. We always find ourselves more active and nimble when we wear easy shoes; but a wide, long, and thick shoe will do for horses what clogs do for us—render them heavy, clumsy, and unsteady.'
After giving a brief notice of the anatomy of the foot, the necessity for the farrier to understand this, and also the fact that the horse, in a natural condition, ought to have the whole extent of its foot placed upon the superfices of the ground it covers, he refers to the defects of the shoeing then in vogue, and as aptly as if he had lived in our own day: 'As it is not possible to employ unshod horses on paved roads or hard ground without running the risk of destroying some of the parts just mentioned, we have been compelled to shoe them; but the actual method is so injurious that, so far from preserving their feet, it concurs to their destruction in occasioning a number of accidents, as I will demonstrate.
'1. Long shoes, thick at the heels, never remain firmly attached to the feet in consequence of their weight, and break the clinches of the nails.
'2. They require proportionately large nails to retain them, and these split the horn, or frequently their thick stalks press against the sensitive laminæ and sole, and cause the horse to go lame.
'3. Horses are liable to pull off these long shoes when the hind-foot treads upon the heel of the fore-shoe, either in walking, while standing by putting the one foot upon the other, between two paving-stones in the pavement, between the bars of gates, in the draw-bridges of fortifications, or in heavy ground.
'4. They move heavily, as the weight of their shoes fatigues them.
'5. Long shoes with massive heels raise the frogs from the ground, and prevent the horse walking on those parts. Then, if the horse has a humour in the frog, it becomes a ficthrush, or crapaud (canker), because the humour lodges there. In shoeing with short shoes, the horse goes on his frog, the humour is dissipated more easily, particularly in the fore-feet, as the animal places more weight upon them than the hind ones.
'6. Long shoes, thick at the heels, when put upon feet which have low heels, bruise and bend them inwards, and lame the horse, although the heel be sprung, and when the foot is raised we can see daylight between the shoe and the hoof; when it is on the ground, the heel descends to the shoes, because the hoof is flexible.
'7. Shoes long and strong at the heels, when the foot is pared, the frog being removed a long distance from the ground, cause many accidents—such as the rupture or straining of the flexor tendon, and compression of the vascular sole, a circumstance not known until I pointed it out.
' 8. Long shoes cause horses to slip and fall, because they act like a patten on the slippery pavement, as well in summer as in winter.
'9. Long shoes are also injurious when horses lie like a cow, in consequence of the heels wounding the elbows.
'10. Calkins should not be used on paved roads; they are only useful on ice or slippery ground (terre grasse). '11. The calkins on the inside heels are liable to wound the coronets when the horse happens to cross his feet.
'12. A horse shod with them is soon fatigued and never goes easy.
'13. The horse which has only a calkin on the outside does not stand fair, and the calkin confines the movement of the coronary articulation, the foot being twisted to one side.
'14. If a horse has his feet pared and loses a shoe, he cannot travel without breaking and bruising the wall, and damaging the horny sole, because the horn is too thin to protect it.
'15. If the shoes are long, and the heels of the hoof pared out hollow, stones and pebbles lodge between the shoe and the sole, and make the horse lame.
'16. Flat feet become convex by hollowing the shoes to relieve the heels and the frog, because the more the shoes are arched from the sole, the more the wall of the hoofs is squeezed and rolled inwards, particularly towards the inner quarter, which is the weakest; the sole of the foot becomes convex, and the horse is nearly always unfit for service.
' 17. If the wall of the hoof is thin and the shoes are arched, the quarters are so pressed upon that the horse is lame.
'18. Pared hoofs are exposed to considerable injury from wounds by nails, stones, glass, etc.
'19. The pared sole readily picks up earth or sand, which forms a kind of cement between it and the shoe, and produces lameness. '20. The reason why it is dangerous to pare the feet of horses, is because when the sole is pared, and the horse stands in a dry place, the horn becomes desiccated by the air which enters it, and removes its moisture and its suppleness, and often causes the animal to be lame.
'21. A habit to be abolished is that in which the farrier, to save trouble, burns the sole with a hot iron, so as to pare it more easily. The result often is to heat the sensitive sole and cripple the horse.
'22. It often happens that, to make the foot pleasant to look at, the horn of the sole is removed to the quick, and the flesh springs out from it; this granulation is called a cherry, and sometimes it makes the horse unserviceable for a considerable period.
'23. It is the pared foot which is most affected with what is termed contracted or weak inside quarter, and which also lames the horse.
'24. It also happens that one or both quarters contract, and sometimes even the whole hoof; then, in consequence of its smallness, all the internal parts are confined in their movements; this lames the horse, and is due to paring.
'25. There also occurs another accident: when the quarter becomes contracted, the hoof splits in its lateral aspect; this accident is termed a sandcrack (seime), and the horse is lame.
'26. The fashion of paring the hoofs, and especially the heels, within which are the bars, causes contraction, and this renders the horse lame.
'27. It is an abuse to rasp the hoofs of horses; this alters the hoof and forms sandcracks. '28. If a horse which has pared hoofs happens to lose his shoes and walks without them, the horn is quickly used and the feet damaged.
'29. Another defect is in the manner of making large nail-holes in the shoes, etc.
'30. The majority of farriers, in order to pare the sole well, cut it until it bleeds, and to stop the haemorrhage, they burn the place with a hot iron, and the horse returns lame to his stable.'
We see, then, that the curse of paring and heavy shoes was causing great evils in the days of Lafosse, as much as in our own. After enumerating all the vices and defects of shoeing, as it was then practised, he proceeds to lay the foundation for a rational method; and his remarks to this end are particularly happy. In a state of nature, he observes, all the inferior parts of the foot concur to sustain the weight of the body; then we observe that the heels and the frogs—the parts said to be most exposed, are never damaged by wear; that the wall or crust is alone worn in going on hard ground, and that it is only this part which must be protected, leaving the other parts free and unfettered in their natural movements.These are the true and simple principles of good farriery he lays down, and they are as appropriate and explicit today as they were then. 'To prevent horses slipping on the dry glistening pavement (pavé sec et plombé), it is necessary to shoe them with a crescent-shaped shoe—that is, a shoe which only occupies the circumference of the toe, and whose heels gradually thin away to the middle of the quarters; so that the frog and heels of the hoof bear on the ground, and the weight be sustained behind and before, but particularly in the latter, because the weight of the body falls heaviest there. The shorter the shoe is the less the horse slips, and the frog has the same influence in preventing this that an old hat placed under our own shoes would have in protecting us from slipping on ice.'It is necessary, nevertheless, that hoofs which have weak walls should be a little longer shod, so that the gradually thinning branches reach to the heels, though not resting upon them. For horses which have thin convex soles (pieds combles), these long shoes should be also used, and the toes should be more covered to prevent the sole touching the ground; at the same time, the shoe must be so fitted that it does not press upon the sole, and the heels and frog rest upon the ground; this is the only true method of preserving the foot and restoring it.' 'A horse which has its heels weak and sensitive ought to be shod as short as possible, and with thin branches (éponges), so that the frog comes in contact with the ground; because the heels, having nothing beneath them, are benefitted and relieved (fig. 183).
'Crescent shoes are all the more needful for a horse which has weak incurvated quarters, as they not only relieve them, but also restore them to their natural condition. Horses which have contusions at the heels (bleimes, corns) should also be shod in this manner, and for cracks (seimes, sand-cracks) at the quarter it is also advantageous. The sole or frog should never he pared; the wall alone should be cut down, if it is too long. When a horse cuts himself with the opposite foot the inner branch of the shoe ought to be shorter and thinner than the outer. In order that the shoe wear a long time, I have used a nail of my invention, the head of which is in the form of a cone, and the aperture in the shoe of the same shape, and exactly filled by the nail. However much the shoe may be worn it is always retained in its place. This kind of nail (fig. 183) possesses three other advantages: one, that it is less liable to be broken at the neck because it exactly fits the stamped hole; the other, that it is smaller, and, in consequence, not likely to press on the sensitive part of the foot; and, lastly, that it does less damage to the horn.
'By this new mode of shoeing all the defects and accidents attendant upon the old method are evaded.'
Elsewhere he speaks of another kind of shoeing, which is not without interest. The chapter referring to this is headed: 'Half-circle shoes for the safety of the rider, for use on dry and slippery roads, either in summer or winter, in ascending mountains, or in descending them at a gallop, without slipping in any way.' This method of shoeing was contrived as follows: 'The semi-circle (fig.184, next page) ought to be from two to three lines in width and one and a half in thickness, so as to admit of the holes being made in them with a punch; these holes should be counter-pierced on the same side on which they are stamped, so that the nail-head be completely buried in their cavities. Ten holes at least are required, but they should be small in proportion, as they are only needed to sustain the wall; the shoe should also be flexible.
I may mention, however, that there is a more convenient mode of shoeing draught-horses; this is with a shoe that is bedded (enclavé) in the whole thickness of the wall, observing to leave it projecting in its entire contour. This shoe may be termed le croissant enclavé (the imbedded crescent); it should be stamped very fine (maigre). It must be remarked that these two kinds of shoes are only fit for horses with strong hoofs.'
His recommendations for shoeing good hoofs to travel on all kinds of ground are as follows: 'The shoes must not be too long or project beyond the heels, but only reach the bars; neither must the hoofs, behind or before, be pared. The wall or crust alone should be diminished in proportion as it may be too long; this should be done evenly, and neither the sole nor frog must be cut; the latter should be allowed to project, if possible, above the shoe, so that it may come into contact with the ground. The shoe ought to be about the same strength throughout, or a little thicker and wider in the outer branch of the fore foot, and thin at the heels of the hind one. Be careful to stamp the nail-holes on the same line, not in a zigzag manner; the holes should not be too coarse, as there is then danger of pricking the horse, or binding the hoof with the stalk of the nail. The shoe should be stamped coarser outside than inside, because it may be necessary to leave it wider outside. Do not bend the shoes in adjusting them, nor arch them; they ought to be nearly fiat; though they might be slightly curved, so as to preserve the wall of the hoof. They should also follow the outline of the hoof, a little more to the outside than the inside. When fitting, the shoe should not be kept too long a time on the hoof, for fear of heating it. With this shoeing we may travel on slippery ground or grass land, in using for each shoe two nails with long heads, which will prevent the horse from slipping. Also during frost, on paved roads, or ice or snow, use these nails, as they prevent slipping; the roads being hard, three nails are required—two in the outer branch, and one in the inner.'
Reverting to the defective shoeing of his time, he endeavours to demonstrate, that by removing the horn of the frog and points of the heels from the ground, the animal's footing on paved roads is much less secure. 'The draught-horse first places his weight on the toe, then on the two sides of the hoof, and afterwards the heels are lowered to meet the heel of the shoe. The saddle-horse rests more lightly on the toe. The cannon (or shank bone) presses on the pastern-bone, this on the coronary, and this again on the coffin and navicular bones. From this disposition, we should note two important points which throw light on the defects of the present method, and indicate how to remedy them; one is, that the strain of the weight is neither fixed on the toe nor heel, but between the two; the other, that the more the frog is removed from the ground or from any point of support, the more the pressure of the coronary on the navicular bone fatigues the tendon on which it rests, in consequence of the excessive extension it experiences at each step the horse takes. The frog ought therefore to rest on the ground, as much for the facility as for the surety of the horse's movements; as the larger the frog is, so the less do the heels meet the ground; and the more the heels are relieved, the greater ease does the horse experience in progression. The only way to insure this is to shoe him according to the method I have indicated, as this causes him to walk on his frog, which is the natural prop or basis (point d'appui) for the flexor tendon.'
The whole aim of Lafosse's teaching appears to have been wisely devoted to the importance of allowing the posterior parts of the foot to rest on the ground without the intervention of the shoe. 'It is useful and even necessary to put short shoes on all flat feet, particularly on those which have the form of an oyster-shell. Every flat foot has low heels; but nature, to remedy this defect, bestows a large frog to preserve these parts. We ought not, then, to pare the soles, much less cut them out towards the heels; neither should the hoofs be too much rasped; all these practices are so many abuses which bring about the destruction of the horses' feet. The first abuse—hollowing out the heels, is to destroy the horn which forms the bars and prevents the heels and quarters from contracting; the second abuse—rasping the foot, is to destroy the strength of the hoof, and consequently to cause its horn to become dry and the horny laminae beneath to grow weak; from this often arises an internal inflammation, which renders the foot painful and makes the horse go lame.'
It ought to be always remembered, that the more a horse's foot is pared, so the more do we expose it to accidents; it is depriving it, in the first place, of a defence that nature has given it against the hard and pointed substances it encounters; and, in the second place, and which is of the utmost advantage for both horse and rider, in not paring the sole, and only using as much of a shoe as is necessary to protect the horn, the animal will be no longer liable to slip on bad roads in winter or summer, when they are vulgarly called plombé, as will be shown.
'1. Causing a horse to walk on the frog and partly on the heel, the former is found to be rasped by the friction it experiences on the earth and paved road, and is pressed by the weight of the body into the little cavities and interstices it meets.
'2. By its flexibility, it takes the imprint and the contour, so to speak, of the ground it comes into contact with; so that the foot rests on a greater number of parts, which, mutually assisting each other, multiply the points of support, and thereby give the animal more adherence to the surface on which he moves. We may even say that he acquires a kind of feeling in this part, through its correspondence with the fleshy sole, and from this to the tendon—a feeling that I will not compare with that we experience when we walk with naked feet, but which is yet sufficient to warn him of the counterpoise he ought to give to his body to maintain its equilibrium, and so preserve him from falling, twisting, or stumbling.
'The object of shoeing, by him who first resorted to it, would only be as a preservative and a defence, as much for the wall as for the sole. But he would not add the condition of paring either the one or the other, I do not say to our excess, but in any way whatever, because this would be contrary to his principle, and would destroy his work.
'This precaution (paring) can only be recommended in cases where the horn is rugged, and the shoe does not rest on it everywhere equally, thus opposing its solidity. In such a case it is right, but otherwise it is a contradiction and an absurdity. I have often questioned those amateur horsemen who were particularly careful to have their horses' feet pared, but none of them could demonstrate either its necessity or propriety. . . . The horny sole receives its nourishment from the vascular sole; its softness and pliancy are due to its thickness, and its nourishment is diminished, while it becomes harder, in direct proportion to the thinness we give it; we even see horses whose soles are pared, habitually lame. The air, when the sole is in this state of thinness, penetrates and dries it to such a degree, that if care is not taken to keep it damp when the animal is in a dry place, it contracts and presses on the vascular sole; so that, if some time after we wish to pare the sole again, it is not possible to do so, because it is so hard and dry that the boutoir will not touch it, and the horse goes lame. . . . What risk does a horse not incur who has nearly been deprived of his soles through this paring! If he encounters stones, broken glass, or nails, these easily penetrate to the sensitive sole, and cripple him for a long time, if not for ever.
'When a horse loses a shoe—a circumstance frequently occurring, and if the hoof is pared, the animal cannot walk a hundred steps without going lame; because in this state the lower surface of the foot being hollowed, the horse's weight falls on the crust, and this having no support from the horny sole, is quickly broken and worn away; and if he meets hard substances on the road, he all the more speedily becomes lame. It is not so when the sole is allowed to retain its whole strength. The shoe comes off, but the sole and frog rest on the ground, assist the crust in bearing the greater part of the weight of the body, and the animal, though unshod, is able to pursue his journey safe and sound.
'It is a fact that every horse, except those which have the feet diseased and soles convex, and to which shoes are necessary to preserve the soles, may travel without shoes; and without going for an example to the Arabs, Tartars, etc., we will find it among our own horses, which, in the country, work every day without requiring shoes; but as soon as our wisdom and skill is brought to bear in hollowing out the foot to the quick and making a fine, equal, and symmetrical frog—doing it well and properly, as we say in France, shoes become indispensably necessary.
'I therefore ask all amateur horsemen to insure their horses as much as they can against this pretended perfection. It may be asked, what will become of the horny sole if it is never pared, and it may be feared that by its growth the foot will become overgrown. Not at all; for in proportion to its growth it dries, becomes flaky, and falls off in layers.
'The compressions so dangerous, which cause inflammation, would no more be dreaded if we left the horn of the sole, the bars, and the frog entire. By their pliability, thickness, flexibility, texture, and the situation they occupy, they appear to be solely destined by nature to serve as a defence to the vascular sole, as the frog particularly acts as a cushion to the tendo achillis—all being disposed to obviate shock on paved roads, or injury from a stone, splinter, etc.
'It is necessary to be convinced of another fact: this is, that it is rare that a horse goes at his ease, and is not promptly fatigued, if the frog does not touch the ground. As it is the only point of support, if you raise it from the ground by paring it, there arises an inordinate extension of the tendon, caused by the pushing of the coronary against the navicular bone, as has been mentioned above, and which, being repeated at every step the animal takes, fatigues it, and induces inflammation. From thence often arises the distention of the sheaths of tendons (molettes—vulgo, "windgalls"), engorgements and swelling of the tendons, etc., that are observed after long or rapid journeys. These accidents arise less from the length of the journey, as has been currently believed, than from the false practice of paring the sole.
'I am astonished that this method of shoeing has not been employed long ago, and I have much trouble in persuading myself that I am the inventor. I am more inclined to believe that it is only a copy of that which has been practised by the first artist who thought about shoeing horses.
'If my suspicions are correct, the oblivion into which it has fallen proves nothing against its perfection, because the good as well as the bad are alike liable to be forgotten. The multitude, more credulous than enlightened, are easily persuaded; hence the long thick shoes, those with calkins, then with thick heels, and afterwards the thin. There is every reason to believe that if the poor animals for whom all this has been done could be allowed to speak as they must think, nothing of the kind would have taken place, and they would have preferred their ancient armature, which, having only been designed to preserve the crust, had certainly none of the inconveniences of that employed now-a-days.'
Lafosse's experience of this admirable mode of protecting, while preserving, the foot, was derived from a trial of its advantages on more than 1800 horses; and his success was most astonishing, though no more than might, on reflection, be anticipated.
'These short shoes, thin at the heels, have caused the horses to walk on their frogs, which are their points of support, and those which were lame at the heels are sound again; those also whose inside quarters were contracted, bent over, and split (sandcrack), have been cured. It has been the same with horses whose quarters and heels have been contracted (encastelé): these have been widened, and have assumed a proper shape. The same may be said of those whose soles were convex (comblé), and which went lame with long shoes. My method has also preserved those horses which had a tendency to thrush (vulgo, "fic") and canker of the frog (crapaud).
'If the horse be shod with calkins, there is a great space between the frog and the ground; the weight of the body comes on the calkins; the frog, which is in the air, cedes to the weight; the tendon is elongated; and if the horse makes a violent and sudden movement, the rupture of that organ is almost inevitable, because the frog cannot reach the ground to support it in the very place it ought to; and if the tendon does not break, the horse is lame for a long time from the great extension of the fibres, some of which may have been ruptured. . . . . If the horse be shod without heels to his shoes (éponges), the frog, which carries all the weight of the horse's body, yields at each step, and returns again to its original form. The tendon is never in a state of distraction; its fibres are no longer susceptible of violent distension during a sudden movement. I will go so far as to assert, that rupture of the tendon will never occur on a flat pavement; if it does, it will be in the space between two paving-stones. Two things clearly follow from what I have said—that it may happen that the tendon achillis sustains all the different degrees of violence that can be imagined, from total rupture to the smallest abrasion of its fibres, which will cause the horse to go lame; and it is on the frog alone that all these different degrees depend, as has been demonstrated more particularly in the history of fracture of the navicular bone and the anatomy of the foot.'
After enumerating all the objections urged against his rational method of shoeing, and replying to them, he concludes: 'My new shoeing, I repeat, has nothing to oppose it but prejudice; anatomy, which has made known to me the structure of the foot, has demonstrated all its advantages, and experience has fully confirmed them.'
I regret extremely that our limits forbid my translating at greater length from this splendid monograph; but I hope that I have been able to some extent to show that Lafosse's ideas on shoeing were founded on sound anatomical and physiological principles, the result of close observation and experience. And yet they appear to have made but little progress in the face of the opposition offered by ignorant grooms and farriers, who were incompetent to understand anything but the mere everyday routine of the rapidly degenerating art; and the prejudice of those amateur horsemen who, though the last perhaps to take upon trust statements relative to other matters, would yet believe everything told them by these horse attendants and shoers. The farriers of Paris, indeed, unanimously protested against the innovation two years after Lafosse had published his treatise, and their protest appears to have carried the mind of the crowd.Bourgelat, the illustrious founder of those French veterinary schools, which have done that country such honour and rendered her agriculture such great service, introduced another system of farriery, which has prevailed more or less in France until the present time. 'Shoeing,' says this professor, 'is a methodical action of the hand on the feet of animals, on which it is practicable and necessary. By it the foot of the horse, principally, ought to be maintained in the condition in which it is found if its conformation is good and regular, and its defects should be repaired by shoeing if it is found vicious and deformed. By shoeing, also, it is often possible to remedy the inevitable consequences of disproportions between various parts of the body, or at least to modify their effects. . . . . . to obviate those which result from defectiveness in the direction of the limbs . . . . . to facilitate, to a certain degree, freedom and regularity in the execution of movements. . . . . . and to prevent those false positions of the limbs to which certain habits appear to dispose them.' The nails were to be regularly disposed between the toe and the heel, and the shoe bent up or adjusted in such a way that, seen in profile, it looked like a cradle, and would appear to afford anything but a solid or easy footing. The total length of the ordinary fore-shoe was to be four times the length of the toe between the two first holes and the posterior or inner border. 'The distance of the external border from the one and other branch, this measure being taken between the two last or heel-nails, should be three and a half times this length, one-half of which will give the proper width of the heels to their very extremities. With regard to the adjusture, the toe should be curved up (en bateau) from the second nails from the heel to twice the thickness of the shoe, reckoning from the ground to the upper edge of the shoe at this part; it is necessary also that from this situation the extremities should rise up towards the heels to one-half its real thickness, and from thence the convexity should be one and a half times its thickness ' (fig. 186). Germany were so adjusted, and to about the same degree. Some of Bourgelat's maxims on shoeing were very good, especially the second, in which he particularly insists on abstaining from opening up the heels. 'The second maxim in good shoeing is never to open the horse's heels; this is the greatest abuse, and ruins the majority of feet.' 'Opening the heels' is when the farrier, in paring the foot, cuts the heel close to the frog, carrying the opening to within a finger's breadth of the coronet, so as to separate the quarters from the heel, and by this means the foot is weakened, and made to contract. That which is called opening a heel is in reality contracting it, for the roundness or circumference of the hoof being cut in this 'opening,' there is nothing left to sustain the heels; therefore it inevitably happens, if there is any weakness in the foot, that it contracts. If the farriers were careful of their reputation and mindful of their duty, they would make this maxim one of the principal points in their statutes.'
Any one who has had much to do with horses, or visited a shoeing forge, will know that it is customary to adjust or try on the new shoe while it is in a hot state, so as to obtain for it a more solid and secure bearing on the hoof, and to fit it better. Before the 18th century, it is probable that the hoof-armature was usually adjusted in a cold state, a practice which has many disadvantages. Cæsar Fiaschi seems to corroborate this, when he says of the shoeing of his day: 'Je ne vois d'autre remède, eu égard au peu de solidité de cette ferrure, que de savoir soi-même brocher les clous on de se faire suivre par un marechal.' He nevertheless speaks of fitting the shoe while it was hot. At any rate, it is not until 1736 that we find the first tion of the ferrure à chaud, combined with burning the hoofs in order to rob them more easily of their horn. Laguerinière speaks of the farriers burning the horny sole, to make it the more easily pared, and the dangers of this practice. 'On doit bien se donner garde de souffrir qu'on brûle les pieds aux chevaux avec un fer chaud, comme font la plupart des maréchaux, afin qu'ils soient plus aisés à parer.' Then he speaks of the clips of the shoe only being made hot to fit it to the foot of carriage horses: 'Mais, comme pour les chevaux de carrosse on est oblige de mettre un pinçon à la pince du fer, dans cette occasion on ne peut se dispenser de faire chauffer ce pinçon, afin qu'il puisse s'enfoncer dans la corne; mais tout le reste du fer doit être froid.' And Lafosse, in 1756, as we have seen, speaks of the sole chauffée and the sole brulée; so that in this interval the farriers had resorted to the expedient of heating all the sole, in order to make it more easily yield to the paring-knife, though it is recommended that the shoe should be fitted while in a hot state to the hoof.
In Laguerinière, we find the first mention of clips being used to aid in retaining the shoes. In all the ancient specimens I have examined, nothing of the kind is to be found; though frequently the toe of the shoe is slightly curved upwards, perhaps to serve as a clip, and a nail is sometimes driven into the centre of the toe, as in the Hod Hill specimen, with the same object.
Lafosse the younger repeats, in a great measure, the recommendations of his father, and appears to have tested the merits of his method; so that it is scarcely necessary to do more than refer to his half-circle shoeing, which was intended, like that of his parent, to prevent horses from slipping on the stones:
'Half-circle shoeing for Carriage Horses. As the preceding method of shoeing would not prevent the horse from slipping when he first places his foot on slippery ground, seeing that the toe comes down before the other parts, and that is entirely covered with iron, we use a half-circle shoe. This ought to be on the sides from the nail-holes more exact than the foot, and put on in such a manner that the whole of the crust projects beyond one-half of its thickness around its circumference.
'After reasonably shortening the foot with the corner of the boutoir, a groove is made within the wall adjoining the horny sole; into this channel the hot shoe is fitted. It is afterwards attached with small nails, whose heads are to be half buried in the holes, and the sharp margin of the crust is to be rasped away, to prevent chipping of the horn. With this shoeing, the horse goes on the whole of the crust, either in ascending or descending.
'A third kind of half-circle shoeing for Saddle Horses. The half-circle or shoe ought to be from two to three lines in width, and one and a half in thickness. It ought to have 10 holes equally distributed and counter-pierced on the same side; consequently, the nails should be very small. It is placed in the same manner as the preceding, from which it only differs in width and in having one hole more. A horse shod in this manner is lighter; his movements are more elastic, firmer on a dry slippery pavement, and are more agreeable to the rider.'
In England, a treatise on the anatomy and diseases of the horse's foot, exhibiting some improvement in the anatomical details at least, was published by Jeremiah Bridges. After enumerating the various parts of the foot and their characteristics, as they were known in his day, he proceeds to specify the best kinds of hoofs, and in doing so casually informs us, that the horses bred in Derbyshire, the mountainous parts of England and Wales, as well as in the Highlands of Scotland, have good feet; while those reared on low marshy ground, such as the fens of Lincolnshire, have commonly flat and soft feet, arising from the moist soil, which relaxes their texture.
'The best method to keep the foot sound is good shoeing; liberty, sometimes, in pasture; or proper exercise. Standing long in stables contracts the feet.' 'The usefulness of a horse's shoes is too obvious to want many words to explain; they are a guard to the foot.' Among the newer inventions yet spoken of, he enumerates the 'screw shoe.' 'The design of this shoe is to relieve and help nature, by extending the hoof and heels when drawn in or contracted, to remove the causes which obstruct a free and regular circulation, by restoring the parts affected to their proper size and position. This it performs by means of two ridges fixed on the inside of the shoe towards the back part; these pressing gradually and equally on the inside of the hoof, the contracted horny parts are mastered, and give way to the operation of the screw, which opens the heels. This may be forwarded in desperate cases, when the hoof is quite contracted, and the horse a cripple, by making five cuts or scissures on the outside of the hoof to the quick. In some cases, when the heels only are contracted, two are sufficient, but in many the shoe alone will answer the end. To remedy this disorder in the foot, proceeding from contracted hoofs and heels drawn in, where the complaint is slight, a shoe may be made for the horse to work in, with a feather (flange or clip) on the under side, as occasion may require, which gradually pressing on the inside of the heel, the weight of the horse as he treads forces the hoof outwards. If both heels be drawn or wired in, a feather must be made accordingly on each side.' We have here Carlo Ruini's shoe. This treatise, from the enumeration of the maladies contained in it, plainly shows what an amount of torture must have been suffered by the unfortunate horses of the last century. The fashion of excessive paring of the hoofs, heavy shoes, and faulty nailing, is strongly commented upon by Mr Bridges. The use of the 'butteris' and 'drawing knives' for removing the hoof and 'making the foot fit to the shoe, instead of the shoe to the foot,' is particularly reprobated.
In 1723, a set of new shoes cost two shillings.
A century after Blundevil, and nearly contemporary with Lafosse, whom he carefully studies and to some extent copies, comes W. Osmer. In several respects his work is much superior to that of Blundevil, and we have abundant evidence in it to prove that scientific shoeing, founded on a study of the anatomy and physiology of the horse's foot, was making progress. Though Osmer's observations are mainly based on the teachings of Lafosse, yet he does not blindly follow that celebrity, but having carefully tested the mode of shoeing advocated in the 'Nouvelle Pratique,' points out its defects in a very fair and reasonable manner. He is the first writer on this subject who gives us a good idea of the way in which the art was practised in England; and in doing this, he is particularly severe with those artisans whom Hogarth, in his picture of the 'Enraged Musician,' has delineated as wearing a cross-belt of bright blue decorated with golden horse-shoes, the badge of the peripatetic farrier. 'If you pretend to have your horse shod according to your own mind, it is a general saying amongst these men that they do not want to be taught; which is as much as to say, in other words, there is nothing known in their art, or ever will be, but what they already are acquainted with. . . . If you ask one of these artists his reason for acting in this or that particular manner, or should inquire of him the use of any part assigned to some particular end, he can give no answer, nor even pretends to have any knowledge thereof, but is guided by custom alone.'
After remarking on the necessity for shoeing in some countries and not in others, and the probable simplicity of the earlier attempts to defend the hoofs, he says, 'in process of time, the fertility of invention, and the vanity of mankind, have produced variety of methods, almost all of which are productive of lameness; and I am thoroughly convinced, from observation and experience, that 19 lame horses of every 20 in this kingdom, are lame of the artist, which is owing to the form of the shoe, his ignorance of the design of nature, and maltreatment of the foot, every part of which is made for some purpose or other—though he does not happen to know it. ... I suppose it will be universally assented to, that whatever method of shoeing approaches nearest to the law of nature, such is likely to be the most perfect method.' Agreeing perfectly with Lafosse as to the grave injury inflicted on the feet by paring the soles and frog, and opening the heels, he is careful in explaining the functions of these parts. 'The frog, together with the bars, occupying the hinder part of the foot, is designed by nature to distend and keep it open, which, when cut away, suffer the heels, the quarters, and the coronary ring to become contracted, whereby another lameness is produced, which shall be treated in its proper place.'
This lameness is the 'navicular disease,' supposed to be first described by Mr Turner of London some thirty years ago. Osmer distinctly mentions it: 'I have seen many instances of sudden lameness brought on horses in hunting and in racing, by a false step, which have continued lame their whole life-time; and upon examination, I have found the ligaments of the nut-bone (os naviculare) rendered useless for want of timely assistance and knowledge of the cause; from hence the cartilages of the same have been sometimes ossified, and the bones of the foot have been sometimes wasted, and sometimes enlarged, it being no uncommon thing to meet a horse whose feet are not fellows, the natural form of the injured foot being generally altered hereby; and nothing can contribute more to such an accident than the unequal pressure of the foot in our modern concave shoe.' Elsewhere he speaks of the erosion of the cartilage of the navicular bone, and the symptoms indicative of this foot disease. And long before this period, contracted hoofs arising from undue paring by the maréchal, and lameness resulting therefrom, were, as we have seen, often mentioned. But the unknown author of the 'Grand Maréchal, Expert et Français,' published at Toulouse in 1701, not only gives us this information, but actually describes the neurotomy operation for the relief of this lameness, the discovery of which in 1816, by Professor Sewell, of London, has almost immortalized his name. Here is the modus operandi: 'Vous coucherez le cheval, ensuite lui ouvrirez la partie où l'on barre la veine, et en tirerez le nerf avec la petite corne; apres quoi vous le graisserez avec du populleum, et il guerira.'
Osmer continues his discourse on the treatment of the horse's hoof in shoeing. 'The spongy, skin-like substance (of the frog) is not to be cut away till it becomes ragged, because it is the expansion of the skin round the heel, its use being to unite more firmly the foot and its contents, and to keep the cellular part of the heel from growing rigid; it also surrounds the coronary ring, and may be observed to peel and dry away as it descends on the hoof.' This skin-like substance is the coronary frogband Bracy Clark claims the credit of being the first to notice, in 1809.
After laying it down as a rule that the crust or wall should only be removed in a degree proportionate to the growth, he goes on to say: 'In all broad fleshy feet, the crust is thin, and should therefore suffer the least possible loss. On such feet the rasp alone is generally sufficient to make the bottom plain, and produce a sound foundation, without the use of the desperate buttress (the French boutoir, the butter of Blundevil) . . . . The superficies of the foot round the outside now made plain and smooth, the shoe is to be made quite flat, of an equal thickness all round the outside, and open and most narrow backwards, at the extremities of the heels, for the generality of horses,—those whose frogs are diseased, either from natural or incidental causes, require the shoe to be wider backwards; and to prevent this flat shoe from pressing on the sole of the horse, the outer part thereof is to be made thickest, and the inside gradually thinner. In such a shoe the frog is admitted to touch the ground, the necessity of which has been already shown; add to this, the horse stands more firmly on the ground, having the same points of support as in a natural state. Here now is a plain, easy method, agreeable to common sense and reason, conformable to the anatomical structure of the parts, and therefore to the design of nature—a method so plain that one would think nobody could ever swerve from it, or commit any mistake in an art where nothing is required but to make smooth the surface of the foot, to know what loss of crust each kind of foot will bear with advantage to itself, and to nail thereon a piece of iron, adapted to the natural tread of the horse; the design, good, or use of the iron, being only to defend the crust from breaking, the sole wanting no defence, if never pared.. . . . The modern artist uses little difference in the treatment of any kind of foot; but with a strong arm and a sharp weapon carries all before him, and will take more from a weak-footed horse at one paring, than nature can furnish again in some months, whereby such are rendered lame. If a strong-footed horse, with narrow and contracted heels, be brought before him, such meets with treatment yet more severe; the bar is scooped out, the frog trimmed, and the sole drawn as thin as possible, even to the quick, under pretence of giving him ease; because, he says, he is hot-footed, or foundered. By which treatment, the horse is rendered more lame than he was before.' This causes contraction of the hoof and compression of the parts within; and, besides, a shoe was applied thin on the outer circumference and thick on the inner, which, being concave to the foot and convex to the ground, afforded but few points of support, removed the frog from pressure, and caused great mischief. I possess some specimens of this terrible instrument of last-century barbarism. It almost makes one shudder to think of the fearful agony the poor horses must have suffered, when compelled to wear and work with it.
Osmer continues: 'Let the shoe on every horse stand wider at the points of the heels than the foot itself; otherwise, as the foot grows in length, the heel of the shoe in a short time gets within the heel of the horse; which pressure often breaks the crust, produces a temporary lameness, perhaps a corn. Let every kind of foot be kept as short at the toe as possible (so as not to affect the quick), for by a long toe, the foot becomes thin and weak, the heels low, and the flexor tendons of the leg are strained; the shortness of the toe helps also to widen the narrow heels. In all thin, weak-footed horses the rasp should be laid on the toe in such a manner as to render it as thick as may be; by which means the whole foot becomes gradually thicker, higher, and stronger. In all feet whose texture is very strong, the rasp may be laid obliquely on the fore part of the foot, towards the toe, and the toe itself thinned, whereby the compression on the parts is rendered somewhat less, by diminishing the strength of the hoof or crust.
'But this rasp is to be used with discretion, lest the crust being too thin, and not able to support the weight of the horse, a sandcrack ensue; which frequently happens from too free or unskilful use of this tool, and from the natural rigid texture of the coronet. The heel of the shoe, on all strong and narrow-heeled horses, should be made strait at the extreme points; the form of the shoe in some measure helping to distend the heel of the horse. For the same reason, the shoe on no horse should be continued farther than the point of the heel. It has been already said that neither frog nor sole should ever be pared; nevertheless, it must be understood that it is impossible to pare the crust without taking away some of the adjacent sole, and it is also requisite, in order to obtain a smooth and even surface, so far as the breadth of the shoe reaches, and no farther. The frog also will become ragged, and loose pieces will occasionally separate from the body thereof, perhaps in one foot, and not in the other. When this happens, it should be cut away with a knife, to prevent the gravel lodging therein. But if it be left to the artist to do, he will be sure to take away more of it at one time than will grow again in many weeks.'
He advocates calkins, or 'corking' the shoes, in winter only, when the ground is soft and slippery; and then says of his recommendations: 'This method of treating the foot, and such a kind of shoe as has been described, I have used many years; and, to the best of my remembrance, have not had a horse lame since, except when pricked by the artist; and it is a matter of the greatest astonishment to me, how any other form of a shoe could evep come into generaluse . . . . This flat shoe is not to be made with a smooth surface, after the French manner, but channelled round, or what is called fullered, after the English manner; by which the horse is better prevented from sliding about, and the heads of the nails are less liable to be broken off; both which inconveniences attend the shoe whose surface is smooth.'
The best mode of preventing horses from 'cutting' is next dealt with; and in treating of the value of turning horses out to grass without shoes, we learn that Osmer was perfectly cognizant of the expansive properties of the horse's foot, about which so much discussion and discovery has been made in this century, though his views are rational and perfectly correct; which is more than can be said for those of the majority of succeeding theorists. He admits the value of Lafosse's 'lunette' or 'crescent' shoes, in certain cases, chiefly in those where the hoofs are contracted: 'In such a shoe the heel of the horse rests in some measure upon the ground, receives some share of weight, and is, by means of such weight and pressure, kept open and expanded; by which expansion of the heels the compression on the interior parts of narrow-footed horses is removed, and he that was before lame is, by degrees, as the foot spreads, rendered sound—if there be no disease in the interior parts of the foot. Again, where horses have feet inclined to the other extreme, whose heels are weak and low, if the shoe be set somewhat short at the points of the heel, such will, by degrees, improve and grow higher.
Yet an English farrier can never be prevailed on to believe that weak low heels will become stronger by leaving them exposed to hard objects. But it must be expected that horses with weak or diseased feet, who have been accustomed to go in long, broad shoes, will at first go very lame in shoes which are either short or narrow. And many that are lame of the shoer with various disorders in their feet, would be cured by Lafosse's shoes, if the frog, sole, and bars were not pared out. But when those things which are designed by the Divine artist as a natural defence to the interior part, are cut away by the superior wisdom of our earthly artists, why then, undoubtedly, Lafosse's shoes will not do, for the horse requires some artificial defence to supply the loss of the natural one. Now it is the weight, unequal pressure, form and action of the iron made use of to protect the foot when it is thus horribly abridged by our artists, that is productive of almost all the evils incident to horses' feet.' These words of Mr Osmer are as true and applicable at the present day as they were more than a century ago. This writer also speaks of the drawing-knife—a weapon quite as, if not more, destructive than the boutoir, both of which are here represented (figs. 187, 188).Mr J. Clark's excellent treatise, dedicated to the Earl of Pembroke, and published twenty years later, is also a protest against the destructive and cruel mode of managing horses' feet, and the vicious character of the shoes applied to them. The science of veterinary medicine was rapidly advancing; its practitioners were, many of them, men of education and observation, and the gap between the shoer,—the man of routine, and the man of science, was gradually widening; so that farriery, properly so called, soon lagged behind; and all the teaching of such men as Blundevil, Osmer, Clark, and others, could not move it from its degraded state. Much of this was due, however, to the pernicious influence of ignorant grooms and others, who, trusted implicitly in this matter by their employers, prejudiced them against the introduction of improvements, the aim of which they had not sufficient intelligence to understand. 'However necessary it has been found to fix iron shoes upon the hoofs of horses, it is certainly contrary to the original design of shoeing them, first to destroy their hoofs by paring, &c., and afterwards to put on the foot a broad strong shoe to protect what remains, or rather to supply the defect or want of that substance which has been taken away. Yet, however absurd this manner of treating the feet of horses may appear, it is well known that it has been carried to a very great length, and still continues to be thought absolutely necessary. The destruction of their hoofs, and many other bad consequences arising from it, are every day but too apparent.' So says Mr Clark. The Earl of Pembroke, in his work on Horsemanship, published some years previously, writes: 'Physic and a butteris, in well-informed hands, would not be fatal; but in the manner we are now provided with farriers, they must be quite banished. Whoever at present lets his farrier, groom, or coachman, in consideration of his having swept dung out of the stables for a greater or less number of years, ever even mention anything more than water-gruel, a clyster, or a little bleeding, and that, too, very seldom; or pretend to talk of the nature of feet, of the seat of lamenesses, sicknesses, or their cures, may be certain to find himself very shortly quite on foot, and fondly arms an absurd and inveterate enemy against his own interest. It is incredible what tricking knaves most stable-people are, and what daring attempts they will make to gain an ascendant over their masters, in order to have their own foolish projects complied with. In shoeing, for example, I have more than once known that, for the sake of establishing their own ridiculous and pernicious system, when their masters have differed from it, they have, on purpose, lamed horses, and imputed the fault to the shoes, after having in vain tried, by every sort of invention and lies, to discredit the use of them. How can the method of such people be commendable, whose arguments, as well as practice, are void of common sense? If your horse's foot be bad and brittle, they advise you to cover it with a very heavy shoe; the consequence of which proceeding is evident: for how should the foot, which before could scarce carry itself, be able afterwards to carry such an additional weight, which is stuck on, moreover, with a multitude of nails, the holes of which tear and weaken the hoof? The only system all these simpletons seem to agree in, is to shoe in general with excessive heavy and clumsy, ill-shaped shoes, and very many nails, to the total destruction of the foot. The cramps (French crampon, Anglice calkin) they annex tend to destroy the bullet (fetlock—Fr. boulet),and the shoes, made in the shape of a walnut-shell, prevent the horse's walking upon the firm basis which God has given him for that end, and thereby oblige him to stumble and fall. They totally pare away, also, and lay bare the inside of the animal's foot with their detestable butteris, and afterwards put on very long shoes, whereby the foot is hindered from having any pressure at all upon the heels, which pressure might still perchance, notwithstanding their dreadful cutting, keep the heels properly open, and the foot in good order.'
Mr Clark informs us that, in his day, horses in the North and West parts of Scotland, and in Wales, went always without shoes, and 'performed all manner of work without any detriment to their hoofs, which, from being accustomed to go bare, and rubbing or touching frequently against hard bodies, like the hands of a labouring man, they acquire a callousness and obduracy which greatly adds to their firmness.' In Prussia, too, it was only customary to shoe them on the fore-feet. 'In Germany they use thick, heavy, strong shoes, with three cramps or caukers, one on each heel and one on the toe of the shoe.'
In describing the anatomy of the foot, he explains that 'in the middle of the frog is a longitudinal cleft or opening, by which the heels have a small degree of contraction and expansion at every tread which the horse makes upon the ground;' and, speaking of the hoof, he remarks that the sole and frog, by being exposed to wear, acquire great firmness and tenacity, which enables them to resist external injuries. 'But no apology whatever can vindicate that pernicious practice of cutting and paring their hoofs to that excess which is but too frequently done every time a horse is shoed, and, in order to repair the injury done to the foot, fix on it a strong, broad-brimmed shoe, from the very construction of which, together with the loss of its natural defence, horses, too frequently, are rendered totally useless.' 'In preparing the foot for the shoe, the frog, the sole, and the bars or binders, are pared so much that the blood frequently appears. The shoe by its form, being thick on the inside of the rim and thin upon the outside, must of consequence be made concave or hollow on that side which is placed immediately next the foot, in order to prevent its resting on the sole. The shoes are generally of an immoderate weight and length, and every means is used to prevent the frog from resting upon the ground by making the shoe-heels thick, broad, and strong, or raising cramps or caukers on them. From this form of the shoe, and from this method of treating the hoof, the frog is raised to a considerable height above the ground, the heels are deprived of that substance which was provided by nature to keep the crust extended at a proper wideness, and the foot is fixed as it were in a mould.' 'If we attend further to the convex surface of this shoe, and the convexity of the pavement upon which horses walk, it will then be evident that it is impossible for them to keep their feet from slipping, especially upon declivities of streets. It is also a common practice, especially in this place, to turn up the heels of the shoes into what is called cramps or cankers, by which means the weight of the horse is confined to a very narrow surface—the inner round edge of the shoe-rim, and the points or caukers of each heel; the consequence is, that it throws the weight of the body forward upon the toes, and is apt to make the horse slip and stumble.' The shoes in use appear to have been possessed of every bad quality, and must have inflicted fearful torture upon the unlucky animals compelled to wear them, particularly after the outrageous manner in which their hoofs were pared. 'Farriers, in general, are too desirous to excel one another in making what is termed fine neat work; and that is no other than paring the sole till it yields easily under the pressure of the thumb; and to give the frog a fine shape, it is frequently pared till the blood appears, to prevent the effusion of which the actual cautery is sometimes applied. It is to be observed, that, when the sole is so much pared, it dries and hardens in proportion as it is thinned; and the strong horny substance of the crust, overcoming the resistance from the sole, is thereby contracted. This will produce lameness, the real cause of which is overlooked or little attended to. Among the many disadvantages that attend the common shoes, one is, their being more liable to be pulled off, from their great weight, length, &c., especially in deep ground, in riding fast, or when the toe of the hinder foot strikes against the heel of the fore-shoe. To prevent this inconvenience, sixteen or eighteen nails are frequently made use of, which destroy and weaken the crust by their being placed too near one another; and it is not uncommon, when a shoe nailed in this manner is pulled off, that the crust on the outside of the nails breaks away with it. If this should happen a few days after the foot has been so finely pared (which is not unusual), or upon a journey, and at a distance from any place where a shoe may be immediately procured, the horse instantly becomes lame, from the thinness of the sole and weakness of the crust, and is hardly able to support the weight of his own body, much less that of his rider.'
This able writer gives two drawings of one of these terrible instruments of torture—the foot and ground surface of an ordinary shoe (figs. 189, 190).
|fig. 189||fig. 190|
The shoe recommended to be worn by Mr Clark is that described by Osmer, though he says it was employed by him many years before that veterinarian's treatise was published. 'In shoeing a horse we should in this, as in every other case, study to follow nature; and certainly that shoe which is made of such a form as to resemble as near as possible the natural tread and shape of the foot, must be preferable to any other. . . . . In order that we may imitate the natural tread of the foot, the shoe must be made flat, if the height of the sole does not forbid it; it must be of an equal thickness all around the outside of the rim (for a draught-horse about half an inch thick, and less in proportion for a saddle-horse); and on that part of it which is to be placed immediately next the foot, a narrow rim or margin is to be formed, not exceeding the breadth of the crust upon which it is to rest, with the nail-holes placed exactly in the middle; and, from this narrow rim, the shoe is to be made gradually thinner towards its inner edge (figs. 191, 192).
|fig. 191||fig. 192|
The breadth of fig. 191 the shoe is to be regulated by the size of the foot and the work to which the horse is accustomed; but, in general, it should be made rather broad at the toe, and narrow towards the extremity of each heel, in order to let the frog rest with freedom upon the ground. The shoe being thus formed and shaped like the foot, the surface of the crust is to be made smooth, and the shoe fixed on with eight, or at most ten, nails, the heads of which should be sunk into the holes, so as to be equal with the surface of the shoe. The sole, frog, and bars should never be pared.'
This, it will be at once perceived, is nothing more or less than the modern seated-shoe which Mr Clark recommends; but he appears to have met the usual amount of opposition. 'So much are farriers, grooms, etc., prejudiced in favour of the common method of shoeing and paring out the feet, that it is with difficulty they can even be prevailed upon to make a proper trial of it. They cannot be satisfied unless the frog be finely shaped, the sole pared, the bars cut out, in order to make the heels appear wide. This practice gives them a show of wideness for the time; yet that, together with the concave form of the shoe, forwards the contraction of the heels, which, when confirmed, renders the animal lame for life. In this flat form of shoe its thickest part is upon the outside of the rim, where it is most exposed to be worn; and being made gradually thinner towards its inner edge, it is therefore much lighter than the common concave shoe, yet it will last equally as long, and with more advantage to the hoof; and as the frog and heel is allowed to rest upon the ground, the foot enjoys the same points of support as in its natural state. It must therefore be much easier for the horse in his way of going, and be a means of making him surer-footed. It is likewise evident that from this shoe the hoof cannot acquire any bad form, when at the same time it receives every advantage that possibly could be expected from shoeing. In this respect it may very properly be said that we make the shoe to the foot, and not the foot to the shoe, as is but too much the case in the concave shoes, where the foot very much resembles that of a cat's fixed in a walnut-shell.' 'I would observe, upon the whole, that the less substance we take away from the natural defence of the foot, except on particular occasions which may require it, the less artificial defence will be necessary: the flatter we make the shoe we give the horse the more points of support, and imitate the natural tread of the foot; therefore the nearer we follow these simple rules, the nearer we approach to perfection in this art.'
To Osmer and Clark, therefore, belongs the merit of having introduced this great innovation in the shape of the shoe, and persistently pointed out the injury caused by excessive paring and unscientific shoeing. To Mr Clark is most certainly due the credit of having unmistakably asserted that the foot of the horse expands and contracts in a lateral direction during progression. In nearly every treatise published on the horse's foot, or on shoeing, particularly on the continent, during the last 20 years, this notion has been erroneously ascribed to Bracy Clark, who is always referred to as its originator.
- This excellent essay was translated into English by Braken (who had performed a like service for Lafosse's earlier work, 'Traité des Observations et des Decouvertes sur les Chevaux'). It has been republished in the Bibliotheque Vétérinaire, Paris, 1849.
- Réponse à la Nouvelle Pratique de Ferrer du Sieur Lafosse. Par les Maîtres Maréchaux de Paris. Paris, 1758.
- Essai Théorique et Pratique sur la Ferrure. Paris, 1771, 1804. There were also published in France about this period:—
Romlen. Observations sur des Articles Concernant la Maréchalerie. Paris, 1759.
Hérissant. Médecine des Chevaux. Paris, 1763.
Weyrother. Le Parfait Ecuyer Militaire de Campagne. Paris, 1768.
Druts. L'Anti-Maréchal. Liege, 1773.
Chabert. Ferrure des Chevaux. Paris, 1782.
- Traité sur I'Ecole de Cavalerie. Paris, 1733.
- Cours d'Hippiatrique. 3rd edition. Paris, 1772.
- No Foot, No Horse; an Essay on the Anatomy of the Foot of that Noble and Useful Animal—a Horse. By J. Bridges, Farrier and Anatomist. London, 1751.
- Notes and Queries, vol. ii. p. 186.
- A Treatise on the Diseases and Lameness of Horses. 3rd edition. London, 1766.
- Osmer is the first writer I can discover in England who speaks of this 'fullering' as English. The reader will remember it as Burgundian, or rather German, and prevalent in the fifth century.
- Observations on the Shoeing of Horses. By J. Clark, Farrier to His Majesty for Scotland. 3rd edition. Edinburgh, 1782.