Page:Horse shoes and horse shoeing.djvu/114

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HORSE-SHOES AND HORSE-SHOEING.

shoeing, and as evidenced in the quotations just referred to. The art of fastening metal plates on their horses' feet is unpractised, and was probably unknown until a few years ago; so that strong hoofs with them is a matter of much importance, and from year to year these are untouched by any instrument; indeed, they become injuriously over-grown when the animal is not allowed sufficient exercise; and at all times they are permitted to grow crooked and mis-shapen, just as wear or disease may allow. On unpaved roads, cases of lameness are not rare, and where long journeys have to be performed over rocky mountains and along stony paths, the hoofs must suffer very much. To obviate this inconvenience, the ingenious Japanese have been compelled to resort to sandals which are identical in principle, and not far removed from them as regards material, with the soleæ sparteæ of Vegetius and Columella. The invention of these is probably coeval with the introduction of their beautiful hardy little horses, as the people themselves wear shoes of a similar construction. Though made of rice-straw for ordinary wear on the horses of the humbler classes, and of silk or cotton stuff for those of grandees, yet their use is universal; and if the large number worn out in a day's journey by one horse be any criterion of what will be expended in a busy commercial town, the manufacture of these slippers must give employment to very many people (fig. 4). Riding horses do not always wear them, and when they do they are generally fastened only on the fore feet, as on these the weight chiefly falls; but the pack-horses—which form, with bulls, the only means of conveying merchandise by land, carriages not being in use—nearly always have sandals