Page:Horse shoes and horse shoeing.djvu/260

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232
HORSE-SHOES AND HORSE-SHOEING.

hoof with a few sharp taps, the tips of the nails being only simply twisted and hammered close to the face of the hoof; and the Wayland smith has earned his groat. At odd intervals one comes upon a group of these tinkers arming the hot, painful, road-worn toes of prostrate struggling bullocks with a nearly semicircular plate of metal on the outer margin of the hoof; and so smartly, that the bellowing creatures have hardly been thrown on the ground and secured than they are up again, proof against the hard, sun-baked roads.'[1]

Perhaps we are not making a very wide ethnological jump, if we pass from this part of the Old World to the Rocky Mountains of the New Continent, and note the customs among the equestrian, though not horse-loving, tribes of Indians in that wild region. The horse has had but little influence in civilizing the many clans who have become horsemen since that animal was introduced by the early Spaniards, and they have done as little in attempting to prevent its degeneracy in their hands. Iron shoes are never worn on the hoofs, but when travelling over rock ground, and the unfortunate animals become footsore, a substitute for the metal is found in what is termed 'parflêche.' This is the untanned, sundried hide of the buffulo or elk, in which the pounded flesh or 'pemmican' made from these beasts is wrapped up and preserved, and on which these people largely subsist. The thick, hairy skin, I am informed, makes an excellent temporary covering for the foot, forming, when tied round the pastern, a convenient hoof-buskin, like that made from camel's hide in the Soudan.


  1. See my 'Travels on Horseback in Mantchu Tartary,' p. 399.