Page:Horse shoes and horse shoeing.djvu/31

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7
UNSHOD HOOFS.

and vascular textures it encloses. In eastern countries, where the climate is dry and the earth elastic and soft, and where the equine species is usually wiry and firm in its organization, with dense inflexible hoofs, an armature of any kind is seldom, if ever, required. Not unfrequently, however, we learn that the care and attention of the people who so employ horses is bestowed on the quality and resistance of the hoof; and as this has an important bearing on our inquiry, we will notice a few of the authorities who mention the fact. Thevenot informs us that the Persians cared little for shoes for their horses;[1] the Ethiopians, in the time of Ludolphus, although they seldom rode, did not employ any defence for the hoofs, and when they had to travel over rough and stony ground, they dismounted and sat on the backs of mules, leading their horses in hand, so that these might tread lighter, and do their hoofs less damage. 'They do not defend their horses' hoofs with iron shoes; if they travel over rough and uneven ground, they lead them, and ride mules.'[2] The same authority asserts that the Tartars, who ride so much, never shod their steeds. 'In the winter time, when, on account of the frost, roads are rough and hard, they cover their horses' feet with the recently flayed hide of cattle, if nothing else is at hand.' [3]

A recent traveller in Abyssinia states that the horses

  1. Voyages, vol. ii. p. 113. Paris, 1684.
  2. Joh. Ludolphus. Hist. Æthiopic, vol. i. cap. 10. 'Ideo nec ungulas eorum soleis ferreis muniunt: si per aspera et salebrosa loca eundum fit, eos ducunt, ipsi mulis insidentes.'
  3. Ibid, in Commentario, p. 149. 'Tempore vero hyemis, viis ob gelu asperis et duris, corio boum, etiam recenti, si-aliud non suppetat, pedes equoruni suorum involvunt.'