Page:Horse shoes and horse shoeing.djvu/658

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HORSE-SHOES AND HORSE-SHOEING.

of the nails are also round, and the shoe is light. This analogy, says Megnin, gives rise to the conviction that with the Gauls, the Gallo-Romans, the Greeks of the lower Empire, as well as with the Arabs of now-a-days, the horses' feet were scarcely pared; that they were as frequently without shoes as with them, and that the deteriorations of the horny case, and the infirmities of the inferior extremity of the limbs, were unknown to them.

The settlement of certain Germanic races in France and Britain after the departure of the Romans, and the extension of their rule, caused the gradual substitution of the German for the Celtic method of shoeing. Instead of the narrow shoes, with the flat upper surface and undulated border, heavier plates with a wider surface, and concave towards the sole of the foot, began to be introduced, and, adds M. Megnin, at this period the boutoir, or 'buttress,' commenced its functions, and reckless paring of the hoofs began.[1] From this time up to the present, this attendant curse of shoeing has prevailed. Cæsar Fiaschi, one of the earliest writers on farriery, gives us a long catalogue of foot diseases, directly or indirectly due to paring, and he, and all enlightened men who have succeeded him, and who have written on this subject, have protested against this wanton destruction and unmitigated cruelty. Whenever the sole began to be pared, the heels opened, and the frog mutilated, it became necessary to adopt shoes with the foot surface concave; no pressure could be borne by those parts which had been deprived of their natural protection. Therefore were the shoes dished—made like a

  1. It must not be forgotten that in the ancient laws of Wales a paring-knife is mentioned, as well as a 'groover' for the nail-holes.