Page:Horse shoes and horse shoeing.djvu/66

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HORSE-SHOES AND HORSE-SHOEING.

designate shoeing is referred to in a foot-note in the edition of his writings from which this paragraph is extracted: ‘Quam ob causam, inquit Philos. loc. cit. in bellicis expeditionibus, carbatinis calceantur, cum ipsis pes dolet. Est autem καρβατινη vile et rusticum calceamentum, una sappactum solea.’ The Mongol Tartars, as I have before noticed, seldom if ever shoe their ponies, chiefly, perhaps, because of the scarcity of iron, their peripatetic mode of life, and the large numbers of these animals they always have to select from; but perhaps also as much from the presence of camels in their droves of animals, and which are their principal beasts of burthen. In consequence of these creatures being able to traverse the dreary steppes of Mongolia without suffering much injury, they are preferred; and in thus economizing the labours of the horse, they diminish the need for shoeing it. According to M. Huc,[1] however, the camel in that distant region is not exempt from some of the evils which are incidental to the unshod feet of horses; and he relates that, after a long journey, when this most useful creature has become footsore, the Tartars make sheepskin shoes for it.

My friend Mr Michie, who has travelled overland from Peking to Siberia, across the desert of Gobi, tells me that whenever a camel's feet have become tender from long journeying, it assumes the recumbent position; and this being observed by the driver, an examination is at once made of the soles, when, if the thick cuticle which covers these pads is found raised and looking white-blistered, as it were, shoeing is determined on. This is

  1. Travels in Tartary, Thibet, and China, in 1844-5-6.