Page:Horses and roads.djvu/50
HORSES AND ROADS
to make it fit the shoe, just as if the hoof were a mere block of horn, instead of every part of it being composed of an outside, or so-called, insensitive covering to an inside corresponding one, which is usually denominated sensitive, because it is more sensitive than the outside one. If he should find that the shoe best suited to his fancy should be too long, he proceeds to shorten it by turning up more calk at the heel.
Now, calks are a great abomination, be they ever so slight. They were conceived by ignorant, unreflecting people, in order to act as brakes; which brakes, we have seen, should be applied to the wheels of the cart, instead of to the horse's foot. Nature has determined the right ‘tread’ for a horse; calkins, by raising the heel, interfere seriously with her designs. All the interior parts of the horse’s foot are shaped in harmony with the exterior; the coffin bone is wedge-shaped, and, when the foot is tilted up behind, it is forced into the wedge-shaped interior concavity of the toe. This is one of the causes of seedy toe, sandcrack, and laminitis, commonly called ‘fever in the feet.’ Mr. Douglas happily calls to mind that raising the heels also shortens the stride.
Is it customary to put calkins on the shoes of race horses? From an illustration of the ‘plates’ they wear, given by Mayhew in his ‘Illustrated Horse Management,’ it appears that they do not run in calkins = stride counts; and trainers have found out thus much, however short they may still be in