Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/560

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544
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

without his knowledge. The breaker was, I dare say, practical enough in other details of his calling, but, like the majority of his countrymen, he "had always seen horses shod, and he thought they always must be shod." The pony was sure-footed without shoes, but with them she nearly fell with her master as he rode her home from the breaker's. The shoes were taken off, and the pony did her work admirably without them for years. She has done plenty of work, for her owner tells me that he has frequently driven her, and also ridden her, over forty miles in the day. The saying, "One horse can wear out four sets of legs," does not, of course, apply to this pony. The application of this saying is to the shod horse, whose every step is made upon iron. As a writer has well said, "It is the shoe, not the road, that hurts the horse."

Now, we see that both veterinarian and breaker mistook the nail-lacerated, contracted, unused foot for the natural healthy foot. The former, raised off the ground with an iron ring called a shoe, and with the insensitive sole and frog pared away, is not (when the shoe is first pulled off) fit for contact with the ground. In such a case time must be given for the foot to recover before the unshod horse can be asked to work barefoot.

I have a cast of the off fore-foot of a mare belonging to Mr. Whitmore Baker. This cast was taken in December, 1882, after the mare had worked barefoot on stony, hilly Devon roads for two years. She was unshod in December, 1880, being then seven years old. This foot shows no signs of undue wear, and I shall be happy to show the cast to any one.—Land and Water.

 
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HOUSE-BUILDING IN THE EAST.

IN England house-building is a matter on which, in spite of "jerry" builders, one can look with comparative equanimity. In Indo-China it is a very different affair. Everything that is a source of trouble in the West disappears in those comfortable latitudes. A site can be found practically anywhere. The jungle furnishes, for the trouble of cutting it, as much material as may be required. Comparatively so little skill is wanted to start as an architect that every man can be his own house-builder, and, if he is tolerably diligent and not too ambitious, might finish his house in a few days. But, as a set-off to all these advantages, it is a very difficult matter to raise up a house which is not rendered dangerous or ineligible by the nature of the soil, the idiosyncrasies of the surrounding spirits, or the revolutionary character of the timber used. Building houses is, therefore, a very critical operation, and not to be undertaken without very considerable Sabaistic lore and an intimate acquaintance with all the ani-