said that it diminishes the risk of sprains of the back tendons; but this is not correct, if one may judge from the number of lame horses to be seen in those countries where this adjustment is practised. It also tends to slipping.
I am satisfied that the English plane-surfaced shoe is the best in every respect.
Thus far, then, we have devoted some attention to the uses and abuses of horse-shoeing—shoeing as it ought to be practised, and shoeing as it is generally practised.
Without doing more than pointing out the most salient features of the subject—all details relative to the organization of the horse's foot and the practice of farriery being reserved for another opportunity—it will be seen that though of vital importance to the welfare of the useful creature, nothing is more easy of execution than a rational system of shoeing; and few arts are more difficult to practise than the ordinary irrational one, simply because the artisan has destroyed what he cannot repair, and must then use his best skill to protect what remains. It is the case of an imperfect art attempting to improve and beautify nature.
The subject of shoeing is an important one in another point of view. For very many years, veterinary surgeons have agreed that various diseases of the limbs have a hereditary tendency; the principal of these are splints, ossification of the lateral cartilages, ossific deposits around the pastern bones, navicular disease, and spavin in the hock. To what extent these maladies might be due at first to the influence of improper shoeing, in addition to