their hoofs are strengthened if the horses or mules stand in a very clean stable, without dung or moisture, and if their stalls are floored or laid with oaken planks. . . . . You must remember that the hoofs are renewed by growing, and therefore after a certain number of days, or every month, such care ought not to be wanting, by which the weakness of nature is assisted and amended.’ In another place, speaking of the stable and stalls, he closely follows Columella. ‘A careful master must go frequently into the stable. In the first instance, take care that the place where they stand and lie be raised higher than the other parts of the floor, and that it be compactly made—not of soft wood, as frequently happens through unskilfulness or negligence, but of solid, hard, lasting oak, well put together; for this kind of wood hardens the horses' hoofs like rocks. Moreover, the trench which is to receive the urine ought to have a sink or drain under the ground to convey it away, lest the urine overflowing touch the horses feet.’
‘The hoofs of animals that are too small, grow larger, or such as are worn, are repaired if you take,’ etc. (Animalibus exiguæ crescunt, vel attritae reparantur, etc.) Numerous recipes are given to harden soft hoofs, especially the soles. Frequent mention is made of suffusion in the feet, and casting the hoofs, doubtless through injuries sustained from the want of shoeing. ‘If perchance, from the fatigue of a journey, a suffusion or defluxion shall happen in his feet,’ etc. ‘If a horse or mule has cast his hoof the cure is difficult.’ ‘But such horses or mules whose hoofs have become diseased by suffusion or spread-
- Lib. i. cap. 56.
- Lib. i. cap. 38.
- Lib. ii. cap. 57.