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Webster Family Librany of Veterinary Medicine 
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at 
Tufts University 
200 Westboro Road 
North Grafton, iVIA 01 536 

* The most humane of modem horse-owners is an ignorant 
tyrant to his graceful bondservant' — Mayhew 

* The history of almost every horse in this kingdom is a 
struggle to exist, against human endeavours to deprive it of 
utility ' — Mayhew 

* The eye soon gets accustomed to deformity, and then 
does not perceive it ' — Bracy Clark 

* Certainly he who prevents does more than he who 
cures' — Philip Astley 

* No foot, no horse ' — Old Saying 









All rights reserved 






It is a generally acknowledged fact that large 
numbers of horses are worn out in the feet and 
legs at a premature age, whilst nearly all are 
frequently laid off work by lameness ; and these 
two misfortunes for the poor animals appear to be 
accepted as unavoidable for them. To combat 
this belief, these papers were written. On their 
first appearance they excited a certain amount of 
interest, and several gentlemen put to practical 
experiment the principles advanced. The results 
obtained by three of them are given, by their kind 
permission, in the Appendix. 

It is not attempted to palm off any patent upon 
the public, as the author has nothing to sell, and 
can be neither benefited nor prejudiced in any 
way by the adoption or rejection of his principles. 
He has written from disinterested motives ; and he 
has been rewarded, before the book is published by 
the knowledge that many horses are already reaping 
benefit from his efforts in their favour. 

London : August 30, 1880. 



Springs and Brakes to Vehicles 1 


Douglas on Horse-shoeing — Street Accidents and Brakes 

— Lord Pembroke and Mayhew on Servants . . 10 


Nostrums — Arsenic and Antimony — Hoof-ointments — 

' Stoppings ' 17 


Litter — Xenophon and Lord Pembroke on Bare Paving 
for Stalls — Physicking and Blistering — the Bearing 
Rein 22 


Shoeing — Lord Pembroke on Servants — Lupton on 
Farriers — Fitting the Foot to the Shoe — Calks — In- 
jurious Effects of fitting Shoes by burning them on 
• — Douglas on Cold Fitting — Shoeing in Spain — 
Brushing .29 




Youatt on the Weight of Shoes— American Trotting 
Horse ' St. Julien ' — ' An Ounce at the Heel tells 
more than a Pound on the Back' — Lunette Shoe or 
Tip of Lafo&se — Douglas on the Structure of the 
Crust — Miles on Expansion and Contraction . . 41 


Expansion entirely prevented hy present Mode of Shoe- 
ing, but favoured by ' Tips ' — Mayhew and Professor 
Percival on ' Tips ' — ' It is the Shoe, not the Road, 
that hurts the Horse ' — * Impecuniosus ' says there is 
too much sameness about all existing Writings on 
the Horse's Foot, and ' Original ' Ideas are wanted . 48 


The * Charlier ' Shoe — ' Impecuniosus ' and ' Kangaroo ' 
on the Charlier System — Sole Pressure — India 
Rubber Cushions and Pads — Pumice Foot — St. Bell 
on ' Imitation of Nature ' in Shoeing — Mayhew, 

* Nature is a strict Economist' — Douglas on the 
short average Life of our Horses — 'One Horse 
could wear out four pairs of Feet ' — Philip Astley, 

* He who prevents does more than he who cures ' 
—The CharUer ' Short ' Shoe, and the Charlier ' Tip' 
— Stanley says Navicular Disease is impossible with 
the Charlier System — Experience of Messrs. Smither 
with Charlier Shoes — American Experience of Char- 
lier ' Tips ' — ' Four inches of Iron curled round the 
Toe' 54 




Description of Frog- and Sole, by Douglas— Russell on 
Hot Fitting, and ' Clips ' on Shoes — Facility of ' Back- 
ing' when a Horse stands upon his feet — Strength 
of the Horse's Toe — Excessive Growth of Horn on 
Toes of Unshod Donkeys in Ireland — All Shoeing only 
an Affair of Routine, and is quite unnecessary — 
Mayhew, * Veterinary Surgeons cling to the Practices 
in which they have been educated ' — Retreat of 
Napoleon from Moscow with Unshod Horses . . 70 


Unshod Horses in the Indian Mutiny — Unshod Horses in 
the Zidu War — Farriers in the Army are Tailors, etc. 
— ' Daily Telegraph ' on Frozen Streets — Compara- 
tive Inutility of Cogs and Studs — Unshod Horses in 
Mexico, etc., and their remarkable Freedom from 
Lameness and Diseases of the Feet and Legs . . 83 


Brittle Hoof and the Treatment it gets — The ' Water- 
cure ' more effective — Brittle Hoof often leads to 
Sandcrack, Seedy Toe, and Pumice Foot — Hard 
Roads are favourable to the Unshod Hoof . . 1^1 


Letter of * Aberlorna ' in * Farm Journal ' — Lieut.-Col. 
Burdett on Hot Shoeing, Greasing, ' Stopping,' and 
Paring the Hoof — Cold Shoeing — North Metropolitan 
Tramway Horses are shod cold with the Seeley Shoe 
— Gradual Breaking in of Horses to go unshod — 
Different Characteristics of Countries where Horses 
are bred — Ancient Writers on bare Stone and Wood 
for Stalls — Osmer has known Unshod Horses go 
Sound in England — *Our moist Climate and hard 
Roads ' — Mayhew and Douglas on Opposers of Pro- 
gress .......... 100 





^ Aberloriia's ' Second Letter in ' Farm Journal ' — His 
second Horse shod with Tips — Putting on Tips — 
His Experience in South America of the Exuberance 
of Growth of Horn and its Touf^hness, in Unshod 
Horses — Shod Horses go lame over good roads, 
whilst the unshod ones go sound over those of the 
very worst description — Ignorance of People in Eng- 
land of the Nature of a Horse's Foot — * The Lancet ' 
on the Indefensibility, in a Physiological Light, 
of the Use of Horseshoes — Success of two Gentle- 
men in working unshod Horses in England — News- 
paper Complaints, about the Slipping of Horses, and 
Stoppage of Traffic on Ludgate Hill — The false Light 
in which Slipping is looked at 119 


Ludo:ate Hill only rises about four feet in every hun- 
dred — Societies — The Bearing Reiii only required on 
Cripples 129 


Brittle Hoof — Ignorance of Farriers — ' Impecuniosus ' 
says the existing Ideas on the Horse's Foot have 
sprung from wrong roots altogether — Fearnley says 
' The Oharlier is the most Common-sense Shoe ever 
invented ' . . . 135 


Custom of H. Jennings of training Racehorses unshod, 
and running them in their Races with Tips on their 
Fore Feet, with the Hind Feet bare — ^Evening 
Standard,* instance of impaired Sight in a Young 
Lady from wearing high Heels on her Boots — 



Many Diseases of Horses may he attributable to 111- 
treatiueut of their Feet — Caries of the Teeth is known 
to affect a Horse's Action — Veterinary Dentists in 
America — Crib-biters, Wind-suckers, and Weavers— 
Letter of a Cavalry Officer in * Daily Telegraph ' — 
His favourable Experience of Tips and Unshod 
Horses ......... 143 


The Hunter considered — Experience of ' Impecuniosus ' 
with Tips on Hunters — Miles on Unilateral Naiiing — 
Col. Anstruther Thompson's Experience with Gutta- 
percha Soles — Natural Transpiration continually 
ooing: on in the Horse s Foot ..... 166 


The Lady's Horse — Must not be exposed to Stumbling — 
Light Tips will wear as long as heavy Shoes — Horses 
as Hacks for Elderly Gentlemen — Park Hacks — 
CJarriage Horses — Abnormal Action and graceful 
Action — Concussion through the Iron Shoe — Bear- 
ing Rein for ' Screws ' — It ' pulls them together ' — 
Cruelty thereof — ' Docking ' a Horse's Tail is Vivi- 
section — ' Cutting ' caused bv Shoeiuo: — Cruel Mode 
of Cure at present employed — Coachmen . . . 165 


The * Ride and Drive ' Horse — Omnibus, Van, Tramway, 
and Cab Horses — Tramway Mules — Mr. Fearnley on 
Calks — Unscientific Shoeing of Mules — Mr. Fearnley 
on the Charlier Shoe — Bracy Clark — Mayhew on the 
various kinds of Shoes 176 




Question iu tlie ' Field ' as to an nnsliod Horse working 
in London — No Roads too hard for an unshod 
Horse — Xenophon on hard, rough Stable Floors, etc. 
— Erroneous Idea of ' something nice and soft ' to 
stand upon — Flint Roads of Hertfordshire — ' You 
cannot treat an organic body as if it were an in- 
organic one ' — Bracy Clark, ' the miserable, coerced, 
shod Foot' — Bracy Clark on Difference of Growth of 
Horn in the shod and the unshod Horse — Failure 
of Bracy Clark and Miles to produce a perfect Horse- 
shoe 187 


Asphalte Paving, and different Opinions concerning it 
— Dissatisfaction that reigns with regard to the 
ordinary Method of Shoeing — Transmission by 
Parents, of Diseases produced by Shoeing — French 
Statistics as to Diseases of the Feet and Legs of the ', 

Horses in the Army — Shoeing, a National Question .198 • | 


Appendices 210-224 

IxDEX 225 






In the crisis through which agriculturists are at pre- 
sent passing, economical improvements of all kinds 
are being sought after. Much has been written about 
the horse ; but the field he affords for writing is so 
extensive and fertile, that much still remains to be 
said ; indeed, he will afford a theme for a very long 
time to come, to say the least. 

To begin with, let us consider the vehicles 
he is often obliged to draw. May hew, an emi- 
nent veterinary surgeon, formerly demonstrator at 
the Royal Veterinary College, states, in one of the 
various works he has written upon the horse, that 
' it is a disgrace to the intelligence of the pre- 
sent age that any cart should be built without 
springs ; the real question being whether living 



thews and sinews should endure the burden, or 
whether this shall be imposed upon inanimate 
metal ? Eeducing the matter to £ s, d., which is 
cheaper ? Fact pronounces " iron " to be the 
answer.' Thus much for springs, upon which 
nothing more is necessary than to give full and 
hearty assent to Mayhew's opinion. 

But there is another subject connected with 
carts, waggons, and all other vehicles upon which 
Mayhew has not touched, but which may be here 
introduced. Those who have been on the Continent 
may (or may not, according to the use they made of 
their eyes) have remarked that all vehicles, whether 
two-wheeled or four-wheeled, are fitted with brakes, 
which not only serve for down-hill work, but are also 
applied when horses run away, or when they are left 
to stand. It will be said that our four-wheeled 
heavy waggons are fitted with a chain, or a skid. 
Granted ; but these cannot be put to various uses 
with the same celerity and utility that a proper 
brake can ; in fact, in the case of runaway horses, 
they are of no use at all. Even in the other cases 
they are far behind the brake, as they necessitate 
a stoppage of the team to apply them, and another 
to remove them. They mostly stop only one wheel ; 
which wheel, in the case of the chain, is exposed to 
injiu'y by having the tire worn into facets at the 
corresponding distances from whatever spoke the 
chain may be put against, while the spoke some- 
times breaks; the violent jerk thrown on the 
next spoke carrying away that one also, as well as 


those that come after, and so on, until the axletree 
comes down on the ground and is either broken or 
bent, the shaft horses being generally injured, and 
sometimes the driver also. 

The brakes used on the Continent are always 
applied to both wheels on the same axle, and they 
are not screwed up tight enough to effect an entire 
stoppage of the wheels, as it is found that wheels 
with smooth tires skidding on a smooth road do not 
break momentum as much as when the wheel is 
almost stopped, and biting, by friction, the blocks 
of the breaks. These brakes vary in form. For 
horses driven from a box or dickey they are generally 
worked by means of a screw with a cranked handle, 
sometimes by a lever and a toothed rack ; and for 
such vehicles as are driven by carters that walk 
alongside their teams, or even a single horse, they 
are most commonly a lever which has a ring at the 
top, to which is attached a rope, the other end of 
which passes through another ring in the shaft, 
enabling the driver to pull down the lever. He 
then makes a fast knot, but a slip one, which he 
can easily pull loose, and thus throw off the action 
of the brake without stopping his horses to either 
put it 'off' or 'on.' As being safer, the lever is 
sometimes placed behind the vehicle. Two-wheeled 
vehicles, with half a dozen horses, with one of these 
horses only in the shafts, are thus safely used. 

A horse should not have to work when going 
down hill ; but, on the contrary, it should be so 
managed for him that at every descent, however gentle, 

B 2 


he should have some respite from work, as a sort of 
set-off against the hard labour he endures when 
drawing a load up hill. There are very many 
reasons for this besides this most apparent one. 
Even with our four-wheeled heavy trucks and wag- 
gons, the chain or skid is not always put on for 
every slight descent, as the brake is on the Con- 
tinent. The approaches to London Bridge, for 
instance, are bad — in certain weathers especially so — 
but frequently skids are not applied on account of 
the necessity for stopping to put them on and off — 
which stoppage the traffic does not always admit 
of — and so the poor horses pay in a direct way, and 
their careless masters in rather a more indirect one. 
Unfortunately they only pay out of their pockets, 
whilst the horse pays with his frame. 

It is astonishing that the railway companies, 
above all others, being such large horse owners as 
they are, have not paid attention to brakes on their 
street vans, because, as they employ the best mecha- 
nical skill attainable for their other rolling stock, 
they might have easily appointed an engineer 
to see what he could do for their horse trucks ; but it 
looks as if no engineer ever went near the horses or 
trucks, or even noticed them in the streets, where 
mechanical skill ought to see that there was room 
for improvement. It appears as if this branch were 
left entirely to the surveillance of ignorant, preju- 
diced drivers, horsekeepers, and farriers, who have 
no emulation, but are quite satisfied to go on like 
their predecessors. It must be understood that 


railway companies are only cited because they ha\e 
actually in their employ the men who could see this 
at a glance, if their attention were directed to it, 
and almost as soon remedy the evil. But no — they 
continue in the same old groove, and squander 
thousands yearly upon horseflesh, at the same time 
that they are also cruelly working a noble animal, 
by many considered the most noble and useful ever 
designed by Nature for man's use. 

Besides the mere hard loork taken out of horses 
in holding back a load, it must be apparent to those 
who know anything about the animals, that they 
also suffer severely from many diseases brought on 
thereby. Either slipping and shaking over slippery 
pavements, or knuckling over on roads which do not 
allow them to slide, causes a great strain and vibra- 
tion on the nails with which their shoes are attached, 
and from them to the hoofs in which the nails are 
imbedded, thence to the bones and cartilages en- 
closed in the hoofs, and so on up to the hock and 
knee, at the very least, besides causing severe strain 
on all tendons and their sheaths. Hence they are 
found to be suffering from a great variety of diseases 
in one, many, or all of these parts, in a short time 
after they have been first harnessed ; let us say in 
the shape of corns, thrush, quittor, cutting, sand- 
cracks, ring-bone, greasy heels, seedy toe, drop-sole, 
or pumiced feet, ossified cartilages, which are some- 
times called side-bones, splints, spavins, navicular 
disease, &c. Horses are often to be seen with a pad 
confined by a leather strap, or else tarred string, 


applied to keep their hoofs together, and yet they 
work them, and no one interferes. They manage to 
steer clear of the law, of which it has been said that 
' a coach and four may be driven safely through any 
Act.' These diseases are the result of reckless treat- 
ment, which is very unprofitable to horse owners, let 
alone the cruelty. 

It is pretty well known — or, if it is not, it should 
be — that any of these diseases, once set up, are 
extremely difficult to cure ; but, on the contrary, 
mostly go on increasing under the care of ignorant 
farriers. If an intelligent veterinary should be 
called in, he will mostly advise a long rest and mild 
remedies ; but this means loss of work, although it 
means also a prolongation of the useful life of the 
horse, if the warning be taken on the first appearance 
of disease. In general, however, violent remedies, 
such as blistering, &c., are resorted to, and as soon 
as possible the horse is put to work again, without 
having had even the benefit of a rest ; for a horse 
with a blister on cannot be expected to enjoy as a 
rest the few days he is suffering with a blister. 

Kailway companies are not referred to in this case, 
or in any future ones. They were mentioned only 
as being a power in the land, with a special 
facility for applying mechanical means to reduce the 
work of their horses, which are spread over the whole 
of the kingdom. Improvements on their part would 
therefore be more extended, general, and useful, 
than even those adopted by brewers or distillers, who, 
having, as a rule, no dividends to pay, perhaps work 


their horses under the mark ; and they are not 
losers by that, as their animals last them longer. 
Still, no one takes this into account ; and they are 
by many considered prodigal in horseflesh. Most 
likely they know to the contrary ; still they may 
do even better by breaking their trucks down every 

Brakes cost infinitely less than forced losses in 
the shape of rests, and still more in the shape of 
new acquisitions of horseflesh. It is within the 
bounds of possibility that the men connected with 
the care of such horses might be brought to acknow- 
ledge that they were none the luorse for the brakes ; 
but, ignorant and bigoted as they generally are, 
it might be difficult to extract from any but an 
exceptionally intelligent and observing man that 
they thought much of the change. They know 
all about horses — in their own opinion. Of course, 
they should not be led to believe that all ex- 
isting diseases can thus be entirely cured, especially 
if in at all an advanced stage. They should, if 
reasonable, be satisfied on seeing them arrested 
in the case of old horses, and on having it pointed 
out to them that young horses were free from 
them for a longer time, and in a less degree, than 
formerly under the old system ; and they may be 
brought to confess that the horses generally ' did 
better,' to use a phrase very common amongst this 
class of men. 

But agriculturists extensively use two-wheeled 
carts without any means of breaking them down hill ; 


and hills in the country roads are constantly to be 
met with both longer and steeper than those to be 
found in London, although not always so slippery. 
In these cases their horses suffer, at least, as much 
deterioration as any of those hitherto mentioned. 
They load the carts heavily, as they try to work 
near, and so make their horses ' earn their living,' 
as they really should do in their case, which is at 
present a hard one; but they should consider 
thoughtfully whether it is profitable to make a 
horse work hard when going down hill, and so 
injuring him really more than in drawing a load 
up hill. 

The foregoing remarks have been made to lead 
up to such cases, although it is open to any other 
parties to profit by them if they choose. It has been 
said that ' the work which kills one horse will bring 
in money enough to buy another ; ' but this is a 
great fallacy — in fact, an immense mistake, as it is 
generally interpreted. Besides, it is evident that 
no horse can possibly pull over a certain weight 
up a certain ascent ; yet often a single shaft horse is 
expected, and obliged, to do his best to keep back, 
without mechanical help, the same weight which 
has required two, or often three, horses to drag 
it up the same incline in a two-wheeled cart. Is 
this rational, or even economical, when well con- 
sidered ? There is another saying, common among 
horsemen, that ' one horse can wear out four pairs of 
legs ; ' but it is also rational to believe that Nature 
gave the horse the same requisite number of legs 


that she gave to all other creatures designed for 
the use of man. It is not in their lawful use that 
they become so soon worn out, but in the abuse that 
is made of them. 

If Mayhew used such forcible language about 
springs, it may, with at least equal justice, be said 
that it is a disgrace to the intelligence of the present 
age that any vehicle whatever, from the heaviest 
waggon down to the pony basket of the farmer's 
daughter, should be built without a brake ; the real 
question being whether living thews and sinews 
should endure the burthen, or whether this should 
be imposed upon inanimate metal and wood. Ke- 
ducing the matter to £ s. d., which is the cheaper ? 




A VETERINARY surgeon, Mr. W. Douglas, late 10th 
Eoyal Hussars, was so much impressed by the 
miseries, diseases, and dangers caused to horses by 
their being pushed down hill by their loads, that it 
caused him to write a book upon ' Horse-shoeing.' 
Here is part of his preface : — 

' Passing down Ludgate Hill one day [this was 
whilst it was paved with stone] my attention was 
directed to the pitiful condition of a horse in the 
shafts of a large waggon. The poor animal was not 
drawing the load, but was being driven down the 
descent by the crushing weight behind ; and, utterly 
unable, from the manner in luhich it was shod, to 
withstand the pressure, it had gathered its hind 
legs well under, and its fore legs well in advance of 
its body, in a helpless struggle to avert the fall 
which it too evidently knew was at hand. Never 
did I witness such a picture of powerless terror as 
that horse presented, as with eyes starting, body 
shaking, and limbs stiffened, it was carried down- 


wards against its will, until the fore and hind feet 
slipping in the same direction, it came down upon 
its left side with a crash. The thought of what 
agony that poor beast must have suffered, even 
before it fell, has haunted me ever since, and know- 
ing if the horse had been able to use the supple 
elastic cushion nature has provided its feet with to 
prevent their slipping — namely, the frog — it could 
easily have controlled the pressure from behind, I 
resolved if possible to direct public attention to the 
present cruel and unwarrantable system of shoeing 

His book is full of valuable remarks on the horse's 
foot and on the evils of shoeing as commonly prac- 
tised ; but he missed the mark in failing to recog- 
nise (even supposing that the shoe he proposes 
might not admit of so much slipping) that the 
horse would still injure his feet and legs by the 
immense strain put on them in his violent exertions 
to hold back the waggon — a luork that should he 
done for hhn. Perhaps he was not acquainted with 
the brake, and was labouring under the delusion that 
all that mechanical skill could effect towards the 
breaking of momentum by friction had been done 
by making one wheel skid. Mayhew, in the chapter 
which he dedicates to ' strain of the flexor tendon,' 
says that ' this is chiefly present in the shaft horse 
that has to descend a steep declivity, with a load 
behind it. The weight would roll down the descent ; 
this the horse has to prevent, and the chief stress is 
then upon the back tendons.' Elsewhere he states 


that ' the frame of the horse is stronger than 
machinery; but it cannot resist the wilfulness of 
human misrule.' Yet, strangely enough, this gentle- 
man, energetically as he speaks, has also failed to 
seek in mechanics a means of saving the shaft horse 
excessive and superfluous labour when going down 
hill, whether over slippery paving, or over rough 
country roads. 

Amongst the societies which we rejoice to 
possess in England, there is one to prevent dangerous 
driving. How many of those who form this society 
have this sensible appendage to any of their own 
carriages, even those to which they daily trust their 
own necks? Accidents are not always the faults 
of drivers. About a year and a half ago, a brougham 
horse took fright at the engine whistle, and bolted 
down Ludgate Hill at a gallop. The weather was 
dry, and the hill not slippery. The coachman suc- 
ceeded in turning into Farringdon Street (although 
it looked as if that was the way the horse wanted to 
go) ; yet, up the street, it ran into another carriage, 
and both were wrecked, and both horses very much 
hurt. Fortunately, no person was seriously injured 
on the occasion; but the pecuniary damage was 
great. If the coachman had had, close to his right 
hand, the handle of a brake which he could have 
instantly applied firmly to both wheels, he could have 
diminished the speed from the outset, and have stopped 
entirely before he came to the spot where the collision 
occurred ; or, at least, he might have brought the 
speed down sufficiently to enable himself and the 


other driver between them to avoid it. It was not 
the slippery shoes (objectionable as they undoubtedly 
are) that did the harm in this case ; but the want 
of a controlling power more efficient than the man's 
arms, which only control the mouth of the horse 
under any circumstances ; and, even then, only as 
long as the horse chooses to submit, or is able to do 
so. A man cannot ' pull a horse up ' with the reins 
used as a mechanical power, any more than he can 
get into a basket and raise himself from the ground 
by lifting at the handles, as the principle is the 
same ; but resistance thrown against the collar will 
soon tell upon the horse's speed, and the means of 
throwing it there by the application of friction to 
both hind wheels (just short of making them 
' skid ') would do away with a great deal of the 
present losses of life, and deterioration of valuable 
property, put down to ' dangerous driving.' 

Conservatism is proverbially strong amongst horse 
owners, and still more so with grooms and others 
that surround the horse. In the last century, 
Lawrence wrote : — ' There are some toils to which 
even the rich must submit. True knowledge 
is not to be acquired, or the acquisition to be 
enjoyed, by deputy ; and, if gentlemen and large 
proprietors of horses are desirous to avoid the diffi>-^ 
cutties, dangers, and cruelties perpetually resulting 
from prejudice, ignorance, and knavery combined, 
they must embrace the resolution of making them- 
selves so far master of the subject as to be able to 
direct those whom they employ.' 


The Earl of Pembroke held very similar senti- 
ments. Mayhew, one of our most modern authorities, 
says : — ' Of all persons living, grooms generally are 
the worst informed : here is the curse of horses. No 
other servant possesses such power, and no domestic 
more abuses his position. It is impossible to amend 
the regulation of any modern stable without remov- 
ing some of this calling, or overthrowing some of 
the abuses, with a perpetuation of which the stable 
servant is directly involved.' But, of the master, 
he says : — ' The most humane of modern proprietors 
is an ignorant tyrant to his graceful bondservant ; ' 
to this he might truthfully have added that the 
most intelligent amongst masters was but a narrow- 
minded biofot. Tel rmaitre tel valet. Betwixt these 
two classes stands the helpless horse ! — not to 
mention their natural chosen ally, the farrier. 

It is not meant to imply that farmers are guilty 
of overloading or overworking their horses, in the 
general acceptation of these terms ; but that they 
neglect taking precautions which would enable the 
horse to do at least the same amount of work, with 
comfort to himself, greater freedom from disease, 
prolongation of life, and economy all round for his 
owner, besides removing from the latter very fre- 
quent anxieties resulting from mismanagement of 
the animal. The advice or opinion of servants should, 
therefore, not be asked for. They will immediately 
object to the brake and all other economical im- 
provements : it is upon principle that they object 
to everything new. The way to begin all economies, 


therefore, is for owners to escape from the thraldom 
in which their servants, at present, hold them. Their 
fetters are self-imposed, and they carry about with 
them, at all hours, the key to enable them to cast 
them off; apathy, only, prevents them from doing 
so. Any man, with determination, could walk into 
his stable free of them for ever, whenever he chose, 
and at a moment's notice. It is humiliating for an 
educated owner to admit tacitly that such a low 
class should be his superior, which he is really doing 
when he asks, or acts upon, their advice ; or, which 
comes to the same thing, when he leaves them to 
do as they like. 

At this point, nine out of every ten readers will 
throw down the paper, remarking that all this may 
be true as regards their neighbours ; but, as to their 
own 'man,' he does understand horses, and kee^ps 
them going without any bother. This is the great 
mistake. Is it rational to suppose or infer that 
sweeping dung out of a stable is conducive to the 
acquirement of even a rudimentary knowledge 
of anatomy and physiology ? Mayhew passed a 
long career as a veterinary surgeon in continually 
passing from the stables of one proprietor to those 
of others ; and yet he is unable to cite a redeeming 
instance of a servant. He appears to have felt this, 
as he says that he ' deeply regrets those comments 
which a regard for correctness has compelled him 
to offer upon the present race of grooms. He can, 
however, with sincerity deny that the indulgence of • 
dislike, or the gratification of malice, has induced 


him to travel beyond the limits of his subject,^ So, 
upon his authority, supported by that of so many 
others, right away back to the last century, every 
one is safe in coming to the conclusion that his 
' man ' knows nothing about horses, and that it is 
high time that he should take the thing into his 
own hands ; for, unless he does so, the prevention 
of mismanagement is impossible. If he lack 
confidence in his own knowledge of the animal, 
which in any case should not be less than that of a 
carter or horsekeeper, let him read. The subject is 
replete with interest and entertainment ; but he 
should choose modern works if he wishes to march 
with the age. 





It is well known that all stablemen keep by them 
* nostrums ' and ' receipts ' of their own. First 
amongst these are generally to be found arsenic and 
antimony — two active poisons — but they are great 
favourites with the men ; they administer them in 
secret. These drugs are cheap, and they can afford 
(or will afford) to buy and pay for them themselves. 
It is true that occasionally they administer an over- 
dose all round, generally on a Saturday night, and 
the next morning a stableful of dead horses is 
found ; post-mortems are held, and the poison is 
discovered, and the horsekeeper finds himself before 
a magistrate. He sometimes gets imprisonment, it 
is also true ; but this neither brings compensation 
to the owner, nor seems to act as a warning to 
others, for cases of drugging are constantly reciu'ring 
at intervals. But, even if he does not kill the 
horses at a single dose, he is doing so by degrees. 
These very active remedies are but seldom employed 
even by veterinaries, and then only in extreme cases, 
and in small doses. Nitre is also cheap, and is 



secretly administered to an alarming extent — not 
sufficiently to kill the horses right off, but sufficiently 
to undermine their constitutions. 

If veterinary authorities should be read, the fol- 
lowing dicta will be found having reference to the 
foregoing remarks : — ' Acute gastritis : cause — 
poison ; ' ' inflamed bladder : cause — abuse of medi- 
cine ; ' ' diabetes : cause — diuretic drugs ; ' ' inflamed 
kidneys : cause — nitre.' The innocent (?) and 
phlegmatic owners either are ignorant that their 
men are making use of these agents, or else in- 
dolently satisfy themselves by remarking that their 
' man ' understands horses very well and that ' if he 
does not bring them round, no one else can ; ' until 
things get serious and the vet. has to be called in. 
When this gentleman is sent for, he has gener- 
ally a serious case to deal with, and one that usually 
lasts a long time, and, consequently, entails a severe 

Besides this, many owners knowingly allow their 
men to order powerful medicines in the shape of 
' balls ' called ' physic,' ' condition,' ' diuretic,' &c., 
and allow their men to give them to the horses, 
having, at the same time, very little or no control 
as to when or why they should be given. Now 
these cost more than arsenic, &c., and could be more 
easily accounted for, because the men rarely go so 
far as to lay out their own money on them, and 
the owner thinks soTne medicine must be necessary 
in a stable ; yet even then he is generally guilty of 
allowing or even asking his man an unmerited 


opinion as to its use, besides being in the dark as 
to what drugs, secretly given by the said man before, 
may have caused the disease, which, however, will 
be attributed to anything but his own act. 

There are yet other 'remedies' kept by all stable- 
men. They are used more openly, and are even 
highly approved of by some owners. First amongst 
these rank ' hoof-ointments,' be they either a ' secret ' 
with the stablemen, or a ' patent ' — it does not make 
much difference which, as to their nonutiHty, or, 
rather, their positive insalubrity. They almost 
always consist of admixtures of some or all of the 
following ingredients : — Tar, bees-wax, train oil, 
tallow or suet, and honey. jNIr. Douglas says that 
if applications of this kind were made daily instead 
of occasionally, no horse would have a morsel of 
sound horn at the end of six months to nail a shoe 
to : ' for it shuts up the pores in the horn, prevents 
the natural moisture from reaching the surface out- 
wardly, and the air from circulating inwards — conse- 
quences which act upon the horse with ruinous 
results.' ' If you tell a groom this, he will either 
refuse to listen to your arguments, or laugh at them 
as being the height of absurdity.' How many 
horse owners are on a level with their servants in 
this matter ! 

Cowdung, mixed sometimes with some of the 
above-mentioned abominations, is firmly believed in 
by servants, and its use condoned by their masters, 
for ' stopping ' — that is to say, stuffing the hoof with 
— up (or down) to the level of the bottom of the 

c 2 


shoe. Cowdung is supposed by these ignorant people 
to be emollient, because it is soft ; but everything 
that glitters is not necessarily gold, and cowdung 
instead of being an emollient, is a powerful irritant ; 
and so between ' ointment ' and ' stopping ' they are 
using their utmost endeavours, in surrounding the 
hoof on all sides with everything that ignorance and 
stupidity can devise (up to the present time), to 
render it brittle and otherwise diseased. 

As soon as the horse is taken, as a colt, from his 
natural state into bondage, every one seems to con- 
sider that his mother Nature has nothing more 
to do with his future career. Everything then 
is carried on by them without once casting a thought 
on the dominion which she still maintains over him, 
equally with all her other creatures. Some others 
of the servants of man are less meddled with than 
this one, who is, at the same time, the most costly 
and the most generally useful — here in England, at 
least. It has been well said that ' the history of 
almost every horse in this kingdom is a struggle to 
exist against human endeavours to deprive it of 
utility.' This is forcible language, but it is the 
naked truth. Another authority says : ' Strange to 
say, he frequently suffers as much from ill-advised 
kindness as he does from cruelty.' This last obser- 
vation applies to the English farmer, only in so far 
that, whilst wishing to be excessively kind to his 
horses, he is often unwittingly laying himself 
open to censure from want of having duly considered 
how to treat them. No one can possibly accuse him 


of ivanton cruelty — far from it ; but he might avoid 
inflicting upon them much sufifering, with gain to 
himself, if he would turn part of the attention he 
bestows upon * rotation of crops,' &c., to his teams — 
and those to whom he entrusts them. 




Servants are apt to be very exacting as to the quan- 
tity of straw for litter, and they keep some all day 
long under the horse's feet, ignorantly believing that 
it is a comfort and a benefit to the horse. Here, 
again, they are wrong ; and upon both points. Let 
any proprietor go to his stable, upon returning on 
a Sunday from morning church service, when the 
horses will, perhaps, have been left to themselves for 
three hours, and he will find that his horses have 
been trying to get rid of it by scraping holes in it, 
in which to stand in ease and comfort on the bare 
floor, having pushed as much as they can back into 
the gangway. It is probable, also, that instinct 
takes part in their dislike to it, on the score of its 
being unhealthy, as well as uncomfortable to them. 

Xenophon wrote in praise of a bare stone pave- 
ment : ' It will cool, harden, and improve a horse's 
feet merely by standing on it.' Lord Pembroke 
says : ' The constant use of litter makes the feet 
tender, and causes swelled legs ; moreover, it renders 


the animals delicate. Swelled legs maybe frequently 
reduced to their proper natural size by taking away 
the litter only ; which, in some stables where ignorant 
grooms and farriers govern, would be a great saving 
of bleeding and physic, besides strain. I have seen, 
by repeated experiments, legs swell and unswell, by 
leaving litter, or taking it away, like mercury in a 
weather glass.' It has also been found in the army 
that the troopers' horses, which are not bedded 
down during the day, never suffer so much from 
corns, contractions, thrush, and grease as the ofi&cer's 
chargers do, which have straw to stand upon when- 
ever they are in the stable. 

Some owners, with a view to economy, substitute 
sawdust for the straw, and they leave it for weeks 
without changing it. This is a still greater mistake ; 
it gets saturated with acids and alkalies, and is most 
injurious to the feet as well as to the general health 
of the animals. Veterinary surgeons assign, as one 
of the causes of cough, ' rank bedding.' It is a fre- 
quent source of seedy toe ; yet, not many weeks 
since, a groom to whom this remark was made 
laughed it to scorn, saying that it was the best 
possible preventive to the disease, and was, moreover, 
the very best cure for it in a horse already affected 
with it ; and, he added, the older and more rotten 
the sawdust the more effective. His horse did have 
seedy toe shortly after this, and the veterinary had 
to be called in. He, of course, had all this rotten 
muck immediately removed. The use of sawdust is 
no economy at all, when considered from the right 


point of view. The problem to be solved is, how to 
keep your horse in health and get the most work 
you reasonably can out of him. Straw, used with 
judgment, will be found as economical as an3rthing 
else ; it should only be put under the horse the last 
thing at night, and it should be removed the first 
thing in the morning. The horse will dirty it but 
little in the night ; the dirty portion should, of 
course, be carried out of the stable, and, in this 
manner, no alarming expense of straw is incurred. 

It is well known to many travellers that in coun- 
tries quite as cold as England straw is so scarce 
and valuable that horses even sleep by night on 
the bare floor ; and the horses from some of these 
countries are imported to England with a great 
reputation for possessing hardiness and sound con- 
stitutions. But they do not dwell with us long 
before we improve them down to a level with 
our own breeds (in this respect), by hot stabling, 
foul atmosphere, and many other fanciful crotchets 
which come under the headings of 'mistaken kind- 
ness,' or ' mistaken economy ; ' and economy well 
understood is specially in demand, and should be 
sought, in the present ' hard times.' In the case of 
straw a double economy is very visibly to be found 
in using it sparingly, as the outlay upon the article 
itself is reduced ; and the horse, by being freer from 
ailments, can do more work in the course of the 

Certain classes of horses get, in the course of the 
year, a diminution or cessation of labour. This is 


looked forward to by the owner with an inane kind 
of idea that the horses will receive benefit from their 
' rest ; ' as, indeed, they really ought to do, if they 
were sanely dealt with during that time. The stable- 
man looks forward to the same period with ferocious 
satisfaction, as then he will have an opportunity of 
giving swing to his cruelties. Beforehand he is re- 
joicing in projects of 'physicking' {i.e. purging) and 
blistering, and then ' conditioning,' his hapless and 
helpless horses, and counting on the empire he has 
over his master — and he is seldom wrong on that 
head — for carte blanche, Mayhew says ' the pre- 
judices of ignorance are subjects for pity: the sloth- 
fulness of the better educated merits reprobation.' 
' No slave proprietor possesses the power with which 
the groom is invested.' In Brazil the slave -owner 
is not allowed by law to flog his slaves himself; 
if they are judged to merit flogging they have to be 
sent to an olBficial specially appointed in each district 
for that purpose, which ofiicial is, of course, free 
from anger and vindictiveness, and only lays on the 
regular strokes, which the owner would be likely to 
exceed both in force and number. 

Aloes, as being the most violent and irritating of 
purges, is the favourite one with the groom. It 
frequently remains inside the horse a couple of days 
before it ' sets ; ' it often thus causes inflammation or 
irritation of the kidneys, and terribly weakens him. 
Its operation has hardly ceased when the man is 
applying blisters to the horse's legs ; and the most 
powerful of ' patents ' and ' vesicants ' are his greatest 


favourites. A horse first weakened by a drastic 
purge, and then tortured by one of these infernal 
inventions, is more injured than if he had 
continued at hard work instead of having his 
' rest.' A modern professor of veterinary science 
says : ' Let all gentlemen discharge the veterinary 
surgeon who proposes to blister the legs of their 
horses. The author has beheld hundreds of blisters 
applied to the legs, but he cannot remember one 
instance in which such applications were productive 
of the slightest good.' Youatt said : ' Agriculturists 
should bring to their stables the common sense 
which directs them in the usual concerns of life.' 
Youatt wrote half a century ago, and for farmers ; 
yet it is doubtful whether things have not got worse 
since then, in spite of his advice. Mayhew says that 
the administration of three or four bran mashes is in 
general a sufficient purge ; and he further says that, 
' during the years he was in active practice, he does 
not remember to have given a dose of aloes ' (pre- 
sumably only then on an emergency) ' that the 
symptoms did not afterwards cause him to regret 
the administration. They are at present chiefly 
employed in accordance ivith the dictates of routine,^ 
Eoutine seems to be having a long innings in 
most respects as regards the horse. After long and 
energetic representations and arguments on the part 
of Mr. Flower, some of the horse proprietors in 
London finally discovered, upon trial, that their 
horses could actually do more work without bearing 
reins — this was a severe blow to routine — and now 


most, or nearly all omnibus, van, car, cab, and tram- 
way horses are driven -without them in London. 

Many gentlemen have also done away with them 
for their horses ; even four-in-hand drags are fre- 
quently seen without them — but cart horses, say for 
instance (and only because they happened to turn 
up first on the surface of memory), those working 
in the carts belonging to the vestry of St. George's, 
Hanover Square, are still hampered with them. 
They are to be seen with their chins drawn up to 
their breasts, thus having their stride shortened, 
and thus making many more steps than natural to 
each mile they travel ; and every step, short as it 
may be, entails a putting in motion of the flexor 
and extensor muscles and their tendons. But 
Nature has determined the real economical swing 
of these muscles and their tendons in each direc- 
tion; and so it results that, by depriving her of her 
will, such horses are prevented from exercising their 
powers to the full, and at great inconvenience to 
themselves, and prejudice to their lasting power 
also ; for something is bound to suffer undue 
wear and tear when natural extension and flexion 
are interfered with — even if it should be only the 
sheaths of the tendons, to put it in a very moderate 

Farmers plead that cart horses, driven by a man 
on foot, must have something for that man to catch 
hold of at certain times, and they also parade and 
make much of the fact that when they have a hill 
to ascend, the bearing rein is loosened ; therefore 


thev admit that a horse should have ' the use of his 
head ' at certain times, yet they do not know where 
to draw the line, although nothing is easier to draw, 
if common sense were appealed to. 

The cart horse should always have the free use 
of his head at a walk, as it should and does govern 
his stride ; and if a rein of some sort is necessary 
for carters to lay hold of occasionally, the measure 
of the length of that rein is easily found. It is just 
the length that will allow a horse to use his fullest 
exertion up hill without hearing upon it. To 
this they object again that a rein of that length 
would hang unequally on the sides of the horses' 
necks and be troublesome and unsightly. This only 
shows them to be short of inventive faculties. They 
have only to sew on a ring just at the double of the 
reins, at their determined length, and hitch this 
ring on the hames, when they would find the reins 
to hang equally and gracefully, and always ready to 
be caught hold of; although the best carters lay 
hold of the cheek strap, above the bit, and thus 
manaofe their horses better than those who take 
their hold below the bit. 

We won't quarrel over the last point; but, in 
the name of common sense, let a horse always have 
his natural stride — it is essential to his economical 
work. Yet cart horses are to be seen, in town and 
country, ^pegging away with reduced strides, expend- 
ing on a four-mile journey the same exertion that 
they would, if allowed, only use on a five-mile one. 
Their owners handicap them. 




An old saying amongst horsemen is, ' No foot, no 
horse ; ' and another, * \yhoever hath care of a horse's 
feet hath care of his whole body.' From time 
immemorial it has been recognised that the foot of 
the horse is the part of him which calls for the 
utmost care and attention ; yet it is actually the one 
that at the present day receives the least attention, 
and is subjected to the worst malpractices. To whom 
is the care of it confided ? Why, to the stableman 
and farrier — two of the most ignorant blockheads, 
as a class, that could be picked out. Lord Pembroke 
wrote, more than a century ago, of the first-named : 
' It is incredible what tricking knaves most stable 
people are, and what daring attempts they will make 
to gain an ascendant over their masters, in order to 
have their own foolish projects complied with. In 
shoeing, for example, I have more than once known 
that for the sake of establishing their own ridiculous 


and pernicious system, when their masters have 
differed from them, they have on purpose lamed 
horses, and imputed the fault to the shoes, after 
having in vain tried, by every sort of invention and 
lies, to discredit the use of them.' 

Mr. Lupton, M.R.C.V.S., only three years since 
approved the opinion that ' the master who makes 
the welfare of his steed subservient to the idle 
prejudices of his groom, is fitly punished in the 
lengthened period of his animal's compulsory idle- 
ness, appropriately finished by the payment of a 
long bill to the veterinary surgeon.' And, of farriers, 
he says : 'Farriers ought to go through a course of in- 
struction previously to being allowed to operate upon 
structures, the anatomy, physiology, and economic 
uses of which they have never studied, and, con- 
sequently, never understood.' When people have 
been having this kind of thing continually impressed 
upon them for such a length of time, it seems 
strange that they have not long since taken the 
management of the part of the horse that requires 
the greatest supervision and intelligence out of the 
hands of two such ignorant sets of people. 

' One horse can wear out four pairs of feet.' That 
is because the feet are ill treated. Mr. John Bright 
has discovered, through thirty-four years' experience, 
and a loss of SOOl. in the shape of printing, that 
' farmers do not buy books ! ' One would hardly 
have thought that. We know that they not only 
buy papers, but that they are also extensive con- 
tributors to them. 


What percentage of horse owners accompany their 
horses to the forge and see them shod ? and, what is 
of great importance, see their feet when the shoes are 
removed? They would be astonished, for instance, 
to find amongst many horses that, when the toe had 
been pared and rasped, they would be able to discover 
that the outer layer of the wall or crust did not make 
one body with the inner layer, as it should do if the 
foot were healthy, but is separated from it by dry 
fibre. This is the way in which seedy toe begins ; 
and the joint causes of it are, standing on dirty 
litter, the use of hoof ointments, stopping with cow- 
dung, &c., burning the seat of the shoe with a hot 
shoe, slipping down hill, &c. 

If the owner makes a remark thereon to the 
farrier, he will be told that 'many good horses are 
naturally like that ; but it does not hurt them if 
they are well shod.' Let them look at the feet of 
a colt, or of a brood mare, that has been running 
unshod at grass, and see whether they can find any- 
thing like it. They certainly cannot ; for no unshod 
horse was ever known to have such a thing, any 
more than corns (from which unshod horses are also 
entirely free). Remarking on this separation of the 
outer and inner horn of the wall, Mayhew says: 
' Pathology has indirectly recognised the intention 
of their function, by acknowledging that condition 
to be a state of disease, wherein the two kinds of 
horn are separated. Such a division is known as 
seedy toe, and as false quarter; and the foot is 
recognised as weakened when such a want of union 


is discovered. But in the forge, the application of 
such facts is by most smiths utterly ignored.' We 
may add that to most owners its existence is utterly 
unknown in the beginning, as, when the shoe is on, 
its first appearance is not to be detected, for of 
course the iron covers and hides it. It can only be 
discovered by paring or rasping the bottom of the 
hoof, when the shoe is off, at the toe or quarter ; the 
toe is where it is most frequently to be found. 

Over nearly all country forges it is stated that 
' shoeing is done here upon improved principles.^ 
Now, these so-called ' improvements ' consist of 
mistaken theories which were conceived many years 
ago. They were then considered to be improve- 
ments by their authors, and were most likely only 
received as such because there was a great deal of 
show about cutting, carving, and paring the under 
surface of the horse's foot. This was impressive for 
the vulgar and ignorant, because there was some 
mystery attached to it; so it became very popular 
amongst them, and it remains so, to a certain extent, 
up to the present time, although all modern professional 
authorities have exerted themselves to explain the 
immense evils attendant on everything pertaining to 
the system. The owner, therefore, who should make 
up his mind to see his horses shod, must not allow 
himself to be impressed with the idea that the 
smith is an adept operator, endowed with a know- 
ledge of anatomy and physiology ; for he is always 
giving striking proofs that he knows nothing of 
either. He can see the outside of the foot; but 


he has not the sKghtest idea of what corresponds 
internally to the parts he so mercilessly destroys. 
There are very few smiths who could tell, off-hand, 
for instance, how many bones are entirely imbedded 
in the hoof, and how many only partially imbedded ; 
so they are working in the dark. 

Modern authorities tell us that no part of the 
hoof should, on any account, be cut or pared, except 
the seat of the shoe — that is to say, the wall or crust 
only, without touching the sole, frog, or bars ; as all 
of these were placed there by Nature for special 
purposes, and she has so ordered matters that these 
parts cannot possibly overgrow themselves. Yet 
smiths will not let them alone, unless a man goes to 
look after them, and has sufficient strength of mind 
to resist their entreaties to be allowed to take off 
' just a little bit, here and there,' in order to make 
what they call ' a clean foot.' Never mind appear- 
ances on the bottom of a horse's foot, especially as 
this kind of neatness is taking his legs from under 
him. Don't listen to their arguments on any account ; 
have your own way, and see that only the seat of 
the shoe is pared down on the crust. 

Any amount of authorities could be cited here 
in support of this advice ; so many, in fact, that it 
is uncalled for to quote any of them. The shoer 
will next cast round in search of a shoe, or even four 
of them, that will come near fitting the horse. 
Sometimes he finds that he has to alter the shape to 
bring it to the hoof ; but, if it comes within a little 
of that much, he proceeds to rasp and pare the hoof, 



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, com- 
monly called ' fever in the feet.' ]VIr. 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 


their researches as to the right way of shoeing. 
Eace horses still slip (witness the Derby of 1879) both 
backwards and forwards, and trainers have not yet 
arrived at the acme of treatment of the horse's foot. 
They will not like to be told so, but il n^y a que la 
verite qui offense in instances of this kind. Lord 
Pembroke hated calks, and he lays it down as a rule 
that ' from the race horse to the cart horse the same 
system of shoeing, and description of shoes, should 
be observed ; the size, weight, and thickness only of 
them should differ.' 

Nature intended the horse to serve for both 
draught and saddle, and she designed for him a 
wonderful foot, equally fitted for both purposes. 
Man in his perversity is dissatisfied with it, and is 
vain enough to think that he can alter it to ad- 
vantage. And to what classes of men has the regula- 
tion of such supposed improvements been abandoned, 
but to the most ignorant ? To return to the forge : 
when the farrier has satisfied himself that he has 
cut away everything he can possibly get at, without 
drawing blood — although often on the sole he goes 
so far as to produce ' dewdrops ' of that, which may 
be seen oozing through the pores he has cut deeply 
into — and that he has obtained something near a fit 
by altering both the shape of the shoe and the hoof, 
he will then again put the shoe in the fire and give 
a blow up to make it red hot ; and, in that red hot 
state, he will apply it to the foot, in order to burn a 
seat for it. In so doing it must be evident to every 
man who will reflect, that he sets all the natural 

D 2 


secretions of the bottom of the crust into a boiling 
state, and boiling means simply their entire decom- 
position ; so, therefore, he actually kills the founda- 
tion on which a horse is built, and it is only the 
dead part that he has to cut away again (as regards 
the crust or wall) on the next occasion that he operates 
upon him. This bm'ning-in business is, therefore, 
another cause of seedy-toe, false quarter, and sand- 

The opinion of ISIr. Douglas is well worth re- 
porting here. He says : ' The fitting of the shoe 
can always be done better, in my opinion, when the 
iron is cold, than when hot. Heating the shoe is 
the quicker way, but it is also the most barbarous 
one. The mischief done at times, by this custom, was 
exemplified in the case of Mr. Bevan's trotting-horse 
Hue and Cry, which lost both its fore-feet through 
the shoes having been fitted red hot ; and many 
animals, both before and since, have suffered like 
misfortunes from the same cause.' 

In Spain it is the custom to shoe cold, and not 
one ' herrador ' in a hundred has a forge or a pair of 
bellows on his premises. They even manufacture the 
shoes without the aid of fire ; but it is true that 
Spanish iron, being primarily manufactured with wood 
charcoal, is particularly pure, soft, and ductile. The 
Spanish 'herrador' or shoeing-smith only — for he 
does nothing else in the shape of iron forging — does 
not use the drawing knife (although, of course, the 
veterinary surgeon does), and he never touches or 
pares anything but the wall, which he pares down 


with the butteris ; and he would on no account put 
a calk on a shoe unless as an orthopcedic resource, and 
even then only when ordered by a V. S. The natural 
consequence is that Spanish horses are freer from 
foot diseases and lameness than are ours in England ; 
and so unaccustomed are Spanish farriers to find foot 
lameness (as, amongst other things, they shoe short 
behind, and so let the horse tread on his own 
heels, thus preventing corns), that they generally 
suspect, and test for, lameness in the shoulder, 
when a lame horse is brought to them, before 
referring to his feet ; unless, of course, it is pal- 
pable or visible to their experienced eye, from the 
outset, that the lameness is really in the foot. Most 
English farriers always suspect the foot first, and 
even then they cannot always pitch upon the foot on 
which the horse goes lame : they have even been 
known to operate first upon the three sound feet 
in succession, and then to take the lame one ! 

Amongst the evils of paring away the horn, there 
is one that appears to have passed unnoticed, or un- 
commented upon, by the authorities who so strenu- 
ously endeavour to point out the evils of shoeing 
upon the so-called ' improved principles.' Yet it is 
not one of the least. In trimming away the frog 
on its sides, the farrier scores deeply with the ijoint 
of his drawing knife into the sole, and this, added to 
the paring to which he subjects the sole all over, must 
necessarily and obviously further weaken the arch 
of the foot. The letting down of the arch in this 
way contributes to navicular disease, for between the 


arms of the V the navicular bone is superposed. But 
what does a farrier either know or care about that ? 
Must not improved principles be the best, or else 
why should they be called so ? To all your objections 
he will only remark to your servant, behind your 
back, that you are only fit to carry food to a bear ; 
and in this the servant will give him reason, and they 
will go and have a pint together, and laugh at you 
over drinking it. They are a hard lot to deal with, 
and that might be one of the reasons that so many 
owners ' give it up.' When the shoeing of a horse 
is left entirely in the hands of this brace of 
worthies, he is generally found to come home ' go- 
ing tender.' And small wonder ! Therefore, many 
people send their horses to be shod a day or two 
before sending them on a journey, with a prescience 
of this ordinary state of things ; although the horses 
are really still going tender then, but only themselves 
are aware of it. 

If a horse wears away his shoe more in one place 
than in another, the farrier is sure to thicken the 
next shoe he puts on in that particular place ; or, if 
he considers himself a real artist, and has the time 
or is not shoeing by contract (contract-shoeing is an 
additional curse for the horse), he will weld in a 
piece of steel to prevent the wear on that particular 
part. If the horse wears calks, he is almost certain 
to wear down the toe and one calk. This, of course, 
is only the perverseness of the horse, if you choose 
to listen to the groom and farrier. They cannot 
perceive or conceive that the horse is driven or forced, 


by the natural play and action of the muscles and 
tendons of the legs, to put down his foot in a 
natural manner in search of a natural ' tread ; ' and 
so they continue to oppose his innate desire, until 
they bring about sprain, and ultimately contraction, 
of sinews. This is the reason that so many horses 
are to be seen walking on their toes (in London, cab 
horses may any day be seen which have to trot upon 
them), and the back sinews are often divided by 
veterinary surgeons to enable the horse to go on 
working at all. If the twist should be on one side 
it will bring about side-bone (or ossification of the 
cartilages of the foot), or splints, or something else 
where undue and unnatural strain or friction is 
thrown : especially is it the cause of ' cutting.' No 
unshod horse was ever known to ' cut ' or ' brush ; ' 
but the shaping of the foot to the shoe is often the 
cause of this defect. The only alleviation for it, when 
once produced, is to study the ' tread ' of which the 
horse is in search in order to free himself from it 
(it is not likely that he is seeking to make things 
worse for himself), and then humour his instinct, 
instead of thwarting it, or looking upon it as per- 
versity on his part, and opposing his exertions to 
get free from it. The ingenuity which some people 
are capable of displaying, when they have fully 
made up their minds to oppose nature, is wonderful. 
They always break down, but, like true Britons, they 
are always ready to come to the charge again ; 
it is only deferred for them until the next meeting. 
It is a shocking abuse of pluck, all the same. 


Who is there amongst human beings that does 
not prefer to wear an old pair of boots to a new pair — 
and why ? Because the old pair has accommodated 
itself, by wear, to the ' tread ' of the owner. The heel 
of a man's foot is roimd on every side ; yet his boot- 
maker will persist in making the heels of his boots with 
square edges ; the consequence being that they wear 
more in one part than another. As all men have not 4 

the same natural tread, some will wear out the inside 
of the heel at the same time with the outside of the 
toe ; whilst others will do exactly the contrary, or 
else wear them away in a different form from either. 
The time when they require mending is the time 
when they begin to feel comfortable ; and the human 
shoemaker, like the equine one, proceeds to reinforce 
the parts that wear the quickest. The American 
Indian knows better than this. He fashions the 
exterior of the heel of the moccasin, as near as he 
can get it, to the shape of his own heel ; and those 
who have worn moccasins for any length of time (as 
the writer has), positively ' go lame ' when they have 
to put on a pair of civilised chauasures. 





Fashion has of late led our ladies into the habit of 
wearing very high heels to their boots ; and, to 
make things worse, they are placed, not under the 
ball of the heel, but ahead of it — that is to say, in 
a part which was not intended by nature to take 
their full weight at every step. Medical men tell 
us that since this became the fashion, hysteria is 
largely on the increase, and also that many other ill- 
nesses may be traced to the same cause. Fortunately, 
ladies can take off their boots when they come in- 
doors (and they avail themselves of the chance), to 
put on others of different construction. From this 
the horse is debarred. 

Medical men, as physiologists, are able to judge 
to a great extent as to the value or non-value of the 
foregoing remarks upon the horse's foot and its shoe ; 
they, at least, have no excuse for tacitly admitting 
that grooms and farriers should have any advantage 


over them. Perhaps some of them may think it 
worth while to pick up their horses' feet and ex- 
amine them, and turn things over in their minds. 
Some of them will admit that they have become 
' groovey ' to an extent that is inexcusable, especially 
in TYien of science. Medical men are all masters of 
comparative anatomy; and here is a good oppor- 
tunity for them to bring it profitably into use. 

All modern authorities on the matter are of 
opinion that most horseshoes are made too heavy ; 
and when horses are shod by contract, or by the year, 
their shoes are made heavier still. Youatt, not by 
any means a modern authority, says that ' an ounce 
or two in the weight of the shoe will sadly tell before 
the end of a hard day's work.' The American trot- 
ting horse, St. Julien, lately trotted a mile in 2 min. 
12| sec, being half a second less than the best time 
of Earns ; and we are told that his shoes only 
weighed fifteen ounces each on the fore feet, and six 
ounces on the hind ones. Earns, as was until lately 
the custom with American trotters, wore very heavy 
shoes ; is it not possible that Earns may have been 
the better horse of the two, but that he was too 
much assisted with iron by his friends? Besides the 
weight of an ounce or two ' telling sadly before the 
end of a day's work^^ there remains the evil that it 
tells permanently upon the horse's legs. There is, 
perhaps, no modern authority that has not been 
explicit thereon; yet heavy shoes are still most 
generally in use, in spite, also, of the old proverb, ' An 
ounce at the heels tells more than a pound on the 


back.' ]\ir. Douglas tells us that lie found by careful 
experiment that light shoes will wear longer than 
heavy ones. The contract farrier, by putting on 
heavy ones, is thus, as usual, wrong again ; and he 
cheats himself this time — a very fitting judgment 
upon him. It is unfortunate that the rest of his 
mistakes do not equally recoil upon him. If this 
were the only mistake that he makes, it would 
prove that he takes no warning by experience, and 
makes no useful observation, when he incontinently, 
although in an overreaching way, actually mulcts 
himself ! This man will also put in extra nails, and 
make clips on the shoe to help the nails to keep on 
the exorbitant weight of iron ; and all this means 
only so much extra mutilation of the hoof. 

Horses in England are universally over-shod, as 
well as over-mutilated in the hoof; although, only 
last year, the author of the ' Book of the Horse ' 
wrote, in a contemporary, ' The general tendency of 
the age is to shoe as little as possible.'' This 
' tendency ' is very little apparent when people come 
to observe every horse they meet (as the writer 
does) ; although one notable exception (as there 
is to every rule) is to be found in the streets 
of London in the horses belonging to Mr. John 
Smither, East Smithfield. These horses do not 
slip about as much upon greasy pavements and 
asphalt as is the rule with other horses. At the 
present season, London observers may satisfy them- 
selves on this score. This gentleman is owner 
of a considerable number of horses, and his cars 


and vans are to be continually met with in the 

M. La Fosse was deeply impressed with the idea 
that less iron was required ; and he boldly cut off 
one-half of the shoe — that is to say he maintained 
that a tip on the front half of the foot was all that 
was necessary. But, unfortunately, he spoilt a very 
bright idea in two ways — he recommended the 
heels of weak-footed horses to be pared (and this, 
of course, made them weaker), while he fastened on 
a tip, of about six inches in its entire length of 
iron, with eight nails. Horse-nails run from about 
one-eighth up to three-sixteenths of an inch in 
thickness. So he was inserting wedges amounting, 
in the aggregate, from one to one and a half inches 
in thickness, in six inches of horn, thus squeezing 
it into the space of five, or even four inches, 
and hilling it from the clenches downwards and 

Mr. Douglas says : ' If the crust is closely ex- 
amined with a microscope, its structure will be 
found to consist of a number of bristle-hke fibres 
standing on end, but bearing diagonally towards the 
ground. From the particular longitudinal construc- 
tion of the fibres, it follows that they will bear a 
great amount of weight so long as they are kept in 
their natural state. The crust so viewed resembles 
a number of small tubes, bound together by a 
hardened, glue-like substance. Whoever has seen 
a mitrailleuse gun, with its numerous barrels all 
soldered together, can form a very good idea of the 


peculiar structure of ttie crust (or wall), especially 
if they were likewise to imagine the tubes to be 
filled with a thick fluid, the use of which is to 
nourish and preserve them.' 

If La Fosse had made a research of this kind, 
he would have perceived that, by his way of nailing, 
he was reducing the size of each tube by one-sixth ; 
or, what is more probable, that he was entirely 
closing those nearest the nails, and compressing 
those that lie half way between each pair of nails. 
How, then, could the 'thick fluid which is to 
nourish and preserve them' circulate when it arrived 
at the nails ? And what, therefore, was to nourish 
the prismatic-shaped portion that Hes in front of 
the nails? In and around Eome, at the present day, 
horses are shod with his ' lunette ' or tip, and many 
of them on the front feet only (the hind feet being 
entirely unshod) ; but they are generally fastened 
on with only three, or sometimes four, nails; and 
these are the only horses that can keep on their 
legs in the shppery streets of the city. For the 
benefit of strangers, that come on horseback from a 
distance, there are posted up notices, at the various 
points where paving commences, warning them to 
dismount at such points in case their horses should 
be fully shod. Those Englishmen who take any 
notice at all of the Eoman horses' feet, mostly 
ridicule the ' barbarous ' way in which they are shod, 
and boast of the ' splendid English shoeing.' Some 
even consider it cruelty, and feel so strongly on the 
subject, that they refuse to hire the vehicles to which 


they are harnessed. If they were a little more 
observant they would discover that these horses 
were sounder in their feet and legs than are our 
London cab horses, which are shod to death, and 
most of them unsound and lame on all four feet (or 

By our ordinary mode of shoeing, in which about 
seven nails is the average we employ in each hoof, 
we are still doing, to a certain extent, the mischief 
of which La Fosse was guilty. We wedge up and com- 
press the horn with the nails to the extent of about 
one-twelfth instead of one-fourth. How, then, can 
we wonder if the hoof, deprived of its full 
supply of nourishment round its edges, becomes 
brittle and dry ? Can ' hoof ointments ' or cowdung 
supply the place of the natural secretions? Mr. 
Miles, a Devonshire squire, for many years used 
three nails only on his own horses, and he found 
them all the better. He had not reflected on the 
reasons above stated (they are original with the 
writer, who thought them out for himself, and has 
never seen them referred to in any work, otherwise 
he would have acknowledged the source from which 
he got them, as he always does when he draws upon 
others) ; but he was in search of means which might 
allow expansion and contraction, and he put only 
one nail on the inside of the foot, and near the toe, 
the two remaining nails being on the outside part of 
the hoof. This gentleman made very clever practical 
experiments as to the extent of natural expansion 
and contraction ; and in his work, ' Miles on the 


Horse's Foot,' they are illustrated most admirably. 
The subject of them was a horse nine years old, 
which had always worn shoes since he was first put to 
work, and had the shoe removed on purpose for the 
investigation and experiment. The unshod foot was 
lifted up, and its contour traced with the greatest 
precision on a piece of board covered with paper. 
A similar board was then laid on the ground ; the 
same foot was then placed upon it, and the opposite 
foot held up whilst it was again traced. The result 
was that it had expanded one-eighth part of an inch 
at the heels and quarters ; and from the quarters 
towards the toe this gradually diminished, showing 
a space of four inches in front, two inches on each 
side of the centre of the toe, where no expansion 
whatever had taken place ; the tracings proving, 
at the same time, that expansion was only lateral^ 
and that none took place in the length of the foot 
from heel to toe. He states that he had other 
horses which had before shown a still greater expan- 
sion than this ; but this was only whilst the horse 
was standing still, and upon three legs. 






Eecently, by means of photography, it has been 
demonstrated that in every gait beyond the walk 
the horse is, at every extension, bearing all his 
weight at a certain time on one leg only, and that 
he comes down with a shock on that one leg. What, 
therefore, expansion may amount to in an unshod 
horse at a gallop, or its tendency in a shod one, we 
have thus far been unable to discover. This expansion 
has long been admitted by most authorities, and 
they have studied how to allow for it. In fact this, 
and the prevention of slipping, have been the motives 
for many inventions. Most of them have proved 
failures in both directions; although some of them, 
after having been buried — like their authors — have 
been unearthed, pirated, and again presented to 
the public ; but still no progress is made. The 
full shoe, even in its most perfect form, cannot allow 
expansion and contraction their natural scope ; but. 


as on the front part of the hoof (or the toe) it has 
been proved that what little there may be is in- 
appreciable, tips will not much interfere with it ; 
that is to say, tips that do not cover more than the 
front half of the rim of the foot — for many farriers 
put on shoes that are only an inch short at the heels 
and with six nails in them, for turning horses out to 
grass, and call these tips, which they are not. A 
half-bred horse of 15 J hands will generally be shod 
with a piece of iron 14 inches in development when 
measured round its edge. Six inches would be the 
measure of a tip, and Mayhew gives an engraving 
in which a real tip is shown, and it is secured by only 
four nails. 

Mayhew also says : ' The late W. Percival, the 
respected author of " Hippo-pathology," many years, 
ago informed the author that he had long ridden 
a young horse about town with no greater protec- 
tion to its fore feet than tips could afford. He 
showed the hoofs of the animal to the writer, and 
more open or better examples of the healthy horse's 
feet need not be desired.' A gentleman who wrote 
in the ' Field ' some ten years ago, under the no^m 
de plume of ' Impecuniosus,' cites Mayhew to the 
effect that ' some horses will go sound in tips that 
cannot endure any further protection ; ' and he 
remarks thereon : ' The moral, so to speak, of this 
is, that it is the shoe, not the road, that hurts the 
horse ; for if so weak and tender a foot as is de- 
scribed can go sound when all but unshod, why 
should not the strong sound one do the same ? The 



obvious conclusion is that we require a strong sound 
foot to stand, not our work, but our shoe.'' He is, 
therefore, a strong advocate for the use of tips, 
adding that ' A sportsman, well known some little 
time ago in the shires, shod all his horses with tips — 
hunters, hacks, and carriage horses ; but, although 
it was seen that his stud went very well shod in this 
manner, no one followed his example, the world in 
general being staunch Conservatives, and diametri- 
cally opposed to any innovation in stable matters, 
whatever their opinion may be upon other subjects.' 

Here is another extract from Mayhew : ' When 
the contents of the foot are compressed by the 
superimposed weight of the animal, or when the 
hoof is resting upon the ground, the quarters yield 
to the downward pressure, and they accordingly 
expand. When the burden is removed by the hoof 
being raised, the quarters again fly back to their 
original situations ; the sides, therefore, being in 
constant motion, are entirely unsuited for the 
purposes to which the smith compels them. No 
wonder the clenches are loosened, or the shoes come 
off, when the nails are driven into parts hardly ever 
at rest. This action is important to the circulation, 
for the contraction still allows the arterial blood free 
ingress, while the expansion permits the full return 
of the venous current.' 

Although Mayhew was fonnerly demonstrator of 
anatomy at the Royal Veterinary College, and claims 
a high respect and admiration for nearly all his 
observations, the writer is obliged to refrain from 


continuing the present citation, as in what follows 
therein he differs diametrically from Mayhew, and 
he declines to follow servilely in the path even of 
those he most respects ; but Mayhew himself could 
hardly object to his action in this respect when 
he says : ' Veterinary surgeons display ignorance in 
nothing more than in being servile copyists.' Not 
that the writer pretends to be a veterinary sur- 
geon. He is only a practical man who has had 
a very wide and long experience amongst horses 
in many countries, and has been a very close observer 
of everything touching their feet and legs especially, 
and is now only offering the result of his so-gained 
experience for what it may be worth. Almost from 
the beginning of his connection with horses, he 
declined to consider the legs as a separate part from 
the body of the horse, and refused to believe that 
four sets of them were necessary to wear out one 
body, as, if such were the case, the horse would be 
an incomplete and niggardly gift made by Nature to 
man; and from the outset of his religious educa- 
tion, received at his mother's knee, he has always 
been taught, and in his various wanderings he has 
never had reason to doubt, that Nature made every- 
thing complete, and nothing in vain. Hence he in- 
ferred that the horse's body was never made stronger 
than his legs and feet, and that these, when under- 
stood, will be found to be * fearfully and wonderfully 
made,* and in every respect harmonising with the 
rest of his structure, and equal to their task. 

* Impecuniosus ' says truly : ' The prevalent idea 



of the groom and the blacksmith seems to be that 
they know better what the horse's foot should be 
than the Creator of the animal does, for they are 
never satisfied until they have altered the natural 
foot into a form of their own, which they think the 
right one ; and, though lameness usually attends 
their efforts, they ascribe it to every cause but the 
right one, and indeed resign themselves com- 
placently to the presence of many diseases con- 
fessedly caused by their treatment — perhaps, because 
these diseases do not hurt their own sacred persons ! 
It is really curious to observe all that has been 
written about the horse's foot — the sort of follow- 
my-leader principle, which is more evident here 
than in writing on any other subject with which I 
am acquainted. Very, very seldom is an original 
idea to be found, and still more seldom an original 
idea that is not marred by some adherence to the 
old grooves to which preceding authors have con- 
fined themselves.' ' Impecuniosus ' writes well, and 
makes many good remarks, as we shall see further on ; 
but the writer is also obliged to differ from him in 
some things, as he is, indeed, obliged to differ with 
all the authorities he quotes. As Baucher said, ' Si 
je n'avais rien a dire de nouveau, je ne prendrais 
pas la peine d'ecrire ; ' and it is with the intention 
of offering some original remarks that he has under- 
taken the present arduous and responsible task, even in 
the face of the following words from ' Impecuniosus : ' 
' Every innovation is not reform, and this remark 
applies specially to stable practice ; but any real 


reform in shoeing is reform indeed, and the greatest 
respect and attention are due to it ; but how few of 
these old discoveries, which are from time to time 
reinvented, are worth even the limited amount of 
attention which they command ? ' 





One of the modem inventions, in the shape of shoes, 
has been that of M. Charlier ; and ' Impecuniosus,' 
in his ardent desire to find something that would, or 
might, be any kind of improvement at all on what 
he looked upon as the prevalent and barbarous mode 
of shoeing, gave it a trial in a most enlightened 
and unprejudiced style, and approved of it. The 
shoe and the system do not appear generally known ; 
and so it may be well, for those unacquainted with 
them, to describe both. Charlier started with the 
assumption that Nature had intended the horse to 


walk barefoot, and that the bottom of his foot was in 
every way fitted to stand all wear and tear, except the 
outer rim — that is, the wall or crust. He, therefore, 
made a shoe of very narrow iron, less than the width 
of the wall, which he let in, or imbedded, to the 
crust, without touching the sole, even on the edge ; 
so that, in fact, the horse stood no higher after he 
was shod than he stood when barefooted. He m-ged 
that such a narrow piece of iron would not interfere 
with the natural expansion and contraction of the 
foot ; and in this he at once went wrong, for malleable 
iron has no spring in it. Then, in spite of his theory, 
as he expressed it, he carried his shoe right round the 
foot into the bars, beyond where the crust ceases to be 
independent of them. He then got a very narrow, 
weak shoe, about a foot in circumference (if circum- 
ference can be applied to that which is not a com- 
plete circle) ; and, as he ought to have foreseen, the 
shoe then twisted or broke on violent exertion. 
Had he restricted himself to tips only, he would 
have had a great success from the beginning. 

* Impecuniosus ' says that another correspondent 
of the * Field,' writing as ' Kangaroo,' very justly 
remarks upon ' the impossibility of a horse becoming 
footsore in the frog, sole, or heel of his foot as a 
result of his travelling barefoot. It is the toe about 
half way round that suffers, and this is all that 
demands protection in the fore feet, whatever the 
work may be and upon lohatever soil.'' Hence 
Charlier made a mess of it when he passed the 
dimensions of tips, or the mere protection of the 


front half of the crust. If he had stopped at that, 
his narrow iron would not, in such a short length, 
have either twisted or fractured, and he would have 
made an advancement in shoeing which he has failed 
to bring about. 

In spite of ' Kangaroo,' a great majority of horsey 
men refuse, or decline, to believe that the sole, how- 
ever liberal they may be in their views towards the 
frog and bars, is capable of bearing weight ; whereas 
the real fact is that, unless it takes its share of the 
weight, it becomes unhealthy, and a cause of 
"Uneasiness to the horse. What observant and in- 
telligent man, who is in the habit of visiting his 
stable, has failed to remark that, when a horse 
is going to dung, he takes a preliminary step for- 
wards, and after having finished dropping, he backs 
both hind feet on to the top of it ? What instinct 
leads him to do this ? The groom will tell you that 
the horse is in search of something soft and cooling 
for his feet ; but, unfortunately for his theory, it 
happens that, so far from being soft and cooling, the 
matter in question is solid and warm ; for a horse 
suffering from diarrhoea will not draw ahead and 
then back, and of this any one may convince himself 
by waiting to see. Why, then, does he go through 
these manoeuvres ? Why, simply to get, what he is 
otherwise deprived of, sole pressure. Soft cowdung 
will not afford it to him; and he will knowingly 
squeeze it out by getting his feet, and his weight, on 
something more solid. 

Again, who has not seen when a horse is at 


grass, that when he is not grazing he will repair 
to some favourite spot, which is generally stiff, 
neither hard nor very soft, on which to stand at rest ? 
In dry weather he ^vill even stale upon some place 
that he can find in the shade, in order to make 
the ground consistent to his taste and desire — that 
is to say, 'stiff' — and there he will go when he is 
satisfied with feeding. And for what reason ? Why, 
in search of sole pressure, which is a relief to him, 
but which he is generally deprived of. Can people 
read nothing besides print ? 

As further evidence upon this point, we will 
again hear ' Impecuniosus ' — not that he seems to 
have had the slightest idea that sole pressure had 
anything to do with bringing about the state of 
things he relates. He clamours for original ideas, free 
from ' grooviness ; ' and here is one for him, as far as 
the writer knows. As the open-minded, investigating 
man that he was (and is still, let us hope), he experi- 
mented upon all ' new brooms,' as he expresses him- 
self. Among others, he tried elastic ' cushions ' and 
' pads ; ' and he says that they diminish concussion, 
and prevent stones being picked up by the shoe, and, 
in so far, are good ; but that they cause the shoe to 
come off, by their elasticity. ' I have personally made 
a fair trial of them ; and this is the history thereof. 
Some years ago I had a remarkably brilliant hunter, 
who was also remarkably unsound. He had an inclina- 
tion to pumice feet, and could hardly get along at all 
on the road. I shod him with these rubber cushions, or 
pads, which I may shortly describe as being a piece of 


india-rubber the shape of the foot surface, and the 
horse went better— in fact, went on the road as if he 
were on the soft. But I had to leave them off, 
because the shoes were always coming off. To be 
sure of their merits, I tried them on another horse ; 
the result was just the same. I should say that the 
hoof groivs very fast when shod with these cushions.' 
Why did the hoof grow fast with them ? Why, be- 
cause they caused sole pressure continually ; there 
was no possible ' stopping ' with cowdung whilst they 
were worn. 

The want of sole pressure, conjointly with the 
weakening of the crust, when its inner and outer 
layers (the sensitive and the insensitive) have be- 
come diseased through rough and barbarous treat- 
ment, and show a tendency to separate, often brings 
about pumice foot. Pressure on the unpared sole, 
in imitation of Nature, is the proper treatment to 
effect its cure. Imitation of Nature should be the 
universal law of shoeing. St. Bell says : ' No one 
will venture to deny that, in the affair of shoeing, 
reason directs us to a close imitation of Nature.' 
The closest imitation of Nature that has ever yet 
been arrived at is the Charlier tip — ' it gives great 
security for travelling over the most slippery roads, 
granite, or asphalte pavements ; and, in frosty 
weather, no roughing is necessary.' This is ac- 
counted for by the fact that by this system the 
luhole of the bottom of the foot, excepting the 
groove made for the insertion of the shoe, is left 
entirely untouched by the knife; and the dense, 


tough horn which the unshod colt possesses is a 
' roughing ' with which Nature sends him into the 
world, and which no artificial means can compete 
with. Why, then, should farriers ignore such an 
obvious fact, and direct all their perseverance and 
inventive powers to controvert Nature's designs ? 
' Because he who is uneducated and unable to com- 
prehend principles can neither profit by his own 
experience nor abandon the paths of prejudice and 

Mayhew says : * It is amongst the firmest 
physiological truths that Nature is a strict econo- 
mist, and never does anything without . intention ' 
(every one of education ought to know this without 
having their attention called to it by Mayhew, or 
in these pages) ; ' that every enlargement or every 
depression — however insignificant it may appear to 
human eyes — is a 'permanent provision for some 
appointed purpose, and has its allotted use in 
the animal system.' How, then, can the ignorant 
farrier, or anyone else, by carving the hoof to his 
own fancied artistical shape, be doing otherwise than 
upsetting Nature's fearful and wonderful designs? 
' Man has for ages laboured to disarrange parts thus 
admirably adjusted. When so employed, he has only 
followed the example of the savage who destroys the 
product he is incapable of understanding. No injury, 
no wrong, no cruelty can be conceived, which bar- 
barity has not inflicted on the most generous of man's 
many willing slaves.' 

Another writer observes that ' appealing to the 


better sentiments of the present age has been proved 
to be a waste of time ; the better plan is to appeal 
to their pockets.' Now, it is an acknowledged 
fact that the exercise of these cruelties costs 
every horse owner considerable sums yearly; and, 
according to Mr. Douglas, although the natural 
life of the horse is from thirty-five to forty years, 
three-fourths of them die under twelve years old, 
and, in the army, even sooner. Therefore, on an 
average, every one buys three horses where he might 
do with one if he were only humane to that one. 
This ought to be sufficient inducement to men to 
look to their horses' feet, for it is through the 
feet that nearly all are thus early rendered useless, 
and through the feet to the legs. ' One horse 
could wear out four pairs of feet,' is an old 
proverb, and a true one, amongst horsemen; and 
Philip Astley justly wrote : ' Certainly he that pre- 
vents disease does more than he that cures.' Now 
diseases of the feet are very rarely cured at all ; but, 
by the use of brake-power and a sensible system of 
stable treatment and shoeing they might nearly all 
be prevented. The Charlier shoe — defective in the 
beginning because it did not admit of natural ex- 
pansion and contraction — was improved upon by an 
observant and reflective man at Melton, who reduced 
it to a three-quarter shoe ; and this was a great stride 
to the good. 

' Impecuniosus,' as he appears to have done with 
everything that gave any promise of being an im- 
provement, tried it, and found that it really was 


one ; but he says : ' My friend, who gave me the 
pattern of this shoe, remarked that the opposition of 
the smiths at Melton to it must be seen to be appre- 
ciated, and that the same might be said of most of 
the grooms.' This is the old, old tale. Later on he 
found that the three-quarter shoe had been with 
advantage reduced in length until it became simply 
a tip. Following his usual course, he adopted this 
improvement, and liked it better still. Nor is 
this to be wondered at, for expansion and con- 
traction had now got very nearly their own way, 
frog pressure and sole pressure being similarly 
favoured, and each horse was left to find and use 
nearly his own individual natural ' tread,' with 
which the four inches of iron at the toe did not 
much interfere, and those that had before ' cut ' or 
' brushed ' gave over doing so. Corns disappeared, as 
there was no pressure on them ; and many of his 
horses, which had incipient side bones, were entirely 
cured of them. Of course, when once the cartilage 
is turned into bone, nothing can reconvert it into 
cartilage. He says: 'Nothing makes the heels grow 
so fast as the wearing of tips ; with them snow does 
not ball in the foot ; with every other shoe it does 
so, more or less.' This is very sensible and compre- 
hensible ; it arises from nearly copying Nature. Still 
the ' crowd ' refused to believe that the horse's sole 
could be safely brought down to dhect and immediate 
contact with the ground, even when told by this 
gentleman that ' one of the most eminent of our 
veterinary surgeons (Mr. Stanley, of Leamington) 


has stated it to be his conviction that horses shod 
a la Charlier will never have navicular disease.' 
Neither could they get pumice foot, or other diseases, 
attendant on the present popular mode of shoeing. 
' Impecuniosus ' conferred a favour upon horse owners 
by communicating the favourable results of his ex- 
perience ; but conservatism, bigotry, shoeing smiths, 
and stable helpers were too much for him, and the 
Charlier shoe or tip never got into extensive use, 
although some people still constantly use it. The 
difficulty is that, in the country, scarcely any one 
can be found willing to put it on ; but, in London, 
there are certain forges where it even finds warm 
approbation. Mr. Stevens, M.R.C.V.S., Park Lane, 
for one, is a strong advocate for it, and has a forge 
on his premises where he accommodates all comers 
with it. If owners in the country choose to have 
their own way, the country smiths would be obliged 
to succumb to pressure, although they would 
grumble and oppose the shoe to their utmost: 
they want no change, and they resist every innova- 

Messrs. John Smith er & Son, of No. 1, Upper 
East Smithfield, wrote, in the ' Spectator ' of August 3, 
1878 : 'Some weeks ago you noticed a controversy 
then going on about horseshoes. Your well known 
desire to help on the humane treatment of animals 
leads us to hope that you will give us space to state 
our experience. Some six or seven years ago we 
began having our horses shod for the fore feet on 
the Charher principle, or a method akin to it. We 


had shoes made of about one-third the usual weight, 
of half the width, and of rather harder iron. In 
putting them on, the hoof was not cut or pared, with 
the exception of a small groove made in what we may 
call the edge of the hoof ; into this the shoe was in- 
serted. By this system the horse's hoof is on the 
ground, as if he were unshod ; but it is protected 
from breaking by the thin rim of iron at its edge. 
We found this shoe answer admirably ; but the 
difficulty in getting it made and put on prevented 
us using it on more than a few horses until 
quite lately. We should like to state a few instances 
in which it has produced wonderfully good effects, 
but dare not trespass on your space. We have found 
no horses that it does not suit ; and for young horses 
running on the London stones, for horses with tender 
feet, or corns, and to prevent slipping, it is of great 
service. We have lately been able to use it to a 
larger extent, and have now some forty horses, of all 
sizes, from the cob to those of seventeen or eighteen 
hands, at work on the London stones and country 
roads, shod in this way. These, sir, are facts which 
your readers can verify. From a business point of 
view it is also important: the use of these shoes 
would, in London alone, by preventing the laming 
and wearing out of horses, save many thousands of 
pounds every year.' 

Here we find men evidently open minded, im- 
bued with the idea that their brains might be itt 
least as good as those of other people who pretend 
to dictate to them, and possessing the courage to 


persevere for half-a-dozen years, until they were able 
to establish generally in their stables, under diffi- 
culties, a system which their good sense, in the 
first place, and the experience they gradually gained, 
in the second, told them was highly economical for 
them and comfortable for their horses. It is not 
every farmer that owns forty horses ; but in these 
days of co-operation nothing could be easier than 
for several farmers to agree among themselves to 
patronise jointly the first forge in each district, the 
owner of which would consent to meet their views. 
Let them, in fact, strike against the farriers, or make 
a lock-out. It only wants union among themselves, 
but they must first be converted from their 
own grooviness in respect to horse shoeing. 

The Lincolnshire farmers were obliged, only in 
November last, to form a society for the suppression 
of the administration of poisonous drugs by their 
servants to their horses; one of them stating at the 
first meeting that, first and last, he had lost over 
thirty horses through this odious, but almost univer- 
sal, practice. Perhaps these same gentlemen would 
excuse the suggestion that at their meetings shoeing 
might also be profitably discussed. 

A remarkable discussion on shoeing, the heads of 
which may be appropriately introduced here, took 
place at the meeting of the Massachusetts Board of 
Agriculture in. 1878. Mr. Russell started by stating 
that the safest way was to let the hind feet be bare, 
and to shoe the fore feet with tips, or crescents of 
iron, that only cover the toe Dr. Hunt, curiously 


enough for a medical man, went dead against this 
opinion, saying that ordinary shoeing did no harm 
whatever — it was the 'pounding' of the foot on 
the road which produced disease in the foot. He 
apparently only owned one horse at a time, as he 
says * my horse,' and he was not able to make him 
last long, for he says that he was continually obliged 
to be replacing him, because every one of them got 
laminitis, or what is sometimes called either founder 
or else fever in the feet — all three terms being used 
to signify the same disease. When questioned as to 
how he had his horses shod, he stated, ' I tell my 
blacksmiths, when they put a shoe on, to heat it 
red hot.' This, by itself, would quite account for 
founder ; and it appears strange that a medical man 
should have been in such a red-hot hurry to expound 
such views, unless it was that, as a medical man., 
he thought to carry influence. However, if this was 
what he counted upon, he was singularly in error ; 
for Mr. Bowditch, a practical farmer, one of those 
irrepressible Yankees who will persist in thinking 
for themselves, rose and said that formerly he had 
had the same trouble as the doctor with his horses, 
but that he had found out for himself that the 
only way to avoid founder was ' to shoe the horse 
properly, that is putting on as little iron as possible ; 
let it cover the toe of the foot, and let the frog 
come down so that it will take the jar of the foot.' 
When asked, ' Do you have your shoes put on red 
hot, as the doctor does?' he answered that he 
made his blacksmith ' put the shoe on only as hot 



as he could hold it in his hand ; ' this is virtually a 
cold shoe. He did not believe in calks, or paring 
the horn, but he let in his tips a la Charlier ; and, 
finding that he could not get farriers to shoe as he 
wanted, he started his own forge, on his own farm, 
as he says 'for his own protection.^ He goes on to 
say : ' When the mare I drive came to me she had a 
frog the size of my little finger ; now it fills up 
almost the whole of her foot. Nine hundred and 
ninety-nine thousandths of all the trouble in horses' 
feet come from shoeing : in fact, practically all. 
Even in the case of heavy draught horses, put on 
as little iron as you can get on : never a heel or a 
toe calk. I have some heavy horses, and they go 
with seven or eight ounces on their feet. The whole 
secret is, if you have a horse whose feet have been 
abused for a series of years, all that is required is a 
little piece of iron at the toe. I am afraid I drive 
very hard down hill. I am in the habit of driving 
cripples ; my friends have a good deal to say about 
the corpses that I drive ; hut I take care of their 
feet, and they manage to do good work. I make my 
best time in driving down hill. I have no fear of 
hard roads, and no fear of pavements, if a horse's 
foot is kept in proper condition. Last winter I rode 
my saddle mare (and, of course, my neck is more to 
me than anything else I own) on glare ice, with a 
small bit of iron' — inlaid, as before explained — 
' four inches long, curled around her toe, and with a 
very small toe calk. I galloped out on the ice 
where the men were cutting the ice, and I had no 


fear of her slipping, although the horse that wa? 
marking the ice, that had calks on, two inches thick, 
did slip. There is hardly a person who owns a 
horse, who, if you put him four inches of iron on 
the toe, would think he could go more than half a 
mile from home without the horse breaking down.' 
Yet so thoroughly was Mr. Bowditch convinced of 
the value of tips let into the hoof, that he had 
found it worth while to establish his own forge 
for preparing them on his own farm. He says 
that other people will not patronise his forge, be- 
cause he will not allow shoeing to be done in it 
on any principle but his own: and so his forge 
does not bring him in the revenue it otherwise 
would. He refuses to become a party to propa- 
gating mistaken ideas. People come to him, see- 
ing his success, with lame horses ; and when he 
has cured them, he says they go back to their old 
farrier. Both Mr. Eussell and Mr. Bowditch appear 
to have been convinced, in the first instance, that 
routine was leading them astray ; and, like sensible 
men, they saw that the only way to escape from it 
was to throw aside entirely all professional opinion 
on the matter, and have their own way (as did the 
Messrs. Smither, here in London), Mr. Bowditch 
going so far as to start a forge of his own, over 
which he could be, and was, entirely master. He 
says, comically enough, that it was not a commercial 
success, because his neighbours only patronised him 
when they were in difficulties, out of which he alone 
could get them, and then they went their way ; but 

F 2 


he seems to have overlooked the economical facts 
that, although in this way his horse-shoeing cost 
him more by the year than formerly, he had less to 
pay to the veterinary surgeon, that he got more 
work out of his horses, and that they lived longer, 
or were likely to live longer (as he had only then 
had two years' experience). If this be taken into 
account, his forge was, however indirectly, a great 
commercial success. If he had not found it to 
answer, so shrewd a man would not have carried 
it on, nor would he have ventured to speak on 
the subject in so independent and authoritative a 
manner on such a special occasion. 

We are sadly in want of a man or two more 
in England like Messrs. Kussell, Bowditch, and 
the Messrs. Smither, and as outspoken. They 
need not risk the setting up of their own forge, 
each man individually. They have only to co-operate, 
and either arrange that one of them in every dis- 
trict should start one, making an agreement with a 
certain number of neighbours that they should have 
all their shoeing done there, or else, by union, bring 
pressure on the shoeing smiths. A young man, 
just starting, or having just started, in business 
would be, perhaps, the best to choose, as he could not 
point to the universal satisfaction he had hitherto 
given (although horse owners are quite easily satisfied 
as long as the shoes will only stick on until they are 
worn out) ; and, after a couple of shoeings on the 
same horses, he might discover for himself that a 
new era was open to him by lending himself to the 


introduction of an improvement, and that he could 
thus secure very good and regular custom. There 
is no secret — or even special tools — required to forge 
or manufacture a Charlier shoe, but quite the con- 
trary. One man can make it without help, whereas 
it requires two men to forge the ordinary shoe ; and 
it only requires one special tool for putting it on, 
viz. Fleming's drawing knife, with movable guide 
for cutting the groove in the crust, price 7s. Qd, 




When speaking of the importance of leaving the 
sole free to receive pressure, we by no means 
mean to imply that it must be under continual 
pressure. Its arched form indicates that on hard 
level ground it was not intended to come down. 
Such ground is often slippery, as in the case of 
smooth rocks, and the contact of only the frog, 
heels, and crust is more fitted to prevent slipping 
than if the hoof were flat. Hence in case of a slip 
under peculiar circumstances — such as very steep or 
wet ground, for instance — the concave shape of the 
bottom of the unshod foot would serve to allow the 
periphery to catch hold of irregularities which 
would arrest the slipping. On either softer or more 
irregular ground the sole is quite capable of taking 
its proper share of weight, as those who have seen 


unshod horses galloping over the softest or roughest 
kind of ground in turn (say Dartmoor, for instance) 
may bear witness to. Such horses only roughly pick 
their way when at full gallop : they lift their feet 
high, and let them come down where chance may, 
in detail, direct them. The weight of the horse is 
only partially transmitted to the arched sole by the 
elasticity of other parts of the foot. 

The hoof may be described as somewhat re- 
sembHng a double slanting truncated conic section, 
with the biggest end on the ground, and semi-cloven 
behind. To superficial observers this may not be 
suggestive of great resisting powers to the super- 
imposed weight of the horse ; but, if we look inside 
the hoof, we find that things are all right — how 
could Nature possibly go wrong ? The inside of the 
crust, instead of being smooth like the outside, is 
furnished with several hundreds of thin, flexible, 
horny plates, called laminae, set edgewise, very like 
the gills of a mushroom ; whilst the coffin bone is 
covered with an exactly corresponding number of 
softer plates, which fit with the utmost nicety 
between, and adhere most closely to, the first- 
mentioned plates. This beautiful arrangement gives 
an adhesive surface on both the crust and the coffin 
bone, many thousands of times greater than the 
hoof measures in girth ; and thus the weight of the 
horse is attached to, and suspended by, the crust, 
and only partially coming down on the frog and 
sole at times, and in irregular amount and force, 
and always finding delicate compound arrangements 


of elasticity, expansion, and contraction to obviate 
all danger from concussion. 

As regards wear and tear there is nothing to 
fear ; for, as * Kangaroo ' wrote in the ' Field,' ' it 
is impossible for a horse to become footsore in the 
frog, sole, or heel of his foot, as a result of travel- 
ling barefoot.' The horn of which the frog is formed 
differs from the horn of the sole in nature; and 
both of them are unlike the horn of the wall, of 
which latter the description by Mr. Douglas has 
already been given. The same authority says of the 
frog : ' In structure the horn of the frog may be 
compared to horsehair in the compressed state as 
used for stuffing sofas ; and, if we can imagine this 
hair to be mixed with a fatty adhesive substance, we 
shall form a fair idea what the tough elastic frog 
resembles when under microscopic inspection.' ' The 
frog is only a continuation of the coronet ; and, 
from its wedge -like form, and nearly total insen- 
sibility to feeling, proves that it is meant to take a 
bearing upon the ground, where it is useful to the 
animal either in action or repose ; in the former it 
acts as a buffer, preventing concussion, whilst its hold 
upon the smoothest surfaces prevents slipping.' Of 
the sole he says : ' Over its surface there is no glazy- 
gluey layer to preserve its moisture, as in the crust ; 
while its fibres, stretched like strings, layer over 
layer, are as unlike the woolly, oily, substance of the 
frog as the horn of the crust differs from the bones 
which it covers. In one respect the sole resembles 
the frog ; which is, that the outer layer of fibres in 


each becomes dead and falls off in flakes, the growth 
downwards of the new horn pushing off the old in 
turn.' This being so, all paring of either sole or 
frog is not only uncalled for but highly detrimental. 
To such of us as have been in the habit of think- 
ing of the horse's hoof as merely a homogeneous 
block of horn, without any particular architectural 
design, the lucid descriptions given by Mr. Douglas 
must impart a new light. Some amongst us 
cannot fail to ask themselves whether all these 
perfectly designed and delicate, although strong, 
arrangements were so ordered merely to have them 
thrown out of use by scorching, stiffening, and 
covering them with rigid iron, and lacerating and 
compressing with nails the delicate tubes through 
which flows the fluid on which the crust depends for 
its health and vitality ? 

Literary shoeing smiths do not frequently appear 
amongst us ; but America, as usual, has been able 
to ' supply this long-felt want ' in the person of 
Mr. Russell. He writes, in 1879, a book of 140 
pages, containing fifty illustrations, twenty-seven of 
which are of shoes of different pattern and form. 
Mr. Gr. W. Bowler, V.S., writes the introduction, 
and has ' carefully corrected the anatomical parts of 
the work.' A man that has invented more than a 
score of shoes of different principles and shape 
must have been of an inquiring turn of mind ; but 
the fact that so many different kinds were thought 
to be necessary seems to argue against the necessity 
of any of them. A great deal ought to be expected 



from a ' scoop-toed rolling-motion shoe,' if there be 
anything in a name — which is to be doubted in this 
case at least. Another, the ' centennial ' shoe, is 
described as follows : ' This shoe is made of steel, 
and is well concaved on the ground surface. The 
bars are made so as to fit upon the bars of the foot, 
and bear weight as the unshod hoof does in a state 
of nature, preventing bruises in the heels and quarter 
cracks. I have tested this shoe on horses that were 
quite sore and lame, the shoe being made of cast 
steel, the bars being sprung down from the heel to 
their points on the ground surface about one half- 
inch ; this will soften and mellow the jar. The shoe, 
being well tempered, will allow the bars to spring 
with the horse's weight, and will be found one of 
the best devices possible to soften and relieve the 
effects of concussion when the horse is tender of 
foot, as well as to quicken the action in trotting, 
leaving the frog free and unimpeded to perform 
its important functions of cushioning the foot and 
shielding the sensitive parts from injury.' 

It is, perhaps, scarcely fair to condemn by theory 
a shoe which one has not experimented upon ; but 
if a small stone were to get jammed between the 
spring and the horse's heel, would not the horse be 
as effectually ' beaned ' as if an English coper had 
done it for him ? What a contrast we find between 
the result of forty years' research (as stated in the 
preface) of a farrier, and that arrived at by another 
American, Mr. Bowditch, a practical farmer, who 
found ' four inches of iron curled round the toe ' to 


be better than anything else, ' even in the case of 
horses that had had their feet abused for a series of 
years.' This book, however, coming, as it does, from 
a farrier of forty years' experience, contains note- 
worthy remarks. Great stress is laid on the import- 
ance of paring the crust only, leaving the frog and 
sole to exfoliate of their own accord, and also taking 
the greatest care to pare down the crust perfectly 
level on all sides, so that the foot may stand quite 
upright. ' If we wish to examine a perfect foot, 
such as Nature made it, it is generally necessary to 
find one that has never been shod ; for the common 
mode of shoeing is so frequently destructive, that 
we seldom meet with a horse whose feet have not 
lost, in some degree, their original form, and this 
deviation from their natural shape is generally pro- 
portioned to the length of time they have worn 
shoes. From this circumstance, writers on farriery 
have been led to form various opinions respecting 
the most desirable form for a horse's foot ; but had an 
ever provident Nature been consulted, this variety 
of opinion, it seems to me, would never have existed.' 
It is strange that Mr. Kussell, after expressing 
himself thus, should have come to the conclusion 
that more than a score of different patterns and 
principles were necessary to help Nature. The fact 
is that these various kinds of shoes are only so 
many orthopedic instruments which he considers 
useful for 'cripples.' So all his inventive powers 
have been thrown away when ' four inches of iron 
curled round the toe ' are found to answer better 


than all his far-fetched inventions. On the other 
hand, it is refreshing to find him speak thus : 
' The practice of hot fitting and clipping ' — that 
is, raising a clip on the toe, and sometimes also 
on both quarters — ' is very destructive. Burning 
the sole will, in time, partially destroy the sensi- 
tive laminae, and impair the membranous lining 
underneath the coffin bone, as well as close the 
pores of the horn, causing the roof to become hard, 
dry and brittle. It also impedes, as a necessary con- 
sequence, the healthy growth of the hoof.' 

'The advocates of hot fitting present many 
specious reasons for the furtherance of this practice. 
It is alleged that shoes cannot be fitted so rapidly 
nor as closely by any means other than that of 
hot fitting ; and this is generally true, for, by this 
means, the hoof is burned to correspond with the 
inequalities which occur on the surface of the shoe, 
until the latter is thoroughly imbedded in the horn. 
On the other hand, however, this fusing of the horn 
is in opposition to its right growth and operation, 
and is the prolific source of many evils and abuses.' 

Although a veterinary surgeon certifies to the cor- 
rectness of the anatomical descriptions contained in 
the book, we may premise that he does not guarantee 
everything else ; or we should scarcely meet with 
such a passage as this : ' The shoe should ordinarily 
be perfectly flat on the ground-wearing part, but is 
to be worn concave on the surface next the foot, else 
it will be apt to produce lameness by pressing on 
the sole. I have shown that, in a sound foot, the 


sole is always concave ; and it might be supposed 
that it cannot possibly receive any pressure from a 
flat shoe. But when a horse is exerting himself, 
either in galloping or drawing burdens, the sudden 
action of the animal's weight causes the laminae to 
gradually lengthen, and suffer the coffin bone to 
press on the sole ; its concavity and elasticity allow 
it to descend and expand, and that gradual yielding 
must materially endanger the sole by a violent 
contact with the shoe, were it made otherwise than 

This theory is untenable. The sole cannot in a 
sound foot descend round the edge. As to the shoe 
which he recom^mends for ordinary use, it was cer- 
tainly recommended a century ago by Osmer ; but 
Professor Coleman was the first to turn the shoe over, 
and leave the flat surface against the hoof, and the 
bevelled, or seated, surface on the ground. And 
this is the prevailing pattern since then advocated. 
It is, perhaps, the best of the two ; but neither of 
them has the claims of the Charlier tip to simplicity, 
and a near approach to a natural foot. The Charlier 
shoe, the same as the tip, is only a quarter of an 
inch in thickness and half an inch in width for a 
horse of average size, and the full-sized shoe weighs 
only a third of what an ordinary plain shoe, with- 
out calks, will weigh ; and this makes eleven or 
twelve ounces difference on each foot, if the whole 
shoe be worn, and more in the case of tips. Youatt 
tells us that ' an ounce or two in the weight of the 
shoe will sadly tell before the end of a hard day's 


work.' One precaution to be taken when applying 
the shoe is to pare lightly the bottom of the crust 
first of all. A whitish line, which marks the inside 
of the crust, will then be found ; and this white line 
must be preserved intact, with just a little bit to 
spare, when cutting the groove. Mr. Stevens, 
M.K.C.V.S., Park Lane, London, sends, for six- 
pence, a pamphlet, giving instructions ; he also keeps 
ready-made shoes, &c., concerning all which the 
pamphlet furnishes information. A correspondent 
who shoes all his horses a la Charlier, a stranger 
to myself, writes : ' I live in the country. I have 
an ardent disciple in the farrier, who shoes beauti- 
fully. I really don't think the shoes he puts on my 
horses weigh more than one quarter those made by 
his neighbours do. I am glad to say, too, that it 
has been a fine thing for him in business ; many of 
the neighbouring gentry employ him to shoe on this 
method. A horse can back a load on any ordinary 
road without calking, if you let him stand on his 


Owners, be they farmers or otherwise, who 
may have read these chapters, and may be in- 
duced to give the Charlier shoe a trial — beginning, 
as is best, with a shoe which, called three-quartered, 
is short at the heels, not reaching or touching 
the bars, and, at the next shoeing, having only 
a half shoe, or rather tip, say six inches round — 
would be likely to venture on the four inches, 
which length has been found already to ' fill the 
bill.' Having arrived successfully at this point 


(which all would reach, if they tried), they might 
be led to reflect, and ask themselves whether this 
was the full extent of improvement they could arrive 
at. ' Impecuniosus ' stopped short here ; but the 
American farmers pushed the thing still further by 
doing away with even this small protection on the 
kind feet. At this point they also made a stand, 
apparently overawed by their presumption or stupe- 
fied by their success. They were unaware, or unable 
fully to appreciate the fact that Nature was smiling 
benignly upon their efforts in the right direction, 
even when they were brought face to face with the 
rewards she was so plainly giving them at each ad- 
vancing step towards perfection. 

It is astounding that the last scales should not 
have dropped from the eyes of such investigating 
and liberally-disposed men, and have thus left dis- 
closed to their perfect vision the fact that Nature 
had not left the toe out of account when she designed 
the wonderfully perfect and beautiful foot of the 
horse, defective as it is popularly, but erringly, sup- 
posed to be. The toe is even provided in an extra 
'maimer with the means of standing all wear and 
tear ; for, if the tips be removed and the horse 
worked barefoot over the roughest kind of roads, as 
he is in many countries, the toe will outgrow all 
calls upon it, which is what no other part of the 
hoof will ever do, although they all resist wear. The 
toe alone will require to be restricted in its growth ; 
for it will grow too long, even under hard work on 
hard roads, and must be kept rasped back occasion- 


ally to a suitable length and shape. In Ireland 
donkeys are worked unshod in draught and over 
macadamised roads, even over loose broken stone ; 
and Mayhew gives an illustration showing a 
donkey's overgrown toe turned upward like a half 
moon from the want of care in keeping it rasped 

Only last December a correspondent in a con- 
temporary referred to this same illustration and to 
these donkeys. He says that lately, when he was 
in Ireland, he saw the donkeys being worked unshod ; 
and not only had the hoof not been worn away, but, 
on the contrary, it had outgrown the wear and tear 
of work, the toe having become turned up, and 
requiring shortening exactly (as he says) as shown 
in Mayhew's ilustration. He says : ' Certainly 
the roads in that part of Ireland are calculated 
to cause the greatest amount of wear and tear.' 
In other countries the toe is kept trimmed, and 
this is necessary for the comfort of the animals. 
Yet the laziness of the Irish owners in leaving 
the superfluous horn affords a convincing proof 
that the toe will outgrow all demands upon it, 
even on roads that 'are certainly calculated to cause 
the greatest amount of wear and tear.' 

What further proof can be needed that Nature 
has fully provided for every part of the hoof ? A 
protection of iron, even in its most mitigated form, 
is only a mistake. Some may say that this is 
all very well for the donkey, but that it is quite 
another affair with the horse ; and this remark was 


actually made to the writer by an Irish clergyman. 
Such an argument can only be fished up from the 
depths of bigotry. Those who urge it would also 
deny that donkeys could go unshod, but for the fact 
that they see them doing so, and successfully. Now, 
in England, donkeys are shod ; and why ? Only as 
an affair of routine. One of the chief arguments — 
in fact, the sheet-anchor — of those who will not allow 
the equine species to go barefooted is ' our moist 
climate and hard roads.' Ireland is rather ahead of 
us in having a moister climate, and the roads, as 
described, are in no way better than ours ; so the 
point of departure of nearly all sticklers for the 
necessity of shoes will bear no more investigation 
than the puerile and futile chain of reasoning with 
which they follow it up. 

To such as are open to conviction, it will be 
evident, therefore, that our donkeys in England 
would gain by leaving off shoes, and that their 
owners would at the same time be richer. Why 
should this not hold good also in regard to the 
horse ? The statement that he is less fitted for it 
by nature will stand neither argument nor practical 
experiment, should the latter be made with intelli- 
gence and a desire to succeed. 

Can any one really believe that the animal which 
is endowed with the greater speed and power should 
have worse feet than his inferior in both respects ? 
Nonsense is no name for such a creed ; it is some- 
thing far worse. Mayhew says : ' Nature has in 
vain laboured to instruct the waywardness of conceit; 



mankind could afford to endure all evils before it 
could afford to question the perfectibility of mortal 
invention. There is no accounting for incongruities 
when men, deserting reason, consent to adopt routine 
as a guide. Veterinary surgeons attribute to shoe- 
ing all the evils with which the hoof is affected. 
Veterinary surgeons are somewhat slow in adopting 
new ideas ; but seem, with the firmness and tenacity 
ignorance displays towards a favourite superstition, 
to love and cling to the practices in which they have 
been educated.' Some people cling to the supersti- 
tion that nailing a horseshoe on the door keeps out 
the witches. The shoe does, certainly, less harm on 
the door than on the horse's foot ; but to nail it on 
the latter is a superstition utterly unworthy of the 
civilisation and intelligence of the English nation 
in the nineteenth century. Future historians will 
place upon record that an appeal had to be made 
to us, in the year of grace 1880, to abandon the 
use of artificial foundations tacked on to a living 
creation of God ; and these historians will not fail 
to throw further shame on us by pointing out the 
fact that semi-civilised nations, with whose customs 
we were conversant, were able to work the horse 
harder than we did without any protection to his 

In the retreat of the French army from Moscow, 
the horses lost all their shoes before they reached 
the Vistula. Yet they found their way to France 
over rough, hard, frozen ground. 




During the mutiny in India many of our cavalry 
horses went unshod, because they could not get 
shod, and they never went better in their lives. 

In the ' Morning Advertiser ' of July 1 8 last, the 
special military correspondent at the Cape gives an 
interesting account of a ride that he made with 
irregular cavalry on a raid. He says : ' Few of the 
men have their horses shod in front ; some do not 
shoe at all ; ' and he remarks that, in his excursion, 
they had to go over ' sheets of polished, wet, 
slippery stone in the torrent beds, making one 
wonder how our unshod horses could keep their 
feet.' It is worthy of remark that this was only a 
few days before the battle of Ulundi, in which 
these horses took such an active part. In fact, they 
saw the whole war through ; and, on August 9, we 
find the special war correspondent of the ' Daily 
News ' reporting of these same animals that * the 

G 2 


constant work they have had naturally keeps them 
devoid of superfluous flesh ; but, for all this, they 
are as hard as nails, and good in the wind.' All 
through the reports on the war, not a complaint was 
made as to these horses falling lame. Surely there 
must be something in this. Sheets of wet, slippery 
rock, and rolling stones in river beds, would be 
calculated to try the hoofs to the utmost ; yet in the 
pursuit of the Zulus, when they fled at Ulundi, 
these ' ponies ' (from 14|- hands downwards) were 
able, we are told, to follow miles further than the 
shod horses. 

Military farriers are no better than others. In 
fact, it does not appear, even in the army, that any 
previous knowledge is thought necessary to make 
a man a farrier, any more than it is generally 
supposed necessary to get the consent of an eel 
to his being skinned alive. Mr. Douglas says : 
' With facts before me, is it a wonder that I should 
blame the bad shoeing smiths of the army for much, 
if not most, of the mischief; the once tailors, 
haberdashers, colliers, and clodhoppers, but now 
farriers, who first lame the horses until they are 
unable to walk, and then are cast and sold for a few 
pounds ? In my own regiment, the 10th Hussars, 
just before it went out to India, out of fifteen farrier 
sergeants and shoeing smiths, there were only the 
farrier-major and two others that had been farriers 
before they joined the army. One of the remaining 
twelve had been bred a tailor, and, as a tailor, had 
worked for the regiment; a second had been a 


collier, a third a groom, and so on throughout the 
dozen. Hitherto tradition and routine have been 
permitted to guide farriers in ^their wondrous ways 
of horse-shoeing; consequently it is a question 
whether, in following the manners and customs of 
their forefathers, they are more to be blamed than the 
general pubHc' By ' the general pubHc ' it is pre- 
sumable that jNIr. Douglas meant the generality of 
horse owners. The general public knows nothing 
about the shoeing of horses. 

During this present winter, rate- and tax-payers 
have clamoured in the daily papers for sand, ashes, 
salt, &c., to be sown broadcast, at their own expense, 
on all the streets of London, and at an hour or two's 
notice, in order to prevent the slipping of horses, 
and the destruction of life and property thereby 
occasioned. In times of frost and snow this sudden 
and extensive distribution can never be accompHshed 
in time for all ; in the case of snow it is almost 
useless, because it will not prevent snow from balling 
in the feet of shod horses — except they be shod 
Charlier fashion. The real remedy lies in the 
hands of the horse owners, and they could, if they 
chose, economise for themselves at the same time 
that they took a heavy charge from the shoulders of 
the rate- and tax-payers. The unshod horse will not 
slip upon either asphalte, wood, or granite pave- 
ments, or even on glare ice, because the natural 
healthy hoof is rough enough, and tough enough, to 
hold on a smooth surface, unless indeed you should 
ask the horse to keep back a hea\'y load, when going 


down hill, without a brake on the wheels. Even 
then he will do better than a shod horse. Here is 
an extract from the ' Daily Telegraph ' of this year, 
January 28, in an article on the weather then being 
experienced : ' As the frost had not given way, the 
wicked dew turned into glass as it fell in the hard 
roads, beaten and worn smooth by the slipping 
hoofs of the pitiable, but not much pitied, horses. 
Many severe falls were consequent on the slippery 
state of the carriage-ways and foot-paths ; and 
traffic was much retarded in the busier thorough- 
fares of the City. Those of the West-end were, 
comparatively speaking, deserted ; for nobody having 
horses of any value would willingly have had them 
out at such a time.' One lady told the writer that 
she could not use her carriage ' because her horses 
could not stand roughing, as their hoofs were too 
tender and delicate to bear the insertion of nails 
oftener than once a month.' This lady only expressed 
what hundreds of others felt. 

The patentees and advocates of the various 
systems of cogs, &c., will say that all this might be 
avoided if, at the approach of winter, people would 
have their horses shod with their variously recom- 
mended shoes ; but even if they were to do so (and 
they do not, and will not), none of the systems are 
perfect. Cogs, big or small, get worn smooth in a very 
short time, and some of them fall out. In either 
case they are found not to answer ; and they are not 
generally used, or likely to be used, whilst they only 
hold good for a day or so, and leave one ' stuck ' when 


least expected. Even the Charlier shoe, although it 
will not pick up snow (the facility for doing which 
is increased by lifting the foot higher from the 
ground, when cogs and c^lks are used), is not jper- 
feet upon glassy streets. We have seen that Mr. 
Bowditch condemned the use of both toe and heel 
calks, as a general rule ; yet when he rode his mare 
upon a frozen lake he turned down 'a small toe- 
calk.' He had no calk behind because the heels were 
bare, and so there was no danger of slipping on 
their part ; neither would there be any reason to fear 
that the bare toe would act otherwise. 

The writer has seen a valuable light horse, 
nearly thoroughbred, have on a full set of shoes, 
in which eight nails, nearly three-sixteenths of an 
inch in thickness, were driven four in each quarter, 
and in a space of three inches for each four nails. 
What an immense amount of laceration and com- 
pression the delicate hollow fibres of the crust must 
have suffered by thus wedging them up within a 
fourth of their natural dimensions ! Besides this, 
the hoof was carved out on the crust to receive 
three clips, one on the toe and one on each quarter. 
A calk, three-quarters of an inch high, was put on 
one heel of each hind shoe, and, on the other heel, 
a screw cog of equal height. On each front shoe 
a cog, also three-quarters of an inch high, was 
put upon each heel. This wretched victim to 
fashion was then regarded with the utmost satis- 
faction by the farriers and his groom ; and all this 
heathenism was perpetrated in the forge of a 


veterinary surgeon. But, perhaps, he was shoeing to 

It has been well said that ' ladies are not bigger 
slaves to fashion than are modern horse owners.' 

In a paper dedicated to agriculturists it has 
been maintained that horseshoes are an absolute 
necessity, but that 'the difficulty in riding or driving 
through the London streets arises from the variety 
of pavements in use. From Westminster to the 
Bank, horses have to travel over macadam, asphalte, 
wood, and granite. The shoe adapted for traffic on 
one kind of pavement ill suits another.' But is 
it so ? Ask Mr. Smither. ' If we had a uniform 
kind of pavement, a shoe for universal (?) use 
would be quickly invented. The ingenuity of man 
would devise horseshoes to travel over glass, were 
glass the only pavement in use.' This is an insult 
to the common sense of its readers. It has been 
widely, and for a long time, proved that the naked 
foot of the horse is as much at home on one kind of 
hard road as on another, and can pass over all of 
them alternately without wearing out, or incon- 
veniencing the horse, and that on none of them will 
he slip, or on wet grass either. 

In Mexico, Yucatan, Honduras (both British and 
Spanish), G-uatemala, San Salvador, Nicaragua, 
Costa Eica, the United States of Colombia, Vene- 
zuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, and Brazil, horses, 
mules, and donkeys are worked over every descrip- 
tion of hard roads, most of them exceedingly rough, 
carrying very heavy packs from the back country 


down to the seaboard, and in some cases making a 
journey of several hundreds of miles, and they load 
back again ; yet they never wear out their hoofs. 
The writer speaks from experience ; for it has been 
his lot to own and work hundreds of animals at a 
time in more than one of these countries ; and if 
shoeing could have helped him in the slightest he 
would most certainly have resorted to it. No man 
could see four or five hundred animals incapacitated 
from work without seeking such a simple remedy; 
but it was never wanted, and many years of expe- 
rience of this kind have naturally convinced him 
that horses work better, and can travel further, 
without shoes than with them. 

Nor is this all. Unshod horses enjoy almost a 
total immunity from diseases of the feet and legs. 
Side-bones, sandcrack, seedy toe, ringbone, thrush, 
and quittor were never seen in the writer's stables. 
Spavins, curbs, splints, and windgalls were very 
rare. Thrush is effectually cured by removing the 
shoe from any horse that suffers from it. Professor 
Coleman said that ' the frog must have pressure, or 
become diseased ; ' and ]Mr. Douglas says that ' con- 
traction prevents a supply of blood from reaching 
the sensitive frog that produces the insensible 
frog ; and so, becoming useless for the purpose 
nature intended it, instead of coming to horn it 
oozes out a noxious-smelling fluid.' The unshod 
horse has frog pressure ; so, unless he should stand 
upon rotten litter, thrush he cannot get. Quittor 
is caused by pricking with a nail, or by the 


horse resting with the toe of one foot, and bearing 
with the heel of the shoe of that foot (especially 
should the shoe be calked) upon the coronet of the 
opposite one. Hence unshod horses can with diffi- 
culty get quittor, neither do they. An unshod horse 
' feels his feet,' and knows what he is doing with 
them ; so he scarcely knows what it is to overreach 
himself; and even if he does such a thing, no evil 
consequences are ever noticed, because the horn 
cannot inflict injury like iron. For sandcrack 
and seedy toe there are no names in the above-cited 
countries, and no one can bring the natives to 
understand that such diseases exist. If you suggest 
corns to them they laugh in your face, and no 

Mr. Dalziel says : ' Corns on the human foot are 
practically known to most people, being one of the 
unpleasant and unnecessary attendants on civilisa- 
tion, for they came into fashion with boots and shoes. 
So with corns on the foot of the horse.' Mayhew 
says : ' Spavin, splint, or ringbone are no more the 
legitimate consequences of equine existence than 
noads and anchylosis are the natural inheritance of 
human beings.' By illegitimate treatment ninety- 
nine hundredths of the diseases of the feet and legs 
are caused — shoeing being the most to blame. 




Brittle hoof is so common that all perhaps are 
alive to some of the vexations it causes. But 
only when it gets very advanced is it taken in 
hand, and it is then treated by some kind of ' hoof 
ointment,' joined to ' stoppings ' of various kinds, 
with a blister, mercurial ointment, or a stimulating 
liniment applied over the coronet. The first two 
only aggravate the disease. 

Mr. Douglas says : ' The rules for keeping a horse's 
feet healthy, and preserving the horn, are to use 
nothing but water to the hoofs — either as a cleanser 
or an ornamenter ; and never allow horses to stand 
upon litter during the day. Grease or tar, by 
shutting up the pores in the horn, prevent the 
natural moisture from reaching the surface out- 
wardly, and the air from circulating inwards — con- 
sequences which act upon the horn with ruinous 
results.' Lieutenant-Colonel Burdett has, within 
the last few weeks, expressed his opinion of grease 


in somewhat similar terms. Another equally bane- 
ful habit is ' stopping ' the hoofs with hot greasy 
mixtures or cowdung, under the idea of soften- 
ing them or cooling them. This idea works 
wrong end first ; for stopping and greasing heat 
the horn, whilst soft horn is not desirable ; tough, 
dense, springy horn is the right kind of thing, just 
such as Nature supplies when she is not interfered 
with. As to the blister, mercurial ointment, or 
stimulating embrocations (which latter the stable- 
man will call ' oils ' — a name that has always carried 
great weight with it amongst his class), in the words 
of Mr. Fearnley, ' all they can do is to cause a 
splutter of vitality in the part.' What is the use 
of a mere splutter of vitality ? That which is 
wanted is a renewal of vigorous and lasting vitality, 
not dependent on the irritation caused by the con- 
tinual application of drugs. 

There is another way of treating brittle hoof, 
called the 'water cure.' The horse's shoes are 
removed, and he is put to stand on the bare stones 
or bricks. Folded flannel is then fastened round 
the pastern, but allowed to fall over and cover the 
coronet and hoof; the flannel is kept well soaked 
with cold water by day. As it cannot be kept wet 
and cool by night it is best to remove it the last 
thing, or otherwise it will heat the foot instead of 
cooling it. The horse must be walked out twice a 
day (removing the flannel for the time) over a 
smooth hard road. In a few days the top of the 
hoof will begin to lose the harsh, dry, shrivelled, 


scurfy appearance it had hitherto presented, to 
assume one of plumpness, roundness, fulness, and 
glossiness, which appearance shows that some impor- 
tant change is taking place. It (the coronary band) 
is now becoming restored to a healthy condition, and 
fit and able to secrete healthy horn, which it will 
straightway set about doing. The exercise on hard 
roads should now be daily increased — the applica- 
tion of the wet flannel still be continued. 

The groom will not like the look of the coronary 
band, as he is so unaccustomed to look upon a healthy 
one. But he will be still more disgusted when he sees, 
a few days later on, that the shiny appearance which 
he so much distrusts is extending itself down the 
hoof, and then he will be ' sure as them feet is a rottin' 
off.' Grooms have been heard to say so, with the 
addition of a few words not exactly complimentary 
to their masters. 

The coronary band has been restored to health, 
and the proper secreting power has been recovered, 
the removal of the shoe having permitted freedom 
of circulation, which has been further encouraged 
and stimulated by exercise, whilst heat has been 
kept down by the cold water. This plentiful supply 
of healthy blood is assimilated by the coronary band, 
in its passage through which it is by 'the won- 
derful chemistry of Nature ' converted into plasma, 
which afterwards becomes hard horn. The treatment 
must be continued until the shiny horn reaches the 

Brittle horn cannot be satisfactorily repaired ; 


it must grow out, and be replaced by horn of an 
opposite character, and this is the way it is done. 
The disease may again be produced by the same 
course of action that first brought it on. When 
this is resumed, and the horse again begins to suffer, 
they say that he has never been cured. 

Mayhew says : ' Nothing can be practical if there 
be wanting the desire to embody particular direc- 
tions.' It is found that nearly every one who tries 
this course of treatment is inclined to have his 
horse exercised either in a field or on the grassy 
sides of the roads, instead of on the hard. This is a 
mistaken theory. On the grass the hoof receives 
too little friction or attrition. Mr. Douglas says : 
' From the moment a horse is foaled, we either keep 
him in grass fields soft to tread upon, or in warm 
stables standing upon soft straw, and then we are 
surprised that his hoofs should become dry and 
brittle, instead of keeping moist, tough, and hard. 
In the Orkneys, in the mountains of Wales, the 
wilds of Exmoor and Dartmoor, many parts of the 
continent of Europe, and in a considerable portion 
of- the rest of the globe, horses run about over rocks, 
through ravines, and up precipitous ridges, unshod ; 
yet all this is done without difficulty, and to the 
evident advantage of their hoofs, for these animals 
never suffer from contracted feet, or firom corns, 
sandcracks, &c., until they become civilised and have 
been shodJ Another writer, a Devonian, says : ' Dart- 
moor is not a great wild flat, as many suppose ; but, 
on the contrary, it is for the most part a continual 


succession of very steep rough hills or " tors," and 
rugged " combes," strewed with granite rock and 
stones. Yet in spite of all, besides the bogs and 
chronic state of rain, the herds of ponies gallop 
fearlessly along the rough steep sides of the combes, 
or down and up. It is a pretty sight to see them, 
especially in the spring, with the foals by their 

Mayhew says of the shod horse : ' As the shoe 
alone rests upon the earth, of course the hoof lacks 
needful attrition.' The attrition or friction caused 
by exercising the unshod animal on hard roads is 
salutary to the whole foot, because it acts as a 
natural stimulant to circulation and secretion, not 
causing a ' mere splutter of vitality ' that is of no 
lasting worth, but making the horn ' to thicken and 
accommodate itself to its task, like the skin of 
a blacksmith's hand.' Youatt says : ' The horn 
answers to the skin of the human foot.' Magistrates 
examine the hands of vagrants : and, by their 
hardness or softness, judge whether they have bona- 
fide 'frozen-out gardeners' before them, or pro- 
fessional beggars. Gardeners and navvies neither 
wear gloves nor pad their spade handles, although 
the bottom or forward hand comes down and slides 
on a roughly riveted iron strap. The hoof of the 
horse cannot be looked upon as being of a more 
delicate nature than a man's hand. 

Besides the advantage of attrition being gained 
by the removal of the shoes, expansion and contrac- 
tion which play so prominent a part in the general 


economy of the whole foot, and its maintenance in 
health, also lend their aid in producing sound horn. 
Without the removal of shoes the ' water cure ' 
cannot be a complete success. Mayhew says : ' The 
heels of the horse may become rigid and wired in 
by the fixing powers exercised by the nails of the 
shoe. But remove these nails, allow the foot that 
motion which is needful to the health, and its 
internal structures may recover their lost functions. 
The veterinary mind was, however, slow to recognise 
so plain a rule. Like all Nature's laws, the truth 
necessitated not that show of mastery in which the 
ignorant especially delight.' 

The writer has already confessed his inability to 
agree with Mayhew in everytliing he says ; and he 
thinks that here he is unjust to veterinary sur- 
geons. There is, perhaps, not one among them who 
would not order the removal of shoes oftener than 
he now does, if he could be sure that his order 
would be attended to. Owners rebel, up to the 
last point, against what will evidently throw the 
horse out of work for some considerable length of 
time. They prefer ' patching up.' 

It is not sufficiently acknowledged, or understood, 
that veterinary surgeons have to deal with people 
who generally want their ' say ' in all cases of lame- 
ness. In other matters they are more tractable ; 
but every one thinks he knows something about 
lameness, and almost every one tries to shirk what 
every practitioner would recommend, if he con- 
veniently could — REST. But, knowing, as they do, 


what I have attempted to explain, these gentle- 
men (in practice) find it expedient to order 
' mild ' or ' sweating ' blisters to be applied, with, 
perhaps, an intimation that they will have to be 
repeated ; and, during the interims, they give the 
groom a bottle of ' oils,' because they know that this 
keeps him contented and in subjection ; and thus 
they, justifiably, obtain rest for the horse. This 
rest is what they are after ; but it won't, by itself, 
cure brittle hoof. When Mayhew speaks of the 
' show of mastery in which the ignorant especially 
delight,' the ' ignorant ' is plainly meant to be 
applied to the owner — or rather to the groom, for 
he is mostly master. It may be advisable to keep 
these kinds of things ' straight,' and not make one- 
self misunderstood on both sides. 

Brittle hoof, when neglected, or improperly 
treated, often causes still more serious diseases. 
Sandcrack be it either in the shape of ' toe ' or 
* quarter ' crack, is a frequent result ; and so is seedy 
toe, and also pumice foot. They will all succumb 
to the water cure if the toe at the same time be 
kept ivell shortened, or rounded off. Mayhew says 
that ' seedy toe has been much thought about, and 
fancy has been somewhat racked to account for its 
origin.' The origin was not far off, and so it got 
passed over by hasty searchers for some distant 
cause : it is radically — shoeing. The same cause, 
as Mr. Douglas states, produces sandcrack. Pu- 
mice foot is often to be accounted for through 



the brittle crust being unable to retain its hold of 
the sole, which then becomes depressed ; and, as at 
the same time the laminae, partaking of the general 
disorder of the crust, of which they form the in- 
terior, are unable to maintain the coffin bone in 
due suspension, and are forced to allow it to follow 
the descent of the sole, the horse becomes past cure, 
and should be destroyed — or, rather, finish being 

The fact that hard roads are beneficial to the 
naked hoof is again substantiated by Mr. Douglas 
in the following passage : ' When the frog is per- 
mitted to remain sound and whole, the more it 
comes in contact with gravel, stones, or even sharp 
jiints, the firmer, tougher, and more healthy it 
becomes ; while on the contrary, when cut with a 
sharp instrument, allowing the moisture, which is 
its life, to escape, it dries up, hardens ' — the frog, 
unlike the crust, should not harden — ' cracks, and 
becomes highly susceptible to every impression, as 
well as diseased.' The same remarks hold good with 
regard to the sole ; but Mr. Douglas withholds them 
when speaking of the sole — perhaps he was not con- 
vinced of that fact. Experience proves that the 
crust also holds in contempt sharp flints, &c., when 
it is fairly treated and inured to them. By fair treat- 
ment it is meant that it should be let alone — 
as a man's hands would be if he were a labourer 
on a farm. In the colHery districts, where so many 
women work with the shovel, their hands become 
horny, as the doctors find out when they have to cut 


down upon a whitlow. Friction against a hard sub- 
stance brings about this extra thickness and hardness ; 
the young ladies who handle silk, woollen or cotton 
textures all day long in shops have soft hands. Like 
begets like ; and hard roads make hard feet for 
horses, in spite of all superstition to the contrary. 
The writer has more than a quarter of a century of 
experience and practice with unshod horses in large 
numbers. He has, therefore, no theory about the 
matter, constructed, as may perhaps be imagined, 
upon the quotations he has so freely used from the 
writings of scientific, professional, and practical 

H 2 




The letter of ' Aberlorna ' ^ seems to render it ad- 
visable to introduce here some remarks, which were 
only intended to be made later on, as to the amount 
of work to be first given to a horse who has had 
the full shoe replaced either by a tip or by nothing 
at all, and also as to small precautions useful to take 
when making the change. 

It is prudent to allow the shoes then on to wear 
themselves out, as this gives the frog, sole, and bars 
a chance of somewhat recovering from their last 
mutilation, which mutilation may have been greater 
or lesser; as, fortunately, now-a-days some of the 
smiths do not cut away as much horn as was pre- 

' See Appendix A. 


viously the universal rule. On this account some 
horses are better prepared than others for the 
change. Some, again, have naturally stronger and 
better formed hoofs than others ; and all these 
circumstances weigh. What work one horse would 
be able easily to perform might be quite too much 
for another. At any rate, to ride a horse, on the 
second day after putting on tips, twenty miles 
' over a road covered with new metal, in a simply 
abominable state,' is, without doubt, a hazardous 
proceeding, and one courting a failure for the trial 
(not intentionally so, of course). Twenty miles at the 
present season over the road described is, in fact, a 
day's work for any horse. 

It is not easy, having regard to the various 
possible existing combinations of the aforesaid cir- 
cumstances, to lay down any rule. Discretion and 
intelligence here come into play ; it is astonishing 
what a wide difference there is between people in 
this respect. Some will carry things to the opposite 
extreme, and go poking about only a mile or two 
daily, for weeks, on the grass by the side of the 
road — or even in a field : something between the 
two is the correct thing — moderate distances, on 
hard smooth roads, for a few days. 

In the case of ' Aberlorna ' all we know is that his 
horse had ' naturally rather flat and tender feet ; ' and 
that, after this rough trip, ' he went tender ; but this 
appears to be wearing away in a great degree, and it 
is surprising how hard and firm the soles of his feet 
have got.' 


As this gentleman owns a number of horses, the 
question must be of considerable pecuniary import- 
ance to him ; and if, by an indiscreet step, he had 
injured his horse, he would have been likely to 
become disgusted, and have desisted, and so have 
thrown away a chance of benefiting his whole stable ; 
and, besides, the farrier would have turned the 
laugh, which he got up at the mere idea of such a 
thing, unpleasantly against him. It is to be hoped 
that he will do a little less at the next trial, and 
then he will not find his horse ' going tender.' 

A gentleman writes privately : ' I once rode a 
hack for six weeks, in comparatively dry weather, 
with only tips, the heels being quite bare. The 
heels grew and expanded as you describe, and nothing 
could be pleasanter to horse and rider ; but no 
sooner did a wet time set in than I was obliged to 
revert to the full shoe — at least, 7 thought so.' (!) 
The naivete herein apparent could hardly be sur- 
passed. This gentleman received the highest educa- 
tion that England affords, and took his degree. No 
one can ' spot ' him, so there is no breach of confi- 
dence in divulging the fact that he is a clergyman 
of the Church of England. Yet even a man of this 
calibre was not proof against a popular delusion. 

To come back again on the question of shoeing 
' hot ' or ' cold,' which ' Aberlorna ' has revived. It 
is well known that thereon veterinary surgeons differ. 
In these articles one veterinary surgeon has been 
cited who was intensely opposed to hot shoeing ; as 
also an American ' practical horse-shoer,' the author 


of a work on ' Scientific Horse- shoeing,' professing 
forty years' experience; and an American farmer 
who had felt obliged to shoe his own horses ' for his 
own protection ' — three differently interested classes 
of men who were, as such, purposely quoted. 

A prize essay does not necessarily carry every- 
thing before it merely because it is a prize essay. 
Such essays are sometimes written with a view only 
of obtaining a prize ; and ' coaches ' tell us that, in 
order to do so, they must coincide with the views of 
the examiners. It is not pretended, however, 
that the essay in question was engineered on this 
principle : it is much more likely that it was a 
thoroughly conscientious production ; but doctors 

An independent, practical essay on the horse, 
written by Lieutenant-Colonel Burdett, is appearing, 
since January last, in the ' Eichmond and Twicken- 
ham Times.' Here are some extracts from the 
gallant colonel's writings : ' One of the first con- 
siderations of an owner or driver of a horse should 
be the feet and legs of his horse ; for, should any- 
thing be the matter with either, the animal should 
not be put to any description of work ; for, if he 
is, he is sure to suffer, and in many cases most 
acutely.' . . . ' The foot of the horse is a most 
complex and elaborate piece of machinery, and 
perfectly adapted to the work it is intended to 
perform ; but our artificial assistance, so far from 
preserving, often cripples, and frequently totally 
ruins it.' . . . ' The natural sole of a horse's 


foot is almost impenetrable, and so hard and strong 
that it protects the inner or sensible sole from all 
harm. In many instances (though I am glad to say 
not so much in the present time as formerly) farriers 
were in the habit of paring away the natural sole, 
and making what they called " a clean foot," and 
cut so thiu that the thumb could almost leave an 
impression. Consequently, when the horse was 
required to go over a new made road, either gravel 
or macadam, he would naturally go " tender ; " 
whereas if the sole had been left intact, and the 
loose, rough parts taken off with the drawing knife, 
the sole of the horse's foot would have been pro- 
tected.' It is disagreeable, and will be thought pre- 
sumptuous, for the writer to feel himself obliged to 
differ from the colonel, and to state that experience 
has taught him that even these loose, rough flakes, 
of either frog or sole, should never he touched : they 
are going through the natural process of exfoliation, 
and should be left to complete that process spon- 
taneously, and without any help from the knife. 

We must again cite this estimable writer : ' The 
crust of the hoof is pared to a certain level, and 
then a hot shoe is placed upon it to burn away the 
hoof until the two surfaces correspond, thereby 
heating the outer (?) crust of the hoof and render- 
ing it brittle, and liable to break away, when the 
nails are introduced for the purpose of holding on 
the shoe. There is another thing most injurious to 
the foot, and that is blacking the outside of the 
hoof. Generally speaking, grease and lampblack are 

THE 'SEELEY' shoe. 105 

used to give the hoof a smart and clean appearance. 
Instead of that, as soon as the horse is brought out, 
if broken straws from the stall are not adhering to 
it (generally the case), in less than ten minutes it is 
covered with dust, which adheres to it, and stops all 
chance of circulation of air, which is so necessary to 
the well-being of the foot. The hoof is naturally 
porous ; and if coated with grease the circulation of 
air is stopped, and the foot naturally injured, and 
there is a great probability of engendering disease.' 
These quotations are taken from the paper men- 
tioned, in its issues of January 17 and 31, 1880. 

Some months since a contemporary stated : ' We 
hear that a new horseshoe has been adopted by the 
North Metropolitan Tramways Company since they 
commenced to keep their own horses. The stud of 
the company numbers over 2,000 animals ; and, with 
the view of easing the laborious travelling of the 
horses over stony roads, the new patent horseshoe 
of 3Ir. A. Seeley, of the United States, has been 
tried. This shoe weighs l^lb,, or less than half the 
usual weight' (The Charlier three-quarter shoe 
weighs five ounces). ' It is fastened on when cold, 
and, being without " clips " or calks, the frog, or 
centre of the horse's foot, is allowed to rest firmly 
on the ground. The cost of shoeing under the new 
system is about ninepence, instead of one shilling, a 
week per horse.' 

The Seeley Company now refer in their pro- 
spectus to tramway and other companies in the chief 
towns in England as to their success in working 


horses with a cold-fitted shoe. It is not to be lost 
sight of that nearly a score of these companies 
employ each thousands of horses ; and yet lead- 
ing authorities have pronounced opinions utterly 
at variance with each other on the use of the shoe. 
But doctors always have differed. The statement 
that fifty cold-fitted shoes are lost to every hot 
one, certainly could not be substantiated ; they 
stand at no disadvantage at all in this respect ; the 
nails hold better in horn that has not been rendered 
brittle by scorching. The tramways have now been 
using them for nearly two years, and that looks as 
if they kept in their places pretty well. In Spain, 
where cold shoeing is universal, and forges very wide 
apart, shoes keep on until they wear out. 

Cold fitting by no means entails any necessity 
for ' fitting the foot to the shoe.' The shoe, whilst 
hot, is forged to the correct size and shape of the 
foot. The paring of the crust to fit the flat surface 
of the cold iron takes longer than burning it down 
with a hot shoe, and the paring of the surface on 
the bottom is the only ' fitting the foot to the shoe ' 
that has to be done when the latter is of the correct 
pattern. When it is not, hot and cold fitting stand 
just equal. 

Another objection to the fancied advantage of 
gaining such very close apposition by burning in, is 
that the horse thus often gets shod too tightly, and 
every one knows that this is injurious to the animal ; 
although it is not every one that is fully alive to 
the great amount of misery and disorder it entails. 


' Aberlorna ' says that, ' he believes no ill effects 
ever result from hot shoeing, except when done by 
ignorant men, who should be anywhere but in a 
shoeing forge.' In such a forge, ten miles from his 
own residence, there is a man so ignorant of the 
nature of a horse's foot, that he laughed at the idea 
of his being able to go on the roads with only tips, 
and was, afterwards, ' quite surprised that he had 
not broken down on the way home after he was 

Cold shoeing is gradually gaining in favour with 
practical men in spite of prize essays which condemn 
it. There is one passage in the said extract that 
the writer is unable to comment upon, because he fails 
to see any meaning in the assertion that ' two surfaces 
are caused to correspond, friction is set up between 
them, and their separation not so easy.' There may, 
perhaps, be some argument concealed under this 
verbosity. We are told that ' language was given to 
man to enable him to disguise his thoughts.' 

The extract given from the essay is of a very 
' groovey ' character otherwise. 

The Seeley shoe, of which mention has been 
made, is a plain, light, machine-made shoe, without 
calks or clips, seated or bevelled on the ground 
surface, as Professor Coleman was the first to advo- 
cate. The chief advantage it possesses is that of 
being made of iron so ductile that the shoe can be 
altered in shape tvhilst cold. It is, in fact, meant 
to be ahvays applied cold; and this is the only 
difference there is between it and any ordinary light 


shoe made on professor Coleman's principle. It is 
not a ' patent ' shoe. 

At the beginning of March, as * Will Watch ' ^ 
says, farming operations are too backward to allow 
of reducing the work of farm horses sufficiently to 
do away at once with all iron on their feet ; neither 
did the writer intend, for many reasons, to incite the 
owners of such hard-worked animals to make such an 
abrupt change. A gradual mode of proceeding will 
allow the horses to keep on at their work ; and it will 
not cause so much apprehension to the owner nor so 
much opposition and eternal grumbling, or ' kicking 
over the traces ' on the part of the carter, especially 
when he has such a handsome inducement held out 
to him, in case of success, as ' half the saving in the 
blacksmith's bill,' which this gentleman so spiritedly 
ofifers him. 

Unfortunately, as he remarks in his letter, farriers 
do not, as a rule, * care to know much about the 
Charlier shoe,' and this has already been pointed out 
in these articles. Yet one gentleman has written 
that he has made of one ' an ardent disciple,' and 
that ' he shoes beautifully ' on this system ; also 
that he finds it to bring grist to his mill. In some 
places where farmers could carry out by union what 
has been before suggested, a man might be found 
who would be willing to go into the thing. However, 
where the difficulty about the Charlier system is 
insurmountable, there is another road out of the wood, 
which ' Aberlorna ' appears to have already hit upon, 

* See Appendix B. 


although it was intended, in due course, to have been 

On farms or other large establishments where 
numbers of horses are kept, and no spare ones, for 
the especial purpose of earning their Hving and that 
of their owners, an ordinary tip (the lunette of La 
Fosse), covering only the front half of the foot, may 
be used with good success. Any blacksmith can put 
this on, although ' Aberlorna ' tells us that they laugh 
at the idea. This tip should be light, and narrow in the 
web, as the sole does not want to be covered, and a 
light tip will wear as long as is necessary before it 
wants renewal, for we must recollect that the feet 
grow faster with tips than with full shoes. The nails 
should also be light and fine, and only four of them 
used. There is no danger in driving them into the 
toe, as many farriers imagine. Mayhew is very ex- 
plicit thereon; and if farriers only had a slight 
knowledge of a hoof they would be aware that the 
horn is thicker and stouter at the toe, and that it 
also grows faster there than elsewhere. 

What we may call the heels of the tip (although they 
do not reach the heels of the horse) should be eased 
off on the ground surface in thickness, with the file, at 
their extremities, so that they may not press unduly 
at their points upon the crust. The heels of the 
horse must not have even the slightest paring taken 
off them ; but the seat of the tip must be pared down 
in the usual manner, because if the toe should be 
raised at the same time that the heel is lowered, too 
much work would be given to the back sinews. 


' Impecuniosus,' a thoroughly practical man, begs 
us to observe that all horses will ' go short ' for a 
day or two the first time that they wear tips. This 
is because they feel strange on first having their 
heels let out of a vice. 

It is well to go ' slow and sure ; ' therefore it 
would be ad\d sable for a man to experiment upon 
one or two of his horses, say one with flat, weak, 
tender, shelly, brittle hoofs, and the other with 
what he considers as the stoutest in his stable. The 
possibility is that he would find at the end of a 
month that the weak-footed horse would apparently 
have derived the most benefit from the treatment, 
although theory might lead him to suppose that the 
contrary would be the case. 

The tips should, of course, be applied cold. They 
can be made whilst hot to the exact shape and size. 
To facilitate and expedite this (and so to avoid 
lifting up the foot and cooling the iron two or three 
times), after the crust on the toe has been pared 
and rasped into proper form, the outKne can be 
easily scratched with a fine, sharp nail, either on the 
floor, if it should be smooth enough, or else on a 
piece of board on which the horse is made to stand 
whilst one of his fore-feet is held up by a groom. 
When it is the outline of a Moid foot that has to be 
traced, the fore foot on the same side should be held 
up, because the horse cannot so easily shift about the 
foot that is being traced if he is obliged to bear his 
weight on two legs on the same side to do so ; not 
that there is much difficulty, or time required, in 


running a nail round the front half of a well-trimmed 
hoof, except with fidgety horses, and some horses are 
inclined to be fidgety in a forge, which is not much 
to be wondered at. These are minutise, but they are 
worth while being insisted upon by the owner in 
person. There is no necessity to inform a farrier 
that there is an intention of endeavouring to dis- 
pense with his services at some future date; if 
things go well he will discover that in time, and 
you will have spared his feelings for some weeks. 

Should the horse or two thus experimented upon 
be found to do well, another couple or so could be 
put through the same treatment, and the first 
tried might leave off the tips on the hind feet 
on the second shoeing ; on the third the front 
tips might be discarded. In this manner some 
people might be six months in getting through 
their whole stable, but they would never have 
any great amount of anxiety on their minds, es- 
pecially as they can always revert, at any moment 
they please (as the clergyman cited did, although 
without the slightest cause, except ' funk,' for so 
doing), to the full shoe. No one is incited to hurry or 
flurry himself over it, but, on the contrary, every one 
is advised not to rush at things. By so doing he will 
lose little or no work of his animals, at the same 
time that all those who surround them will take the 
change in a kindlier manner. 

There is one observation to be made, which 
attentive readers will have already thought out for 
themselves. Although the foot will have greatly 


benefited all round by the use of tips, the toe will 
not have received as much benefit as the other parts, 
both on account of want of attrition and from having 
been pierced by nails ; still it will be found to 
have made an improvement through the freer circu- 
lation of blood, &c. The toe, as will be seen, has 
its fibres in a more slanting position than the re- 
mainder of the crust, and a leverage is brought to 
bear upon it every time the horse lifts his foot, 
which leverage the other parts have not to bear. 
Nature therefore has made it the thickest, strongest, 
and fastest growing of all. 

On first discarding the tips the horn on the toe 
may be found to chip away until the nail holes grow 
out. This may in great measure be avoided by not 
driving the nails far and straight up into the horn. 
It is not necessary so to do to hold on a light tip. The 
points of the nails can generally be brought out low 
down, and when the iron is thrown aside, the edge 
of the hoof must be well rounded off with a rasp, 
which will do away with nearly all chipping. It is best 
always to keep the hoofs of unshod horses slightly 
rounded off on their edges. When this is done, once 
a week or so, no further trimming is necessary. 

The shod horse has to dig his toes into the 
ground to start a load ; but it will be found that as 
he gradually gets unshod he will also gradually lose 
this habit, because, as he goes on ' feeHng his feet,' 
he will find out by instinct the natural way of using 
them, which is on the fiat, and then the leverage and 
strain on the toe will be lessened, and the chipping 


away will thereby be also greatly reduced. These 
facts, although they may not be found mentioned in 
any one of those prize essays that are written in the 
' follow-my-leader style ' which ' Impecuniosus ' so 
much deprecates, may be found useful for nervous 
men to know and keep in mind. Some people con- 
jure up fancied difficulties. Fancy and theory have 
helped to bring our horses' feet and legs to their 
present state, which the generality of people find to 
be a very unsatisfactory one. 

There are countries possessing vast tracts of grass- 
covered plains, on which horses are extensively bred, 
which from their great abundance are there of low 
value. The steppes of Eussia, the grass runs of 
Australia, the prairies of some of the Anglo-American 
States, the savannahs of Uruguay and of the Argen- 
tine Eepublic are instances of such. In the last- 
mentioned, ' fine colts, from three to five years old, 
can be bought at from \l, to 4Z., and mares at from 
4.S. to 20s.' These horses, which are unshod, are 
jfchose upon whose backs the ' Grauchos ' perform their 
well-known skilful feats of ' lassoing,' &c., when 
cattle-driving — the unshod horse being endowed 
with an activity and sureness of foot that renders 
him highly valuable for their purposes. 

A gentleman writing in a contemporary, on the 
subject of cattle-driving, says : ' In Australia, in 
wet weather, an unshod horse is both a pleasant and 
a safe mount. Many a roll over I have had after 
cattle on a shod horse, when the country was soft 
above and hard below ' — as some English race-courses 



and hunting countries often are — ' which would not 
have occurred with a barefooted animal.' 

These almost immeasurable, soft, smooth plains, 
on which the horses perpetually stand, are not inter- 
sected by hard, rough, stony roads ; neither are the 
horses, which are grass fed, worked continuously, 
although it is well known that they are often bar- 
barously forced to cover long distances, when they 
are doubly exposed to become footsore from the 
facts of having to work at intervals only, and then 
over soft, smooth grass that does not afford what 
Mayhew calls 'the needful attrition' to keep the 
horn up to its work. Mr. Miles tells us — what we 
all ought to know, although even he was unable to 
grasp it fully — *^it is an invariable law of animal 
economy not to continue to unemployed structures 
the same measure of efficient reparation that is 
extended to parts constantly engaged in performing 
their allotted tasks.' Herein is explained the reason 
why these horses do not acquire the hardness of 
hoof that horses elsewhere, and under different 
circumstances, with harder work, not only acquire 
but also maintain. 

In the North, Central, and South American 
countries which have been formerly mentioned in 
these chapters, pastures and breeding grounds are 
not to be found in such large tracts, as in those 
that have just now been spoken of. Besides, 
such grounds being widely separated from each 
other, the consequence is that horses are scarcer 
and of far higher value. The geological character 


of these countries is also such that hard, rough, 
stony ground very largely predominates outside 
these breeding grounds ; although in some parts, 
where the stone is small and loose, the roads 
become excessively heavy and trying during the 
rainy season. In some parts of these countries it 
rains every day in the year, and in other parts they 
get dry roads during six months, and wet ones 
during the other six. The horses have to travel 
over either, and over naked sheets of rock, as they 
in turn present themselves ; and, as Mr. Douglas 
says, ' without difficulty, and to the evident advan- 
tage of their hoofs, they never suffer from contracted 
feet, or from corns, sandcracks, &c.' Yet their work 
is of the hardest. Many of them bring down from 
the interior, many hundreds of miles, two bales of 
cotton, which weigh with pack-saddle, &c., over 
3 cwt., and in fording rivers have to carry the driver 
across also. This is the way in which all the commerce 
of the country is carried on. There is not a horseshoe 
or a nail to be obtained over the whole route, and on 
some roads at crop times nearly a thousand horses 
will pass daily, descending, and a similar quantity 
returning, inland, loaded with imports, sometimes 
of the same cotton that they brought down the year 
before, but which has been to Europe or the States 
to get manufactured. 

In these countries the natives, when they * corral ' 
or ' pen ' their horses, always look out for a hard 
site for the purpose. Where stabling exists it is 
paved with stone if obtainable, and where timber 

1 2 


is more available this is used instead ; where neither 
can be procured the stable is known far and wide as 
a bad one. 

Xenophon, who wrote the most complete work 
on horsemanship of his day, makes no mention of 
horseshoes; while, on the other hand, he is par- 
ticularly explicit as to the means to be taken to 
harden and toughen horses' hoofs. He recommends 
specially for this purpose bare stone pavement, 
which, he says, ' will cool, harden, and improve a 
horse's feet merely by his standing upon it, while 
the same benefit will result to his hoofs as if he 
tvere made to travel on stony roads every day^ 

Another writer, Vegetius, says : * The floor of 
the stable should not be made of soft wood, but of 
solid hard oak, which will make the horse's feet as 
hard as rock.' 

The untutored natives of the interior of the 
American countries in question, without having 
heard of either of these authorities or their writings, 
have found out for themselves that both of these 
floorings act in precisely the manner described ; 
whilst we^ acknowledging that it should be hard, 
have nailed the standing place of a horse on to his 
feet, and have made him carry it about with him. 
The theory was ingenious, but it was wanting in 
logic ; and the practice is found to be expensive and 
unsatisfactory from the outset all through. 

Osmer, writing more than a century ago, says : 
* In many parts of the world to this day, even on the 
most rocky ground, horses are accustomed to carry 


their riders unshod ; and in this kingdom I have 
known several horses ridden for a considerable time 
unshod on the turnpike roads about London without 
any injury done to their feet. And I believe there 
are many horses that might travel their whole life- 
time unshod, on any road, if they were rasped 
round and short at the toe ; because all feet exposed 
to hard objects become thereby onore obdurate if the 
sole be never paredJ In shoeing a la Charlier the 
sole never is pared, and it is always in direct contact 
with the ground, without any shield whatever to 
protect it from even sharp stones. 

The hackneyed objection to ' our moist, variable 
climate, and hard roads,' so continually opposed to 
the practice of leaving horses to go unshod (even 
by some of the advocates for shoeing a la Charlier), 
is a mere empirical assertion, not founded upon 
experience, but an effect of imagination and pre- 
judice which has become willingly accepted, without 
a challenge, whilst it is really the reverse of fact. 

Mayhew says : ' Truly the stable mind must quit 
the scene of its present labours before it will submit 
to be enlightened. It is now so protected by a wall 
of selfishness, ignorance, and prejudice that it is 
open to no assault ; ' and elsewhere : ' Nature sends 
the horse into the world with ready-made and stout- 
made shoes.' Mr. Douglas says of horse-shoers : 
* They think they can stand, as it were, with their 
backs against the door of the world, in order to 
prevent novelties which might interfere with their 
opinions from coming in. But the world's walls are 


wondrous ones, and its side doors numerous ; so, 
whilst these opposers of progress manage to keep 
the main gate closed, the truth contrives to scale 
the walls, or slide in by side doors.' 

The writer is of opinion that these defenders of 
the main gate keep a sharp look out over both the 
side doors and the wall's summit, and allow nothing 
to pass by either if they can help it. They con- 
tradict every statement that is likely to interfere 
with their gains. Prince Bismarck is credited with 
saying that ' he never beHeved anything until it was 
officially contradicted.' 

Those who derive, either directly or indirectly, 
gain from shoeing cannot be expected to help to 
make any breach in this wall, but, on the contrary, 
to defend it to their utmost every time any assault 
is attempted upon it. 




The second letter of ' Aberlorna ' is most interest- 
ing.^ This gentleman is evidently thinking things 
out for himself faster than these chapters can carry 
him. In the common interest it may be well to go 
over his letter somewhat in detail. His successful, 
although rather severe, trial must * set a good many 
people thinking,' especially when they see that 
within the fortnight he has been so encouraged by 
the result obtained that he has subjected another 
horse to similar treatment, only using this time a 
three-quarter shoe, with the intention of reducing 

* See Appendix C. 


it to a tip later on. Most likely he will bring it to 
that at the second shoeing ; but he is able to take 
care of himself and his horse, and stands in no need 
of advice. 

' Hot shoeing will become unnecessary by the 
use of tips, which any person ought to be able to 
put on with very little practice, and thus save the 
time and trouble ' (and, in his case, a twenty mile 
journey) ' of having to send their horse away to be 
shod.' The writer is under great obligation to 
' Aberlorna ' for having made this remark : he would 
have already made it himself had he not feared to 
see it scouted. If owners would interest themselves 
so far as to accompany their horses to the forge, and 
carefully watch the process of shoeing, they would 
see distinctly that the nailing on of a shoe has no 
great mystery attached to it, and that any carter or 
groom could do it as well as a farrier, if he tried in 
earnest. The pointing of the nails is the chief 
thing. Nails as they come from the manufactory 
have, of course, a certain kind of point ; but it will 
be seen that farriers always give it a modification by 
hammering it on one side only, which is on what is 
intended for the inside, with a view of giving the 
nail an inclination to drive, in a slight degree, out- 
wards, and so avoid pricking the inner crust. Whilst 
driving a nail, the operator will be remarked to be 
feeling, with a finger over the place, where he 
wishes the point to come out ; and, should the 
slight bulging out, which the nail carries before it, 
not appear to him . to be in the i-ight place, he will 


draw the nail and point another, and frequently this 
will be done on the face of the shoe which is par- 
tially fixed. Nails that have scales upon them 
should be rejected, because the scale will weaken 
the nail at the part where it exists, and may cause 
it to bulge in, or bend and press upon the sensitive 
inner parts, although the point may, at the moment 
when the weak part of the shank gets introduced, 
be going all right; also, the scale may open out 
in the course of driving, and cause much injury. 
The machine-made nails of the Seeley Company are 
to be recommended for their general good quality 
and freedom from scaliness. From Belgium also 
come nails superior to the English-made ones, which 
seem to be among the poorest. 

When once these minutiae are seized, the fancied 
difficulty is practically vanquished ; and why should 
not a groom or a carter learn them as easily as a 
farrier ? They generally spring from the same 
class, and Mr. Douglas tells us that tailors throw 
down the needle to nail on horseshoes in the army. 

We next discover that ' Aberlorna ' has travelled 
in South America, and has ridden hundreds of miles 
on unshod horses, whose feet ' greiv fast,'' He states 
that ' he had often to cut the toes ' — the toes only, 
mark — ' which was done with some difficulty with a 
chisel and mallet.' To people who have not had his 
experience it might be interesting to learn from him 
whether he means that the only difficulty consisted 
in the density and toughness of the horn being so 
great as to render a heavy mallet necessary to drive 


the chisel through it, or whether there was any- 
other annoyance or difficulty attached to the opera- 
tion; because some people may say that if the 
annoyance in cutting the toe is as great as that of 
shoeing, they prefer rather ' to bear those ills they 
have, than fly to others they know not of.' By 
rasping the toe once or twice a week it may always 
be kept in good form, and then no cutting would be 

' Aberlorna ' has happily known how to compress 
a large amount of useful observation into the twenty- 
five lines which his letter occupies ; some people 
cannot say more to the real point in as many 

The next statement of this gentleman, who went 
about the world with his eyes open, is that ' he does 
not remember seeing any lame horses except in the 
towns, and these were generally, if not always, I 
observed, shod. The (country ?) roads were for the 
most part sand, full of rough stones, and in some 
places causewayed for miles. Anyhow they were 
pretty rough going.' So, then, it really is a fact 
that in the towns, where horseshoes would have been 
brought into fashion by Europeans, and where the 
road surface would be smoother, shod horses went 
lame, whilst the unshod ones went sound on long 
journeys over worse roads. * Truth is stranger than 

Another thing which many readers would 
probably be glad to hear from this gentleman is, 
whether by ' causeways ' are to be understood roads 


that are ' pitched,' or paved with stone, somewhat 
like London streets, only more roughly, in parts 
where they would in the rainy season become other- 
wise impassable ; as, in certain places, such roads do 
exist to the writer's personal knowledge. 

' People in this country seem to have no idea 
what a horse's foot is. They have always seen 
horses shod, and think they always must be shod, 
and never will alter the method if they are let 
alone.' Thanks, 'Aberlorna,' for putting the thing 
so plainly ; it comes so much better from you. Some 
who think of a horse's foot only as a lump of horn 
stuck on to the end of his leg for the purpose of 
nailing a shoe on to, will be led by you to investi- 
gate the nature of the foot of the horse. 

' As to farriers, it is useless talking to them. 
Take your horses to them, and make them follow 
out your directions through thick and thin; it is 
the only way.' Exactly so ; no one could give better 

In November, 1878, a correspondent wrote in a 
contemporary : — ' The argument against horseshoes 
seemed to me so strong, and the convenience of 
doing without them so great, that I resolved to try 
the experiment. Accordingly, when my pony's shoes 
were worn out, I had them removed, and gave him 
a month's rest at grass, with an occasional drive of 
a mile or two on the high road while his hoofs were 
hardening. The result, at first, seemed doubtful. 
The hoof was a thin shell, and kept chipping away, 
until it had worn down below the holes of the 


nails by which the shoes had been fastened. After 
this, the hoof grew thick and hard, quite unlike 
what it had been before. I now put the pony to 
full work, and he stands it well. He is more sure- 
footed ; his tread is almost noiseless ; and his hoofs 
are in no danger from the rough hands of the 
farrier ; and the change altogether has been a clear 
gain, without anything to set off against it. The 
pony was between four and five years old, and had 
been regularly shod up to the present year. He 
now goes better without shoes than he ever did with 
them ; and without shoes he will continue to go as 
long as he remains in my possession.' 

That eight months after — in August, 1879 — this 
gentleman should send a copy of this same article 
to a provincial paper, is proof that he had never had 
any difficulties after the first month, the time 
needed for the ' thick,' ' hard ' horn to reach the 
ground. There is one thing that he does not tell 
us, but which would have been interesting to know ; 
and it is, whether any of his neighbours found 
heart and brains enough to profit by his example. 
His silence leaves room for the conjecture that 
' they had eyes, but saw not.' It is even possible 
they still look upon his proceeding as an eccentri- 
city. Such is life ; the world might stand still for 
all that some people care to the contrary. 

At the same time that this was passing, a well- 
known farmer and breeder of shorthorns in Cum- 
berland wrote : — * I had a brood mare which had 
been running barefooted for several years, when, 


ceasing to breed, I took her up and used her as a 
shepherd's hack, where she had constant work for 
two years ; and, in travelling from farm to farm, 
she had a considerable distance of hard road to 
traverse daily, yet she never required shoeing. In 
the summer of 1877 I purchased a farm horse which 
had had the misfortune to get a nail into its foot, 
and he had been under the farrier's treatment for 
several months; but had made so little progress 
towards recovery, that I determined to try what 
Nature would do for him, I had his shoes taken 
off and turned him to pasture. In the spring of 
1878, being still rather lame, I put him to work on 
the land ; and he is now doing all sorts of farm 
work, including drawing manure from the town, and 
drags his load as well over hard pavement as 
any shod horse that I have. Whether he could 
stand constant work on hard roads I am unable to 
say; but he does all that I require of him, and the 
experiment is so satisfactory that I intend to put 
another horse through the same training.' 

The ' Lancet ' says : — ' As a matter of physiolo- 
gical fitness, nothing more indefensible than the use 
of shoes can be imagined. Not only is the mode 
of attaching them by nails injurious to the hoof; it 
is the probable, if not evident, cause of many affec- 
tions of the foot and leg, which impair the use- 
fulness, and must affect the comfort, of the animal.' 
There is no dearth of complaints about horseshoes ; 
but people still ' cling so tenaciously to the favourite 
superstition ' of regarding them as ' necessary evils,' 


that the idea of fully examining the other side of the 
question never seems to occur to them; although, 
when it is brought to their notice, some are found 
willing to listen to argument and profit by it. 

A weekly, having the date of March 7, has the 
following paragraph : — ' Whilst on the subject of 
animals, I should like once more to draw attention 
to the terrible suffering which greasy wood pave- 
ments entail upon the poor horses. The scene 
on Ludgate Hill is often heartrending. The poor 
beasts, struggling madly to gain a foothold on the 
slippery surface, strain and tremble and sweat, and 
often seriously injure themselves. It is no uncom- 
mon thing for the whole traffic to be stopped by a 
heavily-laden waggon, which the horse, with the 
ground slipping from under him, vainly endeavours 
to drag up the hill. Oaths, kicks, and brutal beat- 
ings the poor beast gets ; but it never seems to 
strike any one that a little sand or fine gravel thrown 
in the morning over these wood pavements would 
conquer the difficulty. Asphalte and wood require 
keeping clean where there is much traffic. The 
present object of the authorities seems to be to keep 
them filthy. One would imagine they were big share- 
holders in a joint stock horse-slaughtering company.' 

For some days preceding the appearance of this 
paragraph the weather had been finer than usual, 
and the watering carts had been at work. If, then, 
under the best of circumstances things were thus, 
what must they be on some of the days for which 
London is so famous ? 


Ludgate Hill is neither very steep nor long, yet 
we have so often heard these stereotjrped complaints 
about it, that we have come to regard it as a verit- 
able mountain. If this mountain refuses to advance 
to INlahomet, and there is an urgent necessity for 
their meeting, why should not Mahomet advance 
towards the mountain ? Sand is, at the best, an 
incomplete remedy, at the same time that it is a 
costly one for the ratepayers ; and its use, instead 
of inducing to cleanliness, does the very reverse. 
Every time the road was swept or scraped, the sand 
would go with the rest, and then we should be 
' as we were,' until more was put down. A better 
measure would be to keep the roadway clean by the 
use of revolving brushes worked on the end of a 
cart, into which the dirt should be carried by the 
brushes. Such sweeping carts were formerly to be 
seen, but have vanished. But what really wants 
most looking at is the revers de la medaille. On it 
would be seen bright, smooth, iron shoes far more 
slippery than the pavement. Unfortunately for the 
horse, this face of the coin is downwards, and people 
will not allow themselves to be persuaded to turn it 
up and examine it. If they would do so, and efface 
those slippery shoes, they would find under them a 
material, placed there by the Almighty to prevent 
the horse from slipping on smooth surfaces, even on 
ice. The horses would then give over struggling on 
the points of their toes, because they would find 
that a large, tough surface would afford them better 
holding and a better 'point d^appui, than would the 


fractioral part of an inch of a bright, smooth, 
slippery iron shoe. Then the shouting, swearing, 
kicking, thrashing, stoppage of traffic, and other 
outrages to the feeUngs of humane people, would 
disappear ; and all this would not only not have 
cost anyone a penny, but both ratepayers and horse 
owners would have positively economised, even if 
we say nothing of the diminished liability to street 
accidents. It is true that horse slaughterers would 
find business slacker : it must be a good wind that 
blows no one any harm. 

Ludgate Hill, being a principal thoroughfare, 
falls more under notice than other streets ; but let 
anyone visit the small streets running up from the 
river. These are paved with stone more slippery 
than wood, and the slipping upon it, from its not 
being level, shakes and injures the horses more than 
when they slip upon wood. These streets, not being 
in the road of the generality of journalists, remain 
unnoticed. Horses must be the meekest of animals 
when they allow themselves to be induced to enter 
them a second time. Chien echaude craint Veau 
froide ; the horse is even more docile and tractable, 
meeker, and less easily scared than the dog. 




LuDGATE Hill is not Moirosi's Mountain, but, after 
all, is only a gentle ascent of about half an inch in 
the foot, over a length of about two hundred yards, 
up which unshod omnibus horses would trot with a 
full load in any weather. Yet there it must remain, 
a chief thoroughfare in the heart of London, a 
perennial cause of complaint, and of fear, disgust, 
and injury to man and horse. It is of no use to 
keep eternally grumbling at it, or proposing in- 
efficient remedies ; it must be tackled in a rational 
manner by not irrationally opposing two slippery 
surfaces to each other, and then the difficulty would 
be vanquished. 

Humane and well meaning, but it is to be feared 
not eminently practical, people have formed them- 
selves into various corporate bodies, either with the 
view of protecting the horse from injury by man, or 
else man from injury by the horse, when in the 
legitimate exercise of his daily toil. Philanthropic 
and philozoic individuals have taken the donkey 


under their protection, yet in England he continues 
to labour under the curse of the iron shoes from 
which his Irish brethren are exempt. Here is a 
fitting opportunity for his patrons to widen out the 
sphere of their humane intervention in his favour. 
They must not say that the climate of England is so 
different from that of Ireland that they could not 
do what Irish donkeys can, for the climate of 
England is no moister than that of Ireland, and we 
have testimony that its roads are no worse. In 
Porto Eico, a Spanish island, horses go barefooted ; 
whilst in Jamaica, in the same latitude and with 
the same climate, English civilisation (?) demands 
that they should be shod. Evidently these last 
could as well go without shoes as the former, and, 
evidently also, the English donkeys no more need 
shoeing than do the Irish ones. Climate has nothing 
to do with the question. 

In the invasion of America, Hernan Cortes could 
not carry about (in a country destitute of roads) 
anvils, forges, and iron. Without the few dozen 
horses, which overawed the Aztecs so much that they 
took them for gods, and carved idols in their re- 
semblance, which they worshipped, he would have 
been unable to penetrate many miles from the 
coast. On the performance of those few horses 
depended the subjugation of Mexico. They did their 
work and survived it, and from them descends the 
mustang, which still goes unshod. Horses are not 
indigenous to America — this was their first intro- 
duction; and here is a further proof that climate 


and locality have not that influence over the hoof 
which they are vulgarly supposed to have. 

It is being continually argued that the horse, as 
we have him, must not be looked upon as being in 
his natural state, but in an artificial one. Surely a 
little reflection should lead educated people to per- 
ceive that it is we ourselves who have, by continually 
striving against Nature, unnecessarily and insanely 
nursed him into an artificial state. People lose 
sight of the undeniable fact that he was created 
expressly as a servant for man, and as such was 
destined to become a captive and a domesticated 
animal. Simple domestication would not render 
him artificial ; but pampering, continual doctoring, 
and adding to, or subtracting from, his frame will 
do so. 

The Grreat Architect of the Universe neither 
made too little, nor too much, nor did he assign to 
the horse any inadequate members. Other quadru- 
peds possess both collar-bones and a gall-bladder, 
the horse has neither ; but no one, however sapient, 
can detect that this inscrutable economy of con- 
struction has rendered him the less powerful, the 
less fleet, or the less endm'ing. It was needful that 
his head should be of a certain size to lodge the 
many organs which it contains, to provide leverage 
for the jaw with its powerful muscles, &c. ; and Mr. 
Fearnley, formerly Principal of and Lecturer on 
Veterinary Surgery at the Edinburgh Veterinary 
College, writing, in March last year, a treatise on 
the structure of the horse, tells us that the head is 

K 2 


a model of lightness and strength, that the bones 
contain cavities, which ' are only there to allow of 
the bone being as light as possible, and as cavities 
are otherwise quite worthless. The upper jaw forms 
an arch, having substantial buttresses in the molar 
teeth and their bony sockets, and the span is of 
gigantic strength and extremely light, from its hollow 

The tail, amongst other purposes, serves as a 
rudder with which the horse helps to steer himself 
when at speed, and the racer gets the benefit of it 
as such ; but we have amongst us barbarians who 
amputate the end of the spinal column, and fancy 
that, when they have thus mutilated the animal, they 
have rendered it more beautiful than the Creator 
had been able to do ! 

A crusade is, at this moment, being preached 
against the cruelty of vivisection b}^ people who 
condone the practice of vivisection of the horse, 
when they purchase and drive those who have been 
thus wantonly mutilated; and they go further 
against their professed creed when they pay another 
barbarian to subject his feet periodically to vivisec- 
tion and vivicremation. These people are straining 
at a gnat and swallowing a camel with a vengeance. 
They have the choice of three things — either to 
abandon their practice, withdraw their theory, or 
appear as imbeciles before the world. Which road 
will they choose ? There is no compromise. 

The description of the hoof already given can 
scarcely fail to show that as much care has been 


bestowed upon it as upon the head or any other part. 
It is small, light, and strong, and so adapted for 
both power and speed. Is it possible that it can be 
otherwise than fully adequate to the task of carrying, 
not only the weight of the horse, but also that of his 
rider ? Eeligion forbids the bare conception of such 
an idea, which has not occurred to semi-civilised 
tribes and nations, who find by practice that the 
foot really is able to support successfully the very 
severe toils to which they subject the horse. 

Not long ago, the wTiter heard a luminary of the 
pulpit read from the Scripture : — ' But they know 
not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand 
they his counsels. Arise and thresh, daughter of 
Zion, and I will make thy horn iron, and thy hoofs 
brass.' In the sermon of that day, the necessity of 
faith was much insisted upon ; yet the preacher was 
seen shortly after being drawn by a horse suffering 
so badly from brittle hoof that parts of the shanks of 
nails were visible in places where the horn had 
chipped away. Where was his great faith when he 
feared to trust the feet of his slave to the hands of 
its Creator, who had entrusted him with the care 
of it? 

The writer is no respecter of persons or titles 
when on this subject, which does not allow him to 
be so even if he felt inclined. Mr. Flower had to 
appeal to all classes, and Mrs. Flower aided him by 
addressing herself to the ladies, in his laudable 
efforts to do away with the abuse of the bearing- 
rein. In the * Book of the Horse ' we find it said of 


him : ' Mr. E. Flower, of Hyde Park Gardens, has 
agitated this question for some time with that exag- 
gerated enthusiasm which is essential if any deep- 
seated grievance is to be reformed. No great reform 
from the time of Martin Luther to Clarkson and 
Wilberforce has ever been effected by cautious 
advocates and soft suggestions.' Mr. Flower has 
happily succeeded in convincing many that he was 
right. Even some ' fashionable ' sporting men threw 
away the bearing-rein in their teams, rightly judg- 
ing that, whilst their horses thus went better, they 
also looked better. Managers of heavy traffic, and 
owners of the hardest-worked slaves, find that thev 
have been gainers by abandoning it. They will soon 
make the same discovery in the matter of shoes. 

Mayhew says : ' That cannot he right the results 
of which are purely evil.'' 

The use of horseshoes is a sin; they are un- 
necessary, and ' their results are purely evil : ' they 
torture the animal and shorten his life ; and the sin 
carries along with it the curse of being a continual 
source of worry and expense to his owner. 

' Fashion ' cannot plead effectually in their 
favour, as they detract from action, activity, smart- 
ness, and speed. But then, perhaps, 'fashion' 
demands clatter; there is no accounting for taste. 

The bearing-rein would be still less needed for a 
horse which, having no pains in his feet, would not 
be shifting them about, and putting himself into 
slouching postures at every moment in order to 
relieve them. 





By paying a visit to various camps of the righteous, 
we have again come round to that touchstone ' brittle 

All shod horses suffer more or less from brittle 
hoof; it is only a question as to the extent of the 
disease in any given instance. Heavily shod horses 
that have to keep back heavy loads, by either 
slipping or knuckling-over when going down hill, 
and have to make that other unnatural exertion of 
digging in their toes to start a load, or draw it up 
hill, are the worst sufferers. On looking at their 
feet, it will be found that the farrier has had a call 
made upon his ingenuity to get nails into places 
where they would hold in the horn, by driving them 
either askant, or else far up into it, or both. By so 
doing, he is only heightening the difficulty he will 
have to encounter when the next shoeing comes 

At the risk of appearing tiresome, we will repeat 


the description which Mr. Douglas gives of the 
constituency of the crust. He is well worth hearing 
twice : — 

' If the crust is closely examined with a micro- 
scope, its structure will be found to consist of a 
number of bristle-like fibres standing on end, but 
bearing diagonally towards the ground. From the 
particular longitudinal construction of the fibres, it 
follows that they will bear a great amount of weight, 
so long as they are kept in their natural state. The 
crust so viewed resembles a number of small tubes, 
bound together by a hardened glue-like substance. 
Whoever has seen a mitrailleuse gun, with its 
numerous barrels all soldered together, can form a 
very good idea of the crust, especially if they were 
likewise to imagine the tubes to be filled with a 
thick fluid the use of which is to nourish and 
preserve them.' 

We have already seen that the driving of nails, 
in any form, must both lacerate and close up, either 
totally or partially, these delicate tubular fibres con- 
taining the fluid which gives life ; but when we 
come to consider that in driving them askant from 
right to left the farrier is causing a double amount 
of laceration, we shall easily comprehend that the 
further the disease spreads, the more he helps it 
to do so. Well may Mr. Lupton say : — ' Farriers 
ought to go through a course of instruction pre- 
viously to being allowed to operate upon structures 
the anatomy, physiology, and economic uses of which 
they have never studied, and, consequently, never 


But how about the hardened glue-like substance 
which binds the fibres together ? It is not difficult 
to imagine that this, also, must get smashed up, 
compressed, and its natural secretion and divinely 
correct distribution impaired if not ruined, by tra- 
versing it with nails, which push it on either side, 
and reduce the space which it was intended to 
occupy ; and this cannot fail to destroy the general 
adhesion of the whole, even if the whole of the 
prismatic-shaped portion in front of the nails (from 
their heads to their clinches) were not already dead 
— which it generally is. Thus we find that we get 
a loose, shaky, uncemented bundle of dead fibres 
(like a rotten broom), easily destructible ; and the 
crust is deprived of its essential property of deaden- 
ing the shock which it must receive at each step, 
and of warding it off from the interior of the foot, 
and from the leg, aided by such important adjuncts 
as a soft, tough cushion (made further expansible 
by being cloven) in the frog, and a strong, arched 
sole, so made as to follow the expansion of the frog 
by allowing its lateral buttresses to spring out at the 
quarters, carrying with it, as a necessity, the crust 
at the quarters to which it is attached. Mr. Lupton 
has demonstrated that the heel and frog first reach 
the ground. Hence these parts were made soft and ex- 
pansible (although strong in the bars) to receive the 
bulk of the shock, when, immediately afterwards, 
down comes the crust, proceeding from the quarters 
gradually to the toe, to complete the action devised 
by that Omniscience which we fail to acknowledge. 


raising up in lieu thereof a hideous false deity to 
whom we bow down, whose behests we blindly obey, 
and to whose high priest, the knacker, we daily give 
over as sacrifice animals that are just arrived at, 
what ought to be, the prime of their lives. 

' Impecuniosus ' remarks: — 'It is, after all, no 
affair of mine what becomes of my neighbour's 
horses, but in no way is our ingratitude and hard- 
heartedness so apparent as in our treatment of dumb 
animals, and horses especially. A dog cries out if 
you hit him, and probably sulks ; a horse suffers in 
silence, and exerts himself the more.' ' We ought 
to be ready to hail any inventions or ideas which 
promise to amend the treatment of that essential 
part of the horse's frame.' ' No foot no horse ' has 
been long a stable proverb ; but how little the com- 
fort of the foot has hitherto been consulted ! The 
ideas on the subject have sprung from wrong roots, 
so to say, altogether ; or rather let us say they have 
been built on fanciful and insecure foundations,^ 
' Owners of horses too often act as if their inten- 
tion was to wear out their property as soon as 
possible. "We should think but little of the com- 
mon sense of the man who, having bought an 
expensive watch, knocked it about in every conceiv- 
able unfair way ; but we think nothing of such a 
course of action pursued towards a horse — and why ? 
Because every one does it, I suppose ; at least, I can 
think of no better reason.' ' Any one, by stating 
his experience, at the expense of but little trouble 
and the wear and tear of pen and ink, hardly enough 


to alarm even ^Ir. Greg, will assist in throwing light 
on a subject noiv confessedly veiled in obscurity, 
viz. the horse's foot ; and, in these days of reduc- 
tion, reducing our bills, and checking the deteriora- 
tion of horses.^ 

If it were only for the invitation thus given by 
' Impecuniosus,' how could the writer, knowing what 
he knows by experience, refrain from standing up 
for the ' rights of an animal ' ? And such an animal 
— not a wild beast, but one ' that was created to be 
the friend and companion of man,' if we are to believe 
' Lavengro ; ' whilst another writer has said that 
* had not custom dignified the lion with the title of 
" king of beasts," reason could nowhere confer that 
honour more deservedly than on the hoese.' Virgil 
describes him as having a hoof ' that turns up the 
ground, and sounds deep with solid horn.' To be 
sure Virgil had not seen or heard of horseshoes, or 
he would perhaps have sung of the clatter of iron. 
Brittle hoof will not sound deep, like solid horn, 
but more like a cracked saucer, or a ' shuflfy ' brick — 
it is flawed all over. 

It is all very well for some people to say that 
they do let the frog and bars alone, and thus comply 
with everything. They do not comply with more 
than a fraction. The thickness of a shoe, without 
calks, is not less than three-eighths of an inch. 
Hence the frog, to be of any use at all (and it can 
only be of partial use in an iron-bound foot), must 
make an abnormal growth to this extent ; and 
abnormal growths are always weak. That it will 


thus grow, only proves still more clearly that Nature 
is extending her help to the animal, in so far as she 
is allowed to do so. Here comes in the superiority 
of the Charlier shoe over all others. As it is let 
into the crust, the frog has no forced growth to 
make, but remains (in this respect only) as if the 
horse were unshod. So does the sole ; but the crust, 
even with this best of shoes, still gets mutilated 
with nails. ' Of evils choose the least.' The Charlier 
tip offers the least destruction to the foot, at the 
same time that it gives greater holding powers to 
the horse than anything yet invented in the shape 
of shoes. In his ' Lectures on the Examination of 
Horses as to Soundness,' published in 1878 — Modern 
Horsey Literature — Mr. Fearnley tells his pupils : 
* The day will come, but perhaps it will not be in 
our lifetime, when the streets of our large towns 
will be paved rationally (with wood pavement), and 
then, happy day! we shall have horses wearing 
on their forefeet at once the most scientific as it is 
the most common-sense shoe — the Charlier. The 
stone pavior will cost the country many millions of 
pounds in horseflesh before the revolution comes 
about, but no doubt it will one day become a State 

Think of this, ye societies who have misunder- 
stood your self-imposed tasks, and ye vestrymen 
who have squandered public funds, and ye horse- 
owners who have squandered your own, and ye 
journalists who keep upon the old track and offer 
questionable advice ! Eemember that it comes from 


a veterinary surgeon and a professor of high degree 
and repute. 

But how is it that so many people recommend 
the Charlier shoe for the fore feet only ? The fore 
feet appear to have to carry more weight than the 
hind ones, as part of the shoulders and the neck and 
head are in front of them ; but certainly they were 
so constructed by the Almighty as to admit of this. 
In the case of a saddle horse or pack horse, the 
hind feet are called upon to share the extra weight. 
In the case of draught horses, the hind ones do 
nearly all the propulsion at the same time that (in 
shod horses) they take nearly all the weight, at the 
time of starting, which is the heaviest pull. In 
countries where shoeing is only partially practised 
the horses are shod in front, and their hind feet left 
bare. This is the case in Kome, as it is at the 
Cape, and the American farmers before cited acted 
thus, and so do many others ; but nowhere are 
horses to be seen which are shod behind whilst 
their fore feet go bare. There is a striking anomaly 
of theory about this. Of course the theory of shoe- 
ing is wrong ah initio^ and perhaps this accounts 
for the various views taken of it. * Impecuniosus ' 
was not the man to do things by halves. He began 
by using the Charlier shoes only in front, and he 
relates of a mare, which had twice fallen as a 
hack, that she was benefited by them. He then 
shod her behind also, a la Charlier, and he says, 
' after the first few days she never made a " peck " 
on the road, and felt quite different under me — so 


much more springy. The fact is, I don't think we 
attend enough to the hind feet. They don't show 
the effect of bad shoeing like the forefeet, and so 
they don't get attention ; but what is bad in front 
can't be good behind. The mare's heels became 
much more open, and no man need desire a better 
hack on the road.' Not long ago a correspondent 
wrote that his horses were shod all round a la 
Charlier, yet they were quite capable of ' backing ' a 
load on any ordinary road, because they stood upon 
their /eei (although they did not quite do so). Now, 
' backing ' is the most severe work a horse can be 
called upon to perform ; and, therefore, it seems 
strange that every facility should not be allowed 
him for its performance. No valid reason has been 
adduced to deter us from 'going the whole quad- 
ruped ' — that is to say, if you persist in shoeing him 
at all. If you do, you should go in for Charlier tips 
'all round.' Nothing in the shape of shoeing can 
touch that form ; unless it is to let the hind feet go 
bare altogether, as they do in Massachusetts. When 
you reach this point you will soon throw away those 
in front also. 




As a proof of the great diversity of ideas and 
opinions on the difference between the fore feet and 
the hind ones, as to which of the pairs should be most 
protected, or whether either of them should be pro- 
tected at all, we will give an extract from ' Twenty 
Years on the Turf,' in the ' Sportsman,' in which a 
description of the establishment of Mr. H. Jennings, 
the well-known trainer of racehorses, at Bac de la 
Croix, Compiegne, is given : — 

' Mr. Jennings has as many horses under his 
care as any other trainer in either France or England. 
One peculiarity about the horses in the La Croix 
stable is that the majority of them are unshod, while 
in training. jVIr. Jennings is enabled to adopt this 


capital plan for the reason that the thoroughbreds 
have not to travel over any hard roads on their way 
to and from their gallops. They are ridden from 
their stables over the very short distance that inter- 
venes between there and the loamy soil and leaves 
over which they gallop on the rides in the forest, 
and this gives the yearlings and two-year-olds a fine 
opportunity to expand their heels and their feet 
generally, instead of contracting the natural growth 
by " binding " them, as it were, with iron. In fact, 
very few indeed of the horses trained by Henry 
Jennings run even in their races w^ith plates on 
their hind feet, and only wear " tips " on their fore 
toes. The feet of all the horses in this large 
establishment are well cared for, and the yearlings 
especially derive immense benefit from the " bare- 
foot " system of training, as their feet are altogether 
broader in both the hind and fore quarters of their 
structure, and their frogs firmer and more healthy 
than the young things that are shod even before 

Of course, the remark that the horses are enabled 
to go unshod because they have not to travel over 
any hard ground is only due to a popular delusion, 
the real fact being that it would be much better for 
them if they took all their walking exercise over 
good hard roads. Their feet would then become 
sufficiently toughened to enable them to dispense 
with the last remnant of iron, which Mr. Jennings 
employs in the shape of ' tips ' on the fore feet only, 
leaving the hind ones in their natural state. 


But how is it that Mr. Jennings stands alone 
amongst trainers in his ' peculiarity ' ? It would 
appear as if he had thought the thing out for him- 
self, and then had pluck enough to try it by experi- 
ment ; he was evidently not a slave to routine and 
fashion. Will he take this ' straight tip ' and lay 
out a piece of hard road, and let some of his unshod 
youngsters try their walking exercise upon it ? This 
would just make his system complete and his horses' 
feet perfect. 

The foot that is inured to hard roads can but be 
perfected thereby, and a perfect foot can but stand 
upon better terms with a racecourse, or a training- 
ground, hard or soft as they may be at times. Qui 
peut le plus pent le rtioins. 

In the Evening Standard of March 17, 1880, 
we find the following paragraph : — 

'It is a pity that nature and art should be so 
often, as they are, in opposition to each other, and 
that a theory of beauty which satisfies the demands of 
one should outrage the demands of the other. It 
was not natural that a girl's waist should be imme- 
diately under her arms, yet in former times that 
was considered indispensable to true grace. In 
later years it was equally unnatural that waists 
should be compressed to a painfully-small circum- 
ference, but this again became a habit ; and there 
exist others equally false and mischievous. Now 
and then, however, nature asserts herself, and gives 
a salutary hint that she is not to be maltreated with 
impunity. This, it appears, was lately the case at 



Boston. A young lady living there found that her 
eyesight gradually became worse and worse, and, 
after a time, she adopted the sensible course of 
consulting the best oculist in the neighbourhood. 
To him she told her sad story. She had always 
enjoyed good health until lately ; but now she could 
neither read, nor work, nor play. Eiding and driving 
were out of the question, and she was in terror of 
becoming blind. The oculist asked her about 
several things, and suddenly said, " Put out your 
foot." The request, strange as it was, did not seem 
altogether disagreeable to her, for her feet were 
small, and were incased in a delicious little pair of 
French boots with, as a matter of course, heels like 
little stilts. The doctor looked at it stolidly, and 
then said, " Yes. Go home and take off those heels, 
and then come to me in a month's time, and we'll 
see how your eyes are." She did as she was told — 
with a slight pang, it may be, but without hesita- 
tion; and gradually the eyesight became stronger 
and stronger. At the end of the month she visited 
the doctor to report improvement, and he explained 
to her how certain nerves and tendons communicated 
with other nerves and tendons, and how injuring 
some injured the rest ; all of which she did not 
understand, but gathered enough information to 
comprehend that high heels develope unexpected 
dangers. In this girl's case Nature was having her 

Here is food for reflection for us. Ill-treatment 
of the foot will cause disarrangement in an organ so 


remote from it as the eye ; ergo, it will do the same 
to other organs that are nearer to the foot, or even 
farther from it. 

Mr. Fearnley says : ' Next to the eye the larynx 
is the most delicate organ of the body.' ' Koaring ' 
is supposed to be due to the abuse of the bearing- 
rein, which, in some cases, is most likely to be true ; 
but then we have horses, such as racers and hunters, 
that have never become acquainted with the bearing- 
rein, and yet are ' roarers.' ' Whistling,' ' wheezing,' 
thick wind and broken wind, 'have been much 
thought about, and have had the fancy considerably 
racked to account for their existence.' It is a singular 
fact, that unshod horses are very rarely indeed to be 
met with suffering from blindness, or any of these 
other infirmities. Why should they be so free from 
them ? They work harder and fare worse than ours 
do. So we see that apart from the acknowledged, 
and most apparent, diseases caused by the falsely 
so-called ' necessary evil ' of shoeing, there are others 
more subtle which may be attributed to it ; and it 
needs no great stretch of the imagination, when we 
are let into secrets like these, to suppose that some 
cases even of glanders may be some day traced to 
ill-treatment of the foot. 

Mr. Fearnley deplores that the spirit of speci- 
alism should be wanting amongst veterinary surgeons. 
In America, however, they have veterinary dentists, 
as we may learn from a treatise already quoted from 
in these chapters. Mr. Kussell, 'practical horse- 
shoer,' in his ' Scientific Horseshoeing,' says : ' There 

L 2 


are cases, frequently occurring, where an imperfect 
action cannot be remedied by any kind of shoeing ; 
but, if we closely investigate the matter, we shall find 
that it originates from some other cause. This is 
sometimes the case when caries of the teeth is 
present, and the animal suffering from a continued 
toothache inclines to lug on the bit on one side, and 
in such a manner that he becomes tangled in his gait 
and bad in his action. If he pulls his head and neck 
out of line with his body, either to the right or 
to the left, the hind foot on that side is forced to 
land between the front feet and legs. The teeth 
must, therefore, be properly treated to obviate 
these difficulties. I have had Dr. E. E. Clark, the 
celebrated veterinary dentist of New York, operate 
for me on many occasions, and with wonderful 

The man who reads us this lesson styles himself 
a ' practical horseshoer.' But after all, might it not 
have been the shoeing that had in the first place 
caused the caries of the teeth, and that this had 
reacted in its turn upon the feet or other organs of 
locomotion ? 

At any rate, Mr. Eussell's experience proves that 
there is sympathy between the teeth and the heels 
of a horse, and these are the parts of him that are 
the most remotely separated. Therefore it cannot 
be considered an exaggeration to conclude that the 
respiratory organs may be affected in a somewhat 
similar manner ; especially since they are nearer to 
the seat from which evil may fairly be supposed to 


proceed. By joining his evidence to that of the 
Boston oculist, whose special study, reflection, and 
acumen had enabled him to detect a cause concealed 
under a lady's flounces, it may be assumed that 
many puzzling infirmities in the horse may have 
their source in shoeing. The experiment which 
would prove this would be interesting, humane, in- 
expensive, and devoid of all risk. There is nothing 
in the shape of vivisection in anywise involved in it, 
and, indeed, there is no valid reason why it should 
not be made, as, in fact, it has been made, and, if 
we say nothing of the help which it may give us in 
accounting for occult infirmities, it has been found 
to succeed ; and it will be so found again. 

Mayhew says : ' The various aspects which disease 
can assume, of course, are multiform, and unfortu- 
nately these, when exhibited by the horse, are all 
exposed to the arbitrary conclusions of prejudice.' 
'The diseases of the horse are not yet thoroughly 
understood.' Although an advocate of the use of 
tips, he did not go to the length of advising the 
entire abolition of iron, which he regarded as a 
' necessary evil.' After saying that ' seedy toe had 
been much thought about, and the fancy someivhat 
racked to account for its origin,' he theorised on 
the subject until he persuaded himself that it was 
caused by a debilitated and diseased state of the 
constitution, and prescribed entire rest in the stable 
(not in the field), with a liberal diet, until a cure 
was effected. How coidd he possibly have left out 
of account the true cause, which was staring him in 


the face in every instance — the shoe ? It is true 
that continual suffering, which would cause nervous 
irritability, would in most cases have told upon the 
constitution, but he confounded effect with cause. 
He states also that navicular disease is caused by 
pressure on the frog — a diseased frog, of course — 
rendered incapable by the farrier of performing its 
functions ; and afterwards says that, as far as his 
knowledge extends, it is unknown in the unbroken 
animal. Of course it is. The unbroken animal is 
also unshod, yet he can gallop about amongst loose 
granite or over solid rocks with impunity. Mr. 
Douglas says that goats never suffer from navicular 
disease, but that he believes they would do so if they 
were shod. 

Perhaps some of those correspondents who have 
so kindly come forward to give their experience of 
unshod horses will still further favour us by saying 
whether or not they had found amongst them 
many ' crib-biters,' ' wind-suckers,' or * weavers.' 
The writer has never met with a single case of 
either of these three; therefore he is forced into 
the conclusion that shoeing cannot be considered 
entirely blameless as to their cause. Some day a 
pathologist will arise who will give an account of 
influences now ' veiled in obscurity.' In the mean- 
time practical experiment will convince some that 
by giving up shoeing they have struck at the root 
of a host of diseases and vices. 

Sight could not, of course, be restored to the 
blind, nor an anchylosis be loosened, and so forth ; 


but failing sight might be improved, and incipient 
ossifications be dispersed in some instances. 

The writer knows of one stable which contains 
only three horses — valuable ones when purchased — 
of which one suffers from false quarter and very 
brittle hoofs ; the second is a windsucker, and has 
overshot fetlocks ; and the third cuts himself behind 
so badly that he has no nails on the inside of the 
hoofs, except one just inside the centre of each toe, 
whilst on the outside half he has six nails ; his 
action is bad, as he has always a tendency to ^ lift up ' 
behind. He knows of another stable, also containing 
three horses, which would be valuable if they were 
sound. One suffers from corns that have to be pared 
out fortnightly ; the second has hoofs that scarcely 
grow, and seedy toe, and has a confirmed habit of 
giiaiuing everything within his reach ; he has not as 
yet, being quite young, become a crib-biter, but he 
will most likely come to that ; the third has splints, 
for which he is periodically tortured with blisters, 
and after each blistering he is found to be worse. 
The number of such stables is legion. 

Veterinary surgeons, when they examine a horse 
as to soundness, as it is defined by law, continually 
find themselves obliged to add riders to their certifi- 
cates as to existing circumstances which may lead 
to unsoundness at some future date. If they could 
only get rid of their prejudice in favour of the shoe, 
how much trouble and responsibility they might 
save themselves, and what disgusting operations — 
for instance in the case of quittor — they might free 


themselves from performing. Mayhew says : — * It 
obviously is folly for mortal pride to contend against 
those organisations which govern the universe. How- 
ever, in the case of exercising power over the horse, 
centuries of defeat and ages of loss seem incapable 
of causing mankind to relinquish a hopeless struggle. 
The strife has been going forward almost from 
the commencement of time ; nevertheless, human 
beings, though always beaten, press onward to perpe- 
tuate the contest. They scorn to retreat, and will 
suffer rather than own a victor ; they will not, to 
make an advantageous peace, desert a silly custom 
or discard an ancient usage. They can sustain 
punishment ; they can endure chastisement ; but, 
like land crabs, when once upon the march, they 
cannot deviate from the line which they have 
adopted. They can abuse the master, but they can- 
not listen to the instructor. " Nature," men exclaim 
in chorus, " is very stubborn." " Horse property," 
respond another gang of culpables, " is particularly 
hazardous ! " All this noise, however, might at any 
moment be avoided, if the human race would only 
stoop to employ a little reflection. If man would not 
fight quite so obstinately, but merely think over the 
cause of combat, he might possibly be a gainer in 
happiness, as luell as in pocket.^ 

Thus speaks Mayhew; but, unfortunately, he 
does not appear to have even tried the simple and 
inexpensive experiment of seeing what a horse might 
do without shoes. He had always been told that 
shoes of some sort were a necessity, and he took it 


for granted that such was the case. He strongly 
condemns ' routine ' and ' prejudice,' yet he had a 
leaven of both still clinging to him. 

Fortunately we are not obliged to wait whilst 
scientists work out the intricacies of the problems. 
In thirty days people have been able to satisfy them- 
selves thoroughly of the error of their former ways 
as regards shoeing. Others will do the same ; and 
some of them will not even care to hear at a future 
date how pathologists may have succeeded in inter- 
preting things which are now to us virtually what 
cuneiform inscriptions would be to Zulus. 

As has been remarked by ' Santa Fe,' ^ people 
will still shirk the trial of doing away with shoes 
as long as they can, by making all sorts of trivial 
excuses to themselves. ' Santa Fe ' already divines 
five such probable excuses, of which the one that is 
perhaps the most frequently urged is, that ' they 
think there may be something in it, but they will 
wait until someone else tries it.' But there is one 
unmentioned by him (although he foresees that 
there will be others) which is scarcely less used ; 
and it is that many say they believe that it would 
answer well with most classes of horses, but that the 
particular kind of horse they possess —it matters not 
of what breed he may be, or what he may have to do 
— could not do without shoes, although all the others 
might do so. IVIr. H. Jennings was not so narrow- 
minded as this. He had to do with the racer, and 
he found out that shoes were a nuisance, both to 

* See Appendix E, 


animal and master, and so he tried to do without 
them. He succeeded in cutting them down to their 
smallest size ; and only his fear of hard roads — that 
bete noire of the multitude — hindered him from 
arriving at the point of his ambition. 

The following extract is taken from a letter 
signed 'A Cavalry Officer,' which appeared in the 
* Daily Telegraph,' of December 28, 1878. 'If people 
tear off shoes, and put horses to work, or else turn 
them to grass, they will fail. In such experiments 
it is not the theory that has failed, but that it has 
not been put to a practical test. I know a pony over 
twenty years of age that has never been shod, and 
has all its life been accustomed to be galloped 
about by children on the hard roads. I have, my- 
self, kept my horses shod with tips only, for eight 
and ten months together, using them on hard roads 
and paved streets, and keeping them, when in the 
stable, standing on granite-paved stalls, without 
litter under them, except by night. I found the 
horn tougher, weak heels grow stronger, brittleness 
of hoof disappear, and I never had a foot-lame horse 
during the time named. I am satisfied that the 
way to improve horses' feet is not by turning them 
out in boggy meadows, but by removing their shoes, 
and standing them on paved flooring. That a diver- 
sity of opinion exists upon such matters amongst 
veterinary surgeons I am well aware ; but I know 
some who have served both at home, in India, and 
elsewhere with their regiments, and who approve my 
suggestions. I have heard another gravely insist 


that the feet of every horse in his regiment should 
be stopped twice a week during the summer to keep 
their feet soft^ because the roads are so hard J 

It is refreshing when we find cavalry ojBQcers not 
bound by red tape. But as regards that twenty- 
year-old unshod pony, unbelievers will immediately 
say that he only had to carry children (from one to 
three probably), and so he stands for nothing as a 
proof. But let some of these unbelievers be asked 
for the loan of a pony for children's use, and then 
we should find them refusing it, because, as they 
would say (inwardly), ' they know how children 
knock ponies about,' which is really true. The re- 
mainder of the letter coincides strikingly with a 
great deal that has been insisted upon in these 
chapters; still, for the generality of people, this 
letter may almost as well have remained unwritten — 
it is so hard to make horse-owners believe that there 
remains anything for them yet to learn ! 




Next to the racer comes the hunter — if, indeed, he 
may not be considered before him, as a ' general 
utility ' horse. Mr. Fearnley says of him : — ' There 
is nothing in the world a horse can do which we do 
not find the hunter capable of.' This is a character 
calculated to get him a situation, and accordingly 
we find him drawing a cab years before the natural 
decay of his strength, fire, and emulation would unfit 
him from carrying his master into a good place at the 
finish. If he went unshod, instead of being at 
such an early age the mass of diseases he now is, he 
would, when aged, still be fit for slower work, a long 
way ahead of the cab-rank. In fact, he might in 
many instances remain a useful servant in his old 
stable until extreme old age. 

' Impecuniosus ' hunted in an economical manner. 
He describes five ' screws ' that he had in his stables 
just ten years ago, which could hardly have cost 
collectively the price of one sound horse. They 


all had infirmities, which consisted in knuckling 
over and falling when trotted on hard roads, in- 
cipient side bones, brittle hoof, cutting, legs that 
were always swollen, chronic laminitis, corns, and 
inability to keep up a gallop through ploughed 
lands. He shod them on all fours with either short 
Charlier shoes or tips, and they were all either 
greatly benefited or else cured of these unsound- 
nesses. One of these horses he sold to a gentleman, 
who immediately had him full shod in the ordinary 
manner. The horse again became as unsound as ever. 
People read the Fields and neighbours looked on at 
it all, but it taught no one any lesson. ' Impe- 
cuniosus ' wrote in the sand for the ' ruck ; ' but not 
so, however, for the present writer, who had the 
thing quite as closely at heart as had that estimable 
gentleman himself, and followed him up (although 
then abroad) with the greatest interest, with the 
vain idea that he was going to bring about a reform. 
A decade has since passed away, and nothing has 
resulted from his efforts. It appears as if he was 
then ahead of the age — so, possibly, may his imitator 
be now ; but ten years make a difference in en- 
lightenment ; and everything should march with 
the age. If the present appeal should still prove 
abortive, at all events the subject will have been 
kept upon the surface, and thus it will again be taken 
up by someone else in due time ; and whenever 
this happens the intervals will be found to be 
shortened by the onward march of intellect and 
science, if not of common sense. 


It has been well said in a work entitled ' The 
Eights of an Animal : ' * In the history of thought, 
that which is to-day's laughing-stock becomes to- 
morrow's doubt, the wisdom of the third day, and 
the child's lesson of the fourth.' 

To return to the hunter : his foot is constructed 
upon a principle which prevents it from picking up 
and retaining dirt ; but shoeing does away with its 
architecture and mechanism. Unshod hunters would 
be free of the drawback of carrying about the weight 
of iron and dirt. When they put their feet dovni in 
ploughed land, expansion would cause them to make 
a big opening, and as, on withdrawal, the foot would 
become smaller by contraction, it would slip out 
without ' sucking,' whilst there would be nothing on 
the bottom of it that could pull out dirt with it, as 
the shoe does — always excepting the Charlier. 

Youatt says : ' An ounce or two in the weight of 
the shoe will tell sadly before the end of a hard 
day's work ; ' and an old proverb says : ' An ounce 
on the heel tells more than a pound on the back.' 
If people would reflect that this extra weight has to 
be swung at the end of a lever which is not of the 
first order, they would understand how ounces re- 
present pounds. The leverages in the horse's leg 
are largely of the second and third orders. There- 
fore, the shod hunter is more heavily handicapped 
than any other horse, except the steeplechaser. Add 
to this, the absence of disease and pain which must 
detract from weight-carrying power, and we should 
find the thirteen stone hunter of the present day 


well up to fifteen stone, and ready and eager for his 
feed when he got home, as his attention would not 
be distraught from the cravings of his stomach by 
agony in his feet and legs. 

Then, again, we have been told that unshod 
horses, when used in cattle-driving, do not slip 
about on wet grass, and roll over as shod ones do. 
This fact alone is valuable, but we may note further 
that in certain weathers the feet of shod horses will 
clog even in grass ; and when the clods fly out, with 
the force they do, the effects of leverage must 
become, upon reflection, more apparent to the edu- 
cated. Further still, when we come to consider that 
horses have so often to take off on slippery grass 
(and land upon it also) at leaps, we may easily com- 
prehend that refusals, baulks, and falls would be 
diminished. Then, again, in taking a drop-jump 
from a field, over a fence, into a road or lane. Mr. 
Miles says : — ' No horse experiences the full extent 
of the benefit of one-sided nailing with few nails like 
the hunter ; it is a great boon to every horse, but to 
him it is a blessing of the highest order, and one in 
which his rider participates more largely than some 
persons appear to imagine. ^Mien a hunter is shod 
in the usual manner, with seven or eight nails, some 
are always, for the sake of security, placed in the 
inner quarter, which is the most expansive portion 
of the hoof (?). Let a horse with his feet so circum- 
stanced be called upon to leap from a high bank into 
a hard road — and what happens? The weight of 
the horse and his rider is thrown with an impetus, 


which greatly increases that of both, upon the bones 
of the foot ; these are jammed with immense violence 
into the hoof, both sides of which are so fettered that 
neither can yield to make room for them, and they 
consequently squeeze the exquisitely sensitive lining 
of the hoof between their own hard substance, the 
unyielding horn, and the shanks of one, two, or three 
nails, as the case may be, in a merciless manner.' 

Mr. Miles had, as we have already seen, proved 
by clever experiments that expansion and contrac- 
tion positively do exist to a very marked extent in 
the horse's foot ; and it is now universally recognised, 
in England, at least, that such is the case. To allow 
them scope, he inserted nails in the shoe on the 
outside only of the hoof, and used but few nails even 
at that. The shoe was found to remain on, and the 
foot to be benefited, and he thus made an improve- 
ment ; but no one followed it up, although veterinary 
surgeons said he was right. How is this to be ac- 
counted for, any more than the failure of ' Impecunio- 
sus' to make an impression ? because people cannot 
be induced to care for, or think of, their horses any 
longer than whilst they are on their backs. Both of 
these gentlemen, although without being aware of 
it, were precursors of the non-shoeing system, as 
may be seen by their gradual, although only partial 
and tardy, reduction of iron, in the number of nails 
and the size, form, and weight of shoe. Iron was 
still their stumbling-block, as it will continue to be 
that of all who uphold its use. It cannot, in any 
shape, be used to full advantage. 


In the ' Daily Telegraph ' of last Christmas Day's 
issue, we read as follows :— ' A strange innovation 
has just been introduced into fox-hunting records 
in Fifeshire. According to the " Sporting Grazette," 
Colonel Anstruther - Thompson, finding that the 
winter promised to be a long and sharp one, made 
up his mind that neither frost nor snow should stop 
him from his favourite sport, and trained men and 
horses accordingly. A few days since the result 
was seen. With the thermometer at eight degrees 
below freezing-point, and the ground covered with 
snow, he and a number of his neighbours met, 
amongst them being one lady, their horses having 
previously had the soles of their feet covered with 
guttapercha. For a while, Balcorm wood was drawn 
without success, but presently a fox rushed out and 
a sharp run followed. The scent in the snow proved 
amazingly good ; and despite all the circumstances, 
which until now in foxhunting have been regarded 
as disadvantageous, the going was of the very best. 
At length, however, the fox managed to escape, and, 
as the sun was by this time at rest, it was too late 
for further sport that day. But the experiment 
Colonel Thompson has thus successfully made has 
created such an impression in Scotland, that it is 
likely to be followed everywhere this season ; so that 
the owners of hunters who trembled at the prospects 
of the early winter, may take heart, and, by the aid 
of guttapercha soles and a little training, yet chase 
the fox over snow-covered ground.' 

In Colonel Anstruther-Thompson we have another 



unconscious precursor of the non-shoeing system ; 
and this at a late date. The snow would have ' balled ' 
in the hoofs of iron-shod horses, and the eight 
degrees of frost would have rendered the ground too 
hard for them to alight upon it after each leap. 
Guttapercha staved off these difficulties, but the 
naked hoof would have done better still if it had 
had a month's judicious care previously bestowed 
upon it ; and for many obvious reasons, one of which 
is that guttapercha applied over the whole sole 
would obstruct natural transpiration, and so cause 
an unhealthy state of the whole hoof, if its applica- 
tion were kept up continually. 

All these ideas lead up to the main point, which 
is that the freer the hoof is from iron the better it 

Should anyone doubt that transpiration is con- 
tinually going on in the foot of a horse, let him put 
an unshod one to stand for five minutes on dry flag- 
stones, and then he will see the imprint of each 
foot marked in damp upon them ; or, as Mayhew 
puts it, let him hold a wineglass with its mouth 
reversed upon the sole, and then he will find that 
the inside of the glass becomes shortly covered with 
dew. This frightens the grooms into the belief that 
it is an unnatural phenomenon, because it cannot 
be seen in a shod horse. The current of air which 
the raising up of the foot by the shoe admits under- 
neath the foot carries off the vapour, and so does 
not permit of its condensation upon a dry floor. 
This forbids the constant employment of gutta- 


percha. All kinds of diseases of the foot and leg 
would be found to arise from it ; hence that door is 
closed, except on an emergency, and for a very short 
time. The Charlier tip is better than this device. 

The unshod hunter that is stabled on a bare floor, 
and that goes to cover and returns at night over 
hard roads, will have a perfect hoof and foot, and 
would fear nothing that he could ever encounter in 
the rest of his day's work ; and then, he could hunt 
another day a week. 

Instructions are repeatedly being asked for as to 
how to make and apply the Charlier shoe. Mr^ W. H. 
Stevens, M.R.C.V.S., of 9, Park Lane, W., sends, 
post free, for sixpence, a pamphlet, wherein the 
whole thing is elucidated. This pamphlet is well 
illustrated, and should make details clear to the 
most obtuse. If shoes are required, or the neces- 
sary drawing-knife (which is the only extra tool 
required), Mr. Stevens also supplies them, as will 
be seen on perusal of the pamphlet. Messrs. Arnold 
& Sons, 36, West Smithfield, also supply the knife. 
When ordering shoes, a tracing of one fore and 
one hind foot should be sent. It is not likely that 
' tips ' are kept, but the latest information gives 
the valuable and significant fact that the ' full ' 
shoe is no longer made, but only a ' short ' shoe 
(a three-quarter one, in fact) which stops a good 
bit short of the bars. This is ivorth knoiving. 
Those who wish for ' tips ' can easily get on after 
knowing this much, without any further hints on 
the subject. 

M 2 


There are farmers who breed hunters and who 
ride their young horses to hounds, as a matter either 
of business or of pleasure. If they would try them 
unshod, they might be agreeably surprised at the 
result. Setting aside their superior performance, 
they would find, when they came to sell them, that 
the veterinary surgeon would always pass them as 
free from all suspicion of brittle hoof, sandcrack, 
seedy toe, thrushes, corns, pumice-foot, cutting or 
brushing, or navicular disease. No unshod horse 
ever suffers from any of these diseases or defects, 
no matter how hard his work or over what ground. 
This much is allowed, as we have seen, by veterinary 
surgeons. But besides these certain advantages, 
there are others. For instance, spavins, splints, 
ring-bones, side-bones, wind-galls, ' swollen ' legs and 
' filled ' legs Cwhich are different), quittor, curbs, 
stringhalt, overreach, bad action, thickened tendons, 
and stumbling, are all to be found with singularly 
less frequency in the unshod horse than in the shod 
one. The same remark applies also to those occult 
infirmities and defects of which mention has already 
been made, many of which constitute unsoundness 
by laiu. 



' cutting' caused by shoeing — CRUEL MODE OF CURE AT 

Equal to the hunter in value is the lady's horse. 
In the ' Book of the Horse,' we find it said of him : 
' He should be free from the slightest suspicion of 
unsoundness in feet and forelegs, or those tricks of 
stumbling which lead to falls.' In an editorial 
article, the ' Morning Advertiser ' has said : ' There 
can be no doubt that to encase the foot of either 
man or beast in a hard, heavy, unyielding case or 
cincture is against every law of Nature. It is 
equally true that by so doing the delicacy of the 
foot is impaired, the sensitiveness injured, and, 
accordingly, the liability of the animal — let us say 
the horse — to stumble much increased.' This being 
so, as it undeniably is, a lady's horse should evi- 
dently be unshod. He would then possess further 


advantages as being lighter in hand — no trifling 
one — and all his gaits would become more elastic 
and airy, rendering him much easier to sit and ride, 
and give his rider a more graceful seat, while at the 
same time she would experience less fatigue, and be 
in greater safety. 

Should these lines attract the notice of any fair 
reader, it is to be hoped that she may give their 
substance due consideration. Let her reflect that 
the present prevailing mode of shoeing is an un- 
scientific and old-fashioned affair, and that it is now 
high time there should be a change of fashion, for 
ladies, at least. Let her consider that the hoof grows 
from above downwards ; and thus, when the bottom 
part gets fair play, diseases and defects of the 
hoof will gradually disappear to a great extent, if 
not entirely. Any lady may improve her present 
favourite, both in comfort to him and in safety as well 
as comfort to herself, by having him shod all round 
with tips. The Charlier is much the best system, 
but where it cannot easily be put in practice, the 
common tip, made as narrow and thin as the Charlier, 
will be found very effective, and a very great im- 
provement on the broad, heavy, ' full ' shoe now in 
almost universal use. 

Charlier did not invent the narrow, thin shoe or 
tip ; he only made better use of such a piece of iron 
by imbedding it in the crust, on a level with the 
outer edge of the sole — and this was certainly an 
improvement. Mayhew says: — * All idea of the 
breadth of shoe affording the slightest protection 


should be at once abolished, because the broad web 
has been proved by the general employment of the 
picker rather to afford harbour to hurtful particles 
than to protect the sole from injury. The shoe 
should be made only just wide enough to afford 
bearing to the wall of the hoof, and to allow suffi- 
cient room for the nails to pierce the substance of 

the iron There can be no doubt as to 

the safety of tips Were tips more 

generally employed, this form of shoe w^ould be 
more highly valued.' So we see that Mayhew was 
only short of the idea of imbedding his narrow strip 
of iron, which idea occurred to M. Charlier shortly 
after Mavhew wrote. 

It may not be out of place to repeat here that 
such a narrow, weak strip of iron is not found to 
answer when applied in the shape of a full-sized 
shoe, as it will then either twist or break ; but in 
the short length required for a tip, it is found that 
it will do neither. 

Impulsive or superficial thought may suggest the 
idea that such light tips may soon wear out. This 
is not the case, for Mr. Douglas found by practical 
experiment that light shoes wear the longest ; and 
a little reflection would account for this. 

The proper width of a tip for a lady's horse 
would be from | in. to ^ in., and the thickness ^ in. 
only. Light iron, as has been observed, only re- 
quires light nails, and few of them, to hold it on ; 
and as the narrowness of the web of the tip would 
bring the nail-holes nearer to the edge of the hoof, 


the danger of pricking the sensitive parts would be 
almost entirely done away with ; and thus there 
would be much less of mutilation of the hoof. 

Perhaps, after a time, some ladies may find their 
horses improved through the wearing of tips, and 
then some of them might be found willing to do 
away with them on the hind feet of their horses ; 
and, if this were found a success, something more 
might suggest itself to them. But those who 
employ tips, even should they get no farther, will 
find their advantage in a week or two. They must 
not expect that those diseases of the bones, cartil- 
ages, or tendons which have been brought about 
by shoeing, if they are firmly established, can be 
entirely cured by the change ; but their progress may 
be arrested ; and, what is equally consoling, they 
will find by the ' going ' of their horses under them, 
that the absence of inconvenience and pain in their 
feet and legs makes them more ' springy,' and, 
consequently, safer and easier to ride. Let them 
notice also the difference in the weight they throw 
on the bit after a while. 

A horse adapted to carry a lady safely and 
with ease would be well suited for an elderly 
gentleman, or a timid or inexperienced rider of the 
plain sex. 

Park hacks, it has already been conceded by 
authority, ' would go more safely without shoes than 
with them, because shoes accumulate the soil.' Evi- 
dently, it must also be unpleasant to have a com- 
pound of tan and manure thrown in one's teeth by 


horses in front. Unshod horses cannot pick it up 
or even scatter it knee-high. 

Although it may be rather out of place here, we 
will remark eii passant that ' circus ' horses do not 
appear to labour under any very pressing necessity 
of being cursed with shoes, yet they are ; and they 
continually favour spectators in the front seats 
with showers of filth that often finds a resting-place 
in the eye, and thus deprives its receiver of the 
enjoyment of the remainder of the ' spectacle.' 

But, anyhow^, breeders of park hacks, seeing the 
concession made by authority in favour of these 
animals, would be going out of their road, and in- 
curring extra risks, if they shod them even to break 
them. Let them break them unshod, and in the 
same state offer them for sale. They would thus 
pass their examination as to soundness without 
difficulty ; and then if their buyers thought proper 
to shoe them their sin would be upon their own 
heads. By so doing, they would simply follow up 
the purchase of a valuable article by deliberate 
efforts to depreciate its intrinsic worth. Of course, 
there should be fair play over the transaction, and 
it should be understood that the horse had his feet 
inured to hard roads, and not have been broken-in 
upon grass. Horses broken-in upon grass do not 
acquire showy action. It would not, therefore, pay 
to shirk the thing ; and this would be a safeguard 
for the buyer, in case he wanted the horse for imme- 
diate work ; it would regulate the price. ' A thing 
(of any kind) is worth what it will fetch,* and so 


fancy prices are continually being paid for horses, 
especially ladies' horses and park hacks. 

Another class of horse that often commands a 
long price is the carriage-horse of the ' upper ten.' 
As a rule, the accusation that they get early worn 
out by hard work would hardly lie ; yet at what 
a comparatively early age they become ' screws,' 
through the bearing-rein and their shoeing. Their 
work lies largely over stone paving, the evils of 
which, to shod horses, Mr. Fearnley and others so 
justly denounce. One purpose of the bearing-rein 
is avowedly to give lofty action, not graceful action, 
which, on the contrary, it prevents. Horses with 
their heads rigidly attached to their tails are con- 
tinually tossing up their heads, in which no doubt 
they find a passing relief alternately for their various 
excruciating pains, which must extend from the tail 
to the teeth. The throwing up of the head neces- 
sarily tends to raise their fore feet higher, but not 
with regularity, as may be seen by observation. 
This abnormal high action causes so much the 
greater shock on the feet when they come down on 
the stone, and this brings their shod hoofs to grief. 
Mr. Douglas says : — ' The evil effects of concussion, 
of the firm, hard blows from the ground, striking 
through the iron up a horse's leg that is being 
driven fast along the road, cannot he over-estimated. 
Such common results as splints, spavins, and ring- 
bones, I have already referred to elsewhere, as well 
as to another and more fatal disease, known as 
foundered feet, due to the same cause — concussion. 


It is allowed that the cause of this disease proceeds 
from the violent exercise over hard roads, and that 
young horses are most liable to it : of course, all 
combined with heavy wide-webbed shoes, fastened 
on to mutilated feet.' 

As a remedy or a prevention of concussion, Mr. 
Douglas proposed to let guttapercha into a dove- 
tailed groove on the face of the shoe. At the best, 
this would have been only a partial remedy, but the 
shoe never came into use. No innovations find easy 
acceptance ; and why ? Mayhew solves this con- 
undrum, when he tells us that ' it is in their own 
interests that farriers make no improvements ! ' 

The crippled screws of which we are now speak- 
ing would always be wanting to rest one fore-foot 
and one hind one at one and the same time, and 
alternating them frequently, besides drooping their 
heads in despondency, when they were at a stand. 
Here comes in another purpose of the bearing-rein, 
which is that of ' pulling them together,' and thus 
hiding from the ignorant the infirmities and suffer- 
ings in their feet, by the application of counter- 
irritation. Thus they are supposed to make a 
better show when drawn up in Kegent Street, or at 
Lancaster Grate, or, say, even at the door of Willis's 
Rooms, when an anti-vivdsection congress is sitting. 
If only for the sake of decency, we should show a 
little consistency. Let it be understood that we are 
not arguing either jpro cr con, on the question of 
vivisection of the lower animals ; we have our own 
opinion on the subject, but we prefer to stand in 


the present instance upon neutral ground, and so 
talk to both sides. Those who are against it can 
find no excuse for docking the tails of horses, which 
custom cannot be considered other than vivisection ; 
whilst those who argue that science can be advanced 
by investigating the interior organs of a guinea-pig, 
cannot argue that docking a horse's tail proves any- 
thing more than that we are still little more than 
half-reclaimed savages, with a remnant of idolatry 
which obliges us to offer up as sacrifice the ends of 
our horses' vertebral columns to that idol which we 
worship under the name of * fashion.' The whole 
system is rotten. 

To drive a horse that cuts himself is cruelty to 
animals, and at some future time it will be punished 
as such. To rasp away, and thus weaken, the inside 
of the shell of the foot, in a futile endeavour to 
avoid cutting, is also cruelty, and some day this 
practice will also be prohibited on that account. 
The prevailing idea of cruelty seems to be that 
blood must be flowing, or sores visible under the 
harness; but a sore that gets hit with the foot is 
quite as bad. 

The operation of rasping away the hoof, to cure 
cutting, is as unscientific as it is unsuccessful. The 
idea that suggests it is one of those that 'Im- 
pecuniosus ' says ' has sprung from wrong roots 
altogether.' He cured his horses of this misfortune 
by shoeing them with Charlier tips. The cause of 
cutting is the shoeing. It is not meant by this that 
it is the shoe or nails that cut — as anyone may see 

* cutting' and 'brushing.' 173 

that. What is meant is that an unshod horse, or 
even one wearing tips, never hits his leg with the 
opposing foot ; one reason for this being because 
he wears away his heels in their proper economical 
ratio and form, and thus gets a natural 'tread.' 
Nature never meant him to knock himself about 
so awkwardly at every step. Cutting is always 
accompanied by deterioration of action, and diminu- 
tion of speed, and then all his defection is reckoned 
up together, and the unfortunate horse (instead of 
his master) is put down as a ' rip,' although he may 
perhaps be only a victim of routine. 

The eye of 'fashion' too often looks through 
that of its coachman when estimating action, and 
thus it has become callous, so to speak, and in- 
sensible to the elegance of the natural action of 
such a graceful animal. Mayhew says that ' pride 
has no brains, and but a very limited amount of 
intellect.' Let pride, or ' fashion,' just stoop to the 
use of tips, and then their coachmen would gradually 
come round. Coachmen are not all fools, any more 
than they are all sages, although they are all pre- 
judiced ; and few of them nowadays are as in- 
terested as their class formerly was in bolstering up 
trade interests. We find that they mostly acquire 
an affection for their horses — as they look upon 
them, and they should not be altogether discouraged 
from so doing — barring some unfortunate animal 
that is obliged to become a crib-biter, &c., but in 
favour of which they are generally willing to admit 
either pluck or something else. They cannot under- 


stand that he is being driven into such vices ; they 
believe them to be inherent in the individual. This 
affection for, and interest in, their horses, which 
has been developing itself of late years in coach- 
men (not so much in stable-helpers), would soon 
reconcile them to any innovation which might be 
found beneficial to horses, however much they may 
be averse to them when first introduced to their 
notice or approval. 

I am obliged to ' N.,' ^ both for the interest he 
has taken in what I have written and for the case he 
mentions of impending lockjaw (which it would 
appear to have been) through ill-grown teeth. I 
have not met with a parallel case, but I once knew 
a cart-horse that cost £100 to die of lockjaw from 
getting ' pricked 'in shoeing. The nail was withdrawn, 
but the " veterinary surgeon stated that there had 
been a scale on the inside of it which had been 
forced off in the withdrawal ' against the grain,' 
and had made its way into the sensitive parts, to 
remain there. 

To ' J. F. K. S.' 2 I am equally indebted. He 
may rest assured that no fair trial has ever been 
given to the artillery horses at Woolwich, but it has 
been given to such horses at the Cape, and with the 
greatest success. They were found to go better, when 
unshod all round, over the roughest description of 
hilly roads, and for years together. 

What has happened at Woolwich has been that 
shoes are removed from all horses before shipping 

' See Appendix F. ' See Appendix G. 


them for a long voyage, both to hinder them from 
slipping about and prevent them from getting 
foundered, which it is well known to veterinary 
surgeons they are particularly liable to when at sea, 
if shod. 




A CLASS of horse that is extensively kept is le cheval 
a deux fins, the one that is ridden on one day, and 
driven, perhaps, the next, and so on. This horse 
could but gain in both his capacities by going un- 
shod, and it would be an error on the part of his 
owner to argue within himself that it might answer 
under saddle, but would not do for harness work, 
or vice versa. People are strangely given to shirk 
innovations by laying hold of every excuse they can 
put their hands upon. 

Omnibus, van, tramway, cab, and such-like horses, 
busily employed in cities, will perhaps be the last 
(although not the least requiring) to receive full 
benefit of a change in the order of things ; but get 
it some day they must, as they have obtained relief 
from the bearing-rein, for which they are indebted 
to the energetic agitation of Mr. Flower. A careful 
inspection of their legs and feet would convince 
anyone endowed with perception that the present 


system of shoeing is simply ruining them. As we 
have seen, there is, at least, one intelligent firm 
■who have stuck to the Charlier system for more 
than seven years, and have made their success with 
it public through the Press. To all appearance they 
might almost as well have remained silent on the 
subject. Who is there that can boast of having put 
their enterprise and experience to profit ? Echo 
answers. Who ? May we be allowed to ask, whence 
arises such indifference on a question of inilliona 
annually 2 If submitted to Lord Dundreary, he 
would probably say : 'It is one of those things 
no fellow can understand ; ' and this is the only 
solution the writer can propose as a corollary to that 
of ' Impecuniosus,' which is, ' because everyone does 
it, I suppose ; ' and to that of ' Santa Fe,' who says : 
' Fortunately our ancestors did not shoe their dogs 
and cats, or, in all probability, most of us would do 
so in the present day.' The enterprising London 
firm in question liberally offered their horses for in- 
spection, and no one went to see them I One gentle- 
man said : ' I have got along for the last thirty-five 
years, and I shall not change now.' He had some- 
thing of either the Mede or Persian about him, and 
there are too many like him. We may say, en 
passant, that his horses were about as badly shod as 
any that can be found nowadays, and were, every 
one of them, unsound from this very cause ; but he 
did not ivant to know any better. 

A jpropos of horses, we will look at the lightly- 
built and lightly-limbed mules, with hoofs scarcely 



bigger than those of donkeys — those that nm on 
some tramways. Light as they are, they are strong 
and powerful ; and the only advantage which could 
ever be expected from them lay in the lightness of 
their frame, legs, and feet, which would give them a 
pull over heavy horses, if we may assume that they 
would not batter their feet and legs to pieces on the 
hard stone pavement — since they run upon nothing 
else. For a mule requires more feed than a horse, 
taking him hands for hands, and equal mileage, 
load, and speed ; and this the tramway companies 
will find out ere long, if they keep satisfactory 
records of each and all. 

These mules have no weight or load to keep back. 

They cannot have any, as it is done for them by a 

brake on the car, which is powerful enough to stop 

the whole concern, mules and all, in the traject of a 

few feet; neither have they any weight to carry, 

beyond that of the collar, traces, and bridle ; there 

is not even a pole to the cars, so they have nothing 

to do but to pulL Yet they are shod, especially 

behind, in an outrageous manner, with shoes that 

are extra long, and are, besides, calked! What 

ghost of a reason is there for calks on animals thus 

employed ? Calks are only a clumsy, ignorant, and 

utterly unsuccessful substitution for a brake on the 

wheels. The tramcars have the brake, and even if 

they had not, calks will not help an animal to pull 

up upon pavement. They may do so upon country 

roads, hut only with prejudice to the animaVs limbs. 

Hear Mr. Fearnley upon this subject; and lay 


what he says to heart : — * There could be no better 
service rendered to the horse universe than the 
passing of an Act of Parliament rendering it a mis- 
demeanour for any one shoeing a horse to reduce 
the thickness of his soles or frog ' — he omits to 
state the evils of cutting out the bars — ' or to put 
under his heels or quarters iron exceeding a defined 
thickness, except under the certificate of a qualified 
veterinary surgeon, who should, after examining the 
horse, explain the need for the same. Horses, like 
every other property, are national property, and a 
man owning them mediately has no more right to 
deface them than he has to deface the coin of the 
realm, which he also owns only mediately. ' What 
is mine is my own ' is still the creed, not only of the 
vulgar, but of those who ought, at least, to know 
the rudiments of political economy.' 

The writer thinks with Mr. Fearnley, that the 
question should be one for the Government; but 
then there is that awful red tape, which, slight as it 
is to look at, holds progress in bonds. So there is 
no hope from that quarter for the present. It is 
only two years ago that Mr. Fearnley expressed 
himself thus, and it is possible that no member of 
either the late or the present Grovernment, even if 
they read his book, bestowed any attention upon it, 
although there is, perhaps, not a single member of 
either that has not been at loss and inconvenience 
through a horse being badly shod. That makes 
no difference to them. They have their political 
squabbles to keep up over aliens, and we and our 

N 2 


horses may go to the crows, because they fail to see 
the importance of an immense national economy. 
Luckily, we may do without their interference if we 
like, and show them ' how it is done.' 

But we must not get away from those mules just 
yet. Without knowing positively, we cannot be far 
from the mark if we suppose that stables which con- 
tain hundreds of them must be daily visited by a 
veterinary surgeon; and, if such be the case, why 
should he not have direction over the farriers ? If 
he had such, we should soon see the calk, as well as 
a big piece of superfluous length of iron, cut off 
from each side of the heel. Here is another op- 
portunity for asking ' What ghost of a reason there 
is ' for leaving iron to protrude behind the heels ? 
What is it meant to protect — the tails? The mules 
have them close shaven ; so they are not in reach of 
anything below the hocks. What purpose, then, is 
it meant to serve ? One result of the practice is to 
make their heels come to the ground sooner than 
they were intended to do, and so give them a false 
' tread,' thus using them up early, by making their 
legs perform unnatural functions which lead to 
fatigue and diseases. What is to hinder them from 
wearing tips, to begin with ? The heavy shoeing, 
and the generally indefensible manner in which they 
are now shod, cause these hapless, light-limbed, and 
small-footed creatures, when at their trot, to swing 
their feet backwards and then upwards, in a manner 
that is most ridiculous to a person accustomed to 
mules; but their Cockney half-brothers, who have 


been hitherto unacquainted with them, seem to con- 
sider this as correct action. This forced and un- 
natural amount of play upon the articulations can 
but cause serious injury, especially to the tendons 
and synovially lubricated surfaces generally. In fact, 
it is undue wear and tear all round, even on the 
muscles, which carry us up to the heart, and on the 
nerves, which carry us up to the brain. 

What chance, then, have these poor animals of 
showing what they may be worth ? They are only 
an experiment as yet, and are all young ; and, 
through a very unfair treatment, it will be presently 
discovered that they have not answered expectations. 
This will not be the fault of the mules, but their 
misfortune. They are already a partial failure, as 
may be seen from the fact that in many cases three 
of them are employed on a two-horse car, and two 
of them on a one-horse car ; but a good deal of this 
is to be accounted for from the fact that people of 
the gohe-mouche fraternity fancy that a mule con- 
sumes less provender than a horse. It is true that 
a mule can, upon an emergency and for a short time, 
make a shift upon shorter and lower quality rations 
than a horse can ; but, take him all the year round, 
he not only cannot do so, but requires more than 
the horse. On this account mules are useful in 
foreign countries where privations may be expected 
on journeys; but, put them to regular work and 
regular feed, and then the writer has always found 
them, during a very extensive experience, to require 
more sustenance than a horse doing the same work. 


People get statistics (not always correct) that a mule 
consumes so many pounds of barley and chopped 
straw per diem, and then they substitute (on paper) 
the same weight of oats, putting nothing down for 
hay for fodder and straw for litter, neither of which 
Spanish mules get in their own country, and for- 
getting that barley goes further than oats in the 
shape of nutrition ; and thus they arrive at a false 

A mule, when doing the same work as a horse of 
his power, over stages with accommodation, must eat 
more than the horse to be able to do it ; it is, there- 
fore, doubtful whether he can ever compete with the 
horse in England. Abroad, he is undoubtedly useful 
in many parts, because he can stretch a point where 
a horse sometimes could not, through his being able 
to subsist for a few days on what would not maintain 
the horse ; although, of course, he has to make up 
for it afterwards, which he will not forget to do. In 
the Spanish army, the mules get the ration-and- 
a-half of a horse's barley. There are many more 
horses than mules in this service in Spain. We shall 
see presently how mules pay on tramways in England ; 
but in the meantime it is certain that the companies 
are throwing away their best chance, which was that 
of finding out whether through being lighter in 
their feet, legs, and superstructure, they could stand 
battering about on pavements. To investigate this, 
they have shod them worse, in proportion to their 
build, than they have shod their horses. 

So much for companies, societies, and all corpo- 


rate bodies ; clear-headed individuals have to be 
depended upon for putting the thing to the test. 
Board meetings are amongst the slowest and most 
obtuse of all institutions ; they always demand pre- 
cedents, and when they receive them, they shake 
their heads, and do as they meant to do. However, 
some of them have rushed into mules, and it would 
look as if they now had to rush about for more 
stable accommodation, more helpers, and more far- 
riers. The farriers will be striking against them 
soon for more wages and less work — everything is 
worth what it will fetch in the market ; and they 
are creating a demand for farriers by multiplying 
the number of their animals — but is this making 
things good for trade ? The farriers probably think 
it is, but then they are interested parties ; how 
about the shareholders ? This is not only a question 
of humanity, which we will put first (for the sake 
of form for such people), but also of largely vested 
interests. We will ask again, what is the reason for 
such extensive shoeing? We have seen that the 
mules have no load to keep back ; does it help them 
to pull, or prevent them from slipping when so 
doing ? Let anyone take the trouble to go and 
look at them. If he should happen to be a share- 
holder, all the better, and he will be persuaded that 
their hardest task is to gain a foothold for a start. 
They run only on flat ground, or ground with 
scarcely appreciable ascents ; but see how they strain 
every muscle, and how they make the sparks fly out 
of the stones. Of course, the larger the surface of 


slippery iron opposed to the smooth stones, the 
more they slip. It is only through encountering 
resistance in the joints between the paving-stones 
that they are able to start at all. As the mules 
have discovered this, they knowingly start on the 
tips of their toes, in order to let them catch these 
irregularities : they have found out that by putting 
their feet down flat they slip over them. The full 
use of the frog is what they are in want of. They 
would not start on their toes if this were put at 
their disposition ; but no shoe can give it, except 
the Charlier tip. 

Mr. Fearnley says : — ' People will watch a horse 
drawing a heavy load up a hill, violently digging his 
toes into the ground, or backing a load down a hill, 
digging his heels into the ground, and then go home 
and invent a shoe ! ' 

What oceans of misdirected ingenuity have been 
wasted over this bugbear — an article that is entirely 
unnecessary. It is true that Mr. Fearnley does not 
go quite so far as to say this — he has no experience 
in working unshod horses ; but he does say that the 
simplest and smallest of all, the Charlier, 'is at 
once the most scientific, as it is the most common^ 
sense, shoe.' He is about as late an authority on 
the subject as can be found ; but all advice in this 
direction seems to be cast to the winds. People rely 
more on the knowledge of their stable-helpers and 
farriers, and ask their opinion on the subject, which 
is, of course, that they know more about it than all 
the professors yet born, and they know that all parts 


of a horse's foot must be kept oif the ground, ' or 
else why does he limp when he loses a shoe ? ' This 
settles the thing at once with the master, and he 
shuts up, instead of giving the thing fair considera- 
tion and investigation, and talking it over with other 
owners to obtain an interchange of ideas. People 
do not like to do this, because, as Bracy Clark said : 
' No man likes to make inquiries about horses, for 
that would imply a want of knowledge.' This nail got 
another blow on the head lately from ' Caractacus,' 
when he said in the ' Farm Joumal' : ' Unfortunately 
it forms too prominent a feature of the average 
Englishman's vanity to affect to know much more 
about the horse than he really does.' As a general 
rule, that is what is the matter with them ; but 
in the affair of treatment of the foot they tacitly 
acknowledge that stable-helpers and farriers under- 
stand it better than themselves, and so they leave 
these two lumps of ignorance to make arrangements 
between them over such a small affair, heedless of 
the not time-honoured maxim, ' No foot, no horse.' 
Thus, these worthies have become authorities on 
shoeing, to the prejudice of professors who were 
almost at their wit's end to grapple with the question. 
Mayhew says : ' No shoe can give that which 
is dependent upon motion^ — expansion is motion. 
' There are many more pieces of iron curved, hol- 
lowed, raised, and indented than I have cared to 
enumerate. All, however, have failed to restore 
health to the hoof. Some, by enforcing a change 
of position, may, for a time, appear to mitigate 


the evil ; but none can, in the long-run, cure the 
disorder under which the hoof evidently suffers. 
Anointing the hoofs, or using various stoppings, are 
equally fruitless.' You cannot get the present race 
of stablemen to believe a single word of this ; there- 
fore their present sway must be wrested from them. 




The * Field,' in its issue of May 1, 1880, contains the 
following : — ' Last week I saw in the City a brown 
horse without shoes drawing a full-sized brougham : 
his feet seemed jparticularly sound and luell-shaped. 
It would be interesting to j earn the method of treat- 
ment, and the length of time necessary to fit a horse 
for use unshod on the London stones. If the owner 
should see these lines, perhaps he will give your 
readers the benefit of his experience.' 

This communication proves that there is at least 
one more unshod horse going sound in our midst, 
and that he has excited the interest of at least one 
observer. Although this gentleman does not directly 
express it, he seems to imply his wonder how the 


horse could do his work over the paved streets of 
London, which are the cause of so much injury to 
shod horses through their slipping about upon them 
so continually, and the ' concussion striking through 
the iron up the leg ' (Douglas). 

This brings us back again to the question of 
roads — there are no bad ones for an unshod horse ; 
but neither the hardest nor the roughest are the 

We have before cited Xenophon, but now we will 
do so more fully. He says : ' Damp and smooth 
stable-floors injure even naturally good hoofs ; to 
prevent damp, they should slope backwards.' The 
damp of acrid excrement is evidently implied. ' To 
prevent them from being smooth, they should have 
irregular-shaped stones inserted in the ground, and 
close to one another, similar to a horse's hoof in 
size ; for such stable-floors give firmness to the 
feet of horses that stand upon them. The ground 
outside the stable-door, upon which the horse is 
groomed, may be put into excellent condition, and 
serve to strengthen the horse's feet, if a person 
throws down upon it here and there four or five 
measures full of round stones, large enough to fill 
the two hands, and each about a pound in weight, 
surrounding such spaces with an iron rim, so that 
the stones may not get scattered ; for as the horse 
stands on these, he will be in much the same con- 
dition as if he were made to travel part of every 
day on a stony road. A horse must also move his 
hoof when he is being rubbed down, or when he is 


annoyed with flies, as mucli as when he is walking ; 
and the stones which are thus spread about will 
strengthen the frogs of his feet. He that gives 
trial to this suggestion will give credit to others 
which I shall offer, and will see the feet of his horse 
become firm.' 

Paul Louis Courier translated Xenophon's treatise, 
and was so impressed with its inculcations that he 
put them to the proof by riding unshod horses in 
the Calabrian campaign of 1807, and he found them 
right. Does not this look as if we have been 
striving to know better than our masters, and hunt- 
ing to heel, or peering through the wrong end of 
the telescope ? The ' Cavalry Officer ' before quoted 
had got hold of the right end of the thing, and so 
have a few others who have given their experience 
to empty air from time to time. 

The unshod horse can successfully deal with all 
roads. Those that are soft, and have to be travelled 
over continually, are the worst for him ; but Xeno- 
phon shows us how to meet even this difficulty, by 
making him stand at every opportune moment upon 
the roughest material we can find for paving. How 
opposed is it to the opinions and ideas of the present 
age, that a horse could be benefited by dancing 
about upon loose shingle of the size of an orange, 
whilst he was being groomed outside a stable that 
was intentionally roughly paved for the purpose of 
giving as much attrition as possible, in even waste 

Xenophon did not write upon theory, but gave 


the result of his practice and experience, which 
does not seem to have taught any one very much, 
for we find modern writers who quote him shifting 
out of the question by stating that he had not our 
modern artificial hard roads to deal with. From his 
style of writing we may infer that he would have 
been glad to shake hands with Macadam, or even with 
a pavior that would extend his stable floors out-of- 
doors as far as possible. He would not have asked 
for a steam-roller to smooth down loose stones, 
because he knew that his horses would prefer them 
to the soft mire encountered continually when in 
campaign, at which times they could not always get 
the benefit of the hard floors, on the use of which in 
barracks he laid so great stress. 

The universal idea nowadays is that horses must 
have something ' nice and soft to stand upon ' when 
they are not at work, and that this something should 
have smoothness also connected with it ; some people 
even argue that a stable without straw spread over 
it in the daytime looks naked and comfortless. This 
is conventionality. In Spain the best-appointed 
stables are clean swept by day, and the presence of 
an odd straw knocking about would be considered 
slovenliness. Tastes difi'er according to established 
customs or prevailing fashions ; but the hygiene of 
the horse should never be sacrificed to such empty 
and variable things as fashions or appearances of any 

' Herts ' seems unwilling to believe that unshod 
horses could trot for miles together over roads con- 


structed and repaired with flints. They can do so, 
however, and with more ease and comfort than shod 
ones. If they could not, there would be an end of 
the thing, for evidently the horse should be able to 
go anywhere and everywhere, and at a moment's 
notice. This is just what shod horses cannot do, as 
they are continually being sent to the forge to have 
alterations made when a frost sets in, or for some 
other reason. His statement that his horses are 
found very much lamed and cut when they go only 
half a journey over such roads, after losing a shoe, 
everyone (including the writer) will most readily 
accept. As regards the deer that could not stand 
upon its feet for three weeks after a run, we have 
no evidence that he ran upon macadamised roads, or 
even that he suffered in his feet. He most likely 
had too much of either the pace or the distance, 
and so had given out, as many a good horse has 
frequently had to do, and even die in the field upon 
occasions, notwithstanding his being blessed with 
shoes. This accident to a solitary deer does not 
seem to have led to the practice of shoeing deer 
that have to be hunted. It is generally accepted 
amongst sportsmen (those who ride, at least) that 
their chase should have fair play. The deer which we 
hunt in England are captive animals (except those on 
Exmoor), and if shoeing would give them fairer 
play they certainly ought to get the benefit of it ; 
not only on account of the fair play, but also on the 
score of speed, activity, confidence, and staying 
powers, of which they might (theoretically) take 


advantage, and which should make their chase all 
the more exciting. Perhaps people are afraid that 
then they would never be run down at all, or 
even viewed. Foxes run stoutly, and some of them 
manage to outrun both hounds and huntsmen with- 
out the aid of so much as a sock or slipper, and so 
do the deer on Exmoor that have rougher ground 
to deal with than most people imagine ; yet we do 
not hear much about their going into hospital. The 
deer that got so knocked up on the occasion cited 
could not have been in condition, or ' fit ' for a hard 
run, and must have been prostrated by simple over^ 
exertion. Should he be brought forward after many 
years as evidence that horses require shoeing ? Fair 
argument and common sense do not appear to be 
entirely necessary to everyone who is determined 
not to be convinced. 

However, as regards those sharp flints, Mr. 
Douglas has informed us that the frog does not fear 
them. Colonel Burdett says that the natural sole 
is almost impenetrable, and so hard and strong that 
it protects the sensible sole from all harm ; and 
Osmer tells us that all feet exposed to hard objects 
become more obdurate thereby if the sole be never 
pared. Now, has ' Herts ' considered that our shoe 
does not cover either the frog or more than the edge 
of the sole, and, mutilated as they are by the knife, 
that the sharp stones must continually be reaching 
them, and that still horses do not get cut by flints 
in these parts ? Where they get cut and crippled is 
on the brittle crust, and sometimes on the outer rim 


of the sole, precisely those parts which have always 
been covered and protected with iron, or, in fact, 
deprived of all attrition, whilst the frog and sole get 
some occasionally from inequalities to be met with 
on almost every road. Both of these must, there- 
fore, be exposed to the sharp points of the broken 
flints in question to a very great degree, although 
they do not hurt them unless a stone gets fixed 
between the shoe and the sole. People ought not 
to want to have such simple facts pointed out to 
them ; they see them daily, and they are patent 
enough. But no; people close the doors of their 
minds, and when they have incapacitated the outer 
rim of the foot from performing its natiu'al functions, 
they point triumphantly to it, as if the mischief 
were not their own bringing about. Certainly, no 
one must expect to tear off the shoes and be able 
to put the animal to full work in five minutes after- 
wards. Not only has no one been invited to act thus 
unreasonably, but they have been warned against 
it. For hardworking horses, that cannot be sus- 
pended from labour, the use of tips has been recom- 
mended. Keep on with the tips if you are satisfied 
with the results they give you, for months if you 
choose, or even altogether, if you are afraid to go 
farther. You will, anyhow, have made a vast im- 

Here is another argument in favour of tips. You 
may have an ordinary full-sized shoe put on in the 
best manner possible, even inspected by the best 
veterinary surgeon to be found, and one who will 


forbid all carving away of the frog bars and sole, 
and will see that the frog comes down to the ground 
(even if it has to go over the Hertfordshire flints, 
for which the veterinary surgeon will have no fear), 
and then you will get frog pressure, which is already 
something, and your horse will then be one of the 
best shod in England, but if you will just lift up his 
foot and examine the frog, you will see that it is semi- 
cloven. Now, as you will hardly regard the cleft as 
the result of a careless construction, you should 
reason out for yourself what it is there for, and then 
you could hardly help arriving at the conclusion 
that it was to allow the heels to spread. Why then 
do you lock them together with a full shoe ? You 
have obtained some pressure and attrition for the 
frog by abstaining from mutilation, but its third 
necessity — expansion — you do away with altogether. 
This has been expounded by Bracy Clark. Mayhew 
says : — ' You cannot treat an organic body as if it 
were an inorganic one,' but this is just what you are 
doing when you turn a flexible foot into a rigid 
one. Hope was also aware of this, and he recom- 
mended that, after a journey, the two hindermost 
nails on each side of the shoe should be drawn, to 
give the horse relief. All kinds of dodges have 
been proposed with the same view, but the tip is the 
only one that has answered; so you are earnestly 
advised to try it. You risk absolutely nothing, as 
has been proven over and over again. Keep up its 
use as long as you feel nervous about leaving it off ; 
but when you determine on getting rid entirely of 


what Bracy Clark calls ' the miserable, coerced, shod 
foot,' and entering that seventh heaven of a horse- 
man, where the bother, anxiety, and expense of shoes 
are unknown, you must bear in mind that the horn 
at the toe will still be somewhat brittle, and may 
chip away until the nail-holes have grown down to 
the ground. This is to be prevented or remedied 
by following Osmer's advice to ' keep them rasped 
round and short at the toe.' The nail-holes will 
grow out much sooner than may be expected. 

Hear Bracy Clark on the difference of the rate 
of growth of horn in the shod and unshod horse : — 
' To consider all the beauty and purposes of the 
singular construction of the foot, we must dismiss 
from our views the miserable, coerced, shod foot 
entirely, and consider the animal in a pure state of 
nature, using his foot without any defence. . . 
The wall, or crust, of the hoof, where there is a 
demand for its wear^ grows rapidly, as when in a 
state of nature and exposed to the ground ; but, 
shod, it loses this power in so great a degree that in 
many horses a few thin slices only can be removed 
at each shoeing, after the interval of four or five 
weeks, in which time twenty times as much horn 
would have been produced had there been a demand 
for it.' It may be doubted by some that horn can 
grow so fast when allowed to do so, and it may be 
asked where it is tc be seen. On the heels and 
quarters attrition uses it up as fast as it grows, and 
so these parts never require rasping — in fact, they 

o 2 


must be let alone altogether. But in the case of 
the toe it is different, for attrition will not suffice to 
keep down an exuberant growth, and the rasp is, 
therefore, needed to remove it. All that have had 
the experience are agreed upon that point. 

Bracy Clark dedicated the best part of his life 
to the task of producing a perfect horseshoe. He 
did not succeed in this task, any more than he 
succeeded in seeing the fall force of his own argu- 
ments. In this he was rivalled later on by Miles, 
who wrote : — ' The principal argument upon which 
the uninformed ground their objection to bringing 
in the heels of the shoe is the necessity which they 
affirm to exist for affording the horse more support 
at the heels than Nature has given him, and which 
they say my plan entirely deprives him of. Now, 
what does this argument amount to ? Neither more 
nor less than a declaration that the Almighty Creator 
of the Universe has failed in imparting to the horse's 
foot the form best suited to its requirements, and 
has delegated to the puny intellect of man the task 
of devising a remedy. Surely the stoutest sticklers 
for the infallibility of old plans and old prejudices 
will shrink from subscribing to such a doctrine as 
this.' Mayhew wrote : — 'A return to perfect freedom 
could alone cure the evils caused by unnatural re- 
straint,^ Still, after expressing himself thus, Mayhew 
*-went home and invented another ^hoe,' as Mr. 
Fearnley says, but one which never came into use, 
and never will. 


It is lamentable to find writers of such calibre 
holding forth such arguments, afflicted with shoes 
on the brain up to the very last, and unable either 
to get over or break through the low, flimsy fence 
which stood between them and the field which con- 
tained perfection. 






AsPHALTE is a class of road surface that has caused 
a great deal of controversy. At certain times, and 
on certain days, such as when fog and mist prevail, 
it gets greasy (as this state is called). In some 
other weathers the same state of greasiness is pro- 
duced during the beginning of rain ; but when 
sufficient rain has fallen to reduce the consistency 
of this so-called grease, the slipperiness disappears, 
and then asphalte becomes a better holding surface, 
for even shod horses, than either the wood or granite 
which are contiguous to it; supposing them each 
and all to have received the same amount of rain. 
In fine summer weather, watering with carts will 
make wood and granite slippery, when it will not so 
affect the asphalte. But in any weather the unshod 
horse can deal with it more successfully than tlie 
shod one. The Almighty defies ' the puny intellect 
of man' to produce a road of any kind that can 


harm the foot which He has designed with his omni- 
science and omnipotence to grapple with everything 
that can possibly spring up on the surface of the 

Modern writers on the horse (asphalt e is only a 
modern introduction) have been for some time, and 
significantly enough, much at variance as to the 
virtues or defects of this material, according to the 
different lights under which they looked at it ; even 
when all of them were ignorant that the unshod 
foot was the proper one to deal with it successfully 
under all circumstances. 

In June 1878, in one contemporary we read: — 
* Asphalte pavement appears to be on its trial. As 
we briefly mentioned last week, the E. S. P. C. A. 
has volunteered to assist those who do not approve 
of these pavements, and to " unite with any respect- 
able agency for the purpose of mitigating the evil 
complained of." Eespecting this voluntary effort, 
Mr. Grerard F. Cobb, of Trinity College, Cambridge, 
requests the society " to carry out its own acknow- 
ledged objects, and to regard the question entirely 
from the horse^s point of view, hut in all its bear- 
ings, I know, if I were a horse, what I should 
say, viz., that I would gladly incur the risk of an 
occasional downfall (which, after all, is less than what 
I am exposed to on the granite) for the sake of the 
unparalleled ease and comfort with which it enables 
me to perform my daily tasks." Mr. Cobb also sug- 
gests that " If the Society meddles at all in this 
matter, I would venture to suggest that its efforts 


would exert a more extended beneficence if it in- 
duced owners to adopt the Charlier system of shoeing 
suggested by Mr. Stevens." ' Eight days later on, 
another contemporary published a communication on 
the same subject, from which we give the following 
extract : — ' All the cab proprietors, all the omnibus 
proprietors, all railway van proprietors have pro- 
tested against the dangers and cruelties created by 
asphalte pavement. Falls on asphalte are not only 
more frequent but of a graver character than on any 
other kind of pavement. Veterinary surgeons meet 
with fractures of the pelvis and ribs, which were 
before almost unknown. Strains of a serious kind 
are created in starting loads on a surface almost as 
smooth as ice. It is a mistake to appeal to the climate 
of Paris. The climate of Paris is not the climate of 
London, where in five minutes a greasy fog makes 
Cheapside one long chapter of accidents. Unfor- 
tunately, asphalte has on its side the vested interests 
of the City legislators. It is the least noisy, the 
least dirty, the most easily cleaned of pavements, 
and although it tortures the horses, it suits the 
respectable tradesmen who pay the City rates. It is 
to be hoped that public opinion will shortly be too 
strong for natural but selfish legislation, and that 
the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 
will find some subjects for their righteous zeal of a 
higher class than costermongers.' 

With the last part of the last paragraph we 
heartily agree. But the Society in question, after 
being invited to investigate the question of shoeing, 


on the one hand, and that of roads on the other — 

both of them being within its scope — has moved in 

neither direction. Feeling itself incompetent to treat 

the question at all, it has maintained a 'masterly 

inactivity.' The last of the two exponents who thus 

invoke in such opposite ways the aid of the Society 

in favour of an animal over which it watches in 

other matters, sets forth that asphalte makes the 

best road of all, except for the horses. Yet we are 

asked to abandon the economies and comforts of this 

production of modem intelligence, because it would 

render another improvement necessary, which would 

bring about as much or more economy and comfort 

on its part. This is to offer a two-fold opposition to 


Asphalte, however, is not yet suppressed ; nor 

does it appear likely to be, since we read within the 
last fortnight that ' the carriage-ways of London 
Wall, Bucklersbury, Cannon Street, Abchurch Lane, 
Castle Street (Cripplegate), Trump Street, the north 
side of St. Paul's Churchyard, Long Lane, Broadway 
(Blackfriars), and Philpot Lane, are to be forthwith 
asphalted ' — the contracts being signed. 

Science and progress cannot be put down by 
' old-fogyism,' however much the latter may retard 
them. Asphalte will ultimately supersede, in towns, 
both wood and granite ; and the asphalting com- 
panies could forward this end to their immense 
commercial benefit if they had the intelligence to 
demonstrate that unshod horses would not slip on 
their productions, by using unshod horses them- 


selves. Will this ' tip ' be thrown away upon them ? 
We have heard that they have held out encournge- 
ment to inventors who could remedy the only defect 
of their pavements ; here they get all they want, 
and without any charge for it. All inventions to 
avoid slipping upon asphalte have been applied to 
the ivrong surface. Let them turn their attention 
to the other one, and so do what other societies 
are unable to do, because they get muddled with 
conflicting advice, and are imable to discern for 

We have now, we believe, treated of all roads ; 
and the upshot is that people are most afraid of the 
best — which are the hardest. Loose, broken flints, 
freshly spread, no man in his right senses would 
select as a trial for a horse that had just had his 
shoes pulled off; although judicious treatment would 
in a few days enable him to travel over them 
with more comfort than if he were shod. On the 
other hand, to try to harden his feet by working him 
upon grass or soft roads would be almost as great a 
mistake. It is well known that horses at pasture 
will become tender-footed in dry summer weather, 
if the ground becomes dry and hard, and that often 
they have to get tips put on on this account. ' Santa 
Fe ' has advised that horses should be worked in the 
fields at first, and then be gradually used to hard 
roads. In this we are at variance with him, and 
must uphold that from the first day they should 
daily get some exercise on hard roads. The distance 
cannot be laid down, as it depends so much on the 


state of brittleness of the hoof: intelligence alone 
can decide the degrees. Ni tanto, ni tan poco. The 
advice offered by a ' Cavalry Officer ' is about as good 
as any, and the excellent remark of ' Impecuniosus,' 
that ' it is the shoe, and not the o^oad that hurts, the 
horse,' contains the gist of the whole thing in fewer 
words than any other writer has been able to put it. 
Unfortunately, he did not arrive at the point of 
doing away with iron altogether; but he went on 
cutting it down in every dimension, until he found 
that the less of it there was the better he got on ; 
and then he imparted the result of his experience 
to a public that had not sufficient capacity to take 
it in. 

The more simple the means offered, the less 
reliance a horsey public is inclined to place in them. 
There is always existing a latent hope that some 
extra-scientific invention may spring up, which will 
conquer all difficulties. There is no use in waiting 
for it. Nature cannot, and will not, be superseded 
by the puny intellect of man, when it is a question 
of treating a living structure, which is so admirably 
constructed as to make the very idea of improving 
its construction ludicrous. Everyone may give up 
all hopes on this score ; and the best thing to be 
done is to travel on the ' back-track,' and meet 
Mother Nature at the point where they failed to 
detect her finger-post. The travel on the back- 
track necessitates only the inversion of weeks to 
unfold the errors of centuries; and thrift is always 
on the right side. What more can be asked for ? 


It may, perhaps, appear to some to be too cheap to 
be of any use. The writer, however, has had proofs 
in the correspondence which his remarks have called 
forth in the ' Farm Journal,' that the horsey world 
is still as uneasy on the subject of shoeing as it 
ever has been, and that a certain portion of it is 
open to receive new ideas, and, at least, give them 
consideration. Another proof that the system of 
shoeing followed at the present day is not universally 
satisfactory, is to be deduced from the fact that at 
a council meeting of the Koyal Agricultural Society 
of England, held May 5 of the present year (go 
back for a century, or bring it down to present date, 
it always resolves itself into the same thing at last), 
it is reported that ' a letter from Mr. Kobert Mynors, 
suggesting the republication of "Miles on the Shoe- 
ing of the Horse" as a sixpenny pamphlet, was read and 
referred to the " Journal " committee, on the motion 
of Sir Brandreth Gribbs, seconded by Mr. Bowley.' 

Miles, as has before been stated, was seeking 
only to secure the benefits resulting from expansion. 
He did not fully grasp the question, because he 
was, like all others, blinded, or semi-blinded with 
iron ; but he tried to reduce the excessive number 
of nails then, as now, used in fastening on the shoe. 
He failed in establishing his system, because it was 
not even as much as a half-measure ; and the society 
in question will do no better with it on this very 
account. The sixpenny pamphlet of Mr. Stevens, 
which is ready-made, and at hand, is far more worthy 
of their attention and patronage, especially when we 


see the system it explains so highly advocated by an 
authority like Mr. Fearnley. Why should societies 
feel so inclined to revert to anything they can lay 
hold of that carries them back to what we may call 
the infancy of the art of shoeing? The reason 
is that they are disgusted with the results of the 
present system, and so they are always on the look- 
out for * any port in a storm.' There is a haven 
open for them at an easy distance, and with wind 
and tide in their favour. Although they still prefer 
beating to windward, they will tire out in time. 
They are evidently in want of smooth water at the 
present moment. Let them therefore put back. 
There is no cowardice in so doing when they find 
that they really cannot weather the storm. 

Before concluding, there is yet another question 
which demands a high consideration in many points 
of view. It has been long maintained that many 
diseases are transmissible by sires and dams (either 
or both) to their progeny. Not to go farther back 
than the last month or two, the columns of con- 
temporaries have teemed with opinions on this sub- 
ject, many of them emanating from acknowledged 
authorities, amongst whom are to be found managers 
and secretaries of horse shows, in which progenitors 
have their special classes. It has been urged that 
if all those who were not free from those physical 
defects which are considered as hereditary were 
objected to, there would scarcely be a competition, 
on account of the number of disqualifications. It 
appears right, however, that only perfect animals 


should be chosen for the purpose of reproducing 
other perfect ones. If there is anything wanting 
or anything superfluous, we must be aware that it 
will show itself in some way or other in the foal, and 
generally in the spot where either the sire or the 
dam exhibited a like defect. Spavins, &c., are 
justly ascribed to shoeing as their principal cause ; 
leave off shoeing and you reduce the prevalence of 
such kinds of ossification. ' Like produces like.' 
The tailless breed of Manx cats was produced only 
by persistently amputating the tails of all kittens, 
until there was not left upon the island a tail to 
reproduce another one. Within the memory of the 
"vsTiter a good sheep dog was supposed to be obtain- 
able only if he had been pupped without a tail, or a 
curt apology for one. All those who dared to bring 
tails into the world with them were condemned to 
the horse-pond. Within his memory, the same law 
held good in France with regard to the poodle. 
Now-a-days a good tail is an important point in both 
the colley and the poodle ; so much so, that neither 
colley nor poodle possessing a ' stump ' would be 
admitted to a show or fetch three halfpence any- 

' Men change with travel, 

Manners change with climes, 
Tenets with books, 

And principles with times.' 

Entire horses mostly save their tails in their entirety ; 
strictly speaking, they would not be entire unless 
they did. So also do many mares ; but if we were 


to fall into the habit of docking those of both 
parents, we should soon get a breed of horses with 
a diminished number of vertebrae. If the minus 
reappears in the offspring, it is presumable that the 
plus will reappear likewise. The j^l^^s is often to be 
ascribed to shoeing. 

Where our horses most fail is in their feet and 
legs. It was lately stated at a meeting in England 
that French statistics have shown that in their army 
two- fifths of all cast horses were so cast for ' worn 
out feet and legs.' Let us take a common-sense 
(which will turn out to be the most scientific) care 
of our horses' feet by the use of the brake on 
wheels, and not a clumsy substitution in the shape 
of a calked shoe on the horse's foot. The frog is a 
"natural calk, but it must have fair play. It is 
pointed in front like a ploughshare to offer resistance 
in one direction. To offer resistance in the contrary 
direction it is semi-cloven, and thus it offers a double 
resistance, for the very evident reason that a horse 
needs more aid to go ahead than he does to stop him- 
self. Yet the two ends have been rightly balanced 
by Nature, if we could only see the thing as such. 

We have the authority of previous writers that 
the shoeing question is a national one, and that much 
economy is in store for the nation if any improve- 
ment can be introduced. The real fact is that 
millions annually hang upon this very hinge, because 
we are obliged, through the short lives of our horses, 
to import weekly a large number of hideous foreign- 
bred brutes, many of which are mares, which, when 


they have had enough of London stone pavements, 
are sold in foal by transport companies. See recent 
advertisements in the daily press, and then give us 
the lie. 

At the Northern Horse Eepository go and see 
every Friday a sale of foreign horses that always are 
unshod, at least on the hind feet. The sellers are 
evidently wide enough awake to have perceived that 
there is some advantage in showing them off in this 
state, or else they would clap shoes on to them, to 
give them a fictitious value. Horse-dealers suppose 
themselves to be up to e\ery dodge, and this is one, 
amongst others, that they are keeping as ' dark ' as 
they can. The innocent (or ignorant) acquirers of 
these animals (as we have found out by frequent 
attendance at these sales) never dream of putting 
them to work until the farrier has been allowed to 
exercise those brutalities, in which he is such an 
adept, upon their feet. 

These writings could be prolonged by pushing 
arguments and quotations ; but we are inclined to 
think that enough has been said on the present oc- 
casion, which we regard strictly as a first stage upon 
the road. We are not sanguine enough to believe 
for a moment that we can bring about a sudden 
revulsion, although we may, perhaps, have helped on 
a movement which will not be arrested. We have 
vouchers that some readers have been able to keep 
their attention sufficiently alive to go through a 
course of nearly seven months' weekly reading on 
the subject in the ' Farm Journal,' and this is en- 


couraging. It seems to prove that ' Impecuniosus,' 
practical and enterprising as he was, was not far 
wrong when he still craved for some writing out of 
the 'ordinary follow-my-leader style,' which might 
' throw some light on a subject hitherto veiled in 
obscurity, viz., the horse's foot.' We should only be 
too glad to learn that this active-minded gentleman 
is still in the land of the living, and that writing 
containing the ' original ideas ' which he, being so 
far ahead of the ' ruck,' was still open to receive, 
may fall under his criticism. He is chargeable to a 
great extent for its having appeared. 



Appendix A. 

Horse-Shoeing . 


I HAVE read with great interest the letters of ^Free 
Lance ' upon the subject of horse-shoeing. Seeing he 
so strongly advised using tips in place of entire shoes, I 
resolved to tiy them, and, accordingly, rode down to the 
smith's shop (ten miles off) to get them put on, and see 
he did it properly. When I arrived I told him what I 
wished ; he laughed, and said they never would do on 
the roads, but would put them on if I wished, and so put 
on they were. I rode home again, ten miles, over a road 
covered with new metal in a simply abominable state, 
and he arrived all safe. Two days after I rode down 
again to convince the smith there was something in the 
system, and he was quite surprised the horse had not 
broken down on the way home after he was shod. I 
must say, however, he certainly went tender, but this 
appears to be wearing away in a great degree, and it is 
surprising how hard and firm the soles of his feet have 
got. He has naturally rather flat and tender feet. I 
am so far convinced that this is the correct way of shoe- 
ing horses that, if all goes well, I shall have all the 


rest done the same way. ' Free Lance ' objects very 
strongly to applying a hot shoe, and I will just give one 
or two extracts from a prize essay by George Armitage, 

*Asa result of cold shoeing — i.e. fitting the shoes 
cold, which means i*ather fitting the foot to the shoe, 
much inconvenience is engendered. No man can alter 
cold shoes. If they are applied the foot must be altered, 
and that is accomplished by tearing it away. When the 
shoe is heated, it can be caused to " bed " itself to the 
foot, and no injury is found to result when due care is 
exercised. Good feet are never injured by it, and bad 
feet might frequently be benefited by its adoption, as the 
shoe always remains on more securely. Two surfaces are 
caused to correspond, friction is set up between them, 
and their separation not so easy. AVhen, on the con- 
trary, those siu'faces do not bear any relation to e^ch 
othei*, they are easily separated, as all inequalities act as 
so many levei-s against their position In practice, the 
number of lost shoes under the cold method of fitting 
exceeds those executed while hot more than fifty times, 
and that number can be supported by all who have gone 
into the matter carefully.' ' If a little calm investigation 
were made, it would become evident that the objection 
to the use of hot shoes in fitting is only injurious to 
weak and tender feet when carried too far — the foot 
fitted to the shoe, in other words.' 

The above extracts appear to me very sensible, and I 
believe no ill effects ever result from hot shoeing, except 
when done by ignorant men, who should be anywhere 
but in a shoeing-foi'ge. 


p 2 


Appendix B. 

Horse-Shoeing . 
Sir, — I have read with the greatest interest the letter?* 
of ' Fiee Lance ' on Horse Management, and am inclined, 
fiom my own observations in other countries where 
horses and mules are not shody to try the experiment, 
and have no doubt many of my brother farmers would 
like to do the same ; but will ' Free Lance,' or other 
equally good authority, tell us how to make a right 
beginning 'i 

My horses have, of course, all undergone the 'burn- 
ing on ' and ' laceration ' consequent on this barbarous 
custom, and farming operations are too backward to 
admit of the apparently necessary ' rest ' being given to 
allow the injuries to the hoof to ' gi-ow out ' and harden. 
Our local farrier does not, and probably would not 
care to, know much about the ' Charlier ' shoe, and could 
throw every impediment in the way of a gradual change 
being successful. 

All my horses have been bred on the farm, and, with 
the exception of the sire and another, are young and 
fresh; they are in perfect health ; neither they nor theii- 
predecessors, during the last quarter of a century, having 
ever taken a drop of ' medicine,' or ' horse balls,' save the 
leaden ones to cure them of ' crippled ' old age. 

My carter thinks it might ' do ' on the land, but shows 
a disposition to kick over the traces if the experiment 
is tried on the road. However, I am prepared to face 
ignorant prejudice by anointing the outraged feelings of 
my man by giving him half the saving in the black- 
smith's bill, which success will entail, to carry out the 
instructions necessary to perfect the change. 

Will Watch. 


Appendix C. 


Sir, — I was rather amused with the letter of 'Free 
Lance ' on Saturday. IsTo doubt I did give my poor nag 
rather a severe trial at fii'st, but I believe it has set a 
good many people thinking, which is a good thing, and 
it has not injured the horse. I thought myself the trial 
was too severe, and determined to be more cautious next 
time. On Friday last I took another to be shod on the 
same principle. This horse has fii-st-rate feet, but has 
had shoes put on reaching nearly to hLs heels, allowing 
the frog to come well to the ground, and T shall shorten 
them each time he goes to the smith until they are of the 
required size. 1 will not say any more about hot shoe- 
ing ; this will become unnecessary if all people use tips, 
which any person ought, I think, to be able to put on 
with very little practice and thus save the time and 
trouble of having to send then* horses away to be shod. 

I have ridden horses hundreds of miles in South 
America which never had a shoe on. Their feet grew 
fast, and often I had to cut the toes, which was done 
with some difficulty with a chisel and mallet by placing 
the foot on a block of wood. I do not remember seeing 
any lame horses except in the towns, and those were 
generally, if not always, I observed, shod. The i-oads 
were, for the most part, sand, full of rough stones, and 
in some places causewayed for miles. Anyhow, they 
were pretty rough going. People in this country seem 
to have no idea what a horse's foot is ; they have always 
seen horses shod, and think they always must be shod, 
jind never will alter the method if they are let alone. 
As to the farrierg, it is useless talking to them. Take 


your horses to them, and make them follow out vour 
directions through thick and thin ; it is the only way. 


Appendix D. 

Horse- Shoeing. 

Sir, — In answer to 'Free Lance,' my reply is that I 
used a chisel and mallet in preference to a knife, because 
with the latter it would have been a laborious job, owing 
to the extreme toughness of the horn. I never savr an 
ordinary horse's hoof in this country so hard, because I 
suppose they are all shod. I regret I never compared the 
hoof of a shod horse with that of an unshod one in 
South America, as it would have been interesting to note 
what difference there was in the toughness. 

Kesrardinor the causeways, these were as rouo^h as 
could be — stones of all descriptions and sizes laid vip end- 
ways, as one sees in this country, but very roughly done 
and full of hollows, ifec. I often wondered at the work 
these little horses went through, living almost entirely 
on grass and a little molasses mixed with their water, 
which they would refuse to drink without. These horses 
journey 400 miles or so with heavy bags of cotton and 
sugar slung on their backs to the coast, and make the 
return journey home laden as heavily with salt codfish 
and other provisions ; yet how rare it is to see them 
either lame or footsore ! 

I am not quite sure that in this climate of ours a 
horse's foot will become as hard, owing to the damp ; but 
this I hope soon to find out to my satisfaction. All I 
have to say now is, let any one who has taken the trouble 


to read all this discussion give the system advocated by 
' Free Lance ' a fair trial ; don't be too hard at first, but 
work on gradually, and don't be disheartened the first 
two months or so, while the horse's feet are hardening. 


Appendix E. 


Having lived for a considerable portion of my Ufe in the 
Argentine Republic, allow me to say a few words about 
the shoeing of horses. In the camp, as the country is 
termed there, horses are never shod, but town horses 
are. As you are aware, there are no stones on the plains 
of the Argentine Republic. The soil is a rich black 
mould of a considerable depth. Horses, if their hoofs 
have not been accustomed by degrees to paved streets, 
will naturally go tender at first ; therefore, the owners 
immediately clap shoes on them. It would be as absurd 
to expect a horse not reared in a stony country to go 
sound when first brought on to pavement, as it would to 
be surprised at a person who has never gone barefoot 
feeling uncomfortable when walking over gravel without 
shoes or stockings. Yet it only needs practice, and 
Nature will soon put a hard covering on the sole of the 

We could tell in an instant if a horse had come from 
the Sierras of Cordova or other stony mountain ranges. 
The hoofs are smaller than those of a Pampas horse ; in 
fact, more mule-shaped and worn down by the hai-d 
ground, and not by artificial means ; the horn is, more- 
over, very dense and free from cracks. Depend upon it 


Nature will adapt herself to circumstances. Horses bred 
in Canadas or low swampy grounds have broad, flat feet. 
The dampness of the soil keeps the horn soft, and the 
weight of the horse expands it. Besides, there is nothing 
hard to wear down the hoof — all the better for the horse 
as long as he has to go on wet, soft ground ; the exten- 
sive surface of his foot gives him more support ; but 
these kinds of hoofs need a good deal of dressing. We 
generally used a chisel and mallet, making the horse 
stand on a hard bit of ground, and cutting the hoof, 
sometimes only at the toe, but more frequently at the 
sides also. In the northern provinces the natives often 
cut them square at the toe. Our favourite horses gene- 
rally got a finishing touch with rasp and draw knife. The 
hmd feet seldom required much doing to them. In dry 
weather the hoofs get very hard, and the mallet must be 
used ^vith considerable force. White hoofs are much 
softer than black ones. With a moderately tame horse 
there is very little trouble connected with keeping his 
feet in good order. The rasp and draw knife are all that 
is needed, and hard ground will keep them in good shape 
without much laboiu* expended on them. Although I 
have not tried the experiment in this country, I have 
little doubt of its success. Keep a young horse's feet 
trim, and use liim in the fields at first, and then by 
degrees on the hard road, and his hoofs will soon suit 
themselves to the nature of the ground. Fortunately 
our ancestors did not shoe their dogs and cats, or, in all 
probability, most of us would do so in the present day. 

Of course the veterinaries and smiths will, in self- 
defence, predict utter ruination to the feet of unshod 
horses, and 80 per cent, of horse owners will refuse to 
give up shoeing because it was never done in the old 
days, and they cannot be bothered with trying an}i}hing 


new. A.'s lease is nearly out, and it is not worth while 
making a change ; B. is just entering a new farm, and 
does not wish to risk his horses being 'laid off work by 
lameness ; C. thinks he may be taken up and fined for 
cruelty to animals ; D. thinks there may be some truth 
in it, but he will wait till some one else tries it ; and E. 
says his horses do their work well enough as they are, 
and so on. 

I think tips will be necessary for draught horses, for 
some time, at any rate, especially in a hilly country, 
where so much weight is thrown on the toes in going up 

I may not remain long enough in England to try 
Nature v. The Blacksmith, but I wish every success to 
those who have pluck enough to give the non-shoeing 
system a fair trial. 

Santa Fe. 

Appendix F. 

The Teeth affecting other Organs. 

Sir, — In reference to ' Free Lance's ' excellent articles 
on horses, particularly as to the teeth of that animal 
affecting its other members, the following case is, perhaps, 
worthy of his knowledge. Twenty-six years ago, a valu- 
able horse, the property of Blantyre Mill Co., became 
rigid in all its members, and showed symptoms of lock- 
jaw. The veterinary surgeon ordered it to be shot. At 
this point Dr. Miller, of Hamilton, appeared on the 
scene, and disbelieving lockjaw to be the case, ordered 
its mouth to be examined, particularly as to overgrown 
beaks, which was instantly done, and after the needed 
relief was given the horse became well, as if by magic. 



Appendix G. 

Unshod Artillery Horses. 

Sir, — Wlien defending the arguments of ' Free Lance ' 
upon the * Bare Foot ' system, I was met with the reply- 
that a fair trial had been given to the system some time 
ago upon the artillery horses at Woolwich, and that it 
proved an entire failure, so that they were obliged to 
return to the old system of shoeing. 

This I cannot believe, but my present information will 
not warrant me in contradicting it. I should, therefore, 
be glad if any of your readers could inform me whether 
such a trial was made, and how it was conducted. 

J. F. K. S. 

Appendix H. 

Unshod Artillery Horses. 

Sir, — I am able to contradict the statement ' that a fair 
trial had been given to the system some time ago, upon 
the Artillery horses at Woolwich, and that it proved an 
entire failure, so that they were obliged to return to the 
old system of shoeing,' and to inform J. F. K. S. that the 
Koyal Artillery have never tried their horses in England 
without shoes. 

K. C. R., Major-General . 


Appendix I. 

Horse- Shoeing . 

HiR, — I cannot thank * Free Lance ' too much for his 
' tip,' and I strongly advise every one who owns a horse 
to follow the advice he has given. I have done so sooner, 
perhaps, than most others, because some years ago, in 
South America, I had the benefit of seeing and using 
unshod horses, and therefore knew what a horse's foot 
could do. If people could only be got to know the 
amount of trouble and expense which they would dis- 
pense with by following out this system, they would be 
surprised. But no, my ancestors nailed lumps of metal 
on to their horses' feet, and were never pleased with the 
result, and therefore I do likewise. 

The farriers must not be consulted on the subject at 
all : turn a deaf ear to all they say. One giavely informed 
my groom that he thought the frog would wear thi-ough ! 
and this after he had seen the horse running ten weeks 
on his own soles. My concluding advice is, follow out 
exactly what 'Free Lance' says about getting the foot 
ready, and persevere steadily, and you will find, like me, 
that perfect success will follow. Never again will I shoe 
a horse on the old plan, and am just rather doubtful if I 
put anything on some. 

Mav 24. Aberlorna. 

Appendix K. 
Horse- Shoe ing. 

Sir, — Allow me to thank ' Free Lance ' for laying before 
us the absurdities of the present system of horae-shoeing ; 


and for, at the same time, giving us liis excellent remedy 
by not shoeing at all, or to use only a ' tip.' I have the 
management of thirty draught horses, whose work is 
entirely on stone paved roads. They run about eighteen 
miles a day, and at the rate of six miles an hour, includ- 
ing stoppages. So that you can imagine what a severe 
shaking their legs and feet would get with an ordinary 
shoe (which weighs about thirty-two ounces) attached to 
each foot. The horses would continually brush and cut 
the fetlock with the shoe of the opposite foot, and very 
soon go over at the knees ; and how was I to prevent it ? 
Rest would often check it, as regards cutting and brush- 
ing the fetlock, for a day or two ; but I have to study 
economy, and cannot, in consequence, keep a sufficient 
number of horses to rest them every thii'd or foui'th day. 
They have to be satisfied with one day's rest per week. 
Some of your readers may say, why do I drive them so 
fast 1 Well, because it is a kind of business which will 
not allow of driving slowly. 

On visiting a railway book-stall, I saw on the front 
p^ge of the ' Farm Journal,' ' Horses — Their Manage- 
ment and Mismangement.' I naturally wanted to know 
if I was numbered with those who mismanaged, and, on 
reading the paper, I very soon found out that I must 
consider myself as one of such. I also found that ' Free 
Lance ' was writing from practical experience when be 
recommended that the horse should be driven barefoot, 
or with only a short piece of iron ' curled round the toe/ 
therefore I lost no time in sending sixpence to Mr. Stevens 
for his pamphlet advocating the use of the Charlier 
shoe — a shoe which I had not heard of before to my 

After reading the pamphlet, and seeing that a horse 
coidd go ivith the frog on the ground, I at once sent Is. 6(/» 


for Flemings' improved drawing-knife, with guide, the 
only special tool required, and as soon as it arrived I 
began shoeing my hoi'ses on the Charlier principle by 
letting a narrow piece of iron into the outside crust and 
allowing the frog, sole, bars, and heels to come well to 
the ground. 

I began very cautiously (although my horses' feet had 
never been cut away, by way of trimming) for fear of a 
failure, and a laugh from my farrier and others. I 
ventured on a shorter shoe than the CharHer. My first 
measured, before turning, ten inches. It had six nail 
holes. This was for a horse lo^ hands. I put them on 
one of my old ' screws,' and I am pleased to say that he 
ran his eighteen miles splenchdly and without any signs 
of lameness. I allowed him to run, with his usual rest, 
until he had gone a distance of 228 miles, as a trial. 
This was done without wearing the frog through to the 
quick, as my farrier was so much afraid of. The hoof 
was now in splendid condition. I then gave orders for 
all my horses to be shod on this principle, beginning 
with my best to prevent fui-ther unnecessaiy injury. 

With each successive horse I have shortened the iron. 
Now I begin shoeing with four inches of iron let well into 
the toe. I have not had one case of lameness from tender 
feet, and every horse so shod has been able to do his 
ordinary work without any extra rest. I find that the 
shorter the iron the better it answers. I buy the ^-inch 
round u-on and flatten it to | by ^ inch ; cut ofi" four 
LQches, which weighs four ounces, let it well into the toe, 
and nail on with No. 6 counter-simk nails. This I find 
wears quite as long, after the fiist shoeing, as the ordi- 
nary shoe did. My drivers are continually having their 
attention called, by ' good meaniag persons,' to the fact 
that * the 'oss 'as lost 'is shoe.' They have got so used to 


it that they merely answer, ' And a good job too.' The 
frog does not become hard, as the crust, sole, and bars do. 
It feels like a firm piece of indiariibber, and answers its 
purpose well by preventing concussion to the whole limbs, 
an office which it is debarred from fulfilling when the 
foot is shod in the old-fashioned style. My farrier asked 
me if he should use up the old-fashioned shoes which he 
had on hand, as it was a pity to keep them. I said it 
would be a sin to use them. 

As will be seen in the commencement of this letter, 
horses when running on stone paved roads slip very much 
when shod on the old-fashioned system. Now, sir, if the 
only advantage to be gained by using ' tips ' would be to 
prevent horses from slipping, I would use them in pre- 
ference to the old shoe. But as ' Free Lance* has so ably 
2:)ointed out, this is only one of the many advantages. 
Horses shod with tips can pull a much heavier load, and 
with less exertion than a horse with a full shoe. This I 
have repeatedly proved. They trot carelessly along with- 
out fear of a fall. I have several horses with chat 
hideous and incurable blemish — capped elbow — which is 
brought about, so veterinaries say, by the heel of the 
full shoe ; this cannot happen when using tips ; cutting 
and brushmg also cease with the use of * tips.' 

June 15. Humane. 

Appendix L. 
U7ishod Horses. 

Sir, — I wish to say a few words to your readers in favour 
of the theory propounded by 'Free Lance' — a theory. 


by-the way, never heard of in this part of this very 
verdant isle — that horses not only could walk, but run 
and work, without shoes. 

Having read the letters of ' Free Lance,' and thinking 
there might be some truth in the plan, I determined, 
when I got as far as the 14th chapter, that 1 would make 
a trial. Accordingly, I took the shoes off a three-year-old 
colt in daily farm work. 

My farrier prophesied that I would not only ruin the 
feet, but the horse ; but the horse is now, at the end of 
eight weeks, in the full enjo^nnent of all his faculties, and 
has four good, sound feet, although I have driven him daily 
from four to fourteen miles (Irish measure) regularly. 

I would have done as ' Free Lance ' advised, and put 
on three-quarter shoes, and come gradually to the bare 
foot, only I could not get a farrier either able or willing 
to put them on. This I believe to be the right plan, but 
in a backward country place it is hard to get the work 
rightly done. 

In the hope that many will be tempted to try as I 
have done, I am, &c., 

Co. Armagh, June 18, 1880. D. S. 

Appendix M. 

Unshod Horses. 

SiR^ — Since I wrote my last letter, I have taken the 
shoes off a pony that I use for driving, churning, &c. I 
begin to work very gradually, not more than two miles 
(Irish) for the first few days, increasing the length of the 
journey as the foot gets hard. 


I think this plan a very good one where the horse 
owner has not much work pressing, as is the case with 
most Irish farmers at this time of year. 

Perhaps in the next generation people will begin to 
see that 'Nature beats Art.* 

Co. Armagh, June 29. D. S. 

Three gentlemen, as will be seen, have given their 
experience of doing away with the ordinary full shoe — 
one of them has used an ordinary tip, and another the 
Charlier tip, and both of these without losing any work 
from theii- horses : whilst the third has at once done 
away with all iron, with only the precaution of not over- 
working his hoises from the outset. They have all 
succeeded, and are satisfied that they have conferred a 
great benefit upon their horses. 

London, August 1880. The Author. 



ABERLORNA, experience of, 
100, 109, 119, 123, 210, 
213, 219 
Action of horses, 148, 151, 169, 

170, 173, 181 
Aloes, 25, 26 

American farmers, 65, 66, 67, 
74, 79, 141 

— horseshoers (see Russell) 

— trotters, 42 

Anstruther Thompson, Colonel, 

Antimony, 17 
Apathy of horseowners, 15 
Army, farriers in the, 84, 121 
Arsenic, 17 

Artillery horses, 174, 218 
Asphalte pavement, 43, 58, 85, 

88, 126, 198, 199, 200, 201, 

Astley, Philip, 60 
Attrition, 94, 95, 112, 114, 183, 

198, 194, 195 
Australia, 113 

BACKING a load, 78, 142, 
Bare feet, 82, 83, 84, 88, 94, 
199, 208, 215, 223 
Bare floors, 22, 24, 32, 65, 82, 
83, 92, 115, 116, 154, 163, 


Bars of the foot, 38, 55, 56, 
100, 137, 139, 177,221 

Bearing^ rein, the, 26, 134, 170, 
171, 176, 194 

Blistering, 6, 25, 26, 27, 36,91, 

92, 97, 151 

Bracy Clark, 185, 194,195, 196 
Brakes on wheels, 2, 7, 9, 11, 

12, 24, 60, 86, 178, 207 
Brittle hoof, 20, 46, 76, 91, 92, 

93, 97, 104, 135, 139, 151, 
154, 157 

Broken wind, 147. 
Brushing (see Cutting) 
Burdett, Colonel, 91, 103, 104 

Cape, horses at the, 83, 

141, 174 
Calks, 34, 35, 37, 38, 66, 77, 78, 

87, 105, 107, 178, 207 
Carriage horses, 170 
Carts and cart horses, 7, 27, 35 
Cavalry officer, a, 154 
Centennial shoe, the, 74 
Charlier shoe, the, 54, 55, 58,, 

60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 67, 6d, 

74, 77, 78, 140, 157. 177, 

184, 200, 220 
Cleft of frog, 194, 207 
Climate, 81, 115, 117, 130 
Clips, 43, 76, 87, 105, 107 
Coffin bone, the, 34, 71, 98 
Cogs, 86, 87 





Cold shoeing, 36, 37, 66, 102, 

105, 106, 107 
Concussion, 57, 65, 72, 74, 170, 

188, 222 
Corns, 5, 31, 37, 61, 63, 90, 115, 

151, 157 
Coronet, the, 72, 90, 91, 92, 93, 

Cowdung, 19, 31, 46, 56, 58, 92 
Crib-biting, 150 
Crust, or wall of hoof, 31, 33, 

36, 44, 55, 58, 71, 73, 75, 

78, 98, 136, 140, 195, 221 
Cutting and brushing, 5, 39, 

61, 151, 157, 172, 220, 222 

DAILY NEWS,' the, ex- 
tract from, 83 
' Daily Telegraph,' the, extract 

from, 86, 154, 161 
Dalziel on corns, 90 
Dentist, veterinary, 147 
Docking the tail, 132, 172, 207 
Donkev, the, 80, 81, 88, 129, 

Douia:las, Mr., on slippery shoes, 


— the frog, 11, 72, 98 

— hoof ointments, 19 

— stride, 34 

— hot shoeing, 36 

— weight of shoes, 43, 167 

— structure of the crust, 44, 


— average life of the horse, 


— structure of the sole, 72, 98 

— military farriers, 84, 121 

— thrush, 89 

— water, litter, grease, tar, 91 

— grass and roads, 94, 98 

— horseshoers, 117 

— navicular disease, 150 

— concussion and founder, 170 

— gutta percha, 171 


Down hill, 2, 3, 7, 8, 11, 66, 

Drugs, 17, 18, 19 
D. S.'s letters, 223 

EXPANSION, 46, 48, 50 61, 
72, 95, 144, 158, 160, 185, 

FALSE quarter, 31, 36, 151 
Fashion, 41, 87, 88, 134, 
166, 172, 173, 190 
Fearnley, Mr., on blistering, 

— the horse's head, 131 

— the Charlier shoe, 140 

— wood pavement, 140 

— the larynx, 147 

— the hunter, 156 

— mutilation of foot, 179 

— calks, 179 

— shoes, 184 

'Field,' the, newspaper, 40, 55, 

72, 187 
Fitting foot to shoe, 34, 35, 39, 

Fhnts, 98, 191, 202 
Flower, Mr. E. F., 26, 133, 134, 

Foreign horses, 24, 88, 207 
Founder (see Laminitis) 
French armv, 82, 207 
Frog, the, 11, 37, 55, 56, 61, 66, 

72, 74, 75, 89, 98, 137, 139, 

144, 184, 189, 192, 194, 207, 

Frost, 85, 86, 161, 191 

nAUCHOS, 113 

VJT Granite pavement, 58, 85, 

88, 178, 182, 187, 198, 220 
Grass, 56, 94, 101, 113, 114, 154, 

159, 169, 202 




Greasing the hoof, 91, 92, 104 
Groggy lameness (^^f^'f" Navicular 

Gutta percha, 161, 171 

HEAD, the, 28, 131 
Hoof ointments, 19, 31, 

46, 91, 186 
Hope, Sir W., 194 
Horn, growth of, 33, 58, 61, 80, 

109, 112, 124, 195 
Hot shoeing, 35, 36, 44, 65, 66, 

76, 87, 102, 107, 120 
Human skin, the, 95, 98 
' Humane,' letter of, 220 
Hunter, the, 156-164 

ICE, 64, 85, 127 
Impecuniosus on tips, 49 

— mutilation of hoof, 51 

— shoeing reform, 52 

— the Charlier shoe 54 

— india-rubber, 57 

— three-quarter shoe, 61, 110 

— ideas sprung from wrong 

roots, 138 

— hind feet, 141 

— his horses, 156 

— it is the shoe that hurts the 

horse, 203 
Improved principles, 32, 37, 38 
India, cavalry in, 83 
India-rubber, 57 

TEXNINGS, H., trainer, 143, 
O 145, 153 

TTIDXEYS, irritation of, 25 

LARYNX, the, 147 
Laceration of horn, 73, 87, 


Lad)''s horse, the, 165-168 

Lafosse, 44, 45, 46 

Laminitis (founder), 34, 65, 66, 

157, 170, 175 
* Lancet,' the, on shoeing, 125 
Lawrence, Mr., 13 
Life, average of, in the horse, 

Litter, 22, 23, 24, 31, 91, 154, 

Lock jaw, 174, 217 
Ludgate Hill, 10, 12, 126, 127, 

128, 129 
Lunette shoe, or tip, 45, 109 
Lupton, Mr., 30, 136, 137 

MAYHEW on springs, 1 
— sprain of tendon, 11 

— servants, 14, 15 

— masters, 14 

— prejudices of ignorance, 25 

— aloes, physicking, 26 

— seedy toe and false quarter, 

31, 97, 149 

— tips, 49, 167 

— expansion, 50, 96 

— veterinary surgeons, 51, 82, 


— nature a strict economist, 


— foot of donkey, 80 

— conceit of mankind, 81 

— spavin, splint, and ringbone, 


— the necessity of being * prac- 

tical,' 94 

— the necessity of attrition, 95 

— selfishness, ignorance, and 

prejudice, 117 

— evil results, 134 

— different aspects of disease, 


— navicular disease, 150 

— the folly of obstinacy, 152 

— transpiration in the foot, 162 





Mayhew on farriers, 171 

— pride has no brains, 173 

— the multiformity of shoes, 

— grease and stopping, 186 

— organism of the foot, 194 

— unnatural restraint, 196 
Mexico, 88, 130 

Miles, on the horse's foot, 46, 
114, 159, 196, 204 

' Morning Advertiser,' the, ex- 
tracts from, 83, 165 

Moscow, retreat from, 82 

Mules, 88, 177, 180, 181, 182, 
183, 184 

Mutilation of hoof, 32, 33, 35, 
37, 43, 52, 58, 59, 66, 100, 
104, 171, 179 

NAVICULAR disease (grog- 
giness), 5, 37, 62, 150 
Nitre, 17 
Nostrums, 17 

OCULIST, 146, 149 
Oils, 92, 97 
Osmer, 77, 116, 192, 195 
Overreach, 90 
Overshot fetlock, 151 

PARENTS, 205, 208 
Park hacks, 168 
Pembroke, Lord, 14, 22, 29, 35 
Percival, Professor, on tips, 49 
Physic, 25 
Poisoning, 18, 64 
Pumice foot (drop sole), 5, 57, 
58, 62, 97 


UITTOR, 5, 89, 90, 151 

RACE horses, 34, 144, 153 
Rasping the toe, 79, 80, 
112, 117, 122, 172, 195 


Rest, 6, 25, 26, 97, 103 

Ride and drive horse, the, 176 

Ringbone, 5, 89, 90 

Roads {see also Asphalte, Grra- 
nite and Wood), 49, 55, 63, 
66,70,79,80,81,86,89, 99, 
101, 122,144, 145,165,169, 
180, 188, 190, 191, 192, 194, 
202, 215 

Roaring, 147 

Royal Agricultural Society, 204 

Roman horses, 45 

Roughing, 58, 59, 86 

Routine, 26, 67, 81, 82, 85, 153 

Russell, American horse-shoer, 
73, 75, 76, 147 

Runaway horses, 2, 12 

SAND, 85, 126, 127 
Sandcrack, 5, 34, 36, 89, 

90, 97 
Santa Fe (correspondent), 153, 

177, 202, 215 
Sawdust, 23 
Scoop-toed rolling-motion shoe, 

Seedy toe, 5, 23, 31, 34, 36, 89, 

90, 97, 147, 149, 151 
Seeley shoe, the, 105, 107 
Servants, 7, 14, 15, 29, 30, 39, 

Sidebones, 5, 39, 61, 89, 157 
Sires and dams, 205, 208 
Slipping, 5, 10, 31, 35, 45, 48, 

58, 63, 70, 72, 85, 86, 126, 

127, 135, 175, 184,202,222 
Smither, Messrs., 43, 62, 63, 68, 

Snow, 61, 85, 87, 161 
Sole, the, 33, 35, 37, 55, 56, 57, 

58, 61, 62, 70, 72, 75, 76, 

77, 98, 101, 103, 104, 117, 

137, 167, 192, 210 
Spain, shoeing in, 36, 37, 106, 





Spain, mules in, 182 
— stables in, 190 
Spavin, 5, 89, 90 
SpUnt, 5, 39, 89, 90, 91, 101, 

* Sporting Gazette,' the news- 

paper, 161 

* Sportsman,' the, newspaper, 

Springs on vehicles, 1 

* Standard,' the, extract from, 

Stanley, Mr., on navicular 

disease, 62 
St. Bell, on shoeing, 58 
Stevens, Mr., on the Charlier 

shoe, 62, 63, 78, 163, 200, 

201, 220 
Stone pavement, (see Granite) 
Stopping the feet, 19, 31, 58, 

91, 92, 186 
Straw, 22, 21, 182, 190 
Stride, 28, 31 
Swollen legs, 22, 157 

rriAR, 19, 91 

X Teeth, 118, 171, 217 
Tendons, 5, 11,27, 39 
Three-quarter shoe, 61, 78, 119, 

163, 213, 221 
Thrush, 5, 89, 90 
Tight shoeing, 106 
Tips, 11, 45, 49, 55, 58, 61, 65, 

66, 67, 77, 78, 102, 109, 


166, 193, 210-221 
Toe, 31, 49, 55, 79, 80, 87, 109, 

112, 121, 196, 213, 221 


Trainers of racehorses, 34, 143, 

115, 153 
Tramways, 105, 178 
Transmission of disease, 205 
Transpiration in the hoof, 162 
Tread, on, 31, 39, 40, 61, 80, 

137, 173, 180 


RUGUAY, horses in, 88 

YEGETIUS on wood paving, 
Veterinary dentist, 148 

WATER-CURE, the, 91, 92 
Weaving, 150 
Weight of dirt, 158 
— shoe, 35, 42, 77, 105, 158, 

167, 171, 220 
Wind, broken, 147 
Windsucking, 150 
Wood pavement, 85, 88, 126,. 
140, 198, 199 

YENOPHON, 22, 116, 188 

YOUATT, 26, 42, 77, 95, 158 

yULU war, the, S3, 84 





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