« PreviousContinue »
long journey, he will get hot feet, and inflammation will set in; but do not let the owner of such a horse say that it is owing to the shoeing. It is not: it is owing to the "pounding” of the horse.
QUESTION. What would you do to prevent the fever ?
Dr. Hunt. The first time I went to the stable after putting him into his stall, I should examine his feet; and, if I found them hot, I would cool them with cold water, just as I would apply cold water to my own hand. I should bathe them, and, if that was not enough, I would put a cold pack around them; and, when I had brought the temperature to the natural state, I should leave the horse. If the fever came in again, I should repeat the process, until the season got by when we ruin our horses, which is largely in the spring of the year.
Mr. HUTCHINSON of Sutton. I believe that the shoeing of horses and oxen is a necessary evil. They have got to be shod forward to go on our rough roads. They do not come into the world shod; and, if they could have their own way, I do not believe they would have any iron nailed on their feet. I have a mare, eight or nine years old, which I raised, and which I use for a family horse, that has never had a shoe on behind, except in specially icy times in winter: I am obliged then to keep her shod. I have never known her to take a misstep behind when the shoes were off, though she has when the shoes were put on behind, from a pinching shoe. The doctor says, that when horses come in, after standing in snow and slush, their feet are feverish. I would ask, Is it not the shoe that does it? Is it not the shoe that makes the horse ball up? Is it not the shoe that holds water, and produces this cold and this fever ? I believe, as I said in the first place, that shoeing is a necessary evil, and that an immense amount of damage to horses is done by shoeing. I do not believe that every man who pretends to know how to shoe a horse does know how.
There was one point in the essay in regard to breeding horses, as to which I can state a fact which has come under my observation. I raised a pair of colts from a mare by the same horse. The first foal had not the slightest resemblance to the mare. The next year I put her to the same horse, and
you could not see a sign of the horse in the foal: it was all mare.
I never saw two colts so unlike.
Mr. WHITTAKER of Needham. I think the doctor's remarks were very good with regard to his horse suffering from cold feet. We have all of us, at one time or another, felt in ourselves what it is to be out a whole day in slush and cold, and go home with cold feet; and probably a good many of us have taken severe colds from doing so. In such cases I apply the same remedy to my horse that I apply to myself. When I have been out the whole day in cold and slush, and come home with my feet very wet and cold, the first thing I do is to put them in warm water up to my knees, , to restore the natural heat as quickly as possible; and, when my horse has been out in the same way, I wash her feet with warm water, and have them rubbed dry. I think that is much better than waiting to see whether there is any fever afterwards. I know they will be cold; and I bring the blood as quickly as possible down into the feet, which has been prevented from going there on account of the closing of the veins and arteries.
I have another difficulty with my horse's feet; and that is in summer-time, when the ground is dry and hard, and when my stable-floor is dry and hard. I scarcely ever find a blacksmith who keeps a tool so sharp that it will pare the hoofs. I find a difficulty with the hoofs on account of their being dry and hard. I think a great many troubles arise to horses' feet from bad and injudicious shoeing; and I think a great many other difficulties arise in horses' feet from injudicious management and driving. I think one of the difficulties comes from driving horses, particularly heavy horses that step high, down a steep hill at a great speed. I think it not only injures the horse's feet, but it has a very bad effect on the horse's shoulder, because the whole weight of that horse is thrown upon one foot. It is a great deal worse to drive a horse fast on a trot down hill than it is to put him into a dead-run. When he is running, all four of his feet sustain his weight; but, when he is trotting, one foot takes the whole weight of the horse as it comes down, which has a bad effect both on the feet and on the shoulder.
In regard to this matter of transmitting the powers of a horse to its progeny, I think one feature has been overlooked by every one to-day, and I think it was entirely overlooked by Mr. Russell. He said that keeping a horse in
a box-stall or a stable, and feeding high, had a bad effect. That is no doubt true. But you take a horse that is limited to the service of about a dozen mares, and that horse will be very likely to transmit his qualities, whatever they may be, to his progeny; but you take a horse that has to serve an unlimited number of mares, perhaps five or six in a day, twenty or thirty in a week, and you will not have very many of his qualities transmitted: they will be bad qualities, at any rate. I have known cases of that kind a great many times, and I think, Mr. Chairman, that you can scarcely put your finger on a single case where a good horse has been allowed to serve mares at a low price, and had to serve an unlimited number, that ever produced good stock. I think the fact stated by the gentleman who said that he put his mare to one horse, and her properties were not transmitted, and then again to the same horse, and her properties were transmitted, might be accounted for in that way, - that, the first time, the mare was put to the horse after he had served a great many mares previously, and the next time she was put to him when he had not served a mare for a week or two, perhaps. You will find that a great deal depends on the manner in which you use your animal. I have protested, time and time again, to a person who kept a thorough-bred bull, because that bull could not transmit his properties to the cows that went to be served, because he was allowing that bull to run three or four times to one cow, whereas he would have been just as likely to get a calf with one service as with three or four. One of the worst processes to which you can subject an animal is to try to make too much money by allowing him to serve too many animals. If want to have good stock from good ancestors, be sure and find out how the ancestors have been used.
Mr. WILLIAMS of Waltham. Mr. Bowditch of Framingham, who is here, has paid great attention, as I understand, to horse-shoeing. I think it will be very interesting to this audience, and it certainly will be to me, if he will explain his theory and practice.
Mr. E. F. BOWDITCH of Framingham. I would say, in the commencement, that I have taken a good deal of interest in shoeing horses for the last few years. I am a pupil of Mr. Russell 'in that respect. The doctor who has been
talking about the trouble he has had with his lame horse makes me think of the way that I began to take an interest in this matter of shoeing. I had the same trouble that he had,- of horses with hot feet; and I found that they could not be shod so as to avoid getting that heat. A horse's foot in a state of nature, when it is worn down properly, is wide at the heel, and the toes are worn down; the bars are in a perfect condition; and it has a wide, elastic frog, which takes all the jar from the foot. The cause of heat in a horse's foot is, no doubt, the jarring of the laminæ of the foot. The outside of a horse's foot, as we all know, when it is hot, is very sensitive and very tender, and causes the horse acute pain. You very often see a horse that is afraid to put his foot down, it hurts him so. Why does it hurt him? Why has his foot got into that condition? It is because, in shoeing, the frog, which Nature meant to take the jar of the foot, has not been allowed to come on the ground, and it becomes a dried and shrivelled-up little thing, of no use at all. And, when it shrivels, the heel contracts, and, as the heel contracts, it pinches on the small bone of the foot, called the “coffin " bone. It presses on that, and gets up an inflammation; and, when the laminæ get inflamed, very often it produces pus; and we all know how painful it is when we have a felon, or any thing like that, on our finger, particularly when there is no escape for it. You cannot get at the pus in the laminæ of a horse's foot; and there is no way to relieve that, except by giving him a long rest, and shoeing him 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 horse's foot, and, in ninetynine cases out of a hundred, the foot will get well. One gentleman speaks of the great weight that comes upon the foot of a horse when he is trotted down hill. I cannot say that I agree with him there, because I am afraid that 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: but I take care of their feet, and take care of their frogs; and they generally manage to do good work. I make my best time in driving down hill. The horse has nothing to pull, and only needs to go.
I have no fear of hard roads, and no fear of pavements,
if a horse's foot is kept in proper condition. My way of shoeing is to get a level bearing on the horse's foot, and keep the frog on the ground; never have any heel or toe calk, except when it is absolutely necessary in winter. The last winter, I rode my saddle mare (and of course my neck is worth more to me than any thing else I own) on glare ice, with a small bit of iron, about four inches long, curled around her toe, and with a very small toe-calk. I recollect galloping out on the ice, where the men were at work cutting the ice, and I had no fear of her slipping, although the horse that was marking the ice, that had calks on two inches high, did slip. I am sorry that I am not more used to speaking: perhaps I could explain myself better. But I am willing
But I am willing to answer any questions.
QUESTION. Do you practise paring off the bottom of the hoof before putting the shoe on?
Mr. BowdITCH. No. One great thing is to take off as little as possible. You merely want to cut a little bit off of the edge where your shoe is going; so that, when you have got your iron on, the frog will be sure to come down, and take the jar on the foot. No matter if there is a large flake which stands off: leave it there, for it may save the horse from getting hurt when going down hill. There may be a piece of iron in the road (a nut, as happened in one case to myself), and, if the horse steps on that, it may lame him. That flake is dead: it is worn off on the road, and sometimes drops off in the road or in the stable.
QUESTION. Do you have the shoes put on red-hot, as the doctor does ?
Mr. BowDITCH. I like to have my blacksmith put the shoe on as hot as he can bear it in his hand.
QUESTION. Do you touch the frog at all?
Mr. Bowditch. I never touch the frog in any way, matter how ragged it may be.
QUESTION. Or the bar ?
Mr. BOWDITCH. Never, except that the bar may work down so that it will strike before your shoe: in that case, shave it off a little.
Mr. JOHNSON of Framingham. In case of a horse whose frog was shrunk up into the foot, have you ever known a frog-bearing to fail to benefit him?