On this Day:
In 1835, Henry Burden of Troy, NY, patented the horseshoe manufacturing machine. However, people had been hanging horseshoes over their doors for a very long time before…
A horseshoe is a fabricated product, normally made of metal, although sometimes made partially or wholly of modern synthetic materials, designed to protect a horse hoof from wear. Shoes are attached on the palmar surface (ground side) of the hooves, usually nailed through the insensitive hoof wall that is anatomically akin to the human toenail, although much larger and thicker. However, there are also cases where shoes are glued.
The fitting of horseshoes is a professional occupation, conducted by a farrier, who specializes in the preparation of feet, assessing potential lameness issues, and fitting appropriate shoes, including remedial features where required. In some countries, such as the UK, horseshoeing is legally restricted to people with specific qualifications and experience. In others, such as the United States, where professional licensing is not legally required, professional organizations provide certification programs that publicly identify qualified individuals.
Horseshoes are available in a wide variety of materials and styles, developed for different types of horses and for the work they do. The most common materials are steel and aluminium, but specialized shoes may include use of rubber, plastic, magnesium, titanium, or copper. Steel tends to be preferred in sports in which a strong, long-wearing shoe is needed, such as polo, eventing, show jumping, and western riding events. Aluminium shoes are lighter, making them common in horse racing, where a lighter shoe is desired; and often facilitate certain types of movement, and so are favoured in the discipline of dressage. Some horseshoes have “caulkins”, “caulks”, or “calks”: protrusions at the toe or heels of the shoe, or both, to provide additional traction.
When kept as a talisman, a horseshoe is said to bring good luck. A stylized variation of the horseshoe is used for a popular throwing game, horseshoes.
Since the early history of domestication of the horse, working animals were found to be exposed to many conditions that created breakage or excessive hoof wear. Ancient people recognized the need for the walls (and sometimes the sole) of domestic horses’ hooves to have additional protection over and above any natural hardness. An early form of hoof protection was seen in ancient Asia, where horses’ hooves were wrapped in rawhide, leather or other materials for both therapeutic purposes and protection from wear. From archaeological finds in Great Britain, the Romans appeared to have attempted to protect their horses’ feet with a strap-on, solid-bottomed “hipposandal” that has a slight resemblance to the modern hoof boot.
Historians differ on the origin of the horseshoe. Because iron was a valuable commodity, and any worn out items were generally reforged and reused, it is difficult to locate clear archaeological evidence. Although some credit the Druids, there is no hard evidence to support this claim. In 1897 four bronze horseshoes with what are apparently nail holes were found in an Etruscan tomb dated around 400 BC. The assertion by some historians that the Romans invented the “mule shoes” sometime after 100 BC is supported by a reference by Catullus who died in 54 BC. However, these references to use of horseshoes and muleshoes in Rome may have been to the “hipposandal”—leather boots, reinforced by an iron plate, rather than to nailed horseshoes.
Existing references to the nailed shoe are relatively late, first known to have appeared around AD 900, but there may have been earlier uses given that some have been found in layers of dirt. There are no extant references to nailed horseshoes prior to the reign of Emperor Leo VI, and by 973 occasional references to them can be found. The earliest clear written record of iron horseshoes is a reference to “crescent figured irons and their nails” in AD 910. There is very little evidence of any sort that suggests the existence of nailed-on shoes prior to AD 500 or 600, though there is a find dated to the 5th century AD of a horseshoe, complete with nails, found in the tomb of the Frankish King Childeric I at Tournai, Belgium.
Around 1000 AD, cast bronze horseshoes with nail holes became common in Europe. A design with a scalloped outer rim and six nail holes was common. According to Gordon Ward the scalloped edges were created by double punching the nail holes causing the edges to bulge. The 13th and 14th centuries brought the widespread manufacturing of iron horseshoes. By the time of the Crusades (1096–1270), horseshoes were widespread and frequently mentioned in various written sources. In that period, due to the value of iron, horseshoes were even accepted in lieu of coin to pay taxes.
By the 13th century, shoes were forged in large quantities and could be bought ready-made. Hot shoeing, the process of shaping a heated horseshoe immediately before placing it on the horse, became common in the 16th century. From the need for horseshoes, the craft of blacksmithing became “one of the great staple crafts of medieval and modern times and contributed to the development of metallurgy.” A treatise titled “No Foot, No Horse” was published in England in 1751.
In 1835, the first U.S. patent for a horseshoe manufacturing machine capable of making up to 60 horseshoes per hour was issued to Henry Burden. In mid-19th-century Canada, marsh horseshoes kept horses from sinking into the soft intertidal mud during dike-building. In a common design, a metal horseshoe holds a flat wooden shoe in place.
In China, iron horseshoes became common during the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), prior to which rattan and leather shoes were used to preserve animal hooves. Evidence of the preservation of horse hooves in China dates to the Warring States period (476–221 BC), during which Zhuangzi recommended shaving horse hooves to keep them in good shape. The Discourses on Salt and Iron in 81 BC mentions using leather shoes, but it’s not clear if they were used for protecting horse hooves or to aid in mounting the horse. Remnants of iron horseshoes have been found in what is now northeast China, but the tombs date to the Goguryeo period in 414 AD. A mural in the Mogao Caves dated to 584 AD depicts a man caring for a horse’s hoof, which some speculate might be depicting horseshoe nailing, but the mural is too eroded to tell clearly.
The earliest reference to iron horseshoes in China dates to 938 AD during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. A monk named Gao Juhui sent to the Western Regions writes that the people in Ganzhou (now Zhangye) taught him how to make “horse hoof muse”, which had four holes in it that connected to four holes in the horse’s hoof, and were thus put together. They also recommended using yak skin shoes for camel hooves. Iron horseshoes however did not become common for another three centuries. Zhao Rukuo writes in Zhu Fan Zhi, finished in 1225, that the horses of the Arabs and Persians used metal for horse shoes, implying that horses in China did not. After the establishment of the Yuan dynasty in 1271 AD, iron horseshoes became more common in northern China. When Thomas Blakiston travelled up the Yangtze, he noted that in Sichuan “cattle wore straw shoes to prevent their slipping on the wet ground” while in northern China, “horses and cattle are shod with iron shoes and nails.” The majority of Chinese horseshoe discoveries have been in Jilin, Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Sichuan, and Tibet (per Wikipedia).
First, a Story:
An elderly man had owned a large farm down in Louisiana for many years.
Right at the back of the farm there was a large pond that was ideal for swimming. The old farmer had fixed it up real nice with picnic tables, horseshoe courts and some apple and peach trees.
One evening the farmer decides to go down to the pond, to look it over, as he hadn’t been down there for a while.
Before setting off, he grabs a five-gallon bucket as he decides he’ll bring back some fruit.
As he nears the pond, he can hear voices shouting and laughing with glee. Clearly someone is having a good time.
As the farmer gets closer, he can see a bunch of young women who are clearly skinny-dipping in his pond.
He makes the women aware of his presence and immediately they all swim over to the far end.
One of the women then shouts, “We’re not coming out until you leave mister!“
The farmer replies, “Ladies, I didn’t come down here to watch you swim naked or make you get out of the pond. You carry on.“
The wily old timer then holds up his bucket and says, “I just came down here to feed the alligators!“
Second, a Song:
5 Seconds of Summer, often shortened to 5SOS (pronounced as ‘5 sos’), are an Australian pop rock band from Sydney, New South Wales, formed in late 2011. The group consists of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Luke Hemmings, lead guitarist Michael Clifford, bassist Calum Hood, and drummer Ashton Irwin. Originally beginning their career as YouTube celebrities, they rose to international fame while touring with English-Irish boy band One Direction on their Take Me Home Tour. Since 2014, 5 Seconds of Summer have sold more than 10 million albums, sold over 2 million concert tickets worldwide, and the band’s songs streams surpass 7 billion, making them one of the most successful Australian musical exports in history.
In early 2014, the band released “She Looks So Perfect” which topped the charts in four countries. Their self-titled debut album was released in 2014, peaking at number one in 11 countries. The band released their second album Sounds Good Feels Good in 2015, topping the charts in 8 countries. The band’s third album Youngblood, released in 2018, was a commercial success and became their third number one album in their home country. In the US, 5 Seconds of Summer became the first Australian act to achieve three number one albums on the Billboard 200 album chart. They also became the first band (not vocal group) to have their first three full-length albums debut at the top in the US. The album’s single, “Youngblood” is the fourth highest selling Australian single of the 2010-2019 decade and is the eleventh best-selling single in Australian history, selling over five million adjusted copies worldwide within the first six months of its release. With the release of “Youngblood”, 5 Seconds of Summer became the first Australian act in 13 years to top ARIA year-end chart and remain the second longest stint at number one in ARIA chart history. In 2020, the band released their fourth studio album Calm. The album was a commercial success, receiving positive reviews from critics, charting in more than 25 countries on multiple charts, peaking in the 10 top on 17 charts and debuting atop the charts in 4 countries. With Calm earning the band their fourth consecutive number one in their home country, 5 Seconds of Summer became the second Australian band in history to have their first four full-length studio albums debut at number one on the ARIA albums chart.
All singles from the band’s four studio albums, as well as all four albums, have charted in multiple countries, received multiple official sale certifications, and have been featured in numerous weekly and year-end charts, as well as making an appearance on decade-end charts. The band has received numerous accolades and awards, including being honoured with the prestigious APRA Outstanding International Achievement Award in 2019, being placed on Billboard’s Top Artists of the 2010s chart, which lists the most popular and successful artists of the 2010-2019 decade and being credited in the exclusive APRA AMCOS 1,000,000,000 List in 2020. As of mid-2020, the band’s estimated net worth is approximately US$81 million (per Wikipedia).
Here is 5SOS’s song Youngblood set to images of horses by Kelsey Horselover (per YouTube.com). I hope you enjoy this!
Thought for the Day:
“A horse is dangerous at both ends and uncomfortable in the middle.” – Ian Fleming
Have a great day!
Dave & Colleen
© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky