Taking a Look Back: Horse Hoof Ingenuities From 1891

Our American-English is a dialect that is ever-changing. I love picking up old books and reading each sentence carefully and looking up words that I am certain couldn’t be real. An example is “aquabib” which describes those of us who like to drink lots of water.

Garrett Ford came across a mystery photo on his computer. It was a snapshot of a page in a book. It is evident that this literature has some antiquity based on the run-on but well-structured sentences and peculiar word choices.
He thought it would be a good investigation to pursue and share the findings of. I initiated my research venture and found the full document with the help of Google Books. You can find the entire piece here. This script was an article included in a print called the Wallace Monthly by John Hankins Wallace in the April of 1891 publication.

Photo credit: NEPLAINS Postcards and Collectibles

The most fascinating part of this activity was seeing how parallel so many of the writer’s theories are in respect to today’s barefoot movement supporters. It’s interesting to see that this author had the ability to imagine a future with horses much like the one we are experiencing today. This may make you scratch your head and think “why are metal shoes still in existence?"

I’ve recorded the most intriguing sentences from the literature for your amusement and listed them below. Not all of the opinions found in the following words represent EasyCare’s values. The intention of sharing this work is to highlight the history of horse care and inspire some philosophy. Enjoy.

“That the ordinary iron shoe is the best and least hurtful means that could be devised, I am reluctant to admit; but so far, even American ingenuity has failed to develop anything better suited to the purpose.”

“The frog is nature’s cushion and hoof-expander, placed there by an All-Wise hand; by its elasticity it wards off concussion from the less elastic portions of the structure, and by its resilience assists in maintaining the natural expansion of its horny ambit;”

“It might even be possibly (I do not mean necessarily in this particular way) in the course of generations to develop a horse whose feet should be so improved that he could do all sorts of work on all sorts of going barefoot with impunity; but this would imply an amount of self-sacrifice in the present for the benefit of remote prosperity which is hardly to be looked for in this practical age, and the contention of enthusiasts that all horses could and should, under all circumstances, go unshod is, I fear, Utopian and impracticable.”

“When contracted feet have to be expanded there is a far more simple, safe and at the same time effective means of attaining that end to be found within the foot itself. By lowering the walls at the heels, so as to restore frog pressure, the latter speedily recovers its lost characteristics, and in a healthy condition gradually and naturally accomplishes one of the very purposes for which the Great Architect placed it there.”

“If we could dispense with nails altogether our horses’ feet would be immeasurably better off. This, unfortunately, we apparently cannot do, but we have it in our power to minimize an evil which, at present, at all events, we cannot entirely avoid.”

And the best of all of the briefs:

“In this age of marvelous ingenuity, is it visionary to hope that it is within the power of chemistry to develop some preparation which, applied to our horses’ hoofs in a liquid or pultaceous form, will quickly harden into a substance closely resembling the natural horn, which will enable us to dispense altogether with the heavy, unyielding iron, and while it affords the necessary protection to the foot will permit it to retain to the full its wondrous combination of lightness, strength and elasticity, and enable it to perform its varied functions under the most exacting conditions which advanced civilization can impose, with that marvelous trinity of apparently incompatible characteristics unhampered as they left the workshop of the Creator, all acting together in perfect harmony and absolute efficiency?

I sent the last quotation from the literature to Garrett, the owner and inventor of EasyCare, because of the excitement that woke inside of me. What a great turning point we are at in the history of horse care and what a great experience it is to work for the leading innovator of alternative and holistic hoof care products.

Mariah Reeves

easycare-customer service-mariah

Customer Service

As one of the customer service representatives, I am happy to help get your horse into the right boots. I promote holistic methods of equine care and will assist you with finding the perfect fit for horse and rider.


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