Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Reading a Horseshoe

Can you tell a forged shoe from a factory made shoe? A front shoe from a hind shoe? Join the detective work at the blacksmith shop and help us get the shoes sorted.

How was it made?
Horse shoes began to be produced in factories after the Civil War. Factory made shoes are identical, and often have a number or makers mark stamped into the shoe. These were sold in small wooded barrels that contained 50 pounds of horseshoes. These came to be called “keg shoes.” Blacksmiths would modify these premade shoes to fit the horse.

Blacksmith-made shoes are forged and are made to exactly fit each foot of the horse. Since all four feet of the horse are different, the shoes will be slightly different as well. There may be custom features like varied placement of the nail holes, special caulks or “corks” to provide traction in mud or snow, or modifications to strengthen the horses feet.
Can you tell which shoes were made in a factory?
Where did it fit?
A horse’s front feet are general a little wider than their hind feet. Front shoes may be more round, and hind shoes from the same horse less wide.
Zeb’s Shoes
Our horse Zeb is a Percheron and has very large shoes. A horse is most likely to scuff or catch the outside edge of their foot on rocks while walking. Zeb’s shoes have four nails on the outside edge and three on the inside edge.
--Can you tell which of his shoes were on his left side and which were on his right?
--Which one was a front shoe and which one was a hind shoe?

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