I often get to wondering how objects that have been around for a long time were invented. A lot of things that seem natural to us now must have, at one time, seemed totally bizarre to everyone but the inventor. So how did the idea pop into someone’s head?
As an aside, I should note that, despite these questions entering my mind, I rarely, if ever, undertake any research to try to find the answers. Doing so would require that I forfeit my “Laziest SOB on the Planet” award. I cherish that honor.
For some reason that I can’t fathom, one of the things that I recently had such thoughts about is a horseshoe. That’s a weird item for me to think about because I consider myself to be a committed urbanite. Others consider me to be an urbanite who should be committed, but that’s another story for another time. The point is, I have not spent much time around horses.
Be that as it may, I was wondering how someone managed to come up with the design that we now recognize as a standard horseshoe. I’m not saying that I was alive then but, if I had been around in the days before anyone had even imagined horseshoes, if someone had asked me to design something to protect horses’ hooves, I’d probably have constructed something more like the shoes I wear. It’s what I know.
Now that I think about it, I’d give the horses cross-trainers. Then they’d get the needed support whether they are walking, trotting, cantering, galloping or doing equestrian jumps.
And I’d put a gel-filled insole into their shoes. Horses are majestic animals and many of them work hard for us. They deserve a little comfort.
For the horses’ sake, I’m glad that whoever invented the horseshoe didn’t graduate to that job from designing women’s shoes. Horses would look terribly silly prancing around in high heels. They’d embarrass themselves in front of the shoeless horses. Worse, there’s a history of euthanizing horses that break their legs. It would have been a bloodbath.
As difficult as it is for me to imagine how someone could have first come up with the design for a horseshoe, I find it impossible to envisage how they figured out how to attach the shoe to the horse’s hoof. If they had used my idea of a shoe more like what we humans wear, it wouldn’t have been a problem. Slip the shoe on, lace it up and the horse is good to go.
But that doesn’t work with a horseshoe. So what idea did someone come up with to keep the shoe on the horse’s hoof? Sometimes it’s glued on, but the traditional method is to nail it on. What?! Nailed on?!!!
Who was the sadomasochist who came up with that idea?
The thought of having to nail a shoe onto a horse’s hoof would make me quite a bit more nervous than my already high ambient level of anxiety.
It’s never happened to me, and I hope that it never does, but I’m reasonably certain that my natural reaction would be to kick if somebody tried to nail a heavy piece of metal to the bottom of my foot.
I’m not suggesting the kick would be intentional. I’m sure that it would be my perfectly natural reflex action. Of course, there would also be a lot of intent as well. In fact, I’d intend to aim my foot directly at the groin of the person doing the nailing. Come to think of it, kicking the person in the groin would somewhat lessen my regret at having a piece of metal attached to my foot.
My legs aren’t particularly strong. I could do some damage with my kick, but the recipient would likely survive. There’d be a lot of screaming and possibly a lengthy hospital stay, but it’s doubtful that my kick would lead directly to a funeral.
And, if it’s a guy I kick, it might work out alright for him. He could use his newfound high voice to propel himself into a stellar career with the Vienna Boys Choir.
But that’s just my kick. We’re talking about nailing a heavy piece of metal to a horse. I’d imagine that if some big stallion should decide to give you a strong kick to the head, the very best you’d be able to hope for is to revert to and stay at the mental capacity of a three-day-old for the rest of your life. And I’m not sure it would be the capacity of a three-day-old human. Possibly a mollusk. And death is probably a much more likely outcome.
(I suggested that the stallion would kick you in the head because the groin might be a little low for the horse to aim at when you’re down there trying to nail a shoe onto its foot, although I’m sure the groin would be it’s preferred target.)
Considering the danger involved, my question is, who did they get to nail a horseshoe to a horse for the first time?
“Hey Harry,” said the horseshoe inventor, “I invented a shoe for that horse of yours that’s always stubbing its hoofs. All you have to do is nail the shoe on.”
“Like hell I’ll nail it on! You nail it on. That bastard goes wild if I’m five minutes late with it’s hay. Imagine what it’ll do if I take a hammer and nail to its hoof.”
“I’ve got it; we’ll get the village idiot to do it. He’ll do anything.”
That’s probably it. They probably got the village idiot to do it.
That’s the problem with the world today. Villages don’t have enough idiots anymore. They all went into politics and now the economy is all shot to hell.
Categorised as: stuff and nonsense