7 Year Tea Party Winners: Susan Craft's winner of her trilogy novels - The Chamomile, Laurel, and Cassia is: Lucy Reynolds, The winner of a copy of The Backcountry Brides is: Tammy Cordery, the winner of a silver quill charm is: Kathy Maher, Choice of one of three books by Carrie Fancett Pagels in paperback: Joy Ellis, A Bouquet of Brides Collection by Pegg Thomas winner is: Becky Smith, Janet Grunst's Selah-Award winning novel, A Heart Set Free, is: Sherry Moe.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Shoeing Horses

God's blessing to you dear friends. For those who have not yet met me, I am Nathaniel Griffith from Rhode Island. Ye see this mare I am brushing? She is a fine animal from my uncle’s stock in Wales. There are not many horses in the colonies, so my uncle sent this mare in 1656 as a present to my mother.

In time, I plan to breed her if I find a suitable stallion. See her hooves? They are large and black. I would like to raise a herd of horses with such fine hooves. There are no ridges on the walls now, unlike when she first came to us. Ridges on the walls of a horse’s hooves indicates a change or disruption in feeding. On the trip across the great Atlantic she would not have eaten well. Now however, ye can see her hooves are smooth and strong.

Ye wonder why she is not shod? Verily, she does not need it. Our trails are dirt or mud or grass, unlike the roads of England. God has blessed her, as He has most horses, with a hard wall for protection and a natural “suction cup” form through the frog and bulbs for traction.

Perhaps if I rode her along the beach each day I would consider shoes for her, but the cost of iron gives me pause. Verily, the blacksmith in Newport is unpracticed with shoeing horses. A poor shoeing can injure the animal. It is not worth the risk.

I do know of a wealthy man in Boston who shoes his horses. He travels a great deal, and I believe the shoes are a source of pride for him as well. A farmer near Providence shoes only the front hooves of his animals. This be wise and economical decision. About two-thirds the weight of the horse is on its front feet, hence they have the greatest wear.

At times, I have wrapped my horses’ hooves with rawhide to protect their feet. ’Tis a simple solution when I travel and come across a rocky path.

Did ye know the bailiffs of Oakham in England levied a toll of a horseshoe from carriages that passed through the market-town in Rutland county? Yea, horseshoes cost some, and ’tis only those that can afford such finery in the colonies that shoe their steeds.

Look at this gelding beside me. I was not wise when I purchased this horse. You see his hooves are white? This indicates they are soft and their soles bruise easily. I suppose there are some white hooves that be not soft, but experience has taught me to steer away from such animals. Now in truth, I must say that my uncle agrees not with my assessment. He calls it a myth. Perhaps he is right. He is a more experienced horseman than I.

The sun is in its midday position, and I must finish preparing these horses for a trip into Newport. A ship has come in, and it is rumored to have more horses from England. I hope to find a heavier breed than these I have. Such animals will work well on the farm. ’Tis prestige I’m after, I’ll grant you, to have horses instead of oxen work my land, but I prefer to work with a horse than a dull ox.

I wish you Godspeed.


  1. Lynne, your posts are so enchanting! Although I grew up owning horses you teach me something new every time, especially about horses in colonial times! Thank you.

  2. Thank you Carla. I do enjoy writing them.

  3. Susan Craft said...
    Lynn, what an interesting way of providing some really good information. Such fun to read! I wish history were presented to children in school like this so they could actually enjoy learning about history.

  4. Thank you, Susan. I learned to love history through stories, so I can't think of a better way to write about history than through the eyes of a character.

  5. So fun!! I love his voice! Great post:)

  6. Wonderful post, Lynn! I really enjoy the way you write these--educational and delightfully entertaining at the same time. I learn something every time. :-)

  7. Thank you, Kristen. I'm glad you enjoyed it J.M. Nathaniel Griffith is the main character of the first book of my Colonial Baptist series (not published yet). When I read this post, I find he seems to feel a little tired. :)

    This post is dated after the second book, when he's a little freer to indulge in hobbies like horses. Perhaps he feels tired because of his ongoing health issues.

  8. Fun, I loved it! My uncle is something of a farrier and if he had a compputer he would enjoy this :)

  9. Thank you, Fay. Your uncle might enjoy visiting Oakham Castle. Over time the toll of a horseshoe became a tradition (and not a toll) and now on the walls of this castle you'll find many horseshoes from nobility and royalty. No longer do they come of the horse, but are tailor made with the name and the date of the donor.

  10. Lynn, Love the style in which you do your posts! You make them so interesting and I find I learn a lot. Have always been interested in horses but am kind of scared of them, too. I think I'd like to be your horse! Your love for them really shines through. That probably sounds ridiculous but we writers have vivid imaginations;) Bless you for being here and contributing in such a needed, fascinating way.

  11. Lynn, please bring your character with you to the Spinning Wheel next Monday! Or is this person not from Narragansett Bay? Loved this post!!

  12. Laura, thank you! When I was younger, I lived and breathed horses. God works in amazing ways though. He used my love and experience with horses through most of my life. I grew up with horses and then made them my career until almost 12 years ago, when I had my first child. During those years if it had to do with horses, I probably tried it. I absorbed everything I could about them and read every book I could find about them.

    But through my adult years, my first love was God. So, when it came time to close the book on teaching horsemanship, I did because He comes first. He had other plans for me. I still love horses, but now He's led me in other directions. Following Him brings far greater joy than even horses.

  13. To add to the above comment, I taught horsemanship for 20 years--we had kids later in life than most people.

    Carrie, Nathaniel is in Dawn over Narragansett Bay. He's not the main character, but he certainly plays an important role. I will bring him along. By the way, he's the one you first met in the drowning scene--I believe that was the first of my writing you ever read. Right?


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