Last week Malcolm, Betty and I visited the medieval market. There is always a lot to do and see. You can buy many things such as fish, eggs, cheese, meat, ironmongery, pottery, spices and even real animals such as sheep, pigs or hens.
Malcolm saw something that caught his attention: the blacksmith. He wondered what the blacksmith does and asked Betty and me if we knew. But since neither of us really had an idea, we decided to simply ask the blacksmith himself. No sooner said than done, we walked up to him to ask him about his job. His answer confused all of us a bit: “I make shoes for horses,” the blacksmith said.
Shoes for horses? Well, that sounded more than strange to us. “You mean like making real shoes for horses? I’ve never seen a horse with shoes before…,” Malcolm wondered.
“Well, it’s not exactly making real shoes… it’s a horseshoe made of iron,” the blacksmith explained.
“Ok and how do you get this iron shoe on the horse?” I wondered.
“Let me explain it to you a bit more detailed: First of all I have to trim the hoof with a hoof-knife and prepare it for the shoe. Then, I take a preformed horseshoe and place it into the forge until the iron gets very hot and therefore flexible. This way, I can bend the iron to the right size in order to match the hoof. After bending, I place the shoe into cold water to cool it off. Then, I nail the shoe to the hoof.”
“Oh, that sounds painful,” Malcom said a little worried now.
“Don’t worry! The horse doesn’t feel any pain. The hooves are a bit like fingernails – simply much larger. Therefore, the whole procedure is totally painless for the horse, if you do it right – and I am an expert!” the blacksmith said.
“What is the whole point of it? What are the horseshoes good for?” I wondered.
“Well, if the horse doesn’t wear shoes the hoof will wear itself off more quickly. Horses often travel very long distances and sometimes also carry heavy goods or pull a cart. The shoes simply prevent injuries from the hooves,” the blacksmith explained once more.
“Yes, that makes a lot of sense,” Betty said. “Now we have to go.” We all said good bye to the blacksmith and wished him a good day.
“Maybe I’ll really come back later and get me some horseshoes, too,” Malcolm said quietly. That made Betty and me laugh – can you imagine a dragon wearing horseshoes?!