Friday, February 22, 2008

Special Shoes, Indeed

Are these the kind of "special shoes" that you were talking about, Carolyn, when you responded to Pink's "Buck Cruelty" billboard in Times Square?

Chester Elliot has a happy ending but used to be a Boston carriage horse. Like the horses in New York City, Boston carriage horses wear 1-inch thick heavy steel work shoes with a cleat at the heels and toes for grip. Notably, this steel shoe lends the distinctive "clip clop" sound that apparently generates tourist dollars. Chester's hoof (seen in photo above) suffered from thrush, which is not uncommon in carriage horses who don't get turnout, stand in filth all night, and pound the pavement repeatedly.

The thrush, which occurred inside Chester Elliot's hooves, was worsened by poor grooming during his carriage horse days (his belly was also matted with urine stains). His steel shoes restricted the circulation to his hooves; his pavement-pounding work further complicated the condition, creating a microbial soup inside his hoof. (ie, "hoof rot.")

Chester Elliot photo is used courtesy of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages (Happy Endings).
Although Chester Elliot was not a NYC carriage horse, his condition is a common one and the photo of his foot ailment is descriptive. Lameness and hoof deterioration are commonly seen in carriage horses, equine veterinarian Holly Cheever, DVM, has written. Chester Elliott's story is similar to that of so many rescued carriage horses. Read more

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