Horseshoes Are Problematic
Ha ha. Very funny. Look, we all love to laugh at this funny picture of a horse wearing a man’s sneakers. It’s really very clever and I had to use a piece of paper to cover up that part of my screen as I wrote this, because I kept laughing and my hands were going all over the keyboard, typing nonsense. But if you can pretend for one second that you didn’t see that picture and get serious, I’d like you to consider this: Horseshoes are bad.
Since we were cast out of Eden, humans have worn shoes:
[A]nd Adam and Eve knew that they [were] naked, and they sewed fig-leaves and made to themselves girdles, and they found other leaves and placeth unto their feet, and those are the shoes we all know and love today. (Genesis 3:6–7)
But horses were without shoes until 1770, when 64-year-old Ben Franklin tied a string around a mule’s leg and pulled it, sending the animal to the ground. Franklin then had the mule, Timothey, tie the rope around his own leg, on which he wore an iron shoe. Timothey pulled the rope (with his teeth) and Franklin did not budge, and he was not too long thereafter struck by lightning. It was some time between these two moments that he wrote:
What Man could, in fine confcience, place upon his Horfe a hearty load without firft giving the brute a foot-shoe? What we do for the beft of friends, so too fhould we do for our most-defpised enemies — the Wicked King George and the ferocious Horfe both deferve a shodden haunch, and a thoro lafhing. (Poor Richard’s Almanack, c.1770)
Within months, horseshoes were a hit. Ben Franklin became rich and famous, and a horse-meat salesman named George Washington called him on the phone to tell him he loved the new invention. The two got to talking, and six years later, they teamed up to create the United States of America.
Not long after, with their fledgling Democracy a smashing success, the Founding Fathers established a public decency law that all horses’ feet must be covered on the bottom, to prevent ants from seeing what the Founders believed were the horses’ sex organs inside their hooves.
But it did not take long for “President Franklin’s Wholesome Hoof Wardens,” as horseshoes were then known, to become the bane of the equine world. As fashions changed and men transitioned from the curved iron footwear of the 18th century to the rubber flip-flop that dominated the Antebellum South, horses were left looking foolish and out-of-date. Farmers were often heard crying, “Nice shoes, George Washington,” into their fields, causing the horses to shake their heads very hard and fall down like in old Western movies — except this time, it wasn’t hilarious.
When the Sneaker Age arrived shortly after, brought on by the publication of Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle,” a legendary exposé of inhumane conditions and child labor in the flip-flop industry, horses felt even more stupider. The sight of a basketball legend — and we’re talking anyone from Earl “The Pearl” to the ever-smooth Dr. J, and that goes for “Magic” Johnson and Kareem “The Dream,” too — throwing down a monster slam made horses furious. “It’s gotta be the shoes,” one screamed, in a sickening voice that caused a farmer named John Glenn to try out for NASA, in the hopes that he could escape the planet for good.
It’s gotta be the shoes.
The plight of the modern horse isn’t that they are overworked or underloved. It is the shame they feel from their stupid shoes, which make them look like idiots from the olden days.
In the past 20 years, as everyone came to agree that The Ramones ruined Chuck Taylors, Converse started manufacturing the once-popular sneakers to fit horses’ weird, freaked-up feet, once again enabling humanity to mock these sad and stupid creatures. Remember when you laughed at that “hilarious” picture at the top of this article? Don’t you feel bad now?
You’re the problem, and there’s only one solution. Donate your shoes to a horse in need today.