Farrier Jarrett Lund prepares new shoes for horses during the new Historic Forestville interpretive program, "New Shoes for Horses," held last Saturday in the site's weigh house.   GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPER GROUP
Farrier Jarrett Lund prepares new shoes for horses during the new Historic Forestville interpretive program, "New Shoes for Horses," held last Saturday in the site's weigh house. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPER GROUP
"They get new shoes every six to eight weeks if they're used for riding a fair bit. The shoes are for traction, support and protection," said Cresco farrier Jarred Lund, speaking to visitors at Historic Forestville's new "New Shoes for Horses" interpretive program last Saturday as he inspected, filed and shod a horse as part of a demonstration meant to illustrate what is necessary to fit horseshoes to horses, animals which were the main source of transportation in 1899.

Lund showed program attendees how a horse's hoof is first cleaned, then filed on the sides and bottom. "You clean the foot and get it ready, go ahead and trim it. Proper maintenance keeps hooves healthy. They shed their hoof wall about two to three times a year, on average, and it's best to keep them trimmed to keep bacteria out, so top-dressing them is as important as anything - if a hoof starts getting long, it puts pressure on the tendons and ligaments. The hoof grows out as far as it is wide and down the same length, so if you don't keep that filed, you don't have a healthy 'frog'...a tight foot is a healthy foot, so keeping shoes on a horse helps keep the horse supported."

Lund has been in the business for the past 11 years and trained in Kentucky because "it's hard to find a horse shoer, and even then, a good horse shoer...plus, I don't want to work in an office or on someone else's hours, so I might as well do something I enjoy."

Mass-produced horseshoes were first made during the mid - to late-1800s, and that changed slightly how they were put on horses. Instead of having to forge a whole new shoe for each hoof, farriers like Lund were able to shoe each horse in less than two hours by simply cleaning and filing hooves, then by heating the manufactured shoes on a forge, "hot-shaping" or fitting them to the hoof while still hot off the forge, then "cold-shaping" them, or putting the shoes back in the forge after hot-shaping them and then hammering them into shape on an anvil.

Once the shoes are shaped, they are nailed to the hooves, then the nails are trimmed using a tool called a "clincher." "Once you've got the shoe shaped the way you'd like it, you can put it on the horse. The clincher bends the nail over into a groove that I made...it helps get a good flush hoof wall so that the nail won't catch on anything."

Lund pointed out that there are different sizes of nails to be used with the shoes, and that they're "beveled so that they go in faster." Additionally, he stated that there is a difference between standard shoes and shoes for draft horses, noting that "there's a lot more steel in draft horseshoes."

The farrier's services on display as a demonstration were part of Historic Forestville's efforts to show village visitors what different parts of daily life might have been like for those who lived there. This is, in addition to its existing programming which includes tours of the Thomas Meighen house and store, the wagon barn and the farmyard as they might have been in 1899, the year that staff at the site interpret through events such as its bread and butter-making day, its garden planting and harvesting, its preservation and canning event and its "By the Light of the Lantern" late-evening Saturday leisure event. The site is also marking the commemoration of the Civil War's sesquicentennial, this year with "Days of '63," a Civil War encampment that is set for Saturday, July 27, and Sunday, July 28.

Historic Forestville is located inside Forestville-Mystery Cave State Park, 21899 County Rd. 118, Preston, between Wykoff and Preston. For more information on activities, call (507) 765-2785, log onto the site's website at www.mnhs.org/places/sites/hf/visitforestville.html, or e-mail Forestville@mnhs.org.