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Baron-Engel's avatar

If the shoe fits


Applebloom stood in Glowing Coals shop in my Equestria dreamscape awaiting her to get her hoofs shod for the first time. Rite Of Passage She was both excited and nervous about prospect of finally getting a proper pair of shoes. Getting shod meant she was actually growing up and becoming a true member of the Ponyville community, and yet at the same time it was an acknowledgment that her days of foalhood were already beginning to pass. She still might not have her Cutie Mark but earth pony mares and stallions would view her in a different light after she got her shoes today.

    Glowing Coals was Ponyville’s resident farrier and he had done the shoes for almost every earth pony in the county. He was getting up in his years but his son and daughter were becoming first class farriers themselves and planned to carry on family business when he retired.

    Big Mac had scheduled a 3pm appointment for them and they had arrived a few minutes early for it but now it seemed like the clock on the wall was ticking slower and slower. Applebloom found herself rocking back and forth on hoofs as she nervously waited for appointment.

    “Nervous Little Bloom?” Asked Big Mac as he looked at a display of shoe designs. He would need new shoes in a couple months and he was looking at some new types of cleated shoes designed specifically for plowing. If the family were going to open up that additional sixteen acres of recently acquired land he would be doing a lot of plowing.

    Applebloom nodded her head. “A little.”

    Finally the Glowing Coals came trotting out of the back of the shop. He was a light tan mountain of an earth pony that even in his advanced years still rippled with muscles. His short, cropped mane and tail were dark brown but were now streaked with veins of silver grey hair. His cutie mark was a pair of glowing embers. Years of hard labor and constantly working around hot objects had given him myriad of minor scars on his body. He looked down at Applebloom and smiled.

    “Well here’s my new customer! Welcome Applebloom! Ready fer yer first shoeing? Well come with me and we’ll git this party started!”

    Glowing Coals led the butter cream filly along with Big Mac back into the main part of the workshop. There were two other ponies back there, a rust red stallion and yellow-orange mare. Glowing Coals pointed at them.

    “Applebloom you’ve met my son Ringing Hammer and my daughter Silver Anvil before; they’ll be assisting me with your shoeing today.” The two ponies nodded at Applebloom. "So first off would you lie down over here dear and let’s see what shape yer hoofs are in.”

    The old stallion directed the little filly over to a wooden bench and had her get on it. While she was doing that the old stallion donned a heavy burn-stained leather cape. He then spent the next five minutes carefully examining Applebloom’s hoofs; at one point Glowing Coal produced a pair of wire rim glasses and perched them on his muzzle so he examine her hoofs in greater detail. With his examination completed he had Applebloom get off the bench.

    “Well you’ve taken good care of yer hoofs so that will make this easier. So Little Bloom, have ya given any thought ta what kind of shoes ya want fer yer first shoeing?”

    Applebloom scuffed a front hoof on the shop floor. “Well I was kind of uncertain which I should be a getting. I’ve a read several books on it but each one seems to disagree with the other, so no I guess I don’t know what kind I want.”

    Glowing Coals laughed and patted Applebloom on top of the head. “Ah, I see you’ve discovered the peril of asking too many experts for advice already! Well if yer willing to listen to one more expert I’ll give ya my opinion!”

    Over the next fifteen minutes Applebloom and Big Mac discussed with Glowing Coals the reasons why the little filly was getting shod in the first place. The old stallion closed his eyes and nodded his head.

    “If ya want my advice go with Type 63 Flintstalls. They’ll give her the best combination of durability to comfort and they’re an excellent choice fer a first time shoeing. Also ya can now git vulcanize rubber inserts fer traction and so she’s not tear up house as she gits use to them. So Little Bloom how does that sound?”

    Applebloom nodded her head. “Well they sound like a good choice so guess I’ll go with them.”

    Glowing Coals smiled. “Alright then, come over here please.” The stallion had the little filly sit down on a stool. He then drew a large rasp file from a pocket on his leather cape. With practiced skill and efficiency he made several quick passes of the file over the little filly’s hoofs.

    “Since you’ve been taking good care of yer hoofs I don’t have ta do much shaping of yer hoofs. Let’s finish yer prepping.”

    The old stallion had her lie down special adjustable couch that was designed to assist the farrier. Glowing Coals made a few adjustments so Applebloom was comfortable and so he could work easily on her. While this was going on Silver Anvil came over with a tape and took some measurements of the little filly’s hoofs then she went to retrieve some shoes that were closest to her hoof measurements. In the meantime Ringing Hammer was stoking the forge in preparation for heating the shoes.

    The couch was designed with a space for a pony to rest their muzzle. This made it more comfortable for pony to lie on their belly during procedure. Glowing Coals did a little more rasp work then he picked up a knife with a special curved blade designed to trim and shape a hoof. In few minutes he had trimmed the hoofs in preparation for fitting.

    Around this time Silver Anvil returned with the shoes. Her father did a quick fitting of them and decided where the shoes would need to be altered to fit Applebloom’s hoofs. By this time forge had become a roaring inferno due to Ringing Hammer’s steady working of the bellows. The old stallion placed the shoes in the fire. After a minute or so he retrieved them and with a hammer he proceeded to work them one by one on the anvil, subtly adjusting each one so they fit her individual hoofs before quenching the hot shoes in a water bath. Then he did several test fittings to assure the shoes would fit correctly. After that he did a final bit of trimming and file work

    Finally he seemed satisfied with their shape, he then retrieved a farrier hammer and the number of nails he would need to affix the shoes to Applebloom’s hoofs. The old stallion then turned and spoke to the little filly.

     “Okay Little Bloom we’ll start with yer rear left hoof. Please place yer hoof in cradle and then relax. This may feel kind of weird seeing as this here is yer first time, but try ta not move while I’m nailing okay?”

    “Um, Okay.” Said Applebloom nervously. Big Mac came over a gently tussled the little filly’s mane.

    “Don’tcha worry sis, Glowing Coals is the best in business he knows what he’s a doing.” The big red stallion smiled. “Now just relax, I know it can be scary at first but trust me it is completely safe.”

    “If ya say so.” Said the little filly, Big Mac looked dramatically left the right and then lowered his head and whispered in her ear.

    “I’ll tell ya secret but ya have to promise ta never tell AJ. Can ya keep a secret?”

    Applebloom nodded her. “I can keep a secret.” She said.

    Big Mac continued speaking. “Well ya see the first time I got shoes I was so nervous and scared I actually cried and Mom had ta hold my hoof at first. Yer big sis wasn’t there and she’s never heard that story so don’tcha go tell her alright!” Big Mac pulled his head away and winked at his little sister.

    Applebloom giggled. “Is that the truth Big Brother?”

    “Eeyup!” Said the red stallion.

    The procedure was over in about twenty minutes. Glowing Coals had been correct it had felt weird having the nails driven into hoofs but not painful. Once the shoes were in place Glowing Coals had Applebloom climb off the couch and walk around the shop to make certain that everything was working just right; then he had her climb back on to the couch. He then fitted the rubber inserts to the shoes and once again had the little filly walk around the shop. Satisfied with the results he started the final finishing. Along with Silver Anvils assistance the old stallion carefully filed the ends of nails. Once that was done they burnished the little filly’s hoofs until they glistened and shined.

    Finally Glowing Coals stood back and nodded his head. “Alright Applebloom yer ready ta go! Take care of yer shoes and they’ll take of ya! Take care of yer shoes and ya can take care of yer family and yer community! Today ya are starting yer journey ta becoming a mare! Now if I understand correctly there’s a hoedown being held in yer honor tonight, so I won’t delay ya anymore. Drop by in couple days and I’ll do an inspection ta make certain there’s no problems. Okay?”

    “Okay.” Said Applebloom as she climbed off the couch. Thank ya fer the shoes!”

    “Yer welcome!” Said the stallion.

To be continued.

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ColonelYeo's avatar
Awwww. That was sweet. :)

Pretty interesting to see this play out, especially having watched a real world shoeing being done at Mackinaw Island. It's so weird to watch the hooves being trimmed and shaped. Even knowing that it doesn't hurt them at all. o.o
Baron-Engel's avatar
At least you can ask the pony being shod to do something and they'll actually reply back. Of course they're probably the ones paying for the job so they will want the best job they can get.
ColonelYeo's avatar
That would make so many things easier in life. XP

And heck, you'd get no complaint from me. I'd give them the best job I could, if they were paying me for it.
InvisibleFiend's avatar
I bet she'll have trouble walking at first with all that unaccustomed weight on her hooves.
Baron-Engel's avatar
It takes some get use to. Even when I experimented with aluminum shoes it was odd feeling that extra weight. Especially performing acrobatics where you're dealing with G-loads.
CitrusEucalyptus's avatar
This is really awesome!  I love it!

I hope that you have a great and blessed day/night!
Sanluris's avatar
I bet equines have to break horseshoes in just like people break in their shoes. Maybe it's obvious but I've never thought about it. We're the same except for the fact that horseshoes are attached to the body.
Anyway, that's so sweet!  Applebloom's getting to be a big girl. I remember when I was little and first learned to tie my shoes. I was so happy. Pearl Emote 43
"I bet equines have to break horseshoes in just like people break in their shoes."

In RL, poorly attached horse shoes = lame horse.  I read that crooked farriers would deliberately mis-shoe expensive horses of travelers, and have somebody outside of town ready to buy the horse at about the distance the horse goes predictably lame as well as sell an inferior horse to the distressed mark/traveler.

To that extent, given that the hooved clients are sapient and can feel something amiss, the shoes are probably fitted right the first (or second) time without a 'break-in' period.  Even 1st time shoe wearers will reveal any issues in 2 hours according to Baron's post.
Sanluris's avatar
Poor horses!  You really had to watch out back then.
Baron-Engel's avatar
Yep and Applebloom will find it odd for the first week or so until she gets use to them. There is also another and often overlooked fact that Applebloom now is constantly wearing effectively leg weights which does help tone and strengthen leg muscles.
Featherthefurry's avatar
So before a pony is shod, do they trim/rasp their own hooves, kinda like trimming finger nails, or would natural wear and tear keep them in check?
Lotus and Aloe, the spa ponies, often do hoof filing.  That's probably for both looks and to counter insufficient wear.

Too little wear = trimming needed.   Occasionally you can see a news story about some poor horse that spent waaaaaay too much time locked and neglected in its paddock.  As a result its hooves have grown out to look more like large, semi squashed clogs (wooden shoes) than horse hooves.  Among other ailments.  :(
Featherthefurry's avatar
ok makes sense ^^ Oh yeah I know about lack of trimming and what it looks like, i have two horses and I've helped out at rescues in the past
Baron-Engel's avatar
Yes you do and even after shoeing there is daily hoof care you perform. Checking for cracks or rot or unusual wear. That's why Glowing Coals comments on the fact that Applebloom has taken of her hoofs so his job is easier.
Knightwolf1785's avatar
I wonder if anthro ponies also get shoes kind of like this too?
Baron-Engel's avatar
Some earth ponies do.
Baron, your subconscious seems to be mechanically inclined, given all the adjustment arms the shoeing 'saddle' seems to have.
Baron-Engel's avatar
It's obviously my subconscious is remembering the tables I've laid on at either my chiropractors office, or the ones they had at the physically therapy facility I went to last when I broke my right clavicle.
My 1st tought was "It's a CP!" X)
And this reminds me about one masterpiece from Tsitra360…
Laying with horse-shoes in a bed is not good thing. And if a horse got shoes once it requirs them for the rest of life. I guess MLP ponies should use mostly hoof boots and detach them fast when they want..
Baron-Engel's avatar
One reason why bed socks are popular. Yes, shoes can be hard on the bedding. What's worse is having one of your partners climb into bed after going out through the snow to get more firewood, and then come back and wrap four ice coated hoofs around you.
Your revenge on Petina for making you go outside for firewood at night during the last winter? :D
Baron-Engel's avatar
Nope I am not the one who created the incident. It was Carousel.
I suspect that Equestria's ponies have more options post shoeing than RL horses.

For one thing, the place is saturated in magic.  If Zecora can regrow teeth in nothing flat, then regrowing and toughen hoof material is probably pretty easy.

Also, ponies could wear boots (metal or rubber) to allow the hoof material to thicken and toughen until they can walk without them.

In RL, city horses are shod to protect their hooves, which evolved with running on dirt in mind.  The shoes protect the hooves from cobble stones, brick work, and cement like surfaces with no real give.  So I suspect boots would be the minimum for those city slicker unicorns.
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