Friday, March 07, 2008

"Lucky" Horseshoes in India Are Not So Lucky for the Horse

In India, shoes from black horses are considered lucky, meaning many horses are continually and carelessly re-shod by poor owners simply to feed the "lucky horseshoe" trade. Yes, it has to be a shoe from a black horse.

Vets from the international equine charity "The Brooke" (Brooke Hospital) in Delhi witnessed this in a black horse called Kalu, who was brought to them in pitiable condition. Kalu had overgrown, cracked and severely damaged hooves caused by years of re-shoeing (but not necessarily re-trimming) and was suffering chronic foot pain.

Brooke vets helped the horse and taught his owner, Bhoora, better shoeing skills, although he looks like he is pointing a very sharp object at Kalu's sole in this photo.

"Now Kalu is happy to be with me," says a grateful Bhoora.

Here's a link to a spiritual web site in India that will send you a horseshoe from a black horse in India for $6.95. They explain the legend, which is similar to the Western superstition about horseshoes. But they also claim that a horseshoe is good Feng Shui. A lot of Freisian and Percheron owners are doing the math...

The Brooke’s mobile vet teams and community animal health workers, and partner organizations worldwide provide free treatment to animals and train animal owners, local healers, farriers, saddlers, feed sellers, harness and cart makers. They currently operate across nine countries in Asia, Africa, Central America and the Middle East with over 750 highly-skilled staff working directly in the field.

The Brooke Hospital was organized in Cairo, Egypt in the 1930s to assist in the care of thousands of surviving American, Australian and British military horses that had been abandoned there at the end of World War I. Their reward for gallant service in war was a lifetime of hard labor on the streets of Cairo and as they aged, their health suffered terribly. However, the horses were so valuable to their owners' survival that the only humanitarian recourse was a campaign to improve their health. A first equine hospital was built...and the rest is history.

Please support the efforts of charitable organizations who put teams of professionals in the field and at disaster sites to help horses. Some day they might show up to help you.