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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Favorite Photos: Square Horseshoes and Shoeless Soles

A few weeks ago, we showed a new design of horseshoe that is basically a square shape with rounded corners.

On Monday, the Boston Globe published its annual "Globe 100" report on business in our state, and included a feature on unusual things made in Massachusetts. Marshmallow "Fluff" and the game of Monopoly probably distracted a lot of people from finishing the article. I never even got to Fluff and Monopoly (not to mention Necco wafers and Nantucket Nectars) because the photo above caught my eye. It was taken in the forging room at the St. Pierre Horseshoe Company in Worcester, Massachusetts.

St. Pierre's squarish horseshoes won't see any hooves, though; they are pitching horseshoes. I guess the square toe and straight branch must help hook to the post. I've seen draft horse shoe shows of pretty much the same shape; maybe St. Pierre could add some nail holes and serve another market.

Also featured was the unlikely sounding but very credible Quabaug Corporation of North Brookfield. Turn your shoes over and you may see the little yellow "Vibram" logo, indicating that your shoe's sole was made in Massachusetts, by Quabaug. (They make all the soles of all the boots for the US that math!)

Quabaug is a funny sounding name for a very progressive company, and one of their newest products is a high tech hoof pad, which is reviving some interest in what pads can do in this age of hoof boots and bare hooves and how-clever-we-are custom treatments for laminitis and hoof injuries, as well as the classic use of pads for hoof protection with shoes.

I thought this photo interesting; Quabaug is making special shoes, or 3-D soles, for sports like martial arts and windsurfing. Imagine what they could do for and with the horse's hoof! Keep an eye on this company!

Thanks to my college pal and horseracing maven Karen Birch for finding these photos online after I had given up.

(Photos: Made in Massachusetts/Boston Globe)

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