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Friday, December 24, 2010

Experts Hail Discovery of Rare Reindeer Shoe as Key to Mystery of Christmas Eve Flight

Mystery solved: It's all in the hooves, after all. A winged reindeer shoe found in a British garden has finally solved the dilemma of how reindeer can fly.
Historians, aerodynamics engineers and mammalian biomechanics experts are hailing the discovery of a tiny reindeer shoe in a British garden as the key to unlocking centuries of mystery and downright skepticism over the idea that a team of reindeer could fly around the world on Christmas Eve.

The unusual shoe, which sports wings on its heels, is believed to provide the power of flight needed by the reindeer team each Christmas.

"We knew these reindeer aren't winged, like Pegasus the winged horse from Greek mythology," said one historian. "For years, we were looking at how the antlers might empower them to fly. But it was a dead end."

Scientists expressed remorse that a group of genetics researchers studying the reindeer genome would almost certainly be in danger of losing funding since the discovery of the reindeer shoe. "The pressure was on them," said one university insider who wished to remain anonymous. "They had to find the genetic mutation that allowed only a small number of reindeer to fly. Since they had no DNA from a flying reindeer, the task was monumental. What gene could give the power of flight? The discovery that it was a nail-on shoe that gave these reindeer their flight--and that some  farrier somewhere designed this magical shoe--well, it looks bad for the future of reindeer research, that's all I can say. Several PhD theses are down the drain."

Flight engineers still believe the antlers may assist in navigation, but insisted that they always held out for a novel form of  power for thrust and elevation. "The winged hoof is a brilliant adaptation," they agreed. "And the use of a removable shoe means that the rest of the year, Donner and Blitzen and the rest of the team can live normal lives. No one would suspect a thing."

The historians noted that rumors of the existence of reindeer shoes have cropped up over the years and around the world. "Apparently, like horses, reindeer can lose their shoes. This must make Santa quite cross when it happens, but it is easy to see how a lead deer's heel wings are endangered by the front hooves of the deer behind.

"We have noticed, however," continued one historian, "that wherever a reindeer shoe has been reported to be found, skeptical children and even adults who doubted the existence of Santa or the ability of reindeer to fly soon become believers again."

Credit for the current shoe's discovery goes to James Morris of Yorkshire, England. Since Morris is conveniently skilled as a metal sculptor and artist, his Sculpsteel studio has forged fac simile reindeer shoes which he sells to anyone needing to convince others how flying reindeer get around on Christmas Eve...and why all but one of them go back to being normal reindeer the next day.

All but one? True: Morris says he doesn't have an explanation or a design for Rudolph's nose...but he's working on it.

Morris noted that the actual reindeer shoe he found would be left for Santa, known as Father Christmas in England, this year on Christmas Eve with the annual plate of cookies and glass of milk. "Just in case he needs a spare," Morris nodded. "It might come in handy, and it's done its job here. The entire village believes in Father Christmas again!"

James Morris's reindeer shoes come ready to hang as Christmas decorations and conversation-starters. The toe clips are also ideal for hanging Christmas stockings, so a set could be ordered for a family. Available in black wax or rust finish, the cost per shoe is 15 pounds (about $US 23). Visit Sculpsteel to see James' work, then email him: enquiries@sculpsteel.co.uk. But never doubt him...or Santa!

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site, www.hoofcare.com, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to blog@hoofcare.com.
 
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