Friday, February 03, 2012

War Horse Hoofcare: Don't Come Between a Farrier and His Horse

Busy scene of shoeing horses in France

Photographers talk about the "point of infinity" in an image. There's a horizon or a focal point that draws your eye to the defined distance. Or lack of a defined distance.

This photo of farriers at work at a British horse stables in France during World War I is a study in efficiency, 1915-style. You see one man (on far left) in charge of the bellows for the little portable forge. One farrier at the anvil. And one farrier with the horse, holding the hoof up, ready for the shoe to be hot-fit.

Noticed there is a top-anvil tool lying on the ground by the first anvil, and the striker's hammer is set to go. 

The question is whether the striker was also the forge cranker. That would mean he had to dance back and forth around the anvil without getting in the way. 

The photo begs the question as to whether the official looking military figure at the second anvil was also keeping time.

The stables and farriers stretch to infinity. How many farriers do you think are in this photo?

This image was provided by the Royal Library of Scotland, and there is very little information available about where it was taken, other than in France during the First World War.

Can you add any information?

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