Protecting Oxens’ Feet

“[In the Black Hills of Wyoming], Lydia Waters wrote: ‘ The hoofs of the cattle became so worn they had to be shod. Now the amateur blacksmiths had to show their skill. George became quite proficient shoeing both horses and oxen—To shoe the cattle a trench the length of the animal and the width of the shovel was dug. The animal was then thrown and rolled over so that its backbone lay in the trench and all four legs were up in the air. In this position it was helpless and the shoes were nailed on readily.’ In very bad cases protectors made of buffalo hide were tied clear up over the hoofs like bags. Even dogs had leather moccasins. A few owners hardened their animals’ hoofs with alcohol and omitted the footwear.”