Farriery and blacksmithy

Horseshoe sets and arrays are very common in French collections. The former were created mainly in large military or civilian institutions, providing training in blacksmithy and veterinary medicine, while the latter were generally carried out by the blacksmiths themselves.

Farrier work has always been a major topic of interest and a fundamental issue in the use of horses. In the 18th century, horses were usually outfitted with heavy shoes, whose curved sponges formed fixed studs. Violent battles arose in this connection between Claude Bourgelat and Philippe-Étienne Lafosse.

In the 19th century, farrier work diversified as new uses developed for horses. While shoeing draft horses changed little, light horseshoes came onto the scene to outfit racehorses. The massive use of horse pulling by bus companies was accompanied by a continued reflection on the cost and quality of the shoes, which eventually translated into the development of "périplantar" fitting, a.k.a. Charlier fitting. The cold periods that marked this period also triggered a lively debate on horseshoes on ice, and whether to use mobile or fixed studs.

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