The travail

Until the discovery of anaesthesia and its use with domestic animals, people who took care of animals had no alternative but to hold them by force. Back then, they used ingenious methods ranging from holding them to the ground to the use of a restraining cage called the travail.

Used since Antiquity, the fixed or posted travail was an effective and safe alternative for the operator.

In the early 20th century, before the mechanisation of farm work, they were found in most French villages. The travail was often set against the blacksmith's workshop and allowed for both shoeing heavy animals and performing precise or painful surgeries. In its classic shape, this utensil was formed with four large poles placed deep in the ground and connected by planks. Various rings supported the horse's head and limbs. An iron bar was often placed behind and served as support for the rear legs during the laying of the horseshoe. The material varied from one region to another - it was usually wooden but could be stone, granite...

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