Inside Front Cover - Rev. Charlie MacDonald Shoes Bad Horses
ISSUE : Issue 22
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1979/6/1
Rev. Charlie MacDonald Shoes Bad Horses Rev. Charlie MacDonald; When I was young my father used to work away from home and we had a cross mare and my mother and I used to have to go to the forge. I think we went one time to three forges and we came back without getting the mare shod. And I said to myself, I'm going to shoe her myself. Anyway, it worked on me. And the first money I ever got I made at the Oxford Paper Company • 90 cents a day and my board, handling pulp. And I made enough money to buy our first mower and to buy this course for training horses. I saw the course in the newspaper • a correspondence course • and the whole equipment, knee- pads, surcingle (a kind of belly band), rope, instructions and everything was going for 35 dollars. It was a complete course for all the dif? ferent habits of the horse. It started out with showing the different types of heads and judging by their heads whether they'll have a tendency to be balky or a runaway. Now a horse with a round forehead and the eyes sunk kind of in the head • that's a horse that's very easily made into a balk- er or a kicker or a runaway. But a horse that has a dished forehead and the eyes are set out far in the head means that the nervous organization is so highly develop? ed in the horse he's much easier to train. If you have a good horse and you study the lines in his face, you can see that he has a kind eye. But when you see a horse with a round forehead and the eyes sort of set in and a little scary • watch out. Anyway, I took the complete course and I got my diploma and I used to boast about it. A school teacher at Lake Ainslie had a grey horse and he heard that I could handle bad horses, so he came to the manse this morning and left the horse for me to shoe. Now he did a dirty trick because he was the kind of a guy would love to get something over you. Because this horse, nobody could shoe his hind legs. Or he might have been shod a couple of times. But he never told me. A terrible thing to do. I went up to the barn. An old woman could shoe his front feet. No trouble at all. And I went to catch his hind leg and the first thing, boy, he almost broke my leg with a kick. And I was all alone. But I had the pitch? ing machine rope. I tied his foot to that. I got the two hind shoes on. At 3 00 here comes the owner with a grin on up the road. I told him that was a bad thing. I could have broken a leg. But I did shoe him. And then I had all kinds of trouble. Wherever there was a bad horse, they'd get me to go and shoe him. There weren't that many horses that were beyond what the blacksmith's could handle. People worked them without shoes or they didn't care or put up a fight with them-- but there was only an occasional one that would be that bad that they'd come to me. I didn't make a business of it. Or a regu? lar practise. It's just that I delighted in doing it. Because I was determined. I proved it to them. The first shoeing I did was a little red horse Kenny Carmichael had. A lot of peo? ple would say, "Aw, Charlie can't do that" • but Kenny respected me. He had faith in me. And this horse was full of life. And when we got the strap on him he was kick? ing and kicking and kicking. I said, "We? 've got to get some way to knock him down." Do you know that I was strong e- nough in those days to knock a horse down. I'll tell you how I did it. It's not exactly the strength. You get a horse and tie one foot up and get a hold of his bri? dle and his tail. You pull his"head and his tail together. The stronger you are the closer the head and tail comes. And he'll whirl around and it's a matter of who will get dizzy first. When the horse gets dizzy he falls over on his side. Well, didn't Kenny laugh. I sat on the horse and we got a strap on him. Oh, I wish we had a bad horse somewheres and get a movie of that • I'd make money on that. You have to do it on the side that the foot is up. Whirl around till he gets right dizzy. And you run with him. And he goes right down flop. That's a way of getting a horse to say his prayers. Some people are of the opinion that some horses cannot be shod. For instance, a horse at Lake Ainslie. Over 20 years with? out shoes. Never shod. Could never shoe him. I was preaching at Lake Ainslie and they got to know that I had been handling bad horses, so they got all the bad horses they could get hold of • they doubted that I could do it. And the blacksmith that tried to shoe this one told the boy that
CONTINUED ON PAGE 46 COVER PHOTO; Steelworkers around 1910;courtesy Beaton Institute, College of Cape Breton.
Cape Breton's Magazine