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I Forge Iron

Pointy Horseshoes

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I've been metal detecting around an old farmstead. The farmstead burned down around 1908, and have come across 5 (so far) horseshoe looking chunks of iron. For the size, I'll assume their draft horse shoes. They've got traction bars on the top, this I know. What's throwing me off is the pointed ends. Anyone have any insight into this?


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A Horse has a more-or-less round hoof, ... those are Mule Shoes.

The "toe caulk" is very common on the shoes of all draft animals, ... and was not necessarily intended for ice or snow applications.

The lack of "heel caulks" is also common on Mule Shoes, ... however, I've never seen shoes with that sort of tapered heels.

Perhaps it was a variation that was favored by the Farrier, ... or a necessary "orthopedic" design, intended to meet the special needs of one particular animal, ... or perhaps they were indeed "reworked" into some sort of "staple".

This last option seems unlikely to me, because you'd think worn out shoes would most likely be "re-tasked" into some other device, ... and the toe caulks on the pictured shoe are not worn out.

It's also unusual to find several similar shoes in close proximity to each other, ... as they were typically "lost" individually, ... and tend to be widely scattered.

When an animal died the shoes were often removed, but they would then be "saved" in one location..

Truly an intriguing mystery !


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Agree with Smothbore, Mule Shoes, the heels of some mules and mostly donkeys are not built the same as horses and can be canted outward sometimes to a point. Drafts because of the build of the hind end will twist the hind feet as it impels forward but not so much on other breeds and would not be as needed on whatever wore these.

Also I've seen more shapes and designs of shoes that you would ever imagine to have been on an animal but thats just how the business goes

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Where are you or this homestead located? In the north? maybe for traction or travel on ice?

Yes, I'm in northeastern Pennsylvania.

I would go with the staples too---were they located near one another? A simple gate can be made by having large staples in the fence posts that you can pull saplings through to close the gap and push them out to open it.

One was located near the homestead site itself, 4 (and possibly more, as I got tired of digging) are located on the edges of an old overgrown roadway that lead to the house.
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Hey reddog, get some Sanborn maps for your area and you will see where all the buildings were in the past, even outhouses.
Dig an old privy and I guarantee you will find all sorts of stuff.


I've been trying to locate sanborn's that cover where I am for the past year with no luck. I'm out in the sticks.

I've got an outhouse dig I've been working on, but they filled the top 3 feet in with rocks and the diggings slow.
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