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Mine Exploration Forum

Author Ox cues - a puzzle
Peter Burgess

Joined: 01/07/2008
Location: Merstham. Or is it Godstone ...... ?

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Ox cues - a puzzle
Posted: 18/02/2009 10:58:49
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I am trying to work out a rather specific puzzle at the moment.

First, take a look at the image below.



(click image to open full size image in new window)

These were nailed to the feet of oxen used underground to haul sledges.

For many years I have assumed that 8 of these were required for each animal, two per foot. But last weekend, looking for footprints to photograph (it didn't come out very well) I found a reasonably clear print, obviously made by something like one of the cues illustrated above, in the base of a foot-sized hole in the mud on the floor. But there was only one cue mark, not a pair.

Is there a chance anyone here knows enough about the bovine foot to answer this: Would it be possible to fit BOTH halves of an ox's foot (for 'ox' read 'bullock'), onto ONE cue, with the hook of the cue used to tie the two toes together? It seems odd to protect one half of the foot but not the other.

Any thoughts?



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Hey, who turned out the lights!
IP: 81.144.191.248 Edited: 18/02/2009 10:59:57 by Peter Burgess
AR

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Joined: 07/11/2007
Location: Knot far from Knotlow in the middle of the Peak District

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Ox cues - a puzzle
Posted: 18/02/2009 11:19:33
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One thing I know from keeping horses is that their shoes tend to wear more on the outward side - hence, it may have been found that it was sufficient to only fit a cue to the outer halves of a draft ox's hooves, thus saving on shoeing costs!

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I think I'll have the sheep first, then I'll have the abbot
IP: 217.205.66.110
Peter Burgess

Joined: 01/07/2008
Location: Merstham. Or is it Godstone ...... ?

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Ox cues - a puzzle
Posted: 18/02/2009 11:35:56
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Yes, I can see perhaps that tying the two toes together would give problems, both in ability to walk, and also I suspect with injuries and possible infections. I suppose one half of the foot might provide support, and the other (inner) might help with balance?

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Gwyn

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Joined: 23/10/2007
Location: Bethesda.

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Ox cues - a puzzle
Posted: 18/02/2009 14:20:49
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How old are these cues?
Any idea of the breed that they might have been fitted to?
Landrace? Sussex?
Cattle are still used as draught animals, how are these shoed?
IP: 92.3.14.42
Peter Burgess

Joined: 01/07/2008
Location: Merstham. Or is it Godstone ...... ?

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Ox cues - a puzzle
Posted: 18/02/2009 14:31:41
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16th century probably. So well before new breeds introduced as part of the "agricultural revolution". I can find several refs to shoeing oxen, but none of them indicate whether two were fitted per foot, or one. I did not want to dismiss the possibility without thinking it through carefully. I suspect it was only one per foot (as we have not found one example yet of two cue prints side by side, but will keep looking!), with the inner toe being unshod.

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Gwyn

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Ox cues - a puzzle
Posted: 18/02/2009 15:18:22
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Have you had a look at www.ruralheritage.com ? IP: 92.3.14.42
Peter Burgess

Joined: 01/07/2008
Location: Merstham. Or is it Godstone ...... ?

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Ox cues - a puzzle
Posted: 18/02/2009 15:36:51
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No, but I will now. Thanks.


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Peter Burgess

Joined: 01/07/2008
Location: Merstham. Or is it Godstone ...... ?

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Ox cues - a puzzle
Posted: 18/02/2009 22:55:44
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[web link]

Google Books comes to the rescue!

"The shoeing of oxen is a practice which is yet far from being performed in a perfect manner. Clark says, that in many parts of France, where the ox is used for draught, it is sometimes necessary to employ eight shoes, one under each nail ; or four, one under each external nail ; and sometimes only two, one under the external nail of each fore foot. In this country two pieces or shoes to each foot are generally made use of, being mostly fixed on, especially in the northern districts, with three or four large-headed nails to each shoe."

and

"An ox shoe (fig. 869.) consists of a flat piece of iron, with five or six stamp holes on the outward edge to receive the nails ; at the toe is a projection of some inches, which, passing in the cleft of the foot, is bent over the hoof, so as to keep the shoe in its proper place."

What a great feeling it is to find out that the ideas you have developed turn out to be sound.... Smile

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Gwyn

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Joined: 23/10/2007
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Ox cues - a puzzle
Posted: 19/02/2009 10:06:43
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Well done Thumbs Up
Thanks for the link.
IP: 92.3.14.42
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