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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2001

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polish the leather. When the leather is very old, it may be softened with fish-oil, and, after putting on the ink, a sponge charged with distilled turpentine passed over, to scour the surface of the leather, which should be polished as directed.


For fawn or yellow-coloured leather, take a quart of skimmed milk, pour into it 1 oz. of sulphuric acid, and, when cold, add to it 4 ozs. of hydrochloric acid, shaking the bottle gently until it ceases to emit white vapours; separate the coagulated from the liquid part, by straining through a sieve, and store it away till required. Clean the leather with a weak solution of oxalic acid, washing it off immediately, and when dry apply the composition with a sponge.


Wheel-grease is usually purchased at the shops; but a good paste is made as follows:—Melt 80 parts of grease, and stir 20 parts of fine blacklead powder into it, mixing thoroughly and smoothly. Store in a tin box.


Gutta-percha may be used to protect the feet of horses when tender. Cut it into small pieces, soften with hot water, then mix with half its weight of powdered sal-ammoniac, and melt the mixture in a tinned saucepan over a gentle fire, keeping it well stirred. When required for use, melt in a glue-pot, scrape the hoof clean, and apply the mixture with a knife.


This, in some cases, is a very useful operation. It depends, however, upon the nature of the sole, for if the sole is flat and very thin, the additional moisture afforded by stopping will do more harm than good. When the sole is dry, thick and hard, stopping is useful: it is only practised on the fore feet. The best stopping is a mixture of clay and cowdung, and the proper manner of using it is to fill the hollow of the sole of the foot with it up to the level of the shoe. Some horses require their feet to be stopped much oftener than others. In hot summer weather it is frequently desirable to use stopping two or three times a week, and if the horse stands in the stable, to keep it in from Saturday till Monday. Some grooms use tow, and some moss, both of which must be kept moistened with water, as stopping; but there is nothing better or more easily managed than clay and cowdung well mixed together.


The old-fashioned plan of turning up the shoe is a very bad and dangerous one. Many horses have done themselves great injury while standing in their stables with their shoes so roughed. The movable talking answers every purpose. In frostv weather, every time a horse