Big Shoes to Fill-y

Last Sunday, the day before Halloween, our neighborhood hosted a lively parade. Kids of all ages dressed in adorable to “a-horror-full” costumes, to trick-or-treat past each driveway… on horseback. In a bit of a role reversal, we residents walked treats out to the horses and riders (because trust me, a stallion trotting up your front walk is not recommended). Candy for the kids, cookies for the parents who walked beside them, and carrots for the hardworking horses. As you would expect, a steady “clip-clop” filled the air for hours. Yet it could’ve been a lot quieter.

Here’s an idea I never ever would’ve thought of.  Take a pair of sneakers, break them down into their component parts, and reassemble them to fit a horse’s hoof.  Making a statement of purely fashion (vs. function), Horse Kicks allow your equine to sport two pairs of your favorite New Balance, Adidas, or Nikes. These giant “tennis shoes” are built on top of a pre-made protective boot so they really do support an animal weighing a thousand pounds or more.  Order yours today for only $1,200.

Sorry, I’m not buying.  I don’t think sneakers are a good look on horses, any more than when paired with formalwear on a human.  If a filly could talk, she would say, “Get those ridiculous things off of me!”, even though ladies love shoes.  Sneakers are best left to walkers and athletes, while steel horseshoes, as they have for thousands of years, fill a horse’s bill as comfortably as a couple of pairs of flip-flops (er, “clip-clops?”)

I can’t imagine the effort it takes for Horse Kicks to create their shoes (besides the seventeen hours of assembly time) but they don’t work nearly as hard as a traditional horseshoer.  That person, a farrier, might as well be an ironworker.  Watch one in action sometime as he/she trims a horse’s hoof or hammers the steel shoes to achieve the perfect fit.  It’s the kind of backbreaking work that can lead to early retirement.

Occasionally a horse throws a shoe, which is probably the origin of horseshoes as a game.  The first time I “threw a shoe”- besides getting it nowhere near the stake – I remember thinking, “Man, these are kind of heavy”. (A horse wouldn’t agree.)  And weight matters in the game because the shoe needs to fly a long way, like forty feet, for the chance for a “ringer”.  Yes, horseshoes is basic (and predates similar games like ring toss, cornhole, and bocce) but it has its finer points.  You flip a shoe to determine who goes first.  After players throw two shoes each you’ve completed an “inning”.  And a “dead ringer” really is a horseshoes term (too complicated to explain here), not just someone who looks like someone else. 

[Snack break.  Speaking of horseshoes, if you’re looking for “the best darn donuts in Colorado” you should check out Horseshoe Donuts, where we used to live just north of Colorado Springs.  You’ll pay upwards of $25/dozen but trust me, these shoes… er, doughnuts are huge and worthy of expensive tastes.  Most are shaped like traditional rings but the raised, glazed variety are giant horseshoes.]

Even if I never buy a pair of Horse Kicks, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.  You’ll probably see several on display this weekend at the Breeder’s Cup races in Lexington, KY (close to where they’re created).  Part of the company’s initiative is to “bring awareness to the Bluegrass State”.  And 10% of the proceeds go to central Kentucky charities.  All of which makes Horse Kicks a worthy product.  Not that I expect to see any in next year’s neigh-h-h-h-borhood trick-or-treat parade.  It’ll be, as usual, clip-clops in steel flip-flops.

Some content sourced from the CNN Style article, “You can now buy $1,200 sneakers — for horses”, and Wikipedia, “the free encyclopedia”.

Author: Dave

Three hundred posts would suggest I have something to say… This blog was born from a desire to elevate the English language, highlighting eloquent words from days gone by. The stories I share are snippets of life itself, and each comes with a bonus: a dusted-off word I hope you’ll go on to use more often. Read “Deutschland-ish Improvements” to learn about my backyard European wish list. Try “Slush Fun” for the throwback years of the 7-Eleven convenience store. Or drink in "Iced Coffee" to discover the plight of the rural French cafe. On the lighter side, read "Late Night Racquet Sports" for my adventures with our latest moth invasion. As Walt Whitman said, “That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” Here then, my verse. Welcome to "Life In A Word".

21 thoughts on “Big Shoes to Fill-y”

  1. I’ve never heard to trick or treating on horseback! Would not bode well in NYC ha! I see a lot of dogs in the city with little shoes. I can understand in the winter when it’s freezing, but maybe people do it in normal temperatures because they’re germaphobes?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never understood dog shoes until my son-in-law’s pups went through a Montana winter. He said they couldn’t walk more than a couple of minutes in subzero temps without them. In NYC perhaps it’s more of a fashion statement. Wouldn’t put it past some of those Upper East Side folks.

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  2. I read about horse sneakers and wondered if they were a fashion choice or a necessity. In either case, rather pricey! I like the idea of trick-or-treating on horseback. It adds a whole ‘nother layer of fun + complexity to the holiday. You’ve found yourself a cool place to live.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the horse sneakers are a novelty at best, for those who have nothing better to do with their money. At least some of the proceeds go to worthy causes.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Friends of mine have a big old house in Philadelphia. Their grounds once had an area for horseshoes. It was fun playing that game. Alas, over time the area got overgrown like crazy with vines and other plants, and my friends didn’t resurrect it for horseshoes. On a related note: I played skeeball at an arcade recently. Hadn’t played it in many, many years.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We have wild horses out here in the desert, but not one of them stopped by my house for a carrot. Maybe the forgot it was Halloween. These horse go bare foot, they don’t go in for any kind of footwear.

    and I would have thought that, “dead ringer” would have been the perfect Halloween blog topic. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My dad and uncles used to play horseshoes after family reunion picnics. If I heard the clink of shoe against stake again–even all these decades later–I’ll bet I’d recognize it! As for those Nike horseshoes–don’t think they’ll sell very many–not just because of the price, but because they look so silly. What true horse-lover would embarrass their equine friend with a set of those?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You must know horse people Nancy because it’s absolutely true what you say. “The shoes don’t fit” into their sense of equine style. They’re all about making their horses looking classy.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. This sounds like a lot of fun Dave … I can imagine the horses in a queue with their young riders going to collect candy and treats. I thought the Headless Horseman at Heritage Park that was meandering through the crowd at a recent advertised harvest time event would be fun, but now I think this event trumps fun on horseback and certainly less macabre. Also how fun that not only the kids reaped bigtime, but their parents AND the horses as well.

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    1. Our parade had a headless horseman as well, which was extra creepy in the presence of so many cute kids. He (actually a she) just meandered slowly down the side of the road, off the beaten path of the parade, not making a sound.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Strange they would mingle the headless horseman with the other festivities since it involved horses. Good thing it was off to the side, as it might have spooked the horses. The last time I went horseback riding, (1972), I took a friend of mine. We went with my friend’s older sister and her friend, both who had ridden before. My friend was petite and had never been riding before and was not keen on the idea, but we three said “it’s fun – don’t be scared.” I’d been riding many times at this stable, known for their easygoing horses, who picked up speed as they neared the stable and their feedbag. Anyway, she was given a mare just back from “maternity leave” and, while out on the trail, her horse got too close to mine, my horse reared up and kicked her in the shin with one front hoof. We went to the E.R. – she was okay, just badly bruised, but had an indentation in her leg, though nothing was broken. I’ve not been on a horse since as it spooked me. Needless to say it was her first and last time to saddle up too. So much for that afternoon.


  7. I had never considered that trick or treat on horseback was a thing. It certainly sounds like a good neighborhood social activity for everyone. But am I the only one left wondering about who got stuck cleaning up after the horses?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The final participant in the parade was – you guessed it – the pooper-scoopers, in a decorated farm utility vehicle. With flasks in hand, it was apparent they were having as much fun as those on horseback.

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