Horseshoe Arch Sculpture

"For the want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for the want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for the want of a horse the rider was lost, being overtaken and slain by the enemy, all for the want of care about a horseshoe nail." -- Benjamin Franklin 

After collecting thousands of horseshoes for over five years, the Gardens selected metal artist, Rick Upham, to create this arbor. Assisting Upham was his son, Adrian Upham.

Upham said of the arch, “I wanted to create vanishing points into the sky reminiscent of long-horn cattle from the early cattle drives from Texas to Wyoming. I also wanted a smooth visual texture from the rough and rusted horseshoes.” Upham placed small metal whistles in the top of the sculpture, which in the right wind, create an eerie sound.

When you look at the hundreds of horseshoes in this sculpture you will notice that there are many different sizes and shapes of horseshoes. This often brings up many questions by visitors not familiar with keeping and caring for horses. Such as . . . .

Is a horseshoe lucky?

Horseshoes are considered the most universal of all the good luck charms. A common tradition is that if a horseshoe is hung above a door with the two ends pointing up then good luck will occur. However, if the two ends point downwards then bad luck will occur.

How old is the horseshoe?

The horseshoe was introduced to western culture by the Greeks in the 4th century. It became a mainstream practice in Europe around 1000 AD. Horses and mules contributed a vital part to the development of America, especially in settling the West. Once people discovered the utilitarian value of the horse, they realized they needed to protect the horse’s feet.

What exactly is a horseshoe?

A horseshoe is a U-shaped piece of iron, rubber, plastic, rawhide or laminate, nailed or glued to a horse’s hoof and some other draft animals – -like a shoe. They are used to protect the animal’s hooves from wear and tear. Horseshoes are available in a wide variety of materials and styles, developed for different types of horses and the work they do. Some special shoes are made from magnesium, titanium or copper.

There are even specially designed shoes for the popular game of Horseshoes.

The Ever Important Nail!

Of course, the horseshoe can’t do its job without being properly attached with horseshoe nails. For about 3,000 years horseshoers, also called “farriers,” had to make each nail by hand. In the mid-1800s nail-making machines were invented to mass produce horseshoe nails. The horseshoe nail has a beveled point, blade or shank, neck, head, and the crown or top. The head and point are beveled the same way so a nail driven into the hoof wall will turn outward and exit the wall, to be turned down and clinched. Most horseshoes require eight nails, four on each side.