#Horses – and their shoes


Erich Fiting-Helmut & ?

Shoeing a horse at Father’s smithy.

Do kids nowadays have a chance to see how a horse gets new shoes? Or do they experience the special “smell” when the red-hot iron horseshoe is fitted onto the horse’s hooves? Or do they hear the “swish” when the blacksmith places the iron in cold water for a second or two before he places and fits it on onto the horse’s hoves, one at a time, lifted up sometimes by another man, usually an apprentice? Would they even know what a farrier is? Hardly. I remember it well. I know about the ‘swish’. I remember what it smelled like. I remember being afraid the horse would be hurt. How can the glowing iron not hurt? And the long nails with the almost square head that go into the horseshoe to hold it in place? How can the horse stand it? I didn’t realize then that the bottom of the horse’s hooves are something like a very thick callous, or a very thick toe or finger nail of ours, no nerve endings in it. Only once have I seen a horse bucking and I was afraid my dad would get hurt.

Our own horse Lotte was conscripted in 1939. My dad explained ‘the Führer needs her for the war.” I asked, “Can’t he use another horse? Why our Lotte?” Yes, why our Lotte. It wasn’t just our Lotte. There is a short chapter about it in my book “We Don’t Talk About That”.

Gila-First Scool Day

First day at school with a horn of plenty (not!).

Omi-Mutti m. Ingrid - Tuti-Manfred-Christel-Dieter-Gisela - Siegfried

A family outing to the lake. Omi-Mutti m. Ingrid – Tutti-Manfred-Christel-Dieter-Gisela – Siegfried

I could hardly wait to go to school to learn to read, to be independent from Granny reading to me. It was in spring 1940. It was exciting to look forward to the big “School cone” and all the goodies in it. How disappointing to find very little – but then, – even a six year old knew there was a war going on. Pretending to be happy I was fighting tears, – just look at the photo. But soon the summer holidays stretched out for two long months and our cousins from the Island of Rügen came. We played our usual games and were happy to go to the lake with Mom, Granny and Aunt Tutti. She plays a very important role in the book. You’ll meet her again…

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About gmroeder

Author: - there was so much I never talked about and now, that my memoir "We Don't Talk About That" is written I can't stop talking about it. And the reviews I get are awesome; so I think this book needed to be written. Interesting that I receive many e-mails from people who read the book and now tell me their similar stories... Did I open "a can of worms?" I think there are so many people who carry a heavy memory load and they do need to "unload". But interesting enough, even more people want to know MORE of my life and therefore I am working on a sequel.