As promised, here is quick breakdown of a horse's hoof anatomy. Below is a picture i will be referring to. There three parts of the hoof i am going to describe: the hoof wall, frog, and sole.
The hoof walls are the 'outside' of the hoof. On this image, it is the outermost ring of the shoe until the dark half circle line. This is the hardest part of the hoof, yet it still maintains a degree of flexibility. The wall protects the softer, more sensitive parts of the hoof. So for example, when a farrier (the guy responsible for putting shoes on ponies) puts a shoe on a horse, they must be careful that the nails only go through the wall of the hoof or it can potentially hurt the horse. It's sort of like our our fingernails - the white part does not hurt when we cut it, but get too close to where out fingernail turns pink and ouch it smarts!
Next is the frog, the 'V' shaped structure of the hoof. In the image, it is the dark V. It has a rubbery consistency. The frog is akin to a human's finger tip but not quite as sensitive since they spend a lot more time walking and running on it. It is generally thought that the frog has a shock absorber function and that it can add more traction on smooth surfaces.
The sole of the hoof is all the surface area inside the hoof wall and surrounding the frog. The soles are hard but not as hard as the hoof walls. Horses can get bruises on the soles of their hooves from rocks and sharp objects, resulting in lameness of the horse and putting them out of commission for a while. This factor and others, including the thickness of a horse sole, which averages 15mm, determines if a horse should wear shoes or not.
This is where I have had most of my experience with horse shoes. Dolly's hoof is only 5mm thick, making her prone to stone bruises and other problems associated with sensitive hooves. This is one of the reasons I wanted to work with horse shoes as the central part of a body of work. I hope that this has been an interesting learning session and that it helps you understand why I am working with thread and horse shoes!
I started playing with softening the thread angles tonight. I am excited for where this is going but I feel the need to be careful that this does not turn into a dream catcher. I think that i am going to do several more exploring the different paths of the intertwined threads. It will focus on different spots of the hoof mimicking the locations where stone bruising has occurred on Dolly's hoof. I am contemplating doing more wrapping on this shoe but I am going to think on ... we shall see!