WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — At Colonial Williamsburg Coach and Stables, human and animal employees get to work. They all put their shoes on one at a time, no matter how many feet they walk on.
“Pulling these big carriages can be pretty hard on their feet and wear them down prematurely. So we put these shoes on to give them some protection. Same for you and I,” said Ferrier Drew Morales.
Ferriers work with horses and especially caring for their hooves and horseshoes. There’s a special addition to the horseshoes at Colonial Williamsburg that no one would notice unless they get very close.
Morales explains that the “gold substance on the shoe, that’s call Drill Tech. That helps give them traction, especially when it’s wet outside.”
Working steers, or soon to be oxen, are also on staff. Ox driver Darin Durham works with cattle like Sam and Hunt, who aren’t quite oxen yet.
“The term oxen is given to working cattle over the age of four,” he said.
Cattle have plenty of work to do when it comes to historical re-enactment. “They're going to do farm work: pulling, plowing, harrowing, anything on the farm. In an urban environment like here in Williamsburg they’re going to haul a lot of freight and cargo,” said Durham.
These four-legged employees pull carts, cargo, and carriages. The Coach and Stables staff, along with other departments, have restored a carriage and plan to debut it this year. That carriage once carried the Queen of England on a visit to Williamsburg.
Paul Bennett, director of Coach and Livestock, said there’s another special project the team is expecting.
“We have hopefully four foals due this year,” he said. Foals are baby horses.
After two years, a visit to a specialist and transferring embryos to surrogates, Colonial Williamsburg has their fingers crossed that they’ll have the first foals on site in 20 years.
Bennett excitedly notes, “and I'm sure our guests will be excited to see the babies when they hit the historic area.”