As a proud purveyor of fashion tips and wild West wisdom, Shawn Williams gives us his take on tying up a horse’s foot.

Shawn Williams isn’t one to shy away from a hot topic. Honestly, this probably isn’t the first time he has demonstrated a practice that is controversial and generally unrecommended (we could list other instances of him displaying misguided methods, but Google prefers that we keep these stories short).

The subject of Shawn’s video this month is tying up a horse’s foot. It’s an old-school method for starting colts under saddle, back when cowboys didn’t subscribe to kinder, gentler ways of working with horses. To his credit, Shawn makes it clear that the practice is no longer common and can be dangerous, especially if performed by someone who is inexperienced (in other words, don’t try this at home). 

But before showing the particulars of an old-time cowboy colt-starting method, Shawn spends a moment discussing his attire, as is customary. To no one’s surprise, he’s wearing another pearl snap shirt, and it’s “faded scarlet” color is spectacular (he might have pronounced it “SPAC-tacular”). The color is quite appropriate for a discussion on an antiquated practice that sometimes sparks heated debate.

Tying up a back foot was a way that cowboys restrained untrained horses when introducing a saddle. It gave the rider an advantage when stepping on a strong, snorty bronc intent on pawing down or bucking off anyone who dared climb on its back. Shawn steps us through the process on his own horse, Cheech (thankfully, an individual quite opposite from the likes of the strawberry roan or horses of legend named Widow Maker, Scorpion and Blue Rocket).

In his conclusion, Shawn points out that tying up a horse’s foot may not be recommended, but it is part of cowboy history. It’s a cool demonstration of how things once were done, as well as a reminder of how fortunate we are nowadays to have other training methods at our disposal (whether we utilize them or not).

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