Steel Shoes

by Sir Hat

Chapter 1: Monday

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There it was, Samuel's workshop. I glanced down at my watch, five minutes late. Wonder if Sam will even notice. I pushed the door open and walked inside.

"Mornin Corey," A grey haired man leaned over the front counter of the shop.

"Hey Sam," I said pulling my gloves and tools from my locker, "So we got business yet?"

"Yep, first one's waiting in the fitting room,"

"First timer?"

"Nope workhorse, but I bet soon enough ponies 'll start linin the street when the roads finished," He joked with a half toothed smile.

"One step at a time Sam," I left Sam, moving into the fitting room. A young orange mare was sitting on a stool.

"Oh hey, you're one of the Apple family," I said setting my tools down. They have been repeat customers since day one.

"Yes sir," She said with that trademark accent.

I sat down motioning for her to sit and prop her hooves up, "So what we doing today?"

"Ma fore-hooves are a bit unbalanced," She said sitting in the special chair we had, "Also I need some new screws,"

I pulled a stool over and started to unscrew the shoes from her hooves, "Lose em or..."

"Rusty is all," I pulled the last screw out and slowly removed the shoe, "Ohh..." she moaned as I set the shoe down, "I should really take these off more often,"

"Well you Apples are busy folk, hows this feel?" I asked running my fingers along the soft parts of her hoof.

"Ahh..well a bit tender," I set her hoof down and found a level, "But I've been wearing them all day"

"OK, this might feel a bit odd," I turned her hoof upwards and set the level on the wall of her hoof, ".....oh,"


"Oh nothing...just a bit uneven," I took the shoe and gave it a once over, "A quick adjustment and it should be fine,"

"Good when can I come get em," She said standing from the chair.

"Well I can fix this in a few minutes if you want to stick around," I turned away and started off towards the forge.

"Well I'd rather make this one trip so why not," She said trotting along behind me.

"Uh I meant....never mind," They never wanted to wait out in the lobby... I lead her to a small alcove in the forge and got to work heating the shoe.

"So...how's buisiness," She asked looking around the room.

"Good, they just finished all those stone paths in town so its been picking up,"

"Well that's good, apples been coming in nicely, hey mind if I ask you something sugercube,"

"Well I'm kind of-"

"You ever had a mare named Rarity in here?"

"I cant really-"

"Ah can't really imagine she'd be interested in this kind of place,"


"Yep, she's a fashionista and wouldn't be caught dead around this kind of place," She said adding air quotes at "kind of place"

"Huh why's that," I said started hammering the metal.

"Well no offense partner but these ain't exactly a luxury item,"


"Anyways, Rarity saw me wearing a pair and started askin about em, seemed awful interest..."

"Are you sure you want to be in here for this," I asked over the metal clang of the hammer and anvil.

"Oh don't you worry about me, but I cant imagine you workin in here all day,"

"Yeah it's a little hot..."

"Almost as bad as working the fields in the summer, in case you'r wonderin crops are coming in great."

"Well I didn't really as-"

"Apples as far as you can see, food for ages. Sometimes I wonder how Ponyville would survive without us."

"Sure...." I finished hammering the shoe and dunked it in a trough of water. Steam fogging up my glasses, "Damn..."

"You alright there?"

"Yeah, glasses just fogged up is all."

"Ya know I only met a few ponys that wear glasses, Rarity does. Well not all the time but when she's workin."




"Anyways between you and me I heard she's been makin some special orders for a few a shop called blinders. Some weird shop for ponies that need a bit of excitement in the bedroom,"

"Mmhmm," I mumbled pursing my lips and trying to avoid eye contact. I had just finished reheating the metal and cooling it, "Hoof please," She lifted her foreleg up and I secured the shoe on, "OK take a quick walk around tell me how they feel." She took a quick lap around the forge, "Anything riding funny or rubbing?"

"Ah don't think so, ya did fine work."

"I'll write up the recite and get you some new screws." I pulled a notepad off my work bench and started making some notes, "Refitting / no maintenance thirty bits, two sets of new screws ten bits, total forty bits. That sound right to you?"

"Sure does sugarcube," I lead her to the lobby and slid the recite and order form to Sam. I told him to send the next one in once he was ready.

"Phew......why do they always stick around while I'm trying to work...." I said waiting in the fitting room. I sat there for about ten minutes before another pony wandered in, "Hi there what are we doing today," The mare said nothing, instead handing me an order form, "Oh....so new to all of this,"

"Yes....just...." She sounded scared.

"Ma'am are you alright?"


"Well If you'll take a seat we can get this done with quickly," I lead her to the chair and pulled a few measuring tools over, "So you need measurements on all four feet?"

"Mmhmm," She slowly held out her left foreleg.

I slowly wrapped the measuring tape around the outside of her hoof and across the sole, she flinched a little as I made contact, "Uh miss these are just measurements, even when they install the screw ports you cant feel a thing...."

"Oh....I know, I just....." She lowered her head and let her hair cover her face.

"It's fine, I just want you to be comfortable." She looked at be from under her hair, a shallow smile broke through, "OK next leg," She lifted her leg up and let me take the measurements.

"So you're sure it doesn't hurt?" I jerked my head up from the tape, "I mean I'm sure you wouldn't-"

"I'm sure, not once have I had anyone say a thing," I said trying to calm her down. A lot of ponies didn't like the idea of having something imbedded in their hooves. The fact that these ponies took them off so often meant we couldn't tack them in like with normal horses. What we did was embed screw ports into the hard of their hoof and screw them in. Not the most glamorous process in the world but I was practiced enough that once they were in you could barely tell.

"I just....my friend said I should get a pair took stop my hoof from wearing down..."

"Well it's only a problem if you walk on stone or do a lot of outdoor work,"

"Well I take care of animals most days,"

"Sounds nice, lean back please," She was hesitant to lean back and let my work on her back legs. Even after she was in position she was fidgeting quite a bit, "Please miss you need to hold still for these to be accurate,"

"I'm sorry...I just, ponies touching my hooves...." For most ponies anything besides a quick bump or a hoofshake was considered either lavish or intimate.

"I assure you miss this is completely professional," I managed to force her hoof still as I took the measurements, only when I finished her last hoof and let her free was she completely still, "Well aside from being slightly ticklish everything is fine, no abnormalities." I said giving her a warm smile.

"Thank you for being so patient,"

"No problem, but I have to ask: why do you need horseshoes in the first place?"

"Well I live on the edge of the forest and sometimes the animals get out and I have to track them down...."

"So it's a traction issue?"

"sort of....mostly i just need something that will keep my hooves from getting stuck in mud....or other things..." Eugh....she just named the main reason I never had pets.

"Well....measurements are done, come back Thursday and we can get your hooves prepared." I handed her the order form back after adding a few stamps. Cute girl, and why couldn't they all be that quiet. I walked over to the restroom and washed my hands, as clean as most of these ponies were you still wanted to wash your hands after handling any of their hooves.

"NEXT!" Sam boomed from the lobby. Today's gonna be a busy day.

Three clients later

"OK, now if there is any discomfort of any kind you need to come in," I had just finished up with helping a young colt and his mother with the kids first pair of shoes. They had ordered a semi-metal pair made out of thick plastic and a rubber sole. these kinds were meant more for the usual day to day wear and tear of city life, as apposed to metal shoes which acted like work boots.

"Thank you again, if you're ever in town stop by for dinner," the mother said ushering her colt out the door. Nice folk in this town. But as much as I loved listening to them tell their stories it was time for me to clock out. I pushed into the lobby, a pair of stallions half asleep on the chairs.

"Sam I'm leaving, Paul should be here soon," I shouted jolting him awake from behind the counter.

"Wha, oh..sure, see you tomorrow," I walked out into the warm afternoon. Time to hit the store and go home.

Author's Notes:

Bored felt like practicing.

Next Chapter: Tuesday Estimated time remaining: 1 Hour, 36 Minutes
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