Before my father Leon Fiske died he gave me the recipe to one of his passions, and to my surprise his passion is quickly becoming a passion of mine. This passion I now refer to as “Fiske’s Hoof and Hide Balm” and here’s the story…
My father often boasted of having four passions, which he commonly made reference to as his own 4-H, “Horses, Hunting, Hockey and Hounds”. The greatest of all was horses and to his good fortune his passion became a big part of his livelihood. He was a livestock dealer, and over a sixty year career he owned thousands of horses of all breeds: as well as herds of other livestock such as cattle, sheep, ponies and hounds.
He was somewhat of a legend in his own time, traveling far and wide meeting people, competing in horse and livestock events from Nova Scotia to the Royal Winter fair in Toronto. When he wasn’t participating in these events, he was judging them. Whatever the reason, if there was a horse show my father was there. In 1992, unfortunately due to health complications that were caused from being involved in a nearly fatal horse crash while competing in a livestock event, he was forced to give up his long-standing careeras a horse person extraordinaire
He found it impossible to retire from the horse world of show and business, so he revamped his connection to his beloved community.There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. – Winston Churchill
He began making what many knew as “Fiske’s Hoof Lotion” and then went to the shows to sell his product. The product was a medicinal remedy that he had been using on his stock for over six decades. Before my father, the product was developed and prescribed by a veterinarian in the late 1800’s. It’s purpose was to heal, treat and maintain all forms of hoof and hide ailments that animals are commonly susceptible to. Today we know it can also be effectively used as a muscle rub to relieve muscle soreness and swelling.
When his new venture began he had an instant market for his product. Through word of mouth people became aware of what he had to sell. They knew him…trusted him… wanted what he had. Without trying my father sold this product into the United States, and as far west as Ontario. He had a very exclusive clientele which included some of the wealthiest horse owners in the world.
The only complaint that I have ever heard about this product, while doing my market survey, is “that it wasn’t always available”. Perhaps this was one of my father’s sales strategies to ‘keep the supply low and the demand high’.
Leon Fiske’s 4 H’s “Horses, Hunting, Hockey and Hounds
Although I will never be known for my great horsemanship skills, I have a great love for horses and have been around them since I was born. Over the years I have owned a few horses, and to this day I believe that the Fiske’s Hoof and Hide Balm played a huge part in saving the life of one of these animals.
The horse in reference was a 2-year-old standard bred filly that became fatally ill while being stabled away for training purposes. Immediately after bringing the horse home I had her vet checked, the prognosis was not encouraging. One of the many ailments she suffered from was an extreme case of ‘Rain Rot’ which had caused her to loose her entire coat.
The mare’s hide was gray in color and it looked and felt like cement.
After the call to the vet, the next call was to my father. He arrived with a gallon of his “trusted friend” and several yards of material.It was a miracle. My father and the vet both responded by saying that they had never seen a horse in that extreme condition and survive.
We liberally covered the horse with the product from her nose to her dock, and to the ground on all fours. We then proceeded to completely wrap her with the material until she looked like a mummy, and then snugly blanketed her. This treatment took place on a Sunday, and my dad’s instructions were to keep her warm and covered until Friday, then bathe her and treat the areas from that point on that still require attention. The vet’s return visit was also scheduled for Friday, and to everyone’s surprise after she was unwrapped and bathed, her hide was restored to its original condition, soft and smooth, rich mahogany in color and hair was quickly filling in.
After witnessing the amazing recovery to the hide of this horse with this product, I decided to alter original name by adding ‘hide’ and changing ‘lotion’ to ‘balm.’
“Fiske’s Hoof Lotion” is now “Fiske’s Hoof and Hide Balm”