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Horse Bone

Tony N

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Well, I do.

Carve it, that is. It's , er, weeelll, yeah, better in some ways. Problem is, for the start, it's an absolute nightmare to clean. Unlike cow, horsebone doesn't have a clear marrow area in the middle section of the bone. The spongy part of the ends of cowbone is not just in the ends in horses. It's all the way through. And to top it, the marrow is not that clean, firm stuff of cowbone, but a yellow, runny gunk, that soaks into the bone itself as soon as the animal is killed.

Having said this. Out of the four long bones (apart from the shankbones, which are not normally available, so I haven't had any experience with them), the rear shinbone is the only one worth having a go at. All the others are in no particular better than the equivalent cowbone. In facrt, they are worse. That is less usable material. The rear shinbone has a practically flat side, that gives totally flat plaques that are rather wider than the equvivalent cow shinbones. That is the only (but quite impressive) advantage.

To clean them, I have to boil the whole lot before anything ellse happens, then cut the bone leghtwise, without seeing what I'm doing, (that is, there is no clear hole inside, it's still stuffed with the spongy stuff), then boil the resulting plates in caustic soda to get rid of the fat in the bone. The actual bone itself is quite noticeably darker than cowbone, so if you want white bone, it needs to be bleached.

I live in the South Island, and there is only one freezing works on the island licensed for horse. Don't know anything about the North. Gore, Clover exports is the place. I myself drive up there once in a while. Freight costs quite a bit, but they don't charge a high price for the bone itself.

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