History of Horseshoes
Horseshoes could be considered a long lived but modern fad.
Delving back into history shows that for millions of years the horse has survived and better yet refined a hoof that is designed to meet the rigors of life.
Some people quote the fact that a horse has to work harder and carry more weight in domestic life. When you sit back and review the facts this is hard to believe. A horse in the wild can put on 10% body weight or more in good times. A pregnant mare may carry upto 100kg's of foal and feotal fluids 24 hours a day while travelling upto 40km a day in a wild horses normal wanderings. In the modern era of horse keeping there is no one that comes close to this sort of work load for their horse.
So when did horseshoes become a part of horse equipment.
Despite spurious claims that the horse shoe has existed for 2500 years, the only definite evidence of horses being shod appears around 900AD. Prior to that the romans had a thing called a hipposandal, which due to its design was not to be used at more than a walk. This shoe may have been purely a form of medicinal support a bit like and old mac boot. The hipposandal itself is a wide flat surface that could never be used on the roman roads of the time. In a round about way the romans are responsible for naming our modern day Vets. The romans figured out that in war fare losing a trained horse to injury was as bad as losing a trained warrior. So the romans built an animal hospital and holding pens where all manner of injury was cared for. The name of this complex was the veterinarium and there were specialist horse doctors called Hippiatros that worked on the horses health. The injured soldiers were cared for in the valetudinarium, under the direction of an optio valetudinarii, an overseerer as such and the people healing the soldiers were called medicus ordinarius.
The hipposandal itself is made of iron with a very flat surface and it was held on by leather straps. This flat surface means like our modern day shoes it could not be used well if at all on the roads. The romans put a lot of effort and design into their roads to make them hard and long wearing. This hard top would have been difficult to negotiate in a iron plate with out rudimentary traction.