Originally Posted by Production Acres
Do you honestly thinks shoes were invented as a fashion statement for the wealthy - No, they are basic protection that keeps a human or horse sound more days in a year.
Actually, I was recently taking a class about hooves, and in doing research for a project, I discovered that shoes for horses only came in to use during the mid-evil time period, when the Kings started living in Castles and bringing in the horses with them. The standing around in stalls, on their own filth softened the hooves so much the horses would be sore when they finally did get them out of the stall, and the hooves would chip badly. The shoe was then invented,but not used by common folk for a long time, then it WAS just a sign of wealth to keep your horse up that way, and it became more common. Also intresting to note, the first literature found on curing things like laminitis/founder or hoof cracks came about DURING this time period, where before it wasn't mentioned. The only mention was from Xenophon (forget the spelling at the moment, as this is just what I remember) only mentioned actually putting stones in an area to make the horse walk on them, in order to toughen the feet.
Before that, all horses were barefoot, and that includes war horses that defeated entire nations, but they were not stalled or sedentary and the did work on a regular basis.
And that's my nerd post of the month. =)