Page:Horse shoes and horse shoeing.djvu/452

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HORSE-SHOES AND HORSE-SHOEING.

use in this country. During the reign of Henry II. (a.d. 1154) armour became very heavy both on horse and man, and the lance had grown so ponderous that it could only be used couched; 'great horses' were therefore required. These were probably the largest and strongest of the imported, but light races. In the 13th century, horses of greater size and power were eagerly purchased on the continent, where attention had been recently paid to rearing this kind of animal, and sent to England. They were rare, however, and a pair from Lombardy, in 1217, cost the enormous sum of £38 13s. 4d. In the rich pastures of the river Po, a race of ponderous destriers or destrieros had been formed, which, if they at all resembled those figured by the early sculptors on the monuments and statues of Condotieri, were nearly equal to our largest breed of dray-horses[1]. But these importations were so few in number, from the scarcity of the horses and their great expense, that they could make but little impression on the size of the common races in England, and consequently would not alter, to any very appreciable degree, the dimensions of the shoes. King John imported 100 chosen stallions from Flanders, and these were probably of large bulk and stature for those days; while King Edward II. purchased 30 Lombardy warhorses and 12 heavy draught-horses. Up to this period, I think we have only the small and medium-sized shoe, with, or but seldom without, calkins; and the rectangular, countersunk nail-holes, but destitute of a toe-clip to catch the hoof in front and prevent the shoe driving backwards. In the reign of the last-named monarch, who

  1. Smith. Naturalist's Library, p. 140.