Page:Horse shoes and horse shoeing.djvu/646
HORSE-SHOES AND HORSE-SHOEING.
haste by men on two horses, each horse being relieved by the rider vaulting on the other. But in the middle ages, two riding upon one horse was not unusual. Servants frequently rode behind their masters; knights took up the wounded; and altogether two persons on horseback appears to have become a common practice. In the 'Tactica' of the Emperor Leo, who first speaks of nailed shoes, we read of horsemen named deputati, who were appointed to carry off the wounded behind them, and for this object they had an additional stirrup hanging to the end of the saddle.
So it is, that unless horses had hoofs of a more endurable quality than they now possess, it is quite impossible they could have sustained, for many hours even, the great additional strain imposed on them, not only by the ponderous iron-shell enveloping horse and rider, but by the peculiar nature of the warfare which was introduced, and in which collisions with heavy lances had to be borne in great part by the supporting or propelling feet of the horses engaged. Shoeing was then an art of the first importance, for without it these iron-clad men and horses could never have been serviceable in war. Cuirasses and helmets would not have been so generally adopted, neither would they have become an important feature in military law; and in all probability the noble and glorious institution of knighthood would have been unknown, or would have decayed soon after its establishment, and history would have been deprived of some of its most brilliant chapters. To the art, therefore, to which they owed so much, kings and knights did not disdain to offer homage by acquiring its rudiments, and learning with their own