Page:Horse shoes and horse shoeing.djvu/350

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HORSE-SHOES AND HORSE-SHOEING.

or four times the quantity of iron that the Gallic or British shoe did. Though not an equestrian nation, we must give the Romans credit for common sense. As for their working their horses all day without any foot-cover, and applying these at night when they were not required, the idea is perfectly absurd. This is admitting that these articles were really intended to be attached to horses' feet; and that, though nail-shoeing was well known, and its efficacy and simplicity were recognized, the Romans, or the people among whom they were living, persisted in expending four times the weight of iron, twenty times the amount of labour, and a dozen times the quantity of charcoal.

But I cannot believe that these 'hippo-sandals' were ever made for such a purpose. Extremely few horses, if any, could travel with those of the first class on roads, in ascending or descending steep places, nor yet move at any speed. The projecting fastening behind, and the inside clip, as well as the insecurity and situation of the attachment, and the weight of the iron, all forbid this supposition.

For the second and third classes, I need only say that horses could neither travel nor yet stand in them. With far more reason might we expect two or three ranks of soldiers to walk, run, and manœuvre in close order with Canadian snow-shoes on their feet, than to see a horse walk, trot, and gallop with these so-called sandals. The majority of the second class could not be put on the hoofs, to begin with; and none of the third class could, by any possibility, serve such a purpose. A glance at the shape of these will show this to be the fact.

Besides, not one of those I have examined, though many