The climate of Greece, it must not be forgotten, is dry, and favourable to the hardness and durability of horses' hoofs; so that solipedes brought from the north or west, where their journeys would be of a limited character without shoes, may there acquire sufficient strength and cohesiveness in the horny box covering the inferior extremity of the limbs, as to perform a certain amount of labour with no defence.
Paul Louis Courier, who translated Xenophon's treatise on horsemanship, was so pleased with his method of managing the feet of horses, that during the very brief campaign in Calabria in 1807, while with the army corps to which he belonged, he rode horses without shoes, and, as he believed, with advantage. In a note he adds: ‘The ancients did not shoe their horses; this is evidenced in all the writings and monuments they have left us, and we cannot be astonished that the people who, in so many different countries, do not know the use of shoes, should not yet have introduced them. The Tonguses, as well as the majority of the Tartars—the best and the most indefatigable horsemen in the world—scarcely work at all in iron; and for that reason it is impossible for them to shoe their steeds. The Dutch at the Cape of Good Hope have little horses which are never shod, according to Sparmann. And M. Thunberg has made the same remark in the island of Java. Another traveller assures us, that at Mogador, and the west coast of Africa, all the horses journey without shoes, and Niebuhr says the same for those of Yemen. Pallas has seen the horses of the Kalmucks, which have small and extremely hard hoofs,
- Traite de Xenophon sur l'Equitation. Panthéon Littéraire.