Asia (Armenians?) whom he saw, were in the habit of tying sandals, or rather, drawing socks over the feet of their horses when the snow lay very thick on the ground, to prevent their sinking too deeply. ‘The horses in this country were smaller than those of Persia, but far more spirited. The chief instructed the men to tie little bags (Κυρ Αναβ) round the feet of the horses, and other cattle, when they drove them through the snow, for without such bags they sank up to their bellies.’
This is the only mention made of a garniture for the feet of horses by the renowned author and soldier, and I am not aware of any recent writer mentioning this contrivance in the uplands of Armenia. It may be remarked, however, that in Kamschatka the dogs employed to draw sledges or catch seals wear socks provided with small holes to allow the claws to protrude. These may to some extent not only protect the feet from injury, but also help to guard against sinking in the snow. Arctic travellers have likewise availed themselves of these appliances for their dogs.
The only Greek writer before the Christian era, after Xenophon, who alludes to a defence for the feet of animals is Aristotle (b.c. 340). In describing the camel's foot, he writes: ‘The foot is fleshy underneath, like that of a bear; wherefore, when camels are used in war, and become footsore, their drivers put them on leather shoes (ΥΠΟΔΕΟΥΣΙ Καζβατιναις).’ They were probably most frequently
- See Beiträge zur Phys. Oekonomie der Russischen Länder. Berlin, 1786. Captain Cook's Last Voyage, and the later Voyages of Arctic Explorers.
- Hist. Animal. lib. ii. p. 850.