You wouldn’t dream of doing hard labor in your bare feet! So why would we expect it from our horses? More than just a fun game of tossing metal shoes back and forth, the accessories of this leisure activity were originally footwear for horses. So how did the horse shoe come to be anyway?
This was first discovered by our ancient ancestors who, as they grew more domesticated and domesticated animals, realized that working animals lived on terrains that often times led to excessive wear and tear on hooves or worse—broken limbs. Our ancestors saw that the walls and portion of the sole on the hooves of a domesticated horse needed additional protection on their feet.
Around the world, different attempts were made. An early method was to wrap the hooves in rawhide leather and other materials which was used for therapeutic purposes as well as protective. Another attempt from the Romans took a note from the common footwear of people at the time—the sandal and strapped this metal bottom around the feet of their horses.
The other methods eventually faded away as people discovered the horseshoe as the best and most efficient means of protection. After proper fitting and grooming, the horseshoe is nailed into the bottom of the hoof (don’t worry—horses have no sensation in their hooves; it’s the equivalent of snipping our fingernails).
The popularization of metal horseshoes gave rise to a fun leisurely activity around the stables. Horseshoes has become an immensely widespread game—sort of a more rustic and rural version of bean bags, opposing players stand at opposite ends of the throwing area, marked by two poles sunk into the ground. The idea is to get the U-shaped shoe to wrap around and ‘ring’ a pole. Points are rewarded for touching the pole or being a shoe’s length away as well.
The game came along almost instantly after the shoe was first invented for the purpose of horse hoof protection a little more than 2000 years ago. Still a great means of entertainment today, check out or indoor version of Horseshoes by clicking here. Have a blast horsin’ around at camp and, as always, thanks for reading!