Horseshoes may have first appeared early as 3500 B.C. In 910 there was the first written record of iron horseshoes.
Horseshoes were used for agricultural purposes on the horses that helped farm the land. Horseshoes were also used in wars-- horseshoes protected war horses' feet, and allowed them to kick and step on the enemy harder than horses without horseshoes.
Horses are shod for protection, traction, and to effect a therapeutic change in the way a horse moves. Horseshoes protect the horse’s hoof from wear. The horse’s hoof can be worn down from pavement or hard ground. By having a horseshoe on the horse’s hoof, the wear will be on the shoe, rather than on the horse’s hoof. If the hoof is worn down too much the animal could be unable to travel without soreness or pain.
"... an improvement in horseshoes, and has for its object the provision of a cushion shoe for draft animals of very simple and practical construction, which may be very readily and quickly applied, which will possess a great degree of resiliency, will be durable, and will give the animal a surer footing and protection from slipping."
A few decades later, in 1933, the patent system recorded yet more improvements in the horseshoe, as depicted below, but that's a subject for another day.
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