The thing about any technology that is extensively used and changed the way of life, is that few think about it. One of those technologies is the common horseshoe. While it has a long history of development, it only became really prevalent was once proper iron working methods became available. When it did, the use of the horse as a domestic animal for hard work changed farming and transport, allowing for more farmland per farmer and faster distribution to where the farm goods are needed.
The most important use of iron and steel? Definitely the horseshoe. Our food supply and our ability to travel quickly over long distances depends on it.- A blacksmith in Baugyse
The purpose of a horseshoe is to protect the hoof of domestic horses from excessive wear and tear. It works by creating a hard layer between the hoof and the ground and it is especially effective if the ground is hard, like a cobbled road.
- Access & Availability
- Horseshoes are now widely available and almost all towns have at least one farrier
- The main thing that is needed is the ability to work iron and simple steels.
For many centuries domestic horses have needed some form of protection to their hoof, due to very high wear. In earlier times this came in the form of thick leather covering the underside of the hooves, but other materials, such as hard wood were also used.Due to the constant need to protect the hooves of horses, the horseshoe was more a case of evolution then discovery, but some discoveries within metalwork were needed before the horseshoe reached it's current design.