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Horseshoes, Nails, Saddles, and Riding
By Mary Bellis

Sculptures and drawings that date from the 2nd millennium BC show men and women on horseback. The saddle probably originated in the societies of the Asian steppes (as well as the the stirrup and the horse collar) and received a high degree of development in medieval Europe.

It is unknown who invented the first horseshoe. Early Asian horsemen used horse booties made from leather and plants. During the first century, the Romans made leather and metal shoes called "hipposandals". By the 6th and 7th centuries, European horsemen had begun nailing metal shoes to horses' hooves. Around 1000 AD, cast bronze horseshoes with nail holes had became common in Europe. The 13th and 14th centuries brought the widespread manufacturing of iron horseshoes. Hot-shoeing, the process of heating the horseshoe before shoeing the horse, became common in the 16th century.

All before the first horseshoe was ever patented.

Notable Patents

Henry Burden
In 1835, the first U.S. patent for a horseshoe manufacturing machine was issued to Henry Burden (1791-1871) of Troy, N.Y. Burden's machine made up to sixty horseshoes per hour.

J.B. Kendall - Composite Horseshoe
J.B. Kendall of Boston patented an improved horseshoe and possible the first composite horseshoe U.S. patent #33709 issued in 1861.

Oscar E Brown
Oscar E Brown patented an improved double or compound horseshoe, which consisted of; an upper shoe secured to the hoof of the animal and a lower auxiliary shoe irremovably attached to the upper shoe. The object of invention was the provision of a secure and reliable lock for fastening the lower shoe to the upper shoe, which will permit the lower shoe to be readily applied and removed from the upper shoe whenever it becomes necessary to renew the lower shoe or resharpen it calks. U.S. Patent 481,271
Oscar E Brown Horseshoe U.S. Patent 481,271

The Proper Hoof Angle
Horse-shoes and horseshoeing: their origin and history. The early history of veterinary literature.

A Short History of the Term "Farrier"
The meaning of the term "farrier" has changed dramatically over the centuries from a horse doctor to a person who shoes horses.

Interview with Henry Heymering
Writings on the early years of farriering.

The Legacy of the Horse
A chronological trip through the history of humans and the horse.

Horseshoe Nails
History varies on the origin of iron horseshoes and horseshoe nails.

Who Invented Horseshoeing?
Origin, history, uses and abuses of horseshoeing.

Related Information
Farm and Agriculture

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