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​ The first clear written evidence of horseshoes appears in 900 A. in a treatise by Leo VI of Constantinople who referred to “crescent shaped irons and their nails” in a list of cavalry equipment. Iron smelting became much more efficient after 800 AD, so the raw material for shoes became more accessible and cheaper.

William the Conqueror is recorded as bringing shoeing smiths with him for his invasion of England in 1066, and by the time of the Crusades in the 1100s, shoeing horses was a much more common practice than in previous centuries.

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Horseshoes may serve a certain function for a horse, but people tend to think of horseshoes as an item of superstition rather than sound footing. We also like to throw them around, turning a piece of metal into a game of high stakes in backyards around the world.

​ The Roman writings of the poet Catullus and others have been interpreted as indicating horses were shod, but these comments are more likely to be similes (e.g.

“feet as hard as iron”) rather than the actual presence of iron shoes nailed onto a horse’s foot.

Common sense answers “to prevent wear of the horses foot, so it does not go lame”, and that is a very good reason, especially for a cavalry horse that is travelling a long distance, such as to fight in the Crusades.​ So far a lot of uncertainty and a lack of definitive evidence!Does surviving ancient literature give any indication that horses were shod?But horseshoes are made from softer iron, the same metal today as it was 2,000 years ago.Iron is a valuable resource, and just as it is recycled today, so it was in the ancient world – perhaps even more so, since early iron smelting was nowhere near as efficient as it is today.

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