THE EARLY HORSESHOE
Traditionally, it is thought that the nailed horseshoe first appeared in Western Europe in the late ninth or early 10th centuries. It is now considered possible that the Romans might have had nailed horseshoes as early as the first or second centuries, and even that they existed in the late Iron Age, possibly invented by the Celts.
The hipposandal was probably a temporary horseshoe used by the Romans when unshod animals were used on hard surfaced roads. These iron shoes were not nailed to the horse’s hoof, but were tied to the hoof with leather thongs. They frequently have ridges and grooves on their undersides to act as treads and increase grip. Others have spikes, probably for use in icy conditions.
Epona – Protectress of the Horse
The ancient Celts worshipped the mythical figure Epona, the goddess of horses. When the Romans conquered the Gauls and the Britons, they too adopted her as the deity of horses and carried her legend throughout Europe. Epona lovingly protected the horse and stable and also kept watch over the grooms and carters.