« AnteriorContinuar »
His Royal Highness
PRINCE ARTHUR, K.G. K.T,
THIS INQUIRY INTO
THE ORIGIN, PROGRESS, AND PERFECTING OF AN ART
WHICH KINGS AND NOBLES HAVE NOT DISDAINED TO STUDY AND PRACTISE,
AND WHICH IS VERY INTIMATELY CONNECTED WITH
THE COMFORT AND UTILITY OF THE NOBLEST
AND MOST USEFUL ANIMAL EVER DOMESTICATED BY MAN,
IS MOST HUMBLY AND RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED BY
To all who possess an interest in or a love for the horse, but little apology will be required in offering for their acceptance a work like the present. The result of much labour and research, it is an attempt to trace, for the first time in England, the origin and history of the art of shoeing horses. Since the publication, in 1831, of Bracy Clark's essay 'On the Knowledge of the Ancients respecting the Art of Shoeing the Horse,' the science of ethnological archæology has made wonderful progress in throwing light upon much that was obscure, or altogether lost, in the darkness of pre-historic, and even historic times, and the manners and customs of ancient peoples have been largely elucidated by it. Some of its rays have been incidentally shed upon the early condition of this apparently humble handicraft, tending considerably to modify, or altogether disprove, the opinions held by various authorities as to the antiquity of horse-shoeing.
Though but of minor importance in archæology, yet the discussion of this subject has attracted much notice at times, and engaged a large share of attention on the part of men much celebrated as antiquarians and scholars. And the origin of the art, though of comparatively little moment in an utilitarian point of view, is nevertheless one of those interesting subjects which will always prove interesting to the anthropologist and archæologist.
To make this portion of the work complete, every discovery of relics connected with the subject has been inquired into, when possible, and no pains have been spared in the investigation of its unwritten story.
With regard to the Middle Ages, much original research has, I trust, satisfactorily brought the history forward to a period when authentic records become abundant, and these have been made sufficiently available for the purpose; while, for the succeeding centuries, and up to our own time, the principal kinds of shoeing introduced, and their various defects, have been noticed in detail.
The importance of the farrier's art to civilization, and to the welfare of the horse, with its evils and how to remedy them, have been considered in separate chapters. It is, perhaps, scarcely necessary to assert, that if the progress of this craft, as it has been practised in Europe, had been carefully studied, and the teachings of its most notable exponents kept in view, the modern patent offices would have been much less patronized, the equine species would have been benefited to an extent which those who abhor cruelty to animals little dream of, and a large saving in horse-power and horse-life would have been the result. It is to be hoped that the investigations now published may prove useful in this respect, and that the latter portions of the work may attract attention to the great injury done to the horse by the barbarous treatment its feet are generally subjected to, so that the lessons afforded by bistory may not be without advantage to the noble animal and his master.
For many years the anatomy, functions, and management of the horse's limbs and feet have been made the object of careful observation. The present treatise contains a portion of the results arrived at; the remainder will appear, I trust, at no distant day.
The assignment of the diversely-shaped antique shoes to certain ages—a matter of much difficulty-resulted from the examination and comparison of specimens found in various parts of Great Britain and the Continent of Europe, and the remains discovered with them.
Nothing has been omitted, so far as I am aware, that might prove useful or interesting in this inquiry into the origin, progress, traditions, and utility of an art to which our Western civilization owes so much. The drawings have been most carefully prepared to illustrate its various phases, and, whenever possible, photography has been resorted to for greater correctness.
For obliging assistance in my labours, 1 gratefully beg to acknowledge the kind services of Messrs Mayer, F.S.A., Morgan, Moor, and Picton, of Liverpool, in furnishing me with information relative to specimens in the free Museum of that city ; Mr C. Roach Smith, F.S.A., Strood, for much assistance in obtaining specimens, and in aiding me in every possible way; Mr Murray, British Museum ; and M. Megnin, veterinary surgeon to the Horse Artillery of the Imperial Guard, at Versailles, for a copy of his excellent treatise on French farriery.
Chatham, June 1, 1869.