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Hipposandals? Urgent!

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Hi everyone out there!!

I need as MUCH help as I can get URGENTLY (for TOMORROW!!) about hippo sandals.

A blacksmith is reconstructing these hipposandals with me tomorrow but I need to get as much information as possible about making them and putting them on.

I NEED SOME GOOD PICTURES OF HIPPO SANDALS BEING ATTACHED TO A HORSE'S HOOF.

Has anyone out there reconstructed a hippo sandal before? and has any pictures?

Any help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated! : )

Many, many thanks,

Catherine

P.S if anyone does have any pictues please send them to my email address [email protected]


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They seem to be a couple thousand years passe... so you might not be able to find any examples such as you seek. Google does have several pics of recovered artifacts though. The styles seem quite varied: http://www.google.com/search?q=Hippo+Sandals&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=bpB&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=np&prmd=imvns&source=lnms&tbm=isch&ei=XJGNT4vXOoWM8AG2ot2SBw&sa=X&oi=mode_link&ct=mode&cd=2&ved=0CFAQ_AUoAQ&biw=1920&bih=937#hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=epB&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&channel=np&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=hippo+sandal&oq=hippo+sandal&aq=f&aqi=g-S1&aql=&gs_l=img.12..0i24.125683l139121l0l142047l24l19l7l0l0l3l161l1539l2j10l12l0.&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=f9352c45b0809d18&biw=1920&bih=937

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  1. It seems that in the deep; past I saw something on them in a horse shoeing book Perhaps a trip to the local library? Contact the local farriers asoociation..Contact Jim Keith .FrankTurley?

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I second asking Frank Turley.

Are these to be made from bloomery wrought iron or modern mild steel?

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Here is some more study material: http://luntfort.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/hippo-sandal-reborn/ and: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hipposandal and: http://www.eurasianhistory.com/data/articles/k01/1895.html

Personally as a horse owner I would be very reluctant to put something like this on a horse. We only shoe ours (even with modern shoes) when they are being worked over rough country. Similar modern versions are made of rubbers and silicones. Leather likely served similarly in ancient days. I could see these as external wear plates for leather boots and they'd be safer that way as the leather would protect the horse (hippo) from the hard edges of the metal. Cliff Barnes (last link above) seemed to think that they'd be pretty hazardous too.

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BTW our Tennessee Walker mare often clicks her front heels against her rear toes as she walks. That would be disastrous with some of these sandals! When she speeds up she smooths out though... she almost seems to FLY! Nobody around here with guts enough to ride her at her quicker gaits! She really covers ground! She is certainly extraordinary though... the gaited horse trainers we bought her from said that in 25 years she was UNDOUBTEDLY the smoothest gaited horse they'd ever had on the ranch! Unlikely that ancient breeds would have similar stride lengths.

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I did a quick sweep of google with their listed email address....it looks like this was posted on several forums all over the place all at once. I hope this is an actual person wanting information and not someone phishing for emails to scam in responding to them. I am in no way saying this is a scam post. It just looks very similar to things that have been flagged elsewhere on the net. I would suggest no emails sent to the above address until further evidence is given that this is real.

...and yes I am paranoid about things sometimes! :-)

Either way it did make me google the subject matter. Pretty interesting to say the least.

Peyton

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As a farrier I need to ask WHY you would want this medieval thing attached to your horse, what is it your trying to accomplish? Also if the farrier cannot provide the info that you are asking for here ( if you are a real person ) why would you LET them do it???

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thanks prime tech, i was about to send a picture!! i am way too trusting....... :(
yes very interesting - i have never seen these things, found this one from the british museum... found in london almost perfect condition

post-4935-0-32902200-1334682496_thumb.jp

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Thanks Peyton
I was ready to jump into this one in the deep end!

PS. I hope things are doing well for you and yours.
How is that guy who lives in a "Battle Ship Gray" World? :P

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Hi everyone,

Thank you very much for all your comments, much appreciated!!

Will definately give Frank Turley a go! Thanks!

Bigfootnampa I do agree with you about actually putting this on a horse, it could be quite dangerous so thanks!

Hi Peyton, I can 100% assure you that I am real!! : P I am genuinely trying to get as much information as possible about this as I have to reconstruct these tomorrow.

I thought if I do loads of different forums then I will hopefully get lots of different replies!

Please do send me emails if you have any info/pictures!! This is real! I promise!! : D

Thanks again everyone, keep it rolling!! xx

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Dear Wesley Chambers,

Thanks for replying. Basically the farrier knows what he is doing but the blacksmith who is actually reconstructing them with me wants the info. I am doing it for my A2 archaeology coursework as I have to do a form of experimental archaeology. I am trying to establish what was their purpose. As many people have said they are not practical enough to be worn of the hoof of a horse I myself am going to make one and see if if they are/are not. Hope this helped your question!

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http://en.wikipedia....iki/Hipposandal do not know if you have this information


Who Loves Horsefeet!?

And, yet again. Sorry. Horseshoes were invented in the Roman empire. In Gall, or perhaps Britain or West Germany. This rates among several other Roman technologies (e.g. the barrel, the scythe, advanced wagons) that the Celts contributed, almost advancing Roman industry as much as the Greeks did. But let's back up a bit...

horsebootmodern.jpgLong before this the Romans had been using (and long after continued using) the hipposandal, an approximation to the modern horse boot, fitted to horses, mules and oxen. In fact, the hipposandal was in pervasive use from at least the 1st century B.C. Roman hipposandals had several advantages over shoes. hipposandal.jpg(1) They can be fitted without damaging the hoof and thus shortening the effective work life of the animal (a serious defect of shoeing, as any modern horse care expert will explain to you...see for example healthehoof.com and thenakedhoof.com.au). And (2) they can be replaced on the fly, which had two separate benefits: (I) it helped maintain hoof care (as again any horse expert will tell you, horses need to walk unshod on stone or pebbled ground a few hours a day to trim and harden their hooves--shoeing prevents this, so when you shoe, the hooves have to be trimmed and treated laboriously, and painfully, by hand) and (II) it allowed rapid conversion of boots for changes in terrain (one set had cleats for turf and snow, another was flat for road wear), a useful trick you can't pull off with horseshoes.

Industrially and agriculturally, the boot is superior to the shoe. However, militarily, the boot won't do. It can be thrown at a fast pace, so it won't suit cavalry or messengers. For them, as Xenophon explains in his treatise on horse care, one needs to ensure good hoof care at home and in the field. Hardened hooves will work fine. Only if a horse is pushed beyond its practical abilities will hoof problems arise (such as excess wear on hard, dry surfaces, or excess softening on wet, soft surfaces). Such forcing can already lame a horse in other ways, shoes or not, so it's never wise, but military units often have to do unwise things.

Enter nailed shoes. These provide a way to prevent wearing and protect the hoof (somewhat imperfectly) from the softening that results from traversing mushy terrain. Hence horseshoes definitely produce a military advantage in cold, wet climates (like England and Germany). And this is where nailed shoes were in use during the Roman period, though very sparingly as best we can tell. They appear in the archaeological record by the 2nd century A.D., although it is typically the case in the history of technology that the first one we find is not necessarily from the first generation of a technology's use. Ann Hyland discusses this, as have several archaeologists throughought the 20th century.

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A quick bit of research and it does all seem legit to me. http://www.christs-hospital.org.uk/school-department-archaeology.php You can always make a new email addy at one of the free email sites such as gmail for when you are in doubt. I use one for all forums for protection and never give out my primary email address.

Catherine,
Sorry I can't help. You already know more than I. Good luck and let us know what you learn from this. Many of us in the US have become quite cynical due to all the scams on the net. I hope you can understand that and will not hold it against us. We really don't deserve the "ugly American" title you may learn about. I visited Aldershot and Hythe-Lydd long before you were born and found the country quite beautiful. I hope others can help you!

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Of all the finds from the Lunt dig which now reside in our cabinets – the HIPPOSANDAL has to be among the most intriguing.

In archaeological reports such objects are normally described as “temporary horseshoes”. That is exactly as our specimen is described in the Final Report of the Lunt excavations. On the face of it this seems a reasonable explanation. Yet there is far more to this question than meets the eye.

Why would the Roman cavalry need special “ temporary horseshoes”? Well, the obvious answer would seem to be that in the case of a thrown shoe a temporary replacement would be fitted by the rider. This, of course, presupposes the routine use of modern-style nailed on shoes by the Romans. Despite ample evidence to the contrary, there are those who will have us believe that the Romans knew nothing of such things. I think that “normal” horseshoes were widely used, especially in Northern Europe where soft, wet ground would often cause problems for unshod mounts. In more arid areas of the Empire horses may well have remained quite happily unshod. But I hear the cry “Where is the Evidence?” It is undeniable that finds of Roman horseshoes (and hipposandals!) are rare. Why? Because iron was a precious commodity, and all worn shoes would have been automatically melted down for re-use. A horseshoe is a difficult object to lose – unlike a coin!

So, if we entertain the existence of normal horseshoes in the Roman cavalry (particularly in units stationed in Britain) – then how can a hipposandal be used? You only have to glance at our hipposandal on display to realise that it is a somewhat curious contrivance. The hook apparently passes under the “heel” of the hoof, and the base-plate with its side-wings are somehow lashed to the fetlocks. It is very different to a nailed-on shoe. So different, in fact, that it seems unreasonable to expect any horse to run on three “nail-ons” and one hipposandal. Therefore, it would seem that hipposandals must have been used to shoe all four hooves.
However, there is a slight problem here. HORSES CANT WALK IN THEM. Well, they can - but they teeter along as if wearing high heels. And a reluctant, faltering walk is all you are going to get. Forget about trotting, let alone galloping!

We know this for a fact. Modern reconstructive experiments have conclusively shown that horses will not accept the hipposandal. Lets face it, they don’t look as if they are going to work. You don’t need to be a horse expert to sense that. So what on earth is going on? Why strap on a shoe that the horse cannot walk on?
I was discussing this question the other day with Dominic Russell, here at the fort. He made a very interesting point which deserves further consideration. Could the hipposandal be an intentional HOBBLING DEVICE?
Hobbling a horse simply means immobilising its legs – most simply achieved by tying them together. However, fitting a single hipposandal OVER a nail-on might possibly produce a very useful state of semi-mobility, meaning that a horse could graze if left for a protracted period, without wandering very far. Fitting two hipposandals would totally immobilise. Its easy to imagine tactical situations where either option might be useful.

The archaeological evidence at the Lunt points strongly to the deployment of a “Cohors Equitata” here. This implies a part-mounted cohort, composed, very roughly, of 300 light infantry auxilia and 200 cavalry. The way in which such a mixed force would have deployed in battle presents a good opportunity for a future blog, so without going any further into this question now – suffice it to say that battlefield tactics would have certainly covered scenarios where the cavalry were required to dismount, possibly moving off to support the infantry contingent. The horses, each hobbled with a single hipposandal, would not go far, and could be supervised by, perhaps, only one or two men. Not needing to detach men to hold horses would mean a 12.5% increase in the potential manpower available for “dragoon”-style tactics. This assumes that one trooper might hold eight horses – though more men would be needed if the mounts were excited or frightened.

Its certainly a beguiling idea – but the “tactical hobbling” theory has one nasty fly in the ointment. A cavalryman, operating as a dragoon, needs to be able to dismount, secure his horse in some manner, and move quickly on foot to his battle position. But even more importantly, he needs to be able to RETRIEVE his mount with the utmost speed. His life may regularly depend on this ability. A soldier holding the horses is certainly the most effective means of quick release for each mount as its rider returns. The reins are passed, the rider vaults into his saddle (no stirrups!) – and away! In contrast, a trooper racing back to his hipposandalled mount will have to stop……and fiddle for agonising moments. It has to be quick and easy. Are there straps with quick release buckles? Lets hope so – because there certainly isn’t going to be time to start untying knots! Or does he cut the straps or thongs? Whichever way – vital time is disappearing.

It’s a pity that the whole business of re-mounting rather spoils a neat theory explaining the purpose of the hipposandal. To me, at least, it remains inexplicable.
Anyone got any thoughts on this? Rob

P.S. “Hippo” Greek for Horse (nothing to do with dancing hippopotami – that was Walt Disney)

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Hi everyone,

Thank you very much for all your comments, much appreciated!!

Will definately give Frank Turley a go! Thanks!

Bigfootnampa I do agree with you about actually putting this on a horse, it could be quite dangerous so thanks!

Hi Peyton, I can 100% assure you that I am real!! : P I am genuinely trying to get as much information as possible about this as I have to reconstruct these tomorrow.

I thought if I do loads of different forums then I will hopefully get lots of different replies!

Please do send me emails if you have any info/pictures!! This is real! I promise!! : D

Thanks again everyone, keep it rolling!! xx


Great!
Thanks for reposting!!!!!!!

Peyton

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well aren't we picky, they have been used up till around the year 1000ad as nailed on shoes were not wide spread till then and mostly for decoration and as the medieval era started sometime around 400ad I see 600 years as a good time frame to call them medieval, they were of many and varied types and designs from rawhide to metal..



Edit: also as reply to Francis Trez Cole, "There is evidence that the first metal horseshoes attached with nails originated in China" -Doug Butler (P3)

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I can't see these as hobbles. While single foot picketing has proven quite effective there would be lots of reasons to use rope and leather for such and just as many reasons NOT to use iron sandals. The only advantage of the iron is it's wear resistance and that it is stiff (also disadvantages). These would possibly help a horse with a bruised frog or abscess to get around better and maybe heal easier. Quite a drawback in the hazards they introduce though... seems to me that they would be kind of a last resort option. I'd say that they were a response to the famed Roman road system. Those roads were stunningly well engineered and constructed but they had rough cobblestone paving and would have been hard on horse hooves. I'd guess that they got lots of traffic too, and most of the carts and wagons would need horses or other draft animals to pull them. So an epidemic of sore footed animals might have been the market that spawned these dubious devices.

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BTW our Tennessee Walker mare often clicks her front heels against her rear toes as she walks.


Check her Gait.....If she isn't "cross firing" ( needs cross fire shoe" ) maybe just roll the toe in the front, ( to make sure the front foot moves out of the way faster ) or put trailers on the rear, to drop the hind quicker. I dunno, not sayin' nuttin just sayin'... maybe

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You have to " brand " the hoof above the crack...with an iron that looks like an upside down triangle, with a line under it, and file a "bridge " off the parts that touch the ground to relieve impact and reduce movement in the quarter. If its real bad, you also may have to lace it with wire, and patch it

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