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Early horses did not have to travel on hard surfaces, nor carry heavy weights.BTW, humans were also around long before human shoes were.
Shoes can help to protect the hoof. Hooves are prone to chipping & cracking; especially, as was mentioned, on hard surfaces such as roads. It is also a good idea to have a horse shod if it is used for jumping, racing, point-to-point, hunting, etc as the hoof can take quite a pounding. If a horse is kept in a field to graze and not used for anything else, there's not much need to have it shod.There are also special shoes that are fitted to alleviate symptoms of illness or injury; much as humans wear orthopedic shoes. One of our ponies currently has laminitis - which is an inflammation of the interior of the hoof - & there are shoes similar to Dr Martens boots with air-soles (AIR-SOLES [!] ) that are crafted to fit the hoof snugly to soften any impact with the ground. Fortunately ours isn't bad enough to warrant that much treatment.
...(grass does not run very fast).
One of the ancestors of the modern horse was Eohippus (also called Hyracotherium).http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HyracotheriumIn the wild, horses tend to just meander around for most of the time nibbling at verdant goodness. They sometimes play tag - especially young colts - which is quite amusing to watch. (1 of my colts was kept in a field with a young camel for a while. Watching them play tag was hilarious!)Normally the only time they really gallop is to release energy or to escape a predator. A horse will run 1.5 miles to escape; although a stallion is liable to attack you if his mares are threatened. And just because a horse doesn't have claws or big teeth, don't underestimate how dangerous they can be. Just a little flick with its rear hoof can break an arris rail. And if it rears up & comes down on you it's normally Goodnight Vienna.Even just their weight can cause a lot of damage. Horses can weigh up to 750 kilos (and a large Shire can top 1000 kilos). You wouldn't want that squashing you against a stable wall or rolling on you. I've had my feet stood on by horses & I can assure you it bloody well hurts! 
In the wild, the only real need for horses to run would be to escape danger; otherwise, although they may choose to stretch their legs a bit, but they don't have a great deal of effort involved in chasing after grass to eat (grass does not run very fast).
Incidentally, did you know that "hippopotamus" means "water/river horse"?
Quote from: another_someone on 22/08/2007 14:19:17In the wild, the only real need for horses to run would be to escape danger; otherwise, although they may choose to stretch their legs a bit, but they don't have a great deal of effort involved in chasing after grass to eat (grass does not run very fast).THANK YOU VERY MUCH GEORGE.It's pleasing to know that horses do not need to be continuously on the move. What predators to wild horses have ?..Horse eating wild hare ?............LOL....ok....I expect cougars and leopards yes ?
Eth,I had no idea that we have wild horsies over here !!Are they indigenous ?I always thought they were somewhere in western America.Must be a sight to behold to see a wild bunch of horsies running free !!(what's the term for a bunch of horsies)...would love to see that !..and see them playing tag !