Horseshoe Case


For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

A rhyme that dates back centuries. Today we understand it as a proverb – neglecting the small details of a project can lead to its failure.

WW2 horseshoe case with sword frog

WW2 horseshoe case with sword frog

WW2 horseshoe case with sword frog

WW2 horseshoe case with sword frog

However, in the not-so-distant past the saying could be taken much more literally. The army regularly used horses right up until the end of the second world war. The spare horseshoe case shown on the left was a standard piece of equipment.
It is made of good quality tan leather and it would have been attached to the saddle. On its outside there is a leather loop or sword frog. Inside there is the pocket for the horseshoe and a small section for spare nails.
Neither of these compartments appears to have been used. The small pocket is stamped “Cliff.Walsall 1940″ with an ordnance mark. Under the flap it is stamped again “60″ with another ordnance mark.
WW2 horseshoe case with sword frog
I am woefully ignorant about cavalry equipment, there are many people who are very knowledgeable about the subject . The Society of the Military Horse is a good place to find out more.

The regulations governing the design of these cases changed over time. Variations in how the case closed, the presence or absence of the sword frog, how the case attached to the saddle – all these things can tell us about the date of the case. The horseshoe case shown below is an earlier example, probably dating from the beginning of the twentieth century.

1901 horseshoe case with sword frog

The spare horseshoe case was only one very small piece of equipment carried by mounted troops. Their saddles were specially designed with extensions behind the seat (fans) and in front (burrs) they had many loops and D rings.
I will try to find some images to illustrate this

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2 Responses to Horseshoe Case

  1. John Morgan says:

    This is an officer’s horseshoe case with frog for sword scabbard sewn on…MKIII confirmed in 1903 by LoC 11594.
    The sword frog attachment for officers was first introduced in August 1902…MKII…LoC 11336. This was a conversion of the MKI case by sewing on a frog.
    The MKI case without frog would not have had the horizontak steadying strap. MKII has a steadying strap as does the MKIII. Both MKI and MKII had a single strap and buckle for securing to the saddle.
    MKIII differed from MKII in having 2 straps and buckles for attaching to the saddle dees. Necessary for attaching to the MKIV saddle with the pair od dees each side.

  2. admin says:

    Thank you John,
    That’s probably the clearest explanation of the differences between case designs that I’ve read. Now I just have to remember it….
    Many thanks again,
    Anna