22 Feb Historic Saddle Sores – An Uncomfortable Past
Any cyclist or cowboy can tell you how annoying it is to have a saddle sore. They are painful, gross, and bothersome. Luckily, we live in the time of Enzo’s Chamois Cream, and can readily treat saddle sores, but that wasn’t always the case. Below are notable excerpts from the complete indexed history of those tiny-yet-fierce flare-ups.
1096 – Saddle Sores & the First Crusade
Saddle sores first pop up on the taint of history during the First Crusade, when in “1095 Urban II, the new Pope, called for a Crusade to liberate Jerusalem from Muslim forces and also to aid the Byzantine Empire which was under Muslim attack.” (Wikipedia: Godfrey of Bouillon). This was bad news for the Roman Knights who had to ride horseback from Western Europe to Constantinople. In his book, “Worlds at War,” Anthony Pagden described the scene: “They arrived in groups between November and May of the following year, hungry, bespattered, saddle-sore, weary and often despondent.” Without chamois cream, a “despondent” mood is putting it politely.
1533 – The Saddle Sore that Sparked a Tyrant
Ivan the Terrible, Grand Prince of Moscow, who bucked world peace and aggressively expanded Russia, was crowned after his father, Prince Vasily III, died of an infection stemming from an untreated saddle sore he discovered while hunting. Ivan became ruler at the young age of 3 and went on to murder his son and commit other misdeeds to earn a nick-name with the word ‘Terrible’ in it. All because Vasily couldn’t slab soothing cream on his Button Hole.
1641 – Saddle Sores and Gold
When Francisco Vásquez de Coronado set out to ride from Mexico to Kansas in search of Quivira, rumored to be a wealthy civilization of gold he could probably pilfer, he may have underestimated the toll it would take on his taint. In her book, From Sea to Prairie: A Primer of Kansas Geology, Catherine S. Evan writes: “If good maps of the territory had been available, Coronado could have checked them out, discovered that Quivira had no gold, stayed home, and avoided aching feet and saddle sores.” Sorry conquistadors, but you should have known there was never anything interesting in Kansas (I don’t think Steve Tilford made his mark yet).