Many of us who have read medieval romances or watched movies about that time period have heard about/seen the fierce warhorses ridden by the knights. I have pulled together some information on these powerful horses. Sadly, the original warhorse breed is now extinct, although Clydesdales and Quarter horses are bred today to produce a similar horse.
A Knight and His Horses
- A knight owned several horses used for different duties.
- The palfrey was used for general travelling purposes.
- The most common type used for battle was called a Destrier and was brought England in 1066. They were bigger and stronger and more expensive. Only the most wealthy knights could afford to have one.
Description of a Warhorse
- This type of horse had a thick rounded body, a broad back, powerful hind-quarters, and long legs with dense bones.
- Generally, a medieval warhorse was black, brown, bag, or gray. They often had long silky, often white, hair on the lower parts of its legs.
- These massive animals measured over 24 hands tall.
Training a Warhorse
- These horses were specially trained for riding in battle or in combating at jousting tournaments.
- They were trained to command from a knight’s leg pressure instead of the reins because the knight must hold his shield and his weapons.
- They were trained to trample the bodies of fallen enemies.
- They were also trained to bite and kick on command.
Protection for a Warhorse
- Horse armor called barding consisted of rigid pieces of plate armor made of leather and steel.
- A warhorse would be fully dressed with armor on the head, neck, body and chest. The head armor often had spike horns.
Horses in the Middle Ages: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horses_in_the_Middle_Ages