"In search of the great horse" 14.2hh max for medieval warhorses

linka

Well-Known Member
Joined
23 June 2021
Messages
74

WaterySun852

Well-Known Member
Joined
28 October 2021
Messages
87
Practicing his "round the worlds" whilst riding 🤦‍♀️. I'm glad I'm not the only who saw the firearm. Are they supposed to be archers?
 

linka

Well-Known Member
Joined
23 June 2021
Messages
74
I thought that the (small) size of historical horse armour had proved this a long time ago.
Yes, but I think studying skeletons allows for more discussion of breeding, eg:
"Results of our analyses on the robusticity of the metapodia (Figure 4) illustrate a possible effect of warhorse breeding for a robust rear limb during the High Medieval period. The marked increase in metatarsal robusticity in this period, as compared with the preceding Norman period, could be a result of the dedication to the breeding and/or training of the ‘great horse’ by Plantagenet kings (Davis, 1989). This coincides with a preference for horses over oxen for agricultural purposes beginning in the 12th century (Langdon, 2002) and compatible evidence for an increase in horseshoe size at this time (Clark, 2004). Together, this evidence may reflect a trend towards the development of an early type of heavy horse with a strong conformation, especially in regard to the rear limbs, while maintaining a similar shoulder height to the rest of the horse population across the period."
 

SEL

Well-Known Member
Joined
25 February 2016
Messages
8,244
Location
Buckinghamshire
I was about to propose Militaire as the ideal warhorse because I know the Ardennes were used in battle - but then the article described the warhorses as 'slight' and that is never a word used to describe him 😜

Although I always thought if you shot bucket loads of carrots behind enemy lines then pointed a load of draft horses in that direction you'd send the enemy flying in short order 😁
 

Cortez

Well-Known Member
Joined
17 January 2009
Messages
12,378
Location
Ireland
I was about to propose Militaire as the ideal warhorse because I know the Ardennes were used in battle - but then the article described the warhorses as 'slight' and that is never a word used to describe him 😜

Although I always thought if you shot bucket loads of carrots behind enemy lines then pointed a load of draft horses in that direction you'd send the enemy flying in short order 😁
It's a common misconception that medieval war horses were heavy draught types, when they were actually much more like a Spanish/ Iberian tupe.
 

Palindrome

Well-Known Member
Joined
19 July 2012
Messages
1,317
Yes, looking at Icelandic horses and reading the Icelandic sagas made me realize that the sizes weren't the same back then.
A viking on his horse would be riding a 13hh pony, not a 17hh friesian (no offence to Icelandic horses they are fab but not the type you see ridden by vikings in movies).
 

Cortez

Well-Known Member
Joined
17 January 2009
Messages
12,378
Location
Ireland
Yes, looking at Icelandic horses and reading the Icelandic sagas made me realize that the sizes weren't the same back then.
A viking on his horse would be riding a 13hh pony, not a 17hh friesian (no offence to Icelandic horses they are fab but not the type you see ridden by vikings in movies).
Icelandic horses are mostly descended from horses taken there from Ireland. Vikings didn't bring horses with them when they went a-raiding, they preferred to 'acquire' them from the locals, and the Vikings that raided Britain, Ireland and Normandy mostly came from Norway and Denmark.
 

linka

Well-Known Member
Joined
23 June 2021
Messages
74
No just in general, when Arab blood was likely to be used in breeding European horses for instance.
There's presumably a difference between "possible" and "evidenced" - so NW Europe and Syria/Mesopotamia are already linked by sea and organisationally/politically under the Roman empire & you have army detachments moving frequently between one frontier and another. And that's a few hundred years worth of interaction. Plus Vikings sailing to Byzantium. Where do you stop really? But most mentions seem to be of 7th to 8th century & Arab conquest.

Anyway this article does propose the Norman period as a potential link to Britain:
"The changes observed during the Norman period could in part reflect an influx of Arabian blood into Western European horse stock, which is known from Iberia from the 8th century AD (Hyland, 1994). During this period, the Islamic Conquest in Spain provided Europe with access to novel horse lineages, written sources mention that the Normans were gifted horses of Spanish, French and Moorish origins (Fages et al., 2019; Kelekna, 2009) something also reflected in ancient genomics (Fages et al., 2019; Kelekna, 2009). It is possible that these more gracile Norman horses of mixed lineage were perfectly designed for Norman cavalry tactics (Davis, 1987), which were different from the ‘heavy’ cavalry tactics of later periods." (nb haven't looked up the references).
 
Top