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Guilherme Dias Ferreira S




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Dec, 2006 10:55 am    Post subject: Knight stallions         Reply with quote

I think it's something wrong with this image: http://www.myArmoury.com/albums/photo/3428.html . You don't think that these horses are too slenders to be war horses? The war horses used by knights (in this case by gendarmes) normally weight from 1500 to 2500 pounds. I think that a good example of these massive animals is this one:http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/elephantitis/images/belgian_lg.jpg. What do you think?
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Wed 27 Dec, 2006 11:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Given that the horses found in the photo are simply a reconstruction done by a museum, I'm not sure that it really matters that much. Musuem reconstructions are not always accurate- one can often see suits of mail that are made for people and kids to touch, and these are invariably made from butted mail, for example. That having been said, as I understand, the notion that warhorses were large, heavy animals, similar to Clydesdales, is mistaken. However, you'll have to wait for someone else more knowledgeable on the subject to confirm or deny it.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Dec, 2006 12:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yet another myth we have to constantly debunk is the one about knights riding "massive" horses. The largest destriers were around 16 hands and most were only 15 hands. A typical weight might be around 1,200 lbs. Larger horses (such as the Belgian in the above photo) weren't bred till much later for pulling carriages. The best book on the subject is Andrew Ayton's Knights and Warhorses: Military Service and the English Aristocracy under Edward III
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Dec, 2006 12:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There seems to be some perceptions that heavy war horses were the same gigantic draft horses used for slow but strenuous farm work. In reality, astronomical heights of 18 hands or weight of 2500 lbs or more is simply unneccessary for the job of mounted combat, and could present some anatomical disadvantages to the mechanics of riding and position.

I posted this previously on native horse breeds in medieval Europe.
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...rse+breeds

A crude rule for how heavy a horse needs to be to support a rider plus gear in sustained workouts is that the rider, tack, and any other gear should not exceed 25% of the horse's weight. A good quality mixed breed horse weighing between 1200 to 1500 lbs is plenty robust to support an armoured combatant, with the upper range appropriate for horse bardings. Anything heavier in the true "draft horse" category is just extra manuer, feed expense, and most likely not competitive in terms of maximum speed and agility which is possible with an optimal mixed breed.

Friesians are considered "sort of a pure heavy breed", and were riden by some knights as a heavy horse. There is some doubt about how true the modern variants of the breed are to the originals of the 12th and 13th century. But a fair guess is that they were probably less than 16 hands tall, with a believable weight of 1200 to 1500 lbs. These are beautiful and agile horses seen in many exhibitions and recent movies such as the Zorro films.

Almost from the start of the Teutonic order (breeding mentioned prior to 1200 A.D.), there were organized breeding locations and programs that crossed draft breeds with the best available medium/ light horse breeds to obtain a blend of characteristics desired in a heavy war horse.

I know some amateur equestrians that today are big fans of thoroughbred-shire ("thoroughshire") crosses and mixed breed horses that can do a surprising amount of jumping, cross country style eventing, etc. at moderately fast sustained speeds appropriate for controlled riding.

I expect our jousters (such as Rod Walker) could weigh in on the benefits of large mixed breeds.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Dec, 2006 1:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!
Dan Howard wrote:

The best book on the subject is Andrew Ayton's Knights and Warhorses: Military Service and the English Aristocracy under Edward III

Andrew Ayton also wrote an interesting chapter, "Arms, Armour, and Horses", in Medieval Warfare: A History, edited by Maurice Keen. In this chapter Ayton states that Western warhorses were about 1,200 to 1,300 lbs. He stated that the typical later medieval warhorse (as based on the examination of artefacts such as horseshoes, bits, and horse armour, and iconagraphical evidence) was 14 to 15 hands in height. There was a bit of an increase in size as the load the horse had to carry increased; Anglo-Norman horses were a bit smaller than their fourteenth century counterparts.

Attributes other than size were the more sought-after traits. The later medieval warhorse was noted for its strength, stamina, mobility, noble-bearing, and capacity for aggression. Ayton suggests that even exceptionally large "great horses" were probably 15 to 16 hands high. Certainly much smaller than 18 hands and 2,500 lbs!

I remember watching a show, possibly a shows called "Warhorse", where a Norman re-enactor talked about the qualities of his mount. He actually said a somewhat shorter mount was preferred for ease of mounting. I can't remember the specifics, but I recall that they stressed the fact that medieval war horses weren't the giant draft-horses of public imagination.

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar
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Guilherme Dias Ferreira S




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Dec, 2006 5:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gordon Frye wrote:
Here is a table of costs for maintaining various types of Horse for ca. 1545 that I put together a while back based upon modern prices:

Man at Arms
Full armour, cap-a-pie with close-helmet, tempered…………..Valentine Armouries,……… $40-50,000.00
Horse Bardings with Crinolet and Chamfron…………………. Approximately…………………… 25,000.00
Arming Saddle………………………………………………… Bjarnis Boots………………………… 4,500.00
Arming Sword………………………………………………… Arms & Armour……………………… 750.00
Heavy Lance……………………………………………………………………………………………… 250.00
Stallion, large and steady, trained 60-100,000.00
Total Cost not including pay, food, clothing and servants: $130-180,000.00

Demi-Lancer
Half-to-Three-Quarter armour, burgonet or close helmet…….. Valentine Armouries…………… $10-20,000.00
Camargue saddle……………………………………………… Amino Ruitersport………………… 2,000.00
Broadsword…………………………………………………… Arms & Armour…………………… 750.00
Lance…………………………………………………………………………………………………… 250.00
Gelding, large and steady, trained 5-10,000.00
Total costs not including pay, food, clothing or servants: $17-33,000.00

Light Horse
Maille Shirt, open helmet, target……………………………… Forth Armoury, Manning Imperial $1-1,750.00
Portuguese or Spanish saddle………………………………… Frontier Equestrian………… 500.00-1,000.00
Broadsword…………………………………………………… Arms & Armour…………………… 3-750.00
Nag 500-1,000.00
Total Cost not including pay, food or clothing: $2,300-4,500.00


Note that the cost for the gendarme is based upon the use of a single horse. Since in a compaigne d'ordonnance, a gendarme was required to have three War Horses and two "Nags", you would need to add quite a bit to the basic costs involved, basically add another $120-200+,000. (The costs quoted here are for top-level Dressage and Hunter-Jumper competition Stallions... and these are not the outrageously priced ones, either)

These prices of course are not absolutes, but based upon present day buying power and available sources. I have no doubt that all of the above items can be purchased at either significantly lower, or higher prices than quoted.

Cheers,

Gordon


This post can be viewed in this topic: http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=4373

Well, I think It must has a reason that a knight stallion had at least 10 times the price of other horses. And the fact that a horse can't support more than 1/4 of its weight, I will show some math: Knight weight+armor weight+other gear weight+horse barding: (160-200)lbs+(60-80)lbs+(10-30)lbs+(100-200)lbs=330-510lbs x 4=1320-2040lbs. I'm really NOT SURE about these numbers, so you can feel free to contest.
And I found another definition of heavy-weight war horses used by knights: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Horse[/quote]
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Dec, 2006 5:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am perpetually wondering about the real story of a knight needing three horses.

Some possible theories;
1) A palfry or light riding horse could be ridden to save the war mounts or to pack baggage.
2) The "charger" seems to be characterized in some accounts as a fast breed such as an Andulasian and may have been used for skirmishing and hunting... not necessarily in full heavy charge armour.
3) The heavy war horse may have been his beefiest mount... suited for the mass shock tactics.

I do not know if it was really intended that a typical knight have three heavy war horses. There were probably exceptions such as some kings described as having three different mounts killed while re-mounting and continuing in battles. I would be curious what others have to say about it.

As a separate data point, in the 12th century melee tournaments knights could lose their horse as ransom if dismounted by an opponent either in individual matches before the melee or during the main melee event. This did not necessarily end their participation as a couple were mentioned by name as returning before the end of the contest and settlement of ransom fees. In Germany, poorer Ritter class knights were supposedly allowed to bring two mounts to a tournament, while Ministerialles were permitted three. This seems to suggest multiple war class horses.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Dec, 2006 10:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Since I'm being quoted, I might as well jump in. Big Grin

The reason for a Knight/homme d'armes needing three Warhorses for a campaign was so that he would always have at least one serviceable mount ready for battle at any given time. Horses are wonderfully robust creatures, but also incredibly fragile at the same time. The whole story of "For want of a nail, a shoe was lost, for want of a shoe, a horse was lost..." etc. is very true. The Warhorses also served, oddly enough, as pack animals to transport the camp equipment and armour, one of the horses wearing the arming saddle and barding while on the march so as to be ready for service at a moments notice. So with three properly trained Warhorses in tow, with the Knight/homme d'armes riding his palfrey, and a servant on the nag leading the War Horses, your average gentleman on campaign did in fact require five horses.

BTW, it's also in the requirements set down in the Royal ordonnances which governed the compagnies d'odonnance of the French Crown from the late 15th through the early 17th Centuries. There is also a treatise on the Templars stating that they were required to keep a minimum of one Grete Horses in their train, as well as a riding horse and one for a servant, while higher-ranking nobles were required to keep more, depending upon their rank.
( http://www.deremilitari.org/RESOURCES/ARTICLES/bennett1.htm )

As far as the size goes, I think it's been pretty well explained by others that what we would refer to as a half-draft, especially if the lighter half of the mix is of a rather firey breed such as Thoroughbred or Arabian, is of the more usual size for a Knightly mount. Might even be a bit too big, in reality. In my pasture resides a pure-blood Percheron though which is about the right size, being just at 16 hands, and quite lively. A short-ish Warmblood (say 15-16hh) would also make the cut for a Knights Warhorse, as would some of the smaller sport-drafts. But don't let anyone fool you, a big 18-hand Draft horse can really move when motivated to do so: I've seen them outrun Quarterhorses in the short-haul, which ain't easy to do.

Per expense, not only was the breeding important, but the training moreso. Having a big, expensive horse from a proven line, and then putting years of training into it, and you definitely run up some expenses! To find a horse that is not only of the right size, but also temperment to charge into a mass of other horses or men is worth something. To then train that horse to do so on command (and only on command!) is worth even more. Think Spanish Riding School level of training. Thus a good Warhorse was definitely worth in the neighborhood of the same amount that a high-level Dressage Stallion is worth today: upwards of $100,000 or more, depending. And yes, they were almost always Stallions, as they are not only much more agressive, but also tend to "get interested" in things an focus much more once they are interested, at least according to Dressage folks I've spoken with. Your average nag, even if willing to do a lot of those things, just isn't worth as much.

I have a nice drawing of a 15th Century Italian military camp (Veronese, 1435) that's too big to post here, showing two very nice Warhorses in the foreground. Both are chunky and muscular, and interestingly enough look exactly like my half-draft. Kinda cool! Cool

Cheers!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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John Cooksey




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PostPosted: Thu 28 Dec, 2006 6:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This has little to do with the heavy horse of Europe, but regarding remounts, the steppe nomads of Iran and Turan considered that 3 was the minimum, and that 5 was the preferred number.

A modern heavy draught animal is far, far too big to be a good warhorse. They tend to be slow, and slow to manuever, and they are enormously (grin) uncomfortable to ride. When I was a youth, my family had a Clydesdale/Shire mix for a draught horse, and he was a huge, ponderous, and friendly beast of a gelding. He was a truly great and handsome animal, and he could be ridden, but not with any degree of comfort with a riding seat. A sidesaddle maybe, or perhaps a howdah . . . :-)

I didn't surrender, but they took my horse and made him surrender.
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Neil Langley




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PostPosted: Thu 28 Dec, 2006 11:30 am    Post subject: Re: Knight stallions         Reply with quote

Guilherme Dias Ferreira S wrote:
I think that a good example of these massive animals is this one:http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/elephantitis/images/belgian_lg.jpg. What do you think?


Just for the record, this horse is sick. It is suffering from elephantitis which makes its skin and legs abnormally enlarged. For this reason I do not think it is a good example of a ‘massive’ war horse.

Neil.
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Guilherme Dias Ferreira S




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PostPosted: Thu 28 Dec, 2006 1:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not sure but I think that a horse weighting less than 1400lbs can't support a heavy weight barding plus knight gear. And we must have to consider what part of the medieval time we are talking about. I think that the average weight of warhorses in 13/14th century was considerable different of warhorses avarege weight in 15/16th century, since the rise and the climax of the plate armour and barding horses. So, in the late 15th century and early 16th century, talking about the warhorses used by the heaviest cavalry through the central and west Europe, you guys will contest or confirm my affirmative which's saying that the average weight of these horses were about 1500 to 2000lbs
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Thu 28 Dec, 2006 1:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!
Guilherme Dias Ferreira S wrote:

And we must have to consider what part of the medieval time we are talking about. I think that the average weight of warhorses in 13/14th century was considerable different of warhorses avarege weight in 15/16th century, since the rise and the climax of the plate armour and barding horses.

If it makes it any clearer, the section in Andrew Ayton's chapter "Arms, Armour, and Horses", in Medieval Warfare: A History, edited by Maurice Keen, where I got the figures of 1,200 to 1,300 lbs for western warhorse weights, was a section comparing western warhorses to those used by the Muslims during the time of the Crusades. I imagine that these numbers are for western warhorses in the period roughly 1100-1300. Ayton did mention the fact that horses gradually increased in size, but 2,000 pounds may be on the high side. A few of the earlier warhorses had to support the weight of a man in a full hauberk, with full mail chausses, great-helm and shield, plus a full mail bard. Full mail bards were rare, but they were used on occasion.

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 28 Dec, 2006 2:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Weight of the average rider minus gear might have averaged 150 pounds or a bit less but I would guess that if I did ride I would need a bigger than average horse to support my current 240 pound + 60 pounds of armour and saddle, gear etc ....

Anyway a factor in deciding how strong a horse has to be to comfortably carry a rider.

Just a though: Curious about what Gordon thinks about the above ?

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Guilherme Dias Ferreira S




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PostPosted: Thu 28 Dec, 2006 6:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry, I forgot to put "?" in the end
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Stephen D. Sharp





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PostPosted: Fri 29 Dec, 2006 7:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My personal opinion is that the Dale, Fell, and Highland Ponies are substantial enough to do the job. Highland and Fells are strong enough, fast enough, and agile enough. IF you have $5-8,000 to purchase one. Note the black highland in my post. At 14.1 hand and heavy boned and not as "fragile", as previously termed, as most.
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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Fri 29 Dec, 2006 8:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I checked with my volume of ffoulkes' "The Armourer and His Craft", and he has a table showing the weights for Cavalrymen from various time periods. For 1450, he lists an Italian field garniture for man and horse at 163 pounds, and when added with arming saddle, man (at 140 pounds) weapons and clothing the total comes to 333 English pounds. This sounds pretty reasonable to me, though of course his figure is rather on the light side for a modern male. Still, not far off for 1450, I'm sure. So figuring 333 pounds as being roughly 1/4 of the weight of the steed, we get a fairly sturdy, but far from giant horse of modern mythology. 1300-1400 or so pounds. is actually rather light for a modern draft, though well within the weight ranges of half-drafts, warmbloods and sport drafts. Many full-sized Draft horses are within this range, too, though they are the lighter breeds. Heck, I had a big Quarterhorse who weighed 1400, and he wasn't fat, either. So it's a good weight to go for. (Adding another 20-40 pounds for the rider wouldn't effect things too much however. Even if the rider were upwards of 200 pounds, for the total weight of 400 pounds total, you'd still have a horse of 1600 pounds, much lighter than the 1800-2200 pound Shires and the like)

What is interesting is that in ffolkes' chart, he lists the weight for a German Cuirassier with full kit (for 1911, the year of publication) at 334 English pounds. American Cavalry of the late-19th Century was supposed to be 225 pounds for rider of 160 pounds and full kit, on a 950-1150 pound horse. So although the contents of the kit had changed radically in 400 years, the weight range had not.

Allons!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/


Last edited by Gordon Frye on Sat 30 Dec, 2006 8:25 am; edited 1 time in total
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Rod Walker




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PostPosted: Fri 29 Dec, 2006 9:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From my modern viewpoint.

I only work in metric so you will have to convert.

One of our horses that I ride in the joust is an Arab mare. She is 14.3hh and weighs approx: 450kgs.

I weigh 80kgs, my harness weighs approx. 35kg, my saddle approx. 7kg. This gives me a total of approx. 122kg mounted ready for tournament. She has no problem carrying me throughout prolonged tournaments and shows. I wear out a lot quicker then she does.

At the start of the tilt or waiting to begin the melee she easily rears to near vertical as if I wasn't even there.

Cheers

Rod
Jouster
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"Come! Let us lay a lance in rest,
And tilt at windmills under a wild sky!
For who would live so petty and unblessed
That dare not tilt at something, ere he die?"
--Errantry, John Galsworthy
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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Fri 29 Dec, 2006 10:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Rod!

Glad to see you weigh in here, but good grief man, you fellows in Oz need to learn English! Measurements, that is. Big Grin (How sad that the English Speaking World has gone over almost entirely to this disreputable "rational" system of the Continentals, other than the rebellious bastard offspring who stills cling fast to the old ways. So much for Empire, what? Confused Meanwhile, back to our story...)

I was recently reading the memoirs of the duc de Sully, one of Henri of Navarre's right-hand men (late-16th Century), and he mentions that his favorite horse was a "little Arabian", while many others rode "Turcomen" and other hotblooded horses. And they were certainly cross-bred with the heavier Northern horses to make sturdy but also very energetic Warhorses. When it comes to such horses, size definitely isn't everything! Cool

Cheers!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Dec, 2006 6:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And, BTW, there is a modern effort to reconstruct one of the medium-sized European warhorse breeds:

http://www.imh.org/imh/bw/spanor.html
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Guilherme Dias Ferreira S




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Dec, 2006 8:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just for curiosity: what do you think about the horse barding weight used by the ultimate knights like the gothic knights or the gendarmes
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