So imagine being large and strong enough a man to support the weight of all the armor needed for a knight to protect themselves on the battlefield. From head to two covered in leather, mail or Plate. Most of the times a combination of all three were worn. Not to mention being strong enough to then still wield a large weapon and shield. Now imagine that same knight needing a horse to carry him and the armor the horse needed.
Needless to say the normal horse wasn’t going to do the trick. The knight would need a large warhorse or charger to sustain his own added weight as well as that of his rider. The horse needed to be a special breed that would pay heed to commands given by leg command, as the knight needed his hands free of reigns to fight and hold his shield.
The horse also needed to be able to fight as well, the brutality of war insisted that the horse be able to trample victims and bite and kick to on command when needed. (Nothing like a strong Hero who has complete control of his steed to try and control our stong heroine)
Armor for the horse is called Barding and usually was made of leather or plate. The Barding covered neck, chest and body. Head armor helped to create a sense of fear in the enemy’s as they were made to look mythical and monstrous. The formal coat of arms worn over the armor was called the trapper.
These horses would have stood over 20 hands tall or well over 7 feet. There colors would have ranged from black, grey, bay or brown, pictures from the time show white tufts of hair around the lower legs. The actual warhorses were the ancestor of today’s draft horses, like the Clydesdales but its believed the actual horses used are now extinct.
Most Knights would have had at least two horses one for the long rides out to the battlefields and one for the battle itself.
If you enjoyed this blog please check out the other two installments all meant to help the historical writer with basic information. Next weeks blog is on weaponry.