Courser (horse)

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This depiction of a knight on horseback might show a courser.

A courser is a swift and strong horse, frequently used during the Middle Ages as a warhorse. It was ridden by knights and men-at-arms.


Coursers are commonly believed to be named for their running gait,[1] (from Old French cours, 'to run'[2]). However, the word possibly derived from the Italian corsiero, meaning 'battle horse'.[3]

Coursers in warfare[edit]

The courser was more common than the destrier,[4] and preferred for battle as they were light, fast and strong.[1] They were valuable horses, but less expensive than the highly prized destrier.[5] Another horse commonly ridden during war was the rouncey, an all-purpose horse.

Other uses[edit]

Coursers were also used occasionally for hunting.[3]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b Oakeshott, Ewart. A Knight and his Horse, Rev. 2nd Ed. USA:Dufour Editions, 1998
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 10th Ed, 1999
  3. ^ a b Hyland, Ann. The Warhorse 1250-1600, UK: Sutton Publishing, 1998
  4. ^ Prestwich, Michael. Armies and Warfare in the Middle Ages: The English Experience, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996,
  5. ^ Gravett, Christopher. English Medieval Knight 1300-1400, Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2002, p 59