Talk:Horses in the Middle Ages

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Good articleHorses in the Middle Ages has been listed as one of the History good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
March 22, 2007Good article nomineeListed
November 13, 2007Good article reassessmentListed
Current status: Good article

GA Sweeps (Pass)[edit]

This article has been reviewed as part of Wikipedia:WikiProject Good articles/Project quality task force. I believe the article currently meets the criteria and should remain listed as a Good article. The article history has been updated to reflect this review. There are a few minor problems I would suggest working on, such as the uncited fact under "Medieval horses in battle" (end of the first paragraph) and the fact that the Level Three Headers under "Types of medieval horses" are a bit too short for their own headings (even though they are just summaries of other articles, but I feel that they could be expanded) and some other small manual of style concerns (the lead could be a bit more encompassing, for example), but overall they are minor enough that I see no reason to delist. Cheers, CP 23:30, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

We would appreciate clarification of what you meant by "small MOS concerns" besides the question about the lead. We always aim to improve articles! Thanks! Montanabw(talk) 06:31, 24 December 2007 (UTC)


Any reason this article is in Category:Types of horses? Ealdgyth | Talk 19:18, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Ditto the reasons I stated in horses in warfare, plus I suppose it can also go in a history category, but this article describes all the medieval "types" that weren't really "breeds" as we understand them today. Montanabw(talk) 04:42, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Quick look before thinking about FAC[edit]

We need to drop the Pyramid Society website. If only because they have so many wild ideas that just aren't in touch with reality. The refs need updating, mainly formatting issues that shouldn't be hard to fix. Probably some expansion of most of the sections is in order, particularly the Transportation and Work horses sections. I need to run down a paper I heard at a conference once, on how William the Conqueror transported his horses to England during the Norman Conquest. Definitely should think about putting in that section from the Bayeux tapestry of the horses on the ships [1]. It's really not that far from FA, not having read the prose closely though. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ealdgyth (talkcontribs) 4 April 2008

The Bayeux tapestry/William stuff was split out to Horse transports in the Middle Ages. There's more in Hyland on William's ships and so forth. Most of the books ref'd are mine, so I can access more info fairly easily. I can certainly provide more about transportation and work horses, given time. Also horse tack. (Why do I have this stuff??) Gwinva (talk) 02:39, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
And I was just thinking as I read the list of refs that dang, we share a lot of books in common. I have probably half of the books on the list, maybe a few more. And I have some others that have tidbits and stuff that we can work in. And I can get a ref for that pedigree claim out of something on my shelves, I know. Oh, while I'm thinking of it, what are the geographical boundaries of this article? Do we want stuff from the middle east and asia? (ponders Mongol ponies). Also time frame? (We have an article on horse transports in the middle ages? Gee, we really do get specialized.) Ealdgyth - Talk 02:44, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
Middle Ages suggests 5th C-16th C; the strict definition of the period is quite euro-centric, but it wouldn't hurt to expand the boundaries and become more comprehensive. As for sharing books: yeah, there seem to be a core group of books which everyone has: they all reference each other, too, if you scan their bibliographies! Gwinva (talk) 03:09, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
My two bits: The pyramid society cite was mine and is only for the proposition that the earliest written horse pedigrees in Europe date to around 1300. I suggest it stay for now, at least until a better source for the same data can be found. (And when you find it, can you also update the same ref in Arabian horse?) I agree that the Pyramid crowd is a bit flakey (Horse politics, Gwinva - LOL), but this bit of info rings pretty consistent with reality to me. As for Mongols and such, take a look at Horses in warfare, where we try miserably to go worldwide. There is also India, China, etc...I think we may be better off to just somehow be open that the Middle Ages here means the same thing Middle Ages does elsewhere in wiki, i.e. Europe. I can also provide page refs for the Deb Bennett stuff, but you will have to nag me about that later. Montanabw(talk) 04:09, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Things to do for FAC[edit]

I've re-read the article for first time for months, and had the following thoughts:

  • Lead paragraph talks about how historians study, and does not really summarise the article.
  • Subject order seems strange: better to talk about breeding and what the horses were like before discussing specifics like use in battles and transport (the battle section shouldn't be separated from the main section about war horses).
  • The section on horses in battle and tournaments could do with expansion and merging with the later section on warhorses, so we get a comprehensive analysis of how horses were used, what types, how horses impacted on battle tactics (and vice versa), figures on use of horses, reference to transporting the horses: how that affected battle strategy (linking to Horse transports in the Middle Ages. Following Montanabw's encouragement a while back I wrote Knight#The decline of the medieval knight (the only decently sourced bit on that page, by the way; don't trust anything else there); some of this could be summarised for here (I never got round to that). See how this fits in with Horses in warfare.
  • Transportation is pretty light, also; not much more than a brief summary. I've got some sources on "Medieval travellers" so I'll have a read of those. Would also work better allied with the discussion about work horses and riding horses (both of which could be expanded).
  • Breeding seems fairly strong (that was where this article sprang from in the first place: the discussion Montanabw and I had about size and breeding) but I'm sure more research will yield some more information worth adding, plus it's always worth improving prose.
  • The "Types of medieval horses" is awkward; first, many of these have been outlined or discussed earlier; secondly, each sub-section is very short. I'm not sure what to do; they could be expanded (although their own linked articles are all quite short) or they could be compacted into one section, possibly under their type palfrey and jennet under riding, courser, destrier etc under war. I think we had them listed separately so readers could immediately define each term, but Wikipedia is not a glossary. Some thought required here. By the way, my first foray into the medieval horse world was because I was trying to discover what a rouncey was, and whether they were used on chevauchees (and I remember getting into a long debate with someone on the rouncey talk page). I have since found some a very good source to prove I was right to conclude they were. I'll have to hunt that out again.
  • Why the women and horses section? I think it was merely to put information that had no other logical place. Does it need to remain? Much of the information would go under transport, or war, and the rest in a new section about the people who worked with horses: there must be plenty of information about marshals, farriers, saddle makers and so forth. I also remember toying with the idea of writing about horse tack, but that seemed a bit big (and I am such a novice). But I do have info on spurs and reins and horseshoes. And Montanabw planned an article on riding techniques; did that happen? Is anything relevant here?

So, first thoughts. Enough to keep us going. Anyone keen? Gwinva (talk) 05:15, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Hmmm. We can start, I'm sort of game, as the mediation that has been sucking my will to live for the last month may be nearing the finish line. The question may be to first organize what's there in the best way possible, then add/subtract/merge info. I like the women and horses bit, myself, because there is so much nonsense about how women didn't ride, or, worse yet, only rode Pillion or something; one of those mythbuster things that, like the "warhorses were as big as Shires" thing, does need to be addressed. Room to change how its done in the article of course. The different types of horses may be worth consolidating by use and making into more of a series of bulleted paragraphs, though the subheadings are nice for having them in the TOC. What's entirely getting short shrift in the article is the section on the use of horses for farming and related work. Maybe we should tip off Richard New Forest (the resident draught horse and horse farming guru) and see if he wants to chime in. Maybe too, go read horse collar to see if something more on that technological innovation (which was significant) could be incorporated into this article -- is there anything out there on medieval agriculture in general? Montanabw(talk) 05:16, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Ok, this is what we need to cover, so putting into possible sections:

  • Breeding – size, breeds, general look at types, how differ from modern horses
  • Warfare
  • Basic warfare use – how used, tactics, knights, decline of knights
  • tournaments
  • types – general discussion of coursers destriers and so forth. Bring up those sections??
  • size – this discussion is quite important
  • transport – general overview of the type of transport forms, roads and so forth; litters, sumpter horses
  • riding – although this covers hunting and hawking too, so make its own full section? palfreys and jennets would fit here
  • cart and wagon horses – and related transport work horses; discussion about wagons and carriages
  • agriculture – enough for its own section?
  • trades, tack, technology – need catchy title, but all the stuff about associated professions, and so forth. or would collars be better under agriculture? And how about knights stirrups and use in shock troops under warfare?

Still not sure what to do with the "types"; on reflection, they can't easily be split up into use, since rounceys and hobbies were used for both riding and war. And I know what you mean about the women-section being myth-busting. We were striding into the unknown when we first wrote this; can we hope people are better educated now?! I remember looking for something on medieval agriculture; unless someone's made it recently, there's nothing (or it's somewhere really obscure). If Richard NewForest knows historical draught stuff, that'd be good: makes sense to tap into expertise. Any other WP-equine experts? Talking of expertise, I'm hoping one of you comes up with a better structure; I'm not yet convinced by mine. Gwinva (talk) 10:12, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

I found some articles on medieval agriculture and farming that might be helpful, I just need to get them organized. Ealdgyth - Talk 14:20, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
One problem is that we CAN'T do a "Breeds" section, because none of these were "breeds" as we understand them today. They were all types, and to the extent that any were true-breeding populations, there weren't the written registries that we have today (the Carthusian monks of Spain started tracking Andalusians around 1300 and the Bedouin kept oral pedigrees of their horses, but the Jockey Club didn't come along until the Middle Ages were ended. We may have to keep the types as types, but perhaps look to improving the articles they link to...??? Montanabw(talk) 22:32, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
Oh, and I tipped off Richard to come over here and take a look! Montanabw(talk) 22:57, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
I've reorganised the page along lines suggested above; move around if you don't like it (but I did other edits so don't undo!). See what you think. Haven't done anything with the types of horses. Begun agriculture; expect Ealdgyth to astound us with info from her sources below! Gwinva (talk) 03:05, 29 April 2008 (UTC)
Will have to look it over later, too much there for me to do now, but doesn't look like you destroyed anything. Usually, with these reorg projects, I just look for what, if anything, was tossed out and if I think it critical to keep, I try to plop it back into an appropriate spot for further refinement or discussion. I generally feel any reorganization is probably good reorganization! Montanabw(talk) 18:21, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

Possible sources[edit]

Found the following:

Haven't had a chance to read most of these yet, but going to start on them tonight. Ealdgyth - Talk 21:47, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Another possible adventure in new section creation[edit]

By the late middle ages - or at least the Renaissance - there had evolved two distinct riding styles, at least in Spain, where most of the innovations in horsemanship were occurring anyway: the la brida and la jineta seats. To oversimplify, la brida riders had long stirrups, a deep seat, lots of control (think knights), while la jineta riders, borrowing from the invasions of the Moors, rode shorter stirrups, lighter saddle and seat, lots of agility (think jockeys or show jumping riders of today). A true horseman was said to have been able to ride both seats. What I do not know is the extent to which this is a Middle Ages thing versus more of a Renaissance thing. Bennett discusses it in the context of the Conquistadors and their arrival in the New World (see excerpt here) and not sure if this can be traced clear back to the 800s or not. Montanabw(talk) 00:23, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Good idea to have an equestrianism section, showing the development of the riding style, and how it led to that later distinction and a discussion of the knights' straight legged style that we see in the drawings. If I was the average, interested reader wanting an FA standard article about horses in the Middle Ages, I would want to know more than size, type and use: I'd want to know how they were ridden. We comment on how old films get the horse types wrong; I'm sure they get the riding style wrong. Also, information on saddles and stirrups are all very well, but we need to see how that impacts on the riding. Also logistics: how a knight on a horse controlled it: reins, spurs, knees and so forth. I'll leave that to you people who actually understand this stuff! Gwinva (talk) 02:26, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
One BIG problem: We know a lot more about equipment than riding until one gets to about the 16th century, when the Renaissance sorts began to write new treatises on the subject. We can infer much from tack and art, but the modern interpretations are all over the place. You recall the tough time sorting out the size issue; riding and training is worse! LOL! What may work here is to start a wee sandbox here on the talk page with any summaries that Oakshott and others may have in their works, and we equestrians can figure out the details??? Montanabw(talk) 00:53, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
Oh, see also: Stirrup#Adjustment_and_uses_of_stirrups for some details on the two seats, though not described as such (but discussing the general principles) Horse_collar#History, there are some contradictions with this article, may want to reconcile the two. Feel free to swipe as needed. Montanabw(talk) 01:03, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
How about User:Gwinva/HitMA? The general sandboxing can take place there, and leave this page for general discussion. Added some stuff there that I've found. Gwinva (talk) 01:57, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Okey Dokey. Montanabw(talk) 03:54, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

To-do list[edit]

To keep track of what needs doing: add in your thoughts and indicate when done: tick done, strike if not required.


  • Rewrite with better summary of content
  • Reference to exact time period and geography: 5th-16th C; suggest Europe focus (which is what we have; big job to expand)



  • source for written pedigrees to replace pyramid site

not critical, Ok to keep with cite, but in a perfect world we can find a better one.

  • add in explanation of "hackney"

Horses in warfare

  • bit more on cavalry and battle tactics
  • use of horses beyond knights: scouting, draught
  • brief indication of "what happened next": decline of knight; changing technology

yes, but also we cross-ref to horses in warfare


  • expandsion of riding horses
  • expansion of general transport info
  • expansion of harness and pack horses


Equipment and so forth

  • Equestrianism section here? Training horses. No, not enough training treatises from the period, though maybe per my email comments quote that source you have that says there were no real treatises in the period - maybe if I can source to the time period I can add brief paragraph on the two main styles and Spanish influence
  • How about associated trades? saddlery and farrier/blacksmith? Can't hurt if not overdone.
  • stirrup and change to riding styles use in shock combat shock combat per se didn't really change the style, other reasons for la brida style, including solid saddle tree and overall need for greater security in the saddle


  • Keep section or split out?
(Keep, but maybe could expand into social classes or other aspects of who did or did not ride -- I am guessing serfs and peasants didn't really ride much at all, and if they did, they probably used mules or donkeys...)


IMHO, the stirrup is significant, but possibly just a brief discussion and then a link to the stirrup article, where there is more in-depth coverage. Also, the source on the horse collar I think is just plain wrong on a couple points (the horse collar article has sources dating it to 5th century China), other than possibly the technology somehow came via the middle east...


  • Images Are we happy? Here are some others I've found on my travels. I've got a couple of illustrations showing horse team (with breast and rigid collars) and tacked up horse, which I will upload once I figure out the tagging. Some good ones below to demonstrate riding styles, if you want to have a look, Montanabw. Could do with a picture to fit in with "trades" eg. farrier, but my quick look at commons turned up nothing medieval. found a few now The battle picture on the page is a bit gloomy; there must be a better one around somewhere. Gwinva (talk) 02:41, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
Will check in detail tomorrow when I have high-speed access. The battle picture? Do you mean the one in the article? (If so, there are three panels of that painting, in three different locations, one was "restored," but faded, the other two were left alone and have better color). Montanabw(talk) 05:31, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
OK, some general observations. Everyone riding is riding la brida, none are examples of la jineta. Want to shorten all of their stirrups a hole or two! LOL! Montanabw(talk) 22:56, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Cappella dei magi, sigismondo pandolfo malatesta (sx) e galeazzo maria sforza (dx).jpg - I like this image on a number of levels, tack, riders, horses, though may be repetitious of what's already there
  • 39-svaghi, equitazione,Taccuino Sanitatis, Casanatense 4182..jpg - Interesting image with useful illustrations, but I think there are better ones for the same, unless you had a particular purpose in mind?
  • Richental Papststurz.jpg -- I LOVE this one! Horse collars obviously did not eliminate all road hazards, eh? (The farming one we have already may be better though, and I like the image of the horse litter also.
  • Breviarium Grimani - Mai.jpg --very early sidesaddle, woman sitting completely sideways with her feet resting on a platform, horse has handler at its head. Maybe could go into sidesaddle, other ideas? placing on page instead of Joan of Arc: Joan is decoration, this illustrates point made in text
Okey dokey, you betcha, pardner. (That's Montana-speak for "OK")
  • Cappella dei magi, corteo con lorenzo, piero e giovanni de' medici.jpg -- too much content for wiki illustration, too busy, though much in it is of interest -- the other images are broken out from this one,are they not?
  • Cappella dei magi, giovanni viii paleologo.jpg - curb bit, bit chains, horse looks destrier type to me, heavy body, very baroque
  • Cappella dei magi, giuliano de' medici.jpg - This one amuses me on many levels (the cat on the horse thing in particular! Good example of curb bit, la brida seat, horse with proper proportions, Benozzo Gozzoli knew horses and rendered them well. Good artist to find more of his stuff maybe...
  • Cappella dei magi, giuseppe, patriarca di costantinopoli 2.jpg -- this one is nice, lots of variety, bridles, breastcollars, spurs, nice horse, nice MULE too! (Note the cleric is on the mule, probably a more steady and mild-mannered animal for an elderly fellow, also more humble for a cleric) etc.
  • Cappella dei magi, lorenzo il magnifico.jpg - lovely high-stepping Spanish Jennet type horse, a bit more muscle than a ladies' palfrey - appears to be a stallion (cresty thick neck and apparent anatomical correct features "down there"), horse is very light and attentive to the rider, obviously the fellow is showing off a wee bit!
  • Theuerdank-3.jpg - I like this one, double bridle (I think), left hand reining, weapons, armour, clear image. If we need it
  • Bayeux Tapestry WillelmDux.jpg - Baroque horses, big muscular butts, don't look like they are riding into battle (no weapons, no armour, riders and horses so misproportioned that it's impossible to really tell how tall those horses actually were (leg length of riders looks like a shetland pony, almost, but obviously they are horses--though no horse can have a butt that big AND flanks that tucked up! These critters are like Barbie Dolls! LOL! Why do we need the Bayeux Tapestry, again...?
  • Battle of Auray.jpg - interesting in that all the horses are in direct pressure bits, also interesting to show barding and all sorts of weapon use, but probably too small detail for the article.
  • Parador Zamora Ritter.jpg --cool -- horse armour, curb bit, short but draft-build animal (note big feet) (if accurate design), much to like, but the horse probably useless for actual battle with barding so long

The caparison is not an issue if properly constructed. I know people who joust regularly with Rene of Anjou style caparisons that have no trouble at all. Jenn Reed

  • Royal armoury Stockholm 1.jpg - A more cool image if we can find a place to use it. Compare rider size to this (tall woman on Trakhner, horse probably about 16 hands, just guessing)Trakehner Reithengst, Auktion Neumünster 2004.jpg

Any comparison is useless without actually knowing the standing height of both the armour and the female rider. Otherwise is pure speculation. Jenn Reed

  • Gentile da Fabriano 003.jpg - interesting image of a guy getting spurs put on, how about tossing it into spur? (Thanks in advance!)
  • Sporer-1568.png - I presume this is a blacksmith? Not horsey enough for here. Well, it's a spurier, making spurs and stirrups - but the saddler is better

Actually, this is a loriner (Lormier), a maker of metal pieces associated with tack: bits, stirrups, occasionally spurs. (Jenn Reed)

  • Mors en fer Musée de Laon 280208.jpg -- classic jointed mouthpiece curb or pelham (snaffle ring is pretty small to attach a rein, but it could be done. Does this look familiar? Pelham bit.jpg
  • Sattler-1568.png - Ah! Saddle maker, or horse-collar maker, or something ("Sattler" = "Saddler"? ) Looks to be mostly horsey equipment, might work, better than the "Sporer" image, anyway.

More: See also Commons Grands Chroniques de France category

Sättler(German) = Saddler. The image dates from the late 16th century (Jenn Reed)

  • Arrivée des croisés à Constantinople.jpg check riding styles! Ah, the patriarch in la jineta, the rest la brida! But WHY oh WHY did all these people seem to think it was OK to ride with their heels UP? Horrible! (And you see it over and over again. I would be curious to know why -- when modern people put their heels up, it's considered bad equitation as it shortens the rider's leg and makes it difficult to use the calf muscles properly. But I digress)
  • BNF 6465, fol. 154v.jpg -- Oh fascinating! The archer, is in a la jineta seat (he needs the flexibility to turn and shoot), and look at the knee rolls of his saddle -- very similar to a modern dressage saddle, particularly the styles that have just come out in the last few years. Two other riders, the guy with the curved sword and the one standing up in his stirrups, also have jineta seats, up off their horses. The other riders, in armour, riding la brida, braced legs, long stirrups. Interesting. Also the la brida riders appear to be the winners? Anyway, this would be a dandy one to use in a section on riding styles.

It is an interesting image. One must look at the context of the image not just the riding style that it suggests. The rider is Eastern not Western European. Western Europeans (Northern) did not engage in horse archery, the long bow was the predominant form and is not handy on horse back, there are ordinances dating to the 15th century indicating that mounted archers dismounted and removed their spurs before engaging in archery on the battlefield. People tended to use crossbows on occasion from horseback. So it suggests that this rider is foreign and the Eastern peoples rode in the chair seat or Gineta or "shrunk leg"; la brida which I've come to think of more as the "bridle" hand or "neck reining style" is Western European. The knee roll is most likely the fork of the saddle tree. This saddle design is similar to a "hussari" saddle in the Kunsthistoriches museum. Jenn Reed

  • Gattamelata.jpg by Donatello, 1445 -- Those spurs! On a modern horse, using those suckers would result in a rider taking a fast face plant! However, the horse is real interesting. Well-sculpted and correctly proportioned, for one thing! (Sculptors tend to be better than painters in that respect) Compare to images in wiki of a modern Andalusian horse or Friesian horse. Heavier than most modern versions, especially in the neck, yet not really like a Percheron or a Clydesdale, either. Also compare to the somewhat lighter modern Lipizzan. Note comparison to that 17 hand riding draft horse I sent you, or just compare the rider on the Andalusian in the wiki article... Montanabw(talk) 04:03, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Soon to be home[edit]

Assuming the creeks don't flood here in Arkansas, should be home tonight. Yes, I have some show halter shots. (Better get that out or Montana won't let me edit until I do (grins)). Hopefully will have time this week to work on this... sorry for dropping the ball! Ealdgyth - Talk 12:09, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

Six Days on the Road and she's gonna make it home tonight! LOL

Decline of Destrier[edit]

Section removed from Horses in warfare. Placing here until I have time to consider merge. Gwinva (talk) 23:13, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Swapping out section removed for one replaced: (Smile) Montanabw(talk) 07:40, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

It is hard to trace what happened to the bloodlines of destriers, as the type seems to disappear from record during the seventeenth century, at least in England.[1] The great horse was both smaller and more agile than the modern draught horse,[2] with breeds such as the Andalusian[3] and Friesian[4] claiming to be the direct descendants of destriers. While some draught horse breeds such as the Belgian and Shire horse also claim descent from the horses developed to carry full armour,[5][6] researchers, including historians Juliet Clutton-Brock and Ann Hyland, suggest that these claims are legends based on "little real evidence".[7]

The average suit of plate armour weighs between 55 and 65lbs. A draught horse is not required to carry an armoured man. The medieval destrier probably had more in common with a heavy hunter than a draft. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:40, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Yes, that's the information we've tried to present in the article, backed up by various authorities. Thanks for your general comments throughout this page. We've used this talk page to throw a few ideas around in preparation for improving this article further (hopefully to FA quality). If you are interested in developing it, then you are welcome to join in. It's easier if you have a logged-in user name. Gwinva (talk) 20:09, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Translation into french[edit]

Hello, I've translated this article into french, and added some missing informations in my opinion. There are "hippiatry treaty" (don't know if it is good word) about horse medecine. : "Caring for horses are traditionally inherited knowledge of Greek and Arab hippiatres [119] and are being treated. The first treaties of Veterinary Medicine are dated sixth century and strongly influenced by the writings Arabs, for whom the medicine was more advanced [120]. The first hippiatres were probably able to detect equine diseases but not to explain the causes, making the effectiveness of their remedies unlikely: dosage, detailed in the Treaties, including potions, decoctions, infusions, ointments and poultice whose use is detailed remedies "serious" being around other "completely fanciful" [121]. "

And there's ian important aspect of horse in medieval art and literature through the magical horse Bayard, the chanson de Roland, the matter of britain and the matter of France. There's historicals beliefs about horses too : "The medieval period saw a very strong influence of the Christian religion on all people, clergymen are among the few who can hold sway over the knights and horsemen who sometimes commit looting. A knight named Radulphe would have joked about the name of a holy figure, and his horse was believed to be instantly sacrificed by divine wrath. Another, attempting to oust the bishop of Limoges, would then fatally fell from his horse [131].

The figure of the knight and the horseman, seen as a kind of " centaur in arms ", impressed the peasants and some chronic attribute riders incredible feats such as crossing vast distances in very short time. This perception is likely to give birth to legends mentioning ghost riders and other Black Knights [132]. Black is a negative connotation in animals, the black mare is traditionally associated with the Devil: any woman who has committed sin of flesh with a cleric was thus transformed [133]. " Sorry for bad translation ;) --Tsaag Valren (talk) 19:53, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

If you can provide the source material for this, it is interesting, particularly the medical treatise (that's the word you wanted to use, I think) stuff. If you can provide the book or journal name, author, etc, it would help. We have to have citations and footnotes and all that on this English language article, as it is a WP:GA. (Ideally in English, though we can have some people help with short translations sometimes). Montanabw(talk) 23:17, 1 December 2010 (UTC)
Of course :


Les soins aux chevaux forment un savoir traditionnellement hérité des hippiatres grecs et arabes[8] et font l'objet de traités. Les premiers traités de médecine vétérinaire sont datés du VIe siècle et fortement influencés par les écrits Arabes, chez qui la médecine était la plus avancée[9]. Les premiers hippiatres étaient probablement capables de déceler les maladies équines mais pas d'en expliquer les causes, ce qui rend l'efficacité de leurs remèdes peu probable : la posologie, détaillée dans les traités, comprend des potions, décoctions, infusions, onguent et cataplasme dont l'utilisation est détaillée, les remèdes Template:Guil en côtoyant d'autres Template:Guil[10]

In art and literature[edit]

Medieval Illumination representative Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

The Medieval literature, including the Matter of France (or Carolingian cycle), the epics and Arthurian legend celebrated exceptional horses with their riders. The early works of medieval literature, however little value that animal, just like Veillantif, horse of Roland the paladin, which is much less emphasized, for example, than the sword Durandal[11]. While many of the horses in song of Roland have a name, their role remains relatively deleted[12]. In the novels of Chrétien de Troyes, the horse symbolizes the departure adventure [13].

The troubadours widely mention the horse in their compositions, sometimes giving it a name and attributes (color, etc ...) specificCite error: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page). , the image of Broiefort, stallion of Ogier Danemarche. In the gesture Huon of Bordeaux, horses continue the fight started by their master, and the stallion of the traitor Amauri is killed[14]. The animal is to be humanized may lend copies of skilled behavior, such as suicide of the horse in memory of his master[15].

Some horses extraordinary texts which ascribe magical qualities and / or supernatural origin, reflect the importance of imagination in medieval times. The memory of the horse of mythology, which are usually white and shown bursting from the sea, although this is very blurred as is the case in the lai of Tydorel when a mysterious knight emerges from its maritime kingdom on the back of a white horse[16]. Bayard is one of the most famous horses fabulous, but Broiefort also possesses magical gifts. The horse is thus one of the few animals that are both familiar beasts and legendary beasts[17]. However, it is increasingly the case as an anchor in the real world, as opposed to the Other World in fairytale and wonderful because often, the knight who enters the Fairyland abandons his mount, or must walk at night through dense vegetation[18] it would be a mistake to enter faerie with his horse, and also the Saints seem deny to approach them with the horse, the animal is inseparable from worldly aspirations[19].

The horse is ubiquitous in the Arthurian legend. Gringolet, horse of sir Gawain whose qualities are equal to those of his master, is mentioned in several texts[20] and in the prose Lancelot, the theme of the gift of the horse recurs frequently[21]. In the Queste del Saint Grail, a knight riding a large black beast of the same color emerging from a river and kills the horse of Lancelot before fleeing[22].

The horse of the Roman de Fauvel (also presented as a donkey) has a satirical role, enabling a critique of the corruption of the Church and the political system in the fourteenth century.

Absent from the first bestiaries, which focus on unusual and fabulous animals indiscriminately[23], the horse is represented by 2.5% to 3% of Seals Medieval and Renaissance, usually mounted and very rarely naked[24].

  1. ^ Prestwich, Armies and Warfare in the Middle Ages p. 30
  2. ^ Clark "Introduction" Medieval Horse pp. 23-27
  3. ^ International Museum of the Horse. "Andalusian". Horse Breeds of the World. International Museum of the Horse. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
  4. ^ International Museum of the Horse. "Friesian Horse". Horse Breeds of the World. International Museum of the Horse. Retrieved 2008-07-17.
  5. ^ Oklahoma State University. "Shire". Breeds of Livestock - Horses. Oklahoma State University. Retrieved 2008-07-18.
  6. ^ Oklahoma State University. "Belgian". Breeds of Livestock - Horses. Oklahoma State University. Retrieved 2008-07-18.
  7. ^ Clark, "Introduction" Medieval Horse p. 23
  8. ^ (Prévot & Ribémont 1994, p. 16)
  9. ^ (Prévot & Ribémont 1994, p. 332)
  10. ^ (Prévot & Ribémont 1994, p. 330)
  11. ^ (Collective 1992, p. 137)
  12. ^ (Prévot & Ribemont 1994, p. 206)
  13. ^ Begoña Aguiriano in (Collective 1992, p. 9)
  14. ^ (Collective 1992, p. 195)
  15. ^ (Collective 1992, p. 193)
  16. ^ (Collective 1992, p. 206)
  17. ^ (Collective 1992, p. 190)
  18. ^ (Collective 1992, p. 212)
  19. ^ (Collective 1992, p. 213)
  20. ^ (Prévot & Ribemont 1994, p. 198)
  21. ^ (Collective 1992, p. 161)
  22. ^ (Collective 1992, p. 207)
  23. ^ (Collective 1992, p. 189)
  24. ^ (Blomac & Barrier 2006, p. 33)


  • Brigitte Prévot and Jordanus Rufus, La science du cheval au Moyen âge: le Traité d'hippiatrie, Klincksieck, Paris, 1991, volume 2 de Collection Sapience,
  • Brigitte Prévot and Bernard Ribémont, Le cheval en France au Moyen Age: sa place dans le monde médiéval ; sa médecine, l'exemple d'un traité vétérinaire du XIVe siècle, la Cirurgie des chevaux, Paradigme, Caen, 1994, volume 10 de Medievalia, isbn 9782868780720,
  • Collectif, Le Cheval dans le monde médiéval (=Horse in medieval world), Université de Provence, Aix-en-Provence, 1992, 586 p. isbn 9782901104322, see

... It's working ? ;) First book is a medieval medical treatise from XVe but I haven't it. Only have the second one. --Tsaag Valren (talk) 06:55, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

It will probably be a bit before any of us can do much work on this, but I'm glad we have the material! Thanks so much! Montanabw(talk) 00:50, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
Ok ;) I've translated (Google translate have translated) another paragraph about horse in art and literature. --Tsaag Valren (talk) 07:02, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
The vote for featured article is opened in french. I hope me translation is good, better than when I write in english ! And if you have any question, don't hesitate to ask to me ! --Tsaag Valren (talk) 19:40, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
Good luck with the FA run on, Tsaag! Let us know how it goes! Montanabw(talk) 02:36, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
Thanks ! I really love your work about horse, if you have some featured article to ask me to translate, I will be glad to write more about history of horse. And it's a good way for me to learn english. The Fa vote page is here : fr:Discussion:Cheval au Moyen Âge/Article de qualité. Article need 8 vote and 90% FA votes to become FA. --Tsaag Valren (talk) 22:52, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
The Featured articles in are listed here: Category:FA-Class_equine_articles If you haven't checked Thoroughbred, we are especially proud of that one as a group project; it's our "flagship" breed article. Horses in World War I is probably the best of the best, mostly the work of our outstanding Dana boomer!! Montanabw(talk) 02:53, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
Thanks ;) I've translated Thoroughbred in 2009, see : fr:Pur Sang. I'll do my best for Horses in World War I => fr:Cheval dans la Première Guerre mondiale (when in english you need 4 small words, in french you need 6 big words !). Our best article in "equestrian project" is probably this one, fr:Cheval au Moyen Âge, but fr:Ardennais (cheval) is another interesting FA. And if you've an interest in mytological horses too, fr:Pégase_(mythologie) is one of the best articles I've ever see ;) --Tsaag Valren (talk) 21:20, 20 December 2010 (UTC)


I think the following two heavy cavalry cases in antiquity should be mentioned in the article: [Companion_cavalry], [Cataphracts].A.Cython (talk) 06:09, 1 May 2011 (UTC) I mean very briefly.A.Cython (talk) 06:10, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

However, this article is on the middle ages - while cataphracts might barely fit into this time frame, the companion cavalry of Alexander don't. Ealdgyth - Talk 15:20, 1 May 2011 (UTC)
I am aware of that... and when i say briefly i mean something like one or two sentences. For example, in the article it says:

While light cavalry had been used in warfare for many centuries, the medieval era saw the rise of heavy cavalry, particularly the European knight. Historians are uncertain when the use of heavy cavalry in the form of mounted shock troops first occurred, but the technique had become widespread by the mid 12th Century.

This seems misleading since it says that heavy cavalry was not used in antiquity. Companion cavalry, cataphracts (which existed at Alexander's time and before that) are two examples of heavy cavalry in antiquity, contradicting with what the article says. Not to mention that Cataphacts do also fit in the middle ages according to the wiki article, unless 12th century is not considered middle ages. Anyway that's my two cents.A.Cython (talk) 17:35, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

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