Talk:Horses in warfare/Archive 1

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War Horse breeds

This article should include horse breeds that were used as war horses.

It's worth thinking about, but to do so would be very difficult--In spite of claims by various registries, most modern breeds as we know them today did not exist at earlier times in history. We can say, for example, that the "Great Horse" of Europe was a predecessor to the modern Shire, or that William the Conquerer rode an Andalusian-type horse (though the earliest written pedigrees for Andalusians were not written down until later). We can say that the Friesian was another possible descendant of the "Black Horse" ridden by certain European knights, and it is highly that Arabians and Barbs crossed on "great horses" probably produced the Percheron. But I think you see the problem. In ancient times, there were clear TYPES of horses, but they would be, at best, the ancestors of modern breeds. Even the Arabian, one of the most ancient breeds, was not really viewed as a separate breed from other Oriential-type horses until about the 700s. Montanabw 03:46, 5 November 2006 (UTC)


Were they tained to bite?

Unsigned comment by User:Dmtk 02:29, 25 November 2005

As I understand, yes, they did bite, though horses usually attack by knocking down and trampling rather than biting. They were trained to be vicious; only their owners and trainers could approach them. Imagine an 800 lb pit bull.
However, this is based on my recollection; I don't have a source handy to cite, or I'd add this to the article. --A D Monroe III 20:41, 25 November 2005 (UTC)
It happens sometimes that horses do bit naturally. (Have a bad day, etc.) and on biting horses. Wandalstouring 20:39, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

European bias?

Perhaps some knowledgeable person can add something about war horses as used by non-European cultures, such as the Mongols?

Will perhaps appear in Mongol tactics. We are checking a source about the size and stamina of horses. It seems the small Mongol horses could not carry as much load as the better fed horses of their opponents, but the Mongols compensated by using more horses and switching them. It seems important for their tactics and transport. Wandalstouring 15:51, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

Discussion of Mongols is not complete without discussing their use of the stirrup, a new and very useful technology in the times. As for the horses, all of the dry-climate, "oriental" type horses would have been smallish, 13-15 hands, see articles like Turkoman Horse, Akhal-Teke and Arabian horse. They also would have had superior endurance. Better-fed is relative...think of people..."better fed" is good up to a point, when it becomes just plain "fat." Remember that the Moors in the 8th century kicked the butts off the Spanish--agility and speed won the day. They were stopped in France in part due to heavy horses with armored knights, but also as much due to overall superior military technology, different tactics and a change of terrain that disabled the Moors' advantages of being agile and quick. Also probably an overextended supply line...etc...
Strength of horses is very simple: A horse can carry about 25% of its body weight, give or take (most modern dude rides, for example, will not take riders over 250 lbs). Thus, bigger horses had a bit more weight-carrying capacity, but negated by also getting tired out faster...Montanabw 19:56, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
This article [1] says 17% bodyweight. I think it possibly depends on the bonemass. The horses from European breed today have a reduced bonemass to muscle ratio. Wandalstouring 21:21, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
Read that article, they also claim, citing a 1969 source, that the Mongolian horse was a 600 pound "pony," one that could only carry 102 lbs, and that claim is simply scientifically inaccurate. Obviously if that were true, the Mongols would not have been the terror of the "civilized" world because their horses would have collapsed in the first 20 miles. (see Przewalski horse for the prototype that may have been an ancestral form of the Mongolian horse) Even a 13 hand horse will have a mature weight of at least 800 pounds and is perfectly capable of carrying an adult male (though it may look a bit silly), and most small, short-coupled horses (such as the Mondolian horse) generally can carry or pull a higher percentage of their weight than can some large horses. (For example, in pulling weight, the Shetland pony once pulled coal carts out of mine shafts that were as heavy as a load pulled by a one-ton Shire draft horse). Sorry to rant, but people who write about military tactics often have no real clue about the physical structure of horses. I wish there was more collaboration on some of these reference sources...sigh Montanabw 19:08, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

Parked info

I am busy with the main page Horse, and would like to finish that oine first, but there is a rather large section that should move here,so I park this here and will work at it in probably a few weeks. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 06:52, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

The earliest documented examples of horses playing a role in warfare date to the 19th century BC, when they were used in chariot warfare. The oldest preserved hippological text, the horse training manual of Kikkuli, dates to the age of the chariot. The first instance of cavalry was the horsed archer deployed by Eurasian nomads, notably the Parthians (see also horse people). Though the saddle was invented fairly early on, arguably one of the most important inventions that made mounted cavalry particularly effective was the stirrup, appearing in about the 7th century, which gave nomadic tribes such as the Mongols a decisive military advantage.
Heavy cavalry was an Iranian innovation, first appearing in Sassanid Persia in ca. the 2nd century, rising in importance until it reached its highest form in the heavily-armored knight of the European High Middle Ages. Though useful as "shock troops," particularly against unmounted infantry, large mounted heavy cavalry units became somewhat obsolete, developing instead the single and small group combat skills of jousting. [citation needed]
With the development of muskets and other light firearms during the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, light cavalry again became useful for both battles and field communication, using light, agile horses to move quickly across battlefields. The once-proud heavy armored charger of the medieval knight was relegated to hauling cannons and wagons of supplies. Most military officers came from the elite cavalry ranks.
Horses were particularly useful for the Conquistadors when they came to the Americas and conquered the Aztec and Inca empires. Because the horse had been extinct in the Western Hemisphere for approximately 10,000 years, the native people of the Americas had no warfare technologies that could overcome the considerable advantage provided by European possession of horses and gunpowder.
One of the last major uses of horses in combat by a national army was during World War II when the underequipped army of Poland used their cavalry in a last-ditch attempt to defend themselves against the tank warfare of Nazi Germany. In some Third World nations today, there are still a few mounted units of soldiers used for raiding, mostly against civilian populations. Examples include the Janjaweed militias used in the Darfur region of Sudan.
Today, the historical military uses of the horse have mostly evolved into peaceful applications. The graceful training techniques and equestrian competition known as dressage has its roots in training horses for battle maneuvres. Although horses have little combat use today by modern armies, the military of many nations still keeps a few mounted units for certain types of patrol and reconnissance duties in extremely rugged terrain, such as in Afghanistan. Many nations also maintain traditionally-trained and historically uniformed cavalry units for exhibition purposes.
I now "unparked it" it's in the main War Horse Article. Added some pictures, did a little more editing, tried to merge the two articles, may need a little formatting help, the photos don't line up the way I want them (how DO you make a line break instead of a text wrap, anyway...?) Montanabw 15:50, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 05:41, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

Where is the source for this text? Wandalstouring 21:18, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
Beats me, it came over from the horse article, I didn't write it, nor did Kim. There are cross references in domestication of the horse too. However, this material is pretty consistent with what I have read in literally dozens of accounts of the horse in history. If you think it's wrong, submit a citation that says otherwise. Montanabw 18:58, 1 November 2006 (UTC)
You didn't understand, you need one of your sources to confirm it is true and put a reference to this source here. I doubt several statements:
"The first instance of cavalry was the horsed archer deployed by Eurasian nomads, notably the Parthians (see also horse people)." Why the heck did the Numidians and Celts use spears from horseback if it was so easy to use a bow? Besides I have remember there were some early dragoons with bows among the ranks of the Assyrians (not sure). So this needs a source to be verified.
"Though the saddle was invented fairly early on, arguably one of the most important inventions that made mounted cavalry particularly effective was the stirrup, appearing in about the 7th century, which gave nomadic tribes such as the Mongols a decisive military advantage." That section needs a lot of explanation of the pro and contra discussed about stirrups and what was the advantage.
"With the development of muskets and other light firearms during the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, light cavalry again became useful for both battles and field communication, using light, agile horses to move quickly across battlefields." Why the heck did the heavy cavalry units of the Teutonic Order and others have light cavalry units (Turcopoles) for support in Europe? The inner logic of the statement is plain wrong, etc.
"the native people of the Americas had no warfare technologies that could overcome the considerable advantage provided by European possession of horses and gunpowder." That can be discussed. Why did the so supreme units of the Spanish need so many allied Indians to help them in battle? Besides Florida for example was able to military defend themselves against the Spanish. Tupac Amaru is still credited for making the Spanish run, etc. Another issue is the impact of illnesses on the population numbers. So this is POV pushing and needs a source.

Wandalstouring 20:15, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

"One of the last major uses of horses in combat by a national army was during World War II when the underequipped army of Poland used their cavalry in a last-ditch attempt to defend themselves against the tank warfare of Nazi Germany. In some Third World nations today, there are still a few mounted units of soldiers used for raiding, mostly against civilian populations. Examples include the Janjaweed militias used in the Darfur region of Sudan." The example given is no last ditch attempt. Besides Wehrmacht would be better than Nazi Germany for there were SS and Wehrmacht units. To label the Poles underequipped is doing them ill service, their airforce and cryptography cracker units were state of art (if not better). The German SS also established units on horseback and bike etc.
"Although horses have little combat use today by modern armies, the military of many nations still keeps a few mounted units for certain types of patrol and reconnissance duties in extremely rugged terrain, such as in Afghanistan. Many nations also maintain traditionally-trained and historically uniformed cavalry units for exhibition purposes." Ask the Russian military or an CIA expert on their opinion concerning this statement and the entire Sovjet-Afghanistan war. I think we should say there are still dragoons and really quote an expert on the topic how widespread they are. If I remember correctly the Swiss army's dragoons were disbanded only very recently and among troops fighting in the mountains or other rough terrain (like Afghanistan) it is still advocated to have horses or mules (they need no gas and can climb better). So this statement needs a source. Wandalstouring 20:38, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

If you know all this stuff, then kindly help out and provide us some sources instead of just criticizing. (Build wikipedia, don't just run things down. Books like Horse" How the Horse Shaped Civilizations and The Arabian: War Horse to Show Horse and Conquerers: Roots of New World Horsemanship are all sources that provide summaries of a lot of the ancient source material, if you want to look up some basics and do the footnotes and bibliographical references, be my guest. In the meantime, I looked up your last 500 contribs and can't see that you actually added significant text to anything--you just gripe and argue. I could be wrong about that so could you kindly provide an example of an article where you made a MAJOR, POSITIVE and SIGNIFICANT edit? Better yet, one you created? Until you are willing to put your own neck on the line, it would be nice if you simply limited your comments to only what you are willing to also do yourself. We're all in this together and I for one am tired of your negativity. Montanabw 23:56, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

Read the heck, I pointed out these statements are unlikely of much use and to undermine this I put some remarks there. Wandalstouring 14:42, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

Disambiguation page needed

Just a thought that someone needs to create a disambiguation page for "War Horse" and its various uses. And this paragraph perhaps could go there:

Metaphorically, a war horse is a standard of the musical repertory, usually a 19th-century symphonic work, dependable but somewhat threadbare from familiarity, like "Beethoven's Fifth Symphony." It can also be said affectionately of a person; Robert E. Lee is said to have referred to James Longstreet as his "Old War Horse". When used in this sense the term often implies that the recipient is dependable, if a bit lacking in imagination. Montanabw 15:05, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Your source? Wandalstouring 21:17, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Merge no, coordinate and wikify, yes

I don't think this article needs to be merged with Cavalry tactics. There is enough difference between the two -- and both are long enough -- to justify the separation.

That said, there is wisdom to checking both to add appropriate wiki cross-linking, avoidance of duplicative or contradictory material (using the

template as needed and appropriate summaries), and generally using each as a complement to the other. Montanabw 19:26, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Weight-carrying issue

No knowledgable horse person argues 17% for general use. There are many "European" breeds, with varying bonemass, depends on the quality of the individual animal: Be Sure Your Horse Measures Up The U.S. Calvary published “The Cavalry Manual of Horse Management”, by Frederick L. Devereux, Jr., in 1941. He recommended that the collective weight of rider and gear not exceed 20% of the total weight of the horse. These were horses in top condition whose riders’ very lives depended on the horse's ability to carry them long miles, often at speed. It stands to reason that if they were to incorporate a margin of error, it would be on the side of the horse being overly capable of carrying its rider, rather than less so. Comparably, a study of 374 competitive trail riding horses compared horse/rider weight relationships. They concluded that these horses can easily carry over 30% of their body weight for 100 miles and not only compete, but compete well. As would be expected, good body condition and bone structure were found to be paramount. Bone structure was evaluated using the front leg cannon bones as representative of general structure.

Major G. Tylden, writing in HORSES AND SADDLERY, notes that Royal Cavalry in 1775 required horses to carry some 316 lbs. Into battle, no less. (FYI large cavalry horses would have weighed about 1200 pounds at that time)

Stay where the discussion started. This was a well sourced scientific paper stating this for specific horses. As I have already stated all the horses you compare here have reduced bonemass compared to these Mongolian ponies. So what is your point? Could you retrieve some scientific papers on the Roman or Numidian cavalry horses for example, compared to Persian and Arabian horses. That would really be helpful to argue against the statements in this source. Wandalstouring 21:06, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
Cool the aggressive tone and assume good faith, my friend. My point is that, in whatever point in history, people who argue about military stuff also have to pay attention to the basic facts of horse anatomy. 17% of the weight of a 1000 pound horse is 170 pounds, obviously any horse can carry more than that, because if you take even a very small man, he will weigh at least 150 pounds and even the average saddle made today of space age materials is at least 15-20 pounds, hence if a horse could only carry 17% of its weight, it could only be ridden by children or midgets. And frankly, Mongolian ponies--or any pony-sized animal for that matter, can carry more pound for pound than a lot of bigger horses.
Loading more than 17% is considered overloading and only temporarly possible. You should take into account that differnt saddles were used by the Mongols, furthermore if you write about the history of war horses you have to take into account that for a long time they were too small to ride on horseback of most of the horses. Cavalrymen tended to be selected for their little bodyweight in the Prussian army of Frederick the Great for example. J.F. Verbruggen mentions in his "The Art of warfare in western Europe" occasions when a man(king of France) was too heavy to be carried by average horses, but had to use special ones. So simply get a source on medieval horses. Wandalstouring 11:54, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

You also need to consult a basic source on the physiology and anatomy of the horse. It depends on the horse and its use. Let's put this into real world perspective: I actually own an Arabian horse that weighs 900 pounds. Thus, she's not much larger than the ancient Mongolian horses, which, if 13-14 hands tall, would have been about 800-900 pounds (artwork shows them as rather round, not skinny, slab-sided things). I weigh 140 pounds, so when riding bareback on my 900 pound horse, that's 15%. However, this is the most fatiguing way for both horse and rider, no stirrups and no saddle tree to spread out my weight. She'd get a sore back in about two hours tops. So, on a long trail ride, I add a 50 pound western saddle, that's 190 pounds total, or 21% of the horse's weight. And she can go all day and not be overloaded. If I were taking a multi-day pack trip, I'd probably add another 20 pounds of assorted baggage on top of it, making her now carry 23%, with me working basically not to exceed 25% Now, if you have a guy who weighs 250 pounds, not uncommon, adding a 50 pound western saddle and he goes off roping steers for three or four hours (Steer roping has to be as tough on the horse as combat, other than the risk of getting killed--and the steers usually have horns!) on a typical 1,200 pound roping horse, that's 25%. On the other hand, if I were to do a 100-mile endurance race, where speed is a factor (would be what messengers did), and I were to be in shape, with a horse conditioned to go 100 miles in 13 to 14 hours (typical for the winners today), I might be able to get my own weight down to 130, and would ride my English Saddle, at about 15 pounds, plus a canteen of water, making the same horse carry about 150 pounds, which is 16%. So, in short, weight has to do with purpose. Obviously, when speed is of essence, you want less weight. The 17% number would be appropriate for, say, a messenger. (I think Pony Express riders were supposed to be under 120 pounds or something like that) When there are long hours in the saddle over many days, the pounds per square inch on the horse's back is what matters more than overall weight, hence you need a saddle with a tree, which adds overall weight, but fewer pounds per square inch on the back. When you have short, intense periods of work, you basically need sturdy equipment not to get yourself killed, to hell with weight, up to a point. My understanding of the knights of the Middle Ages is that they rode lighter horses to the battlefield, leading their heavy horses, then loaded up before the battle and rode the heavy horse for short, intense periods of fighting. An 1,800 pound draft horse could therefore carry up to 450 pounds, but given that it has it's own weight to carry, the horse wouldn't have a lot of stamina compared to a 900 pound palfrey. I have no idea what the total weight of weapons and a set of armor for both horse and rider would weigh, but if the rider was 150, that's 300 pounds of stuff--a leather covered saddle with a wood tree would be at least 30 or 40 pounds, bridles, breastplates, crupper, just in leather as used today is probably another 20 pounds, then add armoring or barding, lance, shield, well you do the math ...Montanabw 05:36, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

I have been doing lots of vandal fighting recently and had to cope with lots of hoax, wrong citations, difficult citations etc. but accusing me is me of doing nothing is a bit unfair. Perhaps you take a again a look at my talk page and read from the beginning. Wandalstouring 14:37, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

Only third world countries use troops on horseback?

"Though formal mounted cavalry is considered a thing of the past, in some Third World nations today, mounted units of armed fighters are still used for small-scale raiding, mostly against unarmed refugee and other civilian populations. Examples include the Janjaweed militias used in the Darfur region of Sudan."

To which third world country belong the US special forces on horseback? There is a nice photo of them in the article. Wandalstouring 12:07, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

Will think about clarifying language. Point of third world comment refers to formal fighting forces. The article is about war horses, there is a question if horses used by the army solely for reconnaissance would be "war" horses or not...the Special forces example is more of how what was once formal military use has adapted into something different today. (I make no claim that the British Horse Guards, police units, or the local Sheriff's search and rescue unit are "war" horses--just descendants of the tradition.) If they aren't used in fighting, are they a war horse? How about animals used to pull supply wagons? Sincere question: what is a war horse and what is just a work animal that happens to be owned by the army? Montanabw 17:29, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

Restructuring the article

After you made clear that you didn't start this article, I have no more doubts to suggest a total overhaul. Simply delet everything that has nothing to do with types of horses, their abilities and training. Such sections can better be discussed elsewhere. The destrier article for example would be a very good chapter here in an overview about warhorses. Per definition of warhorse, I argue that in all cases horses are used for combat, we label them war horses (even if they pull horse artillery, because the training of these horses was essential). Really needed is a section on the training of war horses. The reference about police horses doesn't belong here and the royal horse guard shouldn't make up too much of the article as it is about horses and not cavalry forces. Wandalstouring 23:44, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

Hmmm. You may be on the right track, but by "complete overhaul," where to start? To delete everything that has nothing to do with types of horses--yipes--the history of domestication of horses, training methods, equipment used, is all so inextricably linked to warfare technologies it could be a challenge...see domestication of the horse There IS a section on training, though it isn't very long. The training part is VERY tricky, as there were different methods used across cultures and time periods...(Want controversy and edit wars? Hooo boy...) methods for training a chariot horse differed markedly from those used to train a destrier. American Indians trained their horses very differently than did, say, the cavalry officers of the 18th century.
The police horses, etc., are basically at the end of the article to explain what has happened to the military traditions with horses in the modern world, if there was some kind of new article that could be written about these things, it would be nice, but it would be an orphaned stub.
Maybe the place to start is with specific links to other articles where the "irrelevant" material could be moved. Suggestions? Montanabw 20:02, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

I would start moving the irrelevant material out of the article and absolutly delet it. It belongs nowhere for it is completly unsourced and contains so many factual errors that any article is better off without it. Really important is the structure of the cleaned up article.

History of domestican - first reports on use in warfare

development of equipment for horses in warfare

different training methods (perhaps sorted by date, area and purpose)

With this three major section in order above the article would be likely to inform the interested reader. Wandalstouring 20:12, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

There already IS a history of domestication article, and if you want to look up military history there, I suggest you check it out as well. Your examples are good places to look for sources, but for now, I think it wiser to just put in simple [citation needed] requests in the appropriate places rather than delete this material wholesale. Much of it probably CAN be verified, and it would be a bit too bold to just cut it all.
And, I have to be honest here, I am looking at your contributions page, and all I can see is you complaining about everyone else's work, reverting edits, demanding sources, etc. and not actually contributing anything of your own. If there is something "wrong," as there was on the plate armor caption here, then go get the correct material yourself and fix it in a way that makes a positive, well-written contribution to the article, or, if you aren't comfortable with your writing style and would rather someone else write it up, then put the correct data, with source, on the discussion page or, as you did, into invisible comments, so people can insert it if there is a consensus. Everyone needs to work together and if you are such an expert, then be one that contributes to the general knowledge instead of just crabbing at everyone else. Montanabw 23:44, 2 November 2006 (UTC)
Stop bickering and stop making personnal attacks. I made a suggestion for structuring the article You disagree, make your own suggestion, constructive criticism.
Have you ever tried to critize an article on the talk page? How long did it take until anything happened? If I say source this and that it usually means I have no more to say about it than I really want to delet this unsourced nonsense, but I assume good faith, maybe I'm wrong (that happens) and wait until it is sourced. Besides I have a lot to do with complex vandal fighting (several of them per day for months). No, I'm not the only one who fights them, so I hopefully do not delet edits of someone trying very hard to contribute. I even took a look on my contributions, well, blue water navy seems one of my recent major issues. Just take a look at the article, it's definetly a lot of my work and sourcing. Although I'm not inclined to do that in the warhorse article, I just want it on the right track. Wandalstouring 15:16, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

So... lets get started, shall we

Wandalstouring, could you please begin the editing process, the search for possible sources, and the restructuring of the article? Looks like we've got some good ideas here, so maybe we should begin to put them into practice, rather than continuing this discussion. If you have a better way to re-structure the article, try it out. We can always revert back as needed. And if you feel like many of the facts in the article need some sourcing (or are completely incorrect), maybe you could find some sources that agree with or refute what's on the page. I don't mean to come off as rude, but from the above discussion, your coming across as a person who is all talk and no action. Thanks for your help on the article, your expertise will be appreciated! Eventer

Hey, all talk and no action is a bit unfair. I tend to talk a lot before I mess up with an article and there are several examples in wikipedia where I already restructered. Take a look into my edit list before you assume bad faith. Wandalstouring 14:28, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
Instead of writing so much you could have put some sources actionman. Wandalstouring 14:38, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
And making one last thing very clear, I know a bit about military history and I came here to INFORM myself on horses, but what I found was not informative and contained major errors. Demanding sources and correcting them does help a lot. No I suggested some changes to delet the most severe cases of misinformation so that you can write here about warhorses. Sorry I have a really bad day now Wandalstouring 14:47, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
You stated above, "I have no more to say about it ..." Good. Let's just leave it be. However, the material is not "unsourced nonsense" Unsourced for the moment, yes, but it is uncivil to call legitimate, longstanding base knowledge "nonsense" without proof that it IS in fact inaccurate. Your threats to delete it are upsetting to other editors, unkind, incivil, rude, overbearing and generally not helpful.

If you have a suitable source to add, great, otherwise, fee free to add {{Fact}} templates where you think they are needed. Beyond that, let the article stay on the list of articles with unsourced statements, and call it good. Things will be improved all in good time. It will take a trip to the library for me to obtain several necessary texts required to source everything in there, as the internet is not a particularly good resource on some of these issues. Montanabw 17:39, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

take the car the whole article is a mess. Wandalstouring 19:43, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
The article is poorly structured and virtually without cites. At the least, it needs to be completely restructured, and sourced. As for citing the Mongols as the example of the dominance of light cavalry in the 7th century, that is about 500 years too early. Stirrups gave the Islamic cavalry an incredible advantage that almost allowed them to overrun the world - except for Constandinople in 717 and Tours at 732 they practically did! old windy bear 13:53, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

OldWindyBear, your points--and those of Wandalstouring, for that matter, are well taken that the article needs some improvements. What I think happened was that there was a major reorganization and cleanup of the main Horse article, which was a total mess, and someone moved all the history of horses in warfare stuff from there over to here, then some of us (KimV, myself, etc.) basically just tried to integrate the new material in. There wasn't a lot of substantive editing of the old material. Bottom line is let's quit yakking about it and if you have something helpful to add, please do so. The article needs a good section on how the Scythians, the Parthians, the Mongols, the Muslims, etc. each used horses in warfare...I just don't have the time to do more than small bits and pieces--like the rest of you, I have my watchlist of articles and this one is sort of on the periphery. Montanabw 03:46, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Montanabw Your points are well taken. Most of us are trying to balance lives of work and family against attempting to help here. Perhaps if we divided what needs to be done, and each of us pitched in, we could get it all corrected and the article up to snuff. All right, if we all agree to rewrite, I will volunteer to start with the Scythians and the Parthians - anyone else willing to take the Persian Knightly class, (the first real landed Knightly nobility), the Arab lighthorse, and the Mongols? Let us see if we can agree to divide it up, and then do the work. old windy bear 03:52, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

My strongest expertise is in the history of the Arabian horse, and a basic outline of how the breed spread along with Islam, though as far as tactics go, I am not a military sort. Essentially, I am your horse "expert," and something of a political historian, I shall leave the military details to others, though see below how I created the Horses in Warfare new article as a possible sandbox for starting from scratch. Some sections in this article can probably be plugged into the new one, if they are fixed first...see the structure I created there. Also, let's be careful not to repeat stuff better said in other articles, link to them with a summary instead? Montanabw 05:01, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

"War horses" versus "warhorses"

I'm no expert on horses, but something abot this article struck me as odd - the use of "war horse" as a synonym (and redirect from) "warhorse). Should there not be a distinction between "war horse" (horse used in war) and "warhorse" (a breed of horse, or type of horse, or specially trained horse) for use specifically in a certain type of warfare. What I mean is, the breed of horse used in Napoleonic cavalry, Mongolian cavalry, and medeival cavalry is not going to be the same. As I understand it, these are all "war horses" in that they are the mounts of cavalrymen, but it was my understand that "warhrorse" applied to the type of large, heavy brred of horse bred for medeival warfare. I cannot say if terms such as "palfrey", "courser" and "destrier" are formal descriptors of breed or type or merely layman terms, but I would equate "warhorse" with a heavy "destrier"-type horse only, and all other horses used in warfare as "war horses" only. This all needs verifying I'm afraid! - PocklingtonDan 23:53, 4 November 2006 (UTC).

A better title for the article might be something like "Horses in Warfare," I suppose. "War Horse" could become a disambiguation page or something. However, there is no real difference between a "war horse" and a "warhorse," and the term can encompass several types, though yes, mostly European styles. Destriers, Palfreys, etc. were descriptors of type, none are "breeds" as we know them today. Curious if there are already articles on coursers and palfreys, there is one on Destriers. Montanabw 03:46, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Possible solution to the problem with this article

From the comments that have been coming in on this article, including even questions on the name of the article itself, I think there is a solution: Start a different article, totally from scratch, and when it is up to par, we can redirect this article to the new one. To that end, I am creating a new article titled Horses in Warfare (for lack of something more imaginative. Any better notions, go for it, we can later ask Wikipedia admins to purge whatever page doesn't wind up being used.) I am going to create a basic outline structure, and everything that goes into it can be more-or-less properly sourced from the outset.

The only link to Horses in Warfare for now is on this talk page, and on the User Talk pages of those of you who have recently weighed in on the discussion.

Only one set of ground rules: Don't carp about what's wrong with either article unless you have something to add. (Questions are OK, just don't complain that something is wrong without offering an actual improvement) If you want consensus before it goes into the article itself, no problem, put the draft on the new article's talk page. But if something is wrong, present a proposed rewrite. Don't say something is "improperly sourced," be specific and show the correct form or better yet, a good source. No more whining and criticizing without a contribution! Do the work, don't just tell others to do it, and most of all, hold yourself to the same standard as you hold others. Montanabw 04:08, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Just to remind you of one thing, you make no rules. If there is nonsense written I can delete it or ask for a source and nobody can take away this right of wikipedians.
I was trying to simultaneously insert a bit of humor here and expressing my frustration at individuals who were complaining a lot and contributing little. In the same light, I suggest everyone on this topic read the following Wikipedia article: Don't be a dick Montanabw 22:15, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

Wandalstouring 21:12, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

I still disagree with you entirely that "warhorse" applies equally to all horses used in warfare - for a start I think it has far greater association in the popular mind with chargers and destriers from the medeival period than it does with, say, horses used to draw British chariots, or Numidiam cavalry mounts. I think the idea of a Horses in Warfare article is great - it should be an overaching article at the head of the superstructure, giving a summary of horses uses (cavalry mounts, chariots, drawing supply wagons, etc, etc) and linking to main articles on each of those, as well as breed type, origins of horses in warfare, etc. I still strongly feel that once this article is written and subsumed some of the current content of warhorse, that war horse should be a disambiguation page between Horses in Warfare generally and a specific warhorse or [[charger [horse type)]] page, which should be rewritten specifically on the topic of chargers etc. My disctionary describes war-horse as "a powerful horse used in war" (my emphasis), and equates it to a charger, which in turn is "A chivalric or medieval name for a heavy war horse". - PocklingtonDan 10:17, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Your perspective is eurocentric. Wandalstouring 21:12, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Well, my cite is fromt he Penguin English Dictionary. Do you have a cite for an encyclopedia or dictionary stating "war horse" is exclusively any horse used in war? I'm not denying that that is a possible use, only saying that for the purposes of disambiguation it can also mean (possibly in a European context), a second, narrower, meaning. It is not the job of wikipedia to only provide a single entry for each word or phrase (see the thousands of disambiguation pages) - I'm just stating that it does have a very important secondary (and in Europe primary) meaning. Given that this is an English-language wiki, and given that the English-speaking peoples of this world are primarily descended from people in England, Europe, I don't see there is any argument against stating this second meaning somewhere for purpose of disambiguation - I was trying to suggest a structure for this. How about instead changing war horse to a disambiguation page between warhorse (European heavy cavalry mount) and warhorse (horse used in warfare) then or similar? - PocklingtonDan 21:20, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
You can also state this within a broad article on war horse. Wandalstouring 21:32, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Absolutely fine, so long as it is given fair treatment and sufficiently obvious in the "contents summary where that section lies - as wikipedia suggests I always try and think of what people are wanting to find when they type soemthing in - if I types in warhorse I would expect to find an article on medeival heavy war horses used as cavalry mounts - if you don't think a disambiguation page is needed then I would just like to see a prominent disambiguation section or similar somewhere in the article. Cheers - PocklingtonDan 21:45, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

can we end the "war horse" definition argument, please? says:


–noun 1. a horse used in war; charger. 2. Informal. a veteran, as a soldier or politician, of many struggles and conflicts. 3. a musical composition, play, etc., that has been seen, heard, or performed excessively. says: war·horse also war-horse (wôrhôrs) n. 1. A horse used in combat; a charger. 2. Informal One who has been through many battles, struggles, or fights. 3. Informal A musical or dramatic work that has been performed so often that it has become widely familiar.

And the thesaurus entry at the same site links: 3. warhorse - horse used in war mount, riding horse, saddle horse - a lightweight horse kept for riding only cavalry horse - horse trained for battle charger - formerly a strong horse ridden into battle steed - (literary) a spirited horse for state or war says:


always referred to in the Bible in connection with warlike operations, except Isa. 28:28. The war-horse is described Job 39:19-25...

So, war horse are not merely medieval chargers. Can we end this conversation now? Montanabw 23:36, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

We should add at destrier that many people of the European culture only mean this type of horse if speaking of war horse. ->put it on the disambiguation page. Wandalstouring 20:56, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Good idea, go for it! Montanabw 05:33, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

New and Improved - December 2006

After extensive discussion and hours of work, this article has been edited, sourced (mostly, more always needed and YOU can help!) and merged with the old War Horse article. I've nominated it for a Good Article to see what kind of outside feedback we get, GA editors tend to provide more useful input than at Peer Review.

More info is always needed on non-western cultures and certain historical eras (within reason, the article is already well over 32kb), given how contentious some of the debates here have been, it may be wise to suggest changes here before editing. Montanabw 07:15, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Also: If anyone is good at creating archives, would you be so kind as to archive everything on this page that was posted prior to December 5th, when the merge "went live?"Montanabw 07:15, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Cavalry tactics

Cavalry tactics is listed as main article on 17th, 18th, 19th century horses, but has almost nothing to say about it and does not concern in any way the horses used then. Wandalstouring 14:40, 5 November 2006 (UTC)


It's nice you started an outline, but first of all we should make it clear what the artcile is going to be about. As far as I understood its aim is to present horses and not types of military, so organizing it by types of military is the wrong approach, instead we need a categorization on types of horses and then tell about their use. Wandalstouring 14:43, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Missing are for example the small horses used in northern Africa (the Numidian cavalry was famous for their agility). They are relatives of the Andalusian horse. Wandalstouring 18:52, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Unfortunately, I think we don't have consensus as to what the article is about. The horse people-- those who created this article and those who have contributed to it since, want to know about ways horses were used in warfare. We don't give a rat's rear about military tactics (which I know is obvious) other than to know how horses contributed and what people did with them. So we like the history lesson, with links to the military tactics pages for those who want to dig deeper. That's why I sorted by tactics and historical era--horse people don't know much about tactics and are curious about the basic WAYS horses were used, and people in general are pretty ignorant about history.
The types of horses used in warfare can be summed up in a sentence: Big ones, middle-sized ones and small ones. Sorry to sound snarky, but I guess what do you want to know? Sorting by type would make for a short, dull article: "Small horses have greater endurance and were used for communications, reconnaissance and light cavalry in some of the cultures that had light cavalry, except 18th and 19th century cavalry, who rode Medium-sized horses because they could carry more stuff. Medium-sized horses were usually used to pull wagons, various types of artillery, and carry certain types of heavy cavalry, other than the European knights of the late middle ages, who loaded themselves up with so much armor that they needed a heavy draft horse to carry them. Draft horses were also used to carry really fat kings, and to pull extremely heavy wagons and heavy artillery." End of article.
Beyond general types for speed, transport and sheer bulk, there are dozens and dozens of articles on modern horse breeds, and frankly, NONE of them are exactly the same breed as was used in warfare even 500 years ago, with the possible exceptions being the "small horses used in northern Africa" which were either Barbs or Arabs, the Andalusian horse itself, and the Arabian (which was one ancestor of the Barb and the Andalusian, though neither of the other breeds want to admit it--all three want to be the "purest" horse breed in the world along with the Akhal-Teke and the now-extinct Turkoman horse). Arguably the Friesian, Shire and Percheron were around in 1500, but Thoroughbred hadn't yet developed. Most breeds that were around in 1500 are extinct today, other than via crossbred descendents. Go back 1000 years and it gets fuzzier. (I mean, was William the Conquerer the ONLY commander on an Andalusian-type animal? Probably not, the same type of horse was probably imitated by every other nobleman who wanted to be like the King. But the evidence is (as you have pointed out) pretty fuzzy--historians are rarely horse people and horse people rarely write history.)

And then, you think YOU have been fussy about this article when we have been wrong on military tactics,, just WAIT until someone starts to say which breeds are the ancestors of which other breeds and which breeds have been "pure" since Allah created the first horse from the sand and the south wind--then watch that pi**ing match begin! The problem is that the source material is worse...we won't know a lot of connections between breeds until the horse genome is mapped. Was the Great Horse of Europe the ancestor of the Shire, the Friesian, or both? Or was the Friesian the Great Horse itself, adding yet another breed to the list of those claimed to be "pure" since Eohippus crawled out of the swamp? We just don't know...

It's also tough to write on training, and there are also tons of training articles already on Wikipedia too. Virtually all training manuals for horses were written by and for the military up until the 20th century. So basically, even modern training is derived from the military model, they go hand in hand. Though I'd be curious what you want to know, maybe somethng could be done beyond the little bit that is in War horse. We have some treatises on methodology, but the problems are twofold: 1) the basics for training horses are unchanged since the days of Xenophon (i.e. ancient Greece): Again, it's short: Be firm but kind and teach them not to be afraid of things. 2) Everything else reads like a discussion of the torture techniques of the Spanish Inquisition. That and to go into details on any other variations, like perhaps how the Mongols trained their horses, would be a whole separate article.
I'm not saying this can't be done, I'm just saying that there are two main audiences here, with very different goals, issues and questions: horse enthusiasts and military enthusiasts. I'm open to comments on structuring and content. But as I say, if you have actual source material to add, please go ahead and add it. Just be bold and start writing. The horse articles typically have pretty significant edits done with very little chat, though the unwritten rule seems to be to not cut other people's stuff, but rather to frame it as a debate...the form "some say this, but others say that." Sorry to go on, just trying to frame my own thoughts. Montanabw 06:30, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
Fine you summed up the different types of horses so easily. As long as the article is centered on the use of horses, pure breed and its origin is irrelevant. The structure of the cavalry tactics does a lot more generalization and cares less about specific national types of cavalry. If you want to write it in connection to this article, you have to restructure:
small horses
medium horses
big horses
give some examples (no full listing) for each type and tell more about their abilities. Say when they were used in what kind of troops (light cavalry, heavy cavalry, dragoons, chariots, etc.). Afterwards we can have the focus on the training of these horses. This is the part that makes the difference between a war horse and a horse. Wandalstouring 15:05, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

doubious statement

"While the average horse can carry approximately 25% of its body weight, and pull approximately 50% of its weight, [citation needed] adding weight also reduces speed, as is seen today with the modern race horse."

a) sources missing b) there are sources stating else c) pull under what conditions?

Some is here:

Looking for better sources where "the study" is, for example. The U.S. Calvary published “The Cavalry Manual of Horse Management”, by Frederick L. Devereux, Jr., in 1941. He recommended that the collective weight of rider and gear not exceed 20% of the total weight of the horse. These were horses in top condition whose riders’ very lives depended on the horse's ability to carry them long miles, often at speed. It stands to reason that if they were to incorporate a margin of error, it would be on the side of the horse being overly capable of carrying its rider, rather than less so. Comparably, a study of 374 competitive trail riding horses compared horse/rider weight relationships. They concluded that these horses can easily carry over 30% of their body weight for 100 miles and not only compete, but compete well. As would be expected, good body condition and bone structure were found to be paramount. Bone structure was evaluated using the front leg cannon bones as representative of general structure.

Looking at modern horse pulling competitions, things like show rules start out with two horse "lightweight" teams (under 3300 lbs combined) starting the competition at 1500 lbs plus the weight of the sled, "heavyweight" teams (over 3300 pounds combined) starting at 2000 lbs per sled, then they add 200-500 pounds per round so the 50% figure is close. Some competitions start out higher. But will try to find sanctioned rules or something better than the county fair rule lists that I am digging up so far. Horse pulls represent an extreme, and they only pull a short distance. Montanabw 22:11, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Pulling numbers are harder to pin down than carrying numbers: Traditional pulling contests for Russian draft horses consist of three parts: 1) a trot pull of 50 kg of traction power (which, very roughly speaking translates into 1.5 tons) over a distance of two kilometers; 2) a walk pull, also over a distance of two kilometers, but with three times as much weight, i.e., 150 kg of traction power (or approximately 4.5 tons); and 3) endurance or maximum distance pulling 300 kg of traction power (or close to 9 tons).

This last term, "traction power," deserves explanation. In many, but not all, Russian publications weight is expressed in kilograms of traction power (measurable by a dynamometer) rather than of load weight. Because the force required to pull a weight depends on the road surface (smooth or rough, for example) and on the type and design of the pulling sledge, load weight alone is not an especially useful measure of comparison. Using the measurement of traction power, horses and contests conducted at different times and in different locations can be compared.

Finding stuff that a horse pulling a barge on water can pull 50 times its weight, a horse pulling a wheeled carriage on a smooth road can pull 6 times its weight. Horse pull competition pulls a sled of rocks over dirt, no wheels--the toughest form of pulling there is. The 50% pulling capacity is probably a safe bet. Montanabw 23:05, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

No, the 50% capacity is a total misconception. Delete it and write about traction power and state what your sources say. Wandalstouring
Took a stab at it. The stuff on traction power needs some style tweaks to explain it better, I am somewhat confused...I made an attempt to clarify it, but as I don't quite "get" the concept (other than that horses have to follow the basic laws of physics like everything else) I may not have helped...fix as you see fit. Montanabw 04:11, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

War horses versus cavalry versus everything else

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree with what this article is about. General types are necessary but not sufficient. We may have to use a lot of headers with the "main" template, but short summaries of all the basic types of military uses are what the horse-oriented readers want.

I don't agree that this article can just focus on types of horses, but I DID add some basic material to get the thing started. Yes, it's unsourced for now. Most of the sources on weight were over on the Talk:War horse page. You can add them if you want. If not, I'll add them later when I have some time. In the meantime, the citation tag will suffice. Montanabw 18:48, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

The other problem is that the articles cavalry, cavalry tactics, chariot, chariot tactics, knight, horse artillery, dragoon, destrier, and everything else have a lot of overlap, contradictions, confusion, etc. You want to make some other people's lives miserable for awhile, go take a look at these and apply your standards. Oh, and if you really want to have fun, check out the Barb article and the Friesian horse articles. Apply your piercing gaze to those but beware, they may make your head explode, especially the Friesian article! I've even thrown up my hands in despair on those...

As for training, what are you after? Really, almost all modern horse training is derived from military uses...a "war horse" is just a horse that, in addition to being trained to ride or drive, has been "bombproofed" to put up with noise, jostling, confusion, etc...really little different from a horse used for crowd control today. They learned drills, just like drill teams do today. And any cutting horse today usually has to be trained NOT to bite the cows--biting and kicking to make space are instinctive for a horse and behaviors they would have exhibited on the battlefield. So what else are you looking for? I'm serious. There was nothing magic about training war horses, just time and resources. Montanabw 18:48, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

No need for a nuke defence with capital letters. I think I made it pretty clear, keep things simple. If a reader wants to read about war horses it is enough to inform him about these and in case of interest give him links to more specific info. There are several questions on how a war horse is trained, as a horse is no predator and thus no animal that feels comfortable in a killing environment. There are examples for the training of chariot horses for example. It is sufficient if you give an overview about old training methods for war horses. I will take a look at other articles concerning war horses, but not for now. In the article I will delet all unnecessary headers. Wandalstouring 20:57, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

Thoughts on article

I still disagree with you entirely that "warhorse" applies equally to all horses used in warfare - for a start I think it has far greater association in the popular mind with chargers and destriers from the medeival period than it does with, say, horses used to draw British chariots, or Numidiam cavalry mounts. I think the idea of a Horses in Warfare article is great - it should be an overaching article at the head of the superstructure, giving a summary of horses uses (cavalry mounts, chariots, drawing supply wagons, etc, etc) and linking to main articles on each of those, as well as breed type, origins of horses in warfare, etc. I still strongly feel that once this article is written and subsumed some of the current content of warhorse, that war horse should be a disambiguation page between Horses in Warfare generally and a specific warhorse or [[charger [horse type)]] page, which should be rewritten specifically on the topic of chargers etc. My disctionary describes war-horse as "a powerful horse used in war" (my emphasis), and equates it to a charger, which in turn is "A chivalric or medieval name for a heavy war horse". Thoughts?? - PocklingtonDan 10:19, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

You are talking about the destrier. Please remember there are many people reading this article and for example for a Native American Medieval chargers are pretty irrelevant if he wants to know more about his ancestor's war horses. Wandalstouring 13:00, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

Topic headings

I like the material you added on training, I appreciate the sense of what non-horse people interested in military matters want to know. However, I am going to return some, though not all of the other proposed headers because I believe these encompass topics that previous versions of the article included. Again, I emphasize that there are two very different audiences for this article, with differing needs for information. Montanabw 22:08, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

No, just cut it. As long as there is no editor writing that stuff, there is no reason to have an empty header. I do most of the work on cavalry tactics and such in the military project. This is simply asking way too much and it is really hard work to make an acceptable division there. For example mixing up India and China is like mixing up the Boers and Comanche cavalry forces. In the current form there is the possibility to add this stuff under training so, the training is told respective to the later use in war. If I have time I can write a little bit about this. Wandalstouring 20:54, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

I am OK with it being out for now, as your "historical deployment" heading is fine for the moment, but this IS a sandbox, and an empty header to me offers other editors the chance to add appropriate material. However, I vehemently disagree with your statement that this could all be put under training, because while equipment, tactics and tools vary from culture to culture, I'm not sure you understand that horses are horses everywhere in the world and basic training concepts really aren't dramatically different...some more humane than others, that's about it. Pretty much like boot camp for soldiers...the way humans learn skills doesn't change, we all have the same brains... one culture may have different weapons or terrain, but you aren't going to be able to violate the basic laws of physics or human nature...same is true for horses... Montanabw 21:39, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Well, I have been a recruit in a military boot camp and I have word of others who were in different boot camps, there are some really big differences. Wandalstouring 22:29, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

See, a charger needs a different training than a light cavalry horse or a dragoon horse or a chariot pulling horse. Wandalstouring 22:31, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

I never said otherwise as to training for different conditions, weaponry or whatever, you actually make my point is that cultural differences have to be discussed and the best way to do it is by historical period. What I'm not sure you "get" is that a given culture is going to teach a "civilian" horse to drive or ride the same way you teach a "war horse" to ride or drive. You desensitize a horse to odd objects (i.e. weapons, etc) in a certain manner no matter what the odd object is. You physically condition a horse for a given climate, terrain and workload whether it is peace or war.

My point about soldiers is that human beings learn things after several repetitions, we respond to verbal commands (as opposed to touch, which is used on horses), most soldiers learn to make up into a formation of some sort and march, and they need physical conditioning...that was what's the same. Maybe reading is a better example. Sure there are different ways of teaching people to read, but we all use our eyes...most methods start out by first teaching the alphabet, then little words, then big words, etc...

We may be talking about different things here. But the one thing we can't do is describe how to train a horse on this page it would take forever, it's a topic of a book or treatise...see horse training. You can only hit the tip of the iceberg, and a lot of individual training methods are unknown anyway because no one wrote them down. All we have are general principles.

Culture has the biggest impact: A European charger was going to be broke to saddle, desensitized to the weird things it encounters, etc. with techniques not that different from a light cavalry horse of a later period--the difference is the stuff they are shown, the varying degree of humaneness or brutality of the trainer (just like some drill sergeants--quite individually varied), the physical conditioning involved...and the changes of the culture itself...

There's more differences in diets of the horses. And I assume you would prefer we don't get into feeding war horses...the Bedouin fed their horses dates and camel's milk. And that's not as odd as some. Montanabw 23:20, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Why not, you did a good, but unsourced, job in the intro after you stated there wasn't much to say. Just say the tip of the iceberg about training here. If someone really wants to go into details there are still a lot of very specific articles on certain cavalry forces or types of cavalry forces where such things can be said and linked to this article. If feeding the horse makes a difference, tell the reader about it and never mind giving examples and sources. This is about the big picture, for real detail work you simply outsource. Wandalstouring 23:55, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Research thoughts

This site is probably a good source for a lot of what we are doing:

The table of contents for their entire history section is here:


And FYI, haven't read this, but looks like an interesting source: War Horse Mounting the Cavalry with America's Finest Horses Phil Livingston and Ed Roberts "Critical to waging war throughout the ages of history has been the war horse—effective cavalry mounts and sure-footed pack mules. Cavalry chargers, acting as means of transport for soldiers, rations, guns, ammunition, and supplies, formed the battle machine and acted as platform for the leader of the charge. The cavalry tradition continues today: helicopter pilots and armored tanks are the modern cavalry. From Revolutionary War times through 1948, the Quartermaster Corps of the U.S. Army supplied the mounts, draft and pack animals, and stallions of impressive bloodlines—Thoroughbreds (including the first Triple Crown Winner), Arabians, Morgans, and Lippizaners—to farmers and ranchers from Massachusetts, to Virginia, to Nebraska, Texas and California, border to border and coast to coast, for breeding to selected mares. The offspring were sought-after horses of war throughout the military services in the United States and by our allies arond the world—and were coveted spoils of war by enemy nations. These war horses also had strong civilian demand and dramatically influenced equestrian bloodlines across the country. War Horse is exactingly researched, lavishly illustrated with over 130 archival photographs, and is written with thoroughness, excitement and many humorous anecdotes." I will have to see if I can get this via interlibrary loan, may take a couple weeks.

Someone who cares may also want to see what these folks do:

All for now. Montanabw 23:37, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

What has this to do with war horses????

A team of two modern draft horses, weighing approximately 1,700 lbs pounds each, often pull 3,000 lbs in weight-pull competitions, dragging a unwheeled weighted sled on level dirt for a short distance[citation needed]. On the other hand, horses pulling a wheeled carriage on a paved road can pull up to six times their weight for many miles. The method by which a horse was hitched to a vehicle also influenced how much it could pull: Horses could pull greater weight after the invention of the horse collar circa A.D. 800 than they could when hitched to a vehicle by means of an ox yoke or a breast collar in earlier times.[1] The very term "horsepower" was based on the amount of dead weight a draft horse could pull, and was defined by James Watt as 33,000 foot pounds. Depending on weight and terrain, chariots and wagons could be pulled by a single animal, most often a team of two, and occasionally supplies or heavy weaponry would be pulled by teams of six to eight or even more horses[citation needed].

Wandalstouring 14:14, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

Wrestling with explaining that horses can pull a bit more than half their weight on a dead drag sled of rocks about 50 feet, 6 times their weight pulling a wheeled vehicle over a road, 50 times their weight pulling a barge on water. Preferably in plain English. You see, I have a graduate degree in a non-scientific field, but never required a single physics class to get there...I never even had ONE year of physics, let alone two, not even in high school. Maybe a semester, worked in with other stuff...I do not get how 50-300kg traction force is calculated to be a couple of's all gibberish to me, so I suspect it will also be gibberish to a lot of other people.

You could top it if you say and most people around here can't read, but that would be the only thing how education could be worse in my opinion. Montanabw 04:11, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Education running that low in the USA? Well, in Europe at least most people do have enough physics to understand. This is so low in physics like telling rocks fall down. Sorry but your lengthy unverified information contains lots of stuff that doesn't actually have to do anything with this. You know nothing about physics and then try to give a definition of horse power wtf? Wandalstouring 08:21, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

I haven't heard of too many places that require two years of "Physics." Two years of assorted sciences, yes, but of the person's choice...biology, earth science, physics, chemistry,'re getting nasty again, you really need to cool the attitude. Montanabw 23:05, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm just shocked and wonder how you would understand lots of things in everyday life like magnetism, electricity, ballistics, etc. Here, anybody learns all of the mentioned subjects for several years. I do have contact with people of low educational level and I could no matter talk with them about subjects requiring knowledge of all the mentioned subjects, no problem. I learned a lot from them and they told me things I didn't know before. You could top it if you say and most people around here can't read, but that would be the only thing how education could be worse in my opinion.Wandalstouring 19:16, 14 November 2006 (UTC)


You are crossing the civility line once again, but I'll try to explain it to you in very simple terms. It is one thing to have general knowledge of scientific principles, it is another to be able to explain it all from memory. It also is a mistake to assume that all intelligent people know, for example, the basics of traction force. Many intelligent people don't give a rat's rear end for more than the basics. And don't need to. There is a vast body of human knowledge, too much for any individual to know it all. When we write for Wikipedia, articles not meant for a specialized audience need to be written with a minimum of technical language. For example: Can you describe the structure of a musical fugue? Can you play the piano? Can you list the names--from memory--of every President of the United States? And their political party affiliation? And explain the significant highlights of each administration? Do you know the contents of the United States Constitution--or, for that matter, the Constitution of your own nation? Can you read and interpret a legal opinion? How much Latin do you know? Do you know the Rule of Shelly's case? What is res judicata? Have you ever heard about complex psychological antisocial personality disorder? Do you know that schizophrenia is NOT the same as Multiple Personality Disorder? How about genetics? Do you know what an allele is? How about an autosomal recessive? My point is not for you to say that you of course know about all these things, but rather to point out that the human brain only holds so much. The rest of it we look up. People specialize. The educational rigor of most Western European nations is very strong up through the secondary level, no question your schools are quite good. The US catches up at the University level...however, there is specialization. The Music major in the USA doesn't have to pass a physics class to get a degree, for example, but can YOU play the violin, Saxophone AND the Clarinet? Now, please stop covering your disinclination to write with clarity by arrogant nonsense about how everyone should know and value precisely the body of information you do. Montanabw 23:52, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
I can expressed being shocked, simply because I consider something basic like counting, reading or writing. What is arrogant about being shocked? I humbly apologize for not writing explicitly that educational level equals not intellect.
Traction force is lowest basic level of physical understanding. Wandalstouring 17:25, 15 November 2006 (UTC)


There are two possiblities:

a) We add links to every battle article on wikipedia which reports the presence of horses for somebody could have the idea to reenact it.

b) We link only to articles about reenactment events were horses are present.

Wandalstouring 14:22, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

Oh gawd, NOT a huge laundry list! Sometimes a couple examples helps people understand what we are talking about, but dear oh dear, even just linking to reenactments where there are horses would be huge...other than the locals around here who reenact the Battle of the Little Bighorn every year, and a kid I know who is into SCA stuff who keeps begging his mom to let him use her horse for jousting, I really know very little about this area. Whatever else, let's just keep it simple. FYI, I think it was either the SCA or the reenactment people who started the original War Horse site, just guessing from what was in it before we started moving over stuff from the horse article. Montanabw 03:55, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
If there is no article on the reenactment here - it was not considered important enough - so it is not worth mentioning, no matter what people do in the hood. The battle of Hastings reenactment is renown worldwide, very big and had enough attention for someone to actually write here about it already. Wandalstouring 08:55, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

For example in Germany the de:Kaltenberger Ritterturnier using very protective late medieval armour such as Schaller helmets and hiring professional stuntmen. Wandalstouring 21:47, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Odd, I'd never heard that there was a Battle of Hastings reenactment. maybe people out here in the west just have lives that don't involve wikipedia. Hmm? Don't be so insulting. Or so Eurocentric. Little Big Horn, AKA "Custer's Last Stand" is the most famous of all battles between the Indians and the US Army. If you don't know American history, not my problem. Montanabw 23:02, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

I don't mind which battle is how famous to anyone. Does it have an article yes/no. Battle of Hastings reenactment does have one and you deleted the link several days ago several times, so you did read it before. Eurocentric is a prejudice. I did research whether there were other articles about reenactment events with horses documented in wikipedia. It seems only for Hastings and Kaltenberg was someone not too lazy to write something. OK, there is an article on the American civil war reenactment, even if there are horses nowhere in sight. Wandalstouring 19:13, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

war horse

While war hose still contains lots of questionable material, the information here by far outclasses it in all fields the article should be about. Wandalstouring 23:54, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

I was thinking about slowly merging in some of the material here into War Horse, but then I starting debating which article TITLE should be kept after the merge? Apparently the only person who cares about the "War Horse" definition is that one fellow who is not weighing in on anything else, and I can cite sources that use the term war horse back in antiquity if we really must. "War horse" is the phrase used in most of the horse articles that link there, though I realize a redirect makes it not matter terribly. I also notice that War Horse is still being edited by other contributors, so I would want to be careful about just wiping the article. Perhaps you could merge some of the stuff we've done here into War Horse for now and see what people do. Perhaps put the material you dislike in War Horse at the bottom...I don't know, just thinking aloud. Thoughts? Comments? Montanabw 04:37, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
Also, don't be in a huge hurry to dump the other stuff in War Horse yet. I still think there is a place for some historical description of various periods. I am getting back one of my better texts on Monday (loaned it to a friend) and am hoping to make a library run to get Bennett's book _Conquerers_ this week. May be able to source some material--and maybe toss some as well. Maybe merge material from there to here as sources are added would be the better approach. Montanabw 04:37, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
So, two questions: Which should be the article that is the base that material gets merged into for working purposes? (I nominate Horses in Warfare) Then, which title should be the one we actually keep once the final version is ready to go live? (I nominate War Horse) Montanabw 04:37, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
I vote Horses in Warfare for all. War horse becomes a disambiguation page. Wandalstouring 05:15, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

Show Jumping

What is the source for the information on the origins of show jumping? I always thought show jumping was based off of fox hunting, started as a civilian pastime ("lepping" contests), and its background had nothing to do with the military. Eventer 20:57, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Was about dragoons, messengers and scouts crossing rough terrain, although there are other disciplines more connected with this. Wandalstouring 05:14, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
Both answers are probably hunting clearly has its roots, but military messengers had to jump stuff from time to time. Clearly the military dominated all equestrian events at the Olypics and folks with military connections like Caprilli developed modern show jumping. Much as I really, really, really hate to agree with Wandal on ANYTHING <grin>, I have to admit that we do need some sources on this. Montanabw 20:49, 28 November 2006 (UTC)


This article doesn't really go into the changes in horse warfare as a result of the invention of the stirrup. This is a radical and major change in the history of warfare, and as it directly impacts the uses of horses in warfare, I think a section showing where the stirrup came in and how it impacted horse warfare is needed. KP Botany 23:15, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

There is a little bit on it in the technology section, but if you want to add more material to the technology section explaining more about the stirrup, go for it. I can review and edit for style as may be needed, but I've put a good 20 hours into this article, and am, at the moment, tired of working on it. However, please be sure to properly footnote anything you add so we can check out the source. One of the editors on this piece, as you may have noticed, is obsessed with verifiability and I certainly don't have the energy to go find references for everything myself, so we sure need all editors to this article to note their sources. If you want to propose an addition before inserting it, go ahead and do so here, as you see this has been done for other sections...But your help and input will be appreciated! Montanabw 05:05, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
It's easy to get burnt out on an article, just take a long break and come back. It turns out that it's harder writing an encyclopedia than it seems. I don't really want to add the information myself, as I'm not overly interested in it, however I have a sibling who is a military historian who is an expert in the area, so maybe I will at least get some references. I think it's fine to be picky about sourcing, it saves time later on. I've also found checking other peoples sources in certain areas that editors can get sloppy with using references, so it's just easier for everyone. But take a break, the article is moving strongly in the right direction. KP Botany 17:13, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

There is also a whole article on the stirrup, maybe look it over and give me a sense of what I'm missing here. The article here is getting long and people often suggest breaking it out when that happens, so wondering if the link to the stirrup article covers your concerns, or if I REALLY DO need to add stuff here. Montanabw 20:36, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

Okay, that's a pretty good suggestion. I will look download and look it over. KP Botany 00:38, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

GA on hold

I've placed this article on hold at GA. Although I think it's mostly well-written and admirably comprehensive, there are a few issues that prevent me from passing it straight off.

First, there are several "citation needed" tags in the article. Those need to be addressed before the article can pass GA. (One has to do with knights' armor, and is only tangentially related to the topic, so removal might be a valid means of addressing it as well. Others, for instance in the "Chariot Warfare" section, seem more important to the topic.)

Second, there are a handful of other statements that could use citation. For instance, "Contrary to Nazi propaganda of the era, the majority of Polish cavalry charges were in fact successful, and all were conducted against infantry, not tanks." makes a controversial (judging by its phrasing) claim, and should be cited. The section on "Training and dressage" could also use a few more citations. I wouldn't fail the article just because of these, but their addition would be beneficial.

Third, the prose could use some editing. There are a couple of unwieldy constructions. For instance, "Light oriental-type horses" (isn't there a more precise term that could be used instead of this awkward phrase?) Likewise, is there a reason to say "draft-type horses" instead of "draft horses"? Then there's the first paragraph of the technology section: "Horses were probably ridden in prehistory before they were driven, though evidence is scant.[13][14] However, the invention of the wheel is widely touted as a major technological innovation that gave rise to chariot warfare. However, the demise of the chariot as a tool of war did not end the need for technological innovations in pulling technologies." That's a lot of "thoughs" and "howevers" to keep straight. A good copyedit could make the article a lot clearer.

Fourth, the image dealing with the Slovenian armed forces is tagged as copyrighted, usable with permission. This wouldn't stop the article from being judged a GA, but it might prevent an FA rating in the future. I'm not entirely certain about that, but I know that there's recently been a move away from using such images where they might possibly be replaced with free ones, and I'd suggest at least looking into whether a free replacement conveying similar information might be available.

Fifth, get your units straight. Some points use Imperial, some metric, and some both. I recommend both -- but make sure it's consistent, either all given in metric with Imperial in parentheses ("1 in. (2.54cm)") or all the other way around ("2.54cm (1 in.)").

I'm confident that the most vital issues can be dealt with quickly, so the hold will give you a week to work on it. A lot of progress has clearly been made with it in the last weeks. Shimeru 06:07, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

Made an initial round of tweaks. Tried to remove the jargon (draft-type and oriental-type are terms of art among the horse crowd, but if awkward to laypeople, will fix), will keep working on the prose. If you see more spots where citation is needed, could you throw in a few {{fact}} tags for me? Sometimes when one is too "close" to an article, you just don't see certain things and your help in that respect would be much appreciated! Thanks. Montanabw 05:19, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
Looks good so far... I didn't notice anything obvious in terms of further citation. If those are terms of art, then perhaps there's an article explaining them that could be linked to, or a short explanation could be provided? (Perhaps not, if the terms are shorthand for the description in each of those light-medium-heavy sections.) I don't see the current phrasing as lacking anything, but of course I am a layperson, and there might be a distinction I'm unaware of. Shimeru 07:43, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

Good Article

It looks as if all major concerns have been addressed (and quickly, too), and the article continues to improve. I'm happy to pass it as a Good Article at this point. I also think it's a pretty strong candidate for FA; I see further prose polishing and perhaps the one image noted above as the only likely objections. A peer review or a review by an appropriate WikiProject might be helpful steps to take at this point, on the way to FA status. Thanks for all your hard work. Shimeru 21:38, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

When did armies stop using horses as cavalry?

The following sentence appears in the article: Bad article. Dear sir, although I apreciate your effort in giving the gist of the development of horse warfare, I am afraid I'm not very impressed with the part describing its early history. I hope you will improve the article, because you seem to have neglected tons of interesting recent literature, for instance the works of Littauer and Crouwel, or Drews Early Riders. I wish I could do better, but instead I will comment and lecture. -"In close combat protection was considered to matter more than speed". Not in long range combat? Can't be a picknick to have javelins and arrows sticking out everywhere. It is odd how everybody assumes one doesn't need armour against projectiles. -In most cultures, warriors would ride to the battle-field on ponies, camels, asses or mules, switching to a fast warhorse for combat! -"Supply waggons" were rarely pulled by horses outside Europe. From late antiquity onward vehicles were abandoned almost entirely in North Africa and The Middel East, in favor of the camel (R. W. Bulliet). -Your Light, Medium and Heavy horses are, I am sorry to say, extremely eurocentric. For the Franks the Arab horse was a strong and heavy horse, far better for combat in armour than their small local European breeds! That Percheron really is an anachronism. In Asia, the light horse was the pony used by the herdsman, though and able to sustain itself on a diet of grass, but not as fast and strong as the Asian warhorse, something like the Arab or the Akhal Teke. -I am afraid you are mistaken in assuming the Sumerians were using horses, and I sorely missed in your article the large-scale introduction of the (non indigenous) horse in the Middle East by the Chariot Peoples in the first half of the second millennium BC. It was only after that introduction that the light war-chariot, pulled by a team of horses, could be possible in the Middle East. -And the Hyksos really did not use the breast-strap, that was invented in late antiquity. Perhaps by the Chinese, perhaps by the Romans, but the Romans really did not invent the treed saddle, that first appeared in Mongolia in the second or third centuries AD. -We better not talk abou what horse was used for at about 4000 BC, because it seems to have been a popular dish rather than a means of transport, and that seems to be a touchy subject among Anglosaxons. -Last but not least, the war-horses used by the Assyrians in the ninth century BC were not held by a handler on the ground. They were a peculiar transition between chariot and mounted cavalry: the team of the chariot, the archer and the charioteer, had mounted their team of horses and abandoned the vehicle. The charioteer held both the horses, while the archer took care of the fighting. (said KoechlyRuestow)

Though most mounted fighting units were phased out during or immediately after World War II,[2] horses still had military uses.

Surely this should read World War I? Or what armies are we talking about? I know that officers rode horses in WW1, at least in some of the European theatres, but I thought the European armies learned their lesson then, and started phasing out the mounted soldier from 1914 onwards. Do any editors have access to this book, or others, to check? Thanks BrainyBabe 17:26, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

World War II is correct. The footnote has a link to the web page, you can read it for yourself. For that matter, read the rest of the article, the Polish used mounted cavalry, horses and mules were used in Italy and Africa by both sides, and the web article sources here goes into considerable additional detail. I busted my butt sourcing this article and worked very hard to get it GA status (note talk here, we obviously had a lot of editing disputes). Be so gracious to do your research and read carefully. Montanabw 19:49, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

I have read the webpage the footnote links to, and my reading of it is different from yours. I think this hinges on two points of language: one, what exactly "mounted fighting units" mean, and two, the difference between "most units were phased out (in the US Army)" and "most armies (in industrialised nations) phased out (all or most of) their units". I'll tackle these separately.
I am in no way an expert on the military or horses; rather, I try to represent the intelligent lay reader. To me, the phrase "mounted cavalry" suggests soldiers on horseback (or mules or other animals), actually fighting. This need not be sabres flashing a la Charge of the Light Brigade, but some shooting or other direct combat, or laying of explosives or behind the scenes ambushes, would seem to be a necessary part of their actual or potential role. If the phrase used is not "fighting units" but "reconnaissance units", that is a different kettle of fish, as, of course, are pack animals. My understanding is that the use of horses and mules in Africa and India was overwhelmingly as pack animals, not to harry troops or engage in direct combat. Likewise, Poles dragging equipment around by horse is using them for draft power, not fighting. From my reading, most armies in the developed world started phasing out their "mounted fighting units" from not long into World War I, although they kept horse units for reconnaissance and other purposes. Those nations that were fortunate enough not to be dragged into that unholy mess watched the triumph of the tanks from afar, and learned their lessons.
Second point: the phrase in the article "most mounted fighting units were phased out during or immediately after" WWII appears to refer only to the United States army. This sort of geographic bias in the presentation of information is so systemic within Wikipedia that it merits its own page to attempt to counter the problem Wikipedia:Countering_systemic_bias. So if we know that countries A,B,C,D,E.....P took the plunge towards decommissioning horses from WW1 onwards, while countries Q,R,S...Z kept theirs till WWII (the list needn't go in the article), then it follows that most mounted fighting units were phased out during or after WWI.("Most" referring to a majority of the nations under consideration.) Logically, if all or most armies in developed nations started to phase out their mounted fighting units as a result of the carnage of WWI, then there would be very few left, relative to a generation before, by the start of WWII.
Therefore I respectfully submit that the wording should be changed. I suggest something along the following lines: Change
Though most formal mounted cavalry units were phased out as fighting forces during or immediately after World War II,[38] horses still had military uses.


Though most formal mounted cavalry units were phased out as fighting forces during or immediately after World War I,[38] horses still had military uses.
By the way, Montanabw, I responded to your comments on my talkpage. Not sure if you saw them there.BrainyBabe 13:35, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

I will check my talk page, sometimes if there are multiple messages there I don't always spot things...

I will think about your comments, as there is a legitimate debate as to what "cavalry" means. (Just like there was endless debate here for a while about what a "war horse" was...) As for WWI versus WWII, by the criteria I think you are using, horse units were arguably becoming a thing of the past after the Spanish-American war and things like Teddy Roosevelt's famous charge up San Juan hill. I can't think of much in the way of light horse charges in WWI, even by then horses were used more for communication and reconnaissance with mechanization taking over a lot of field duties. But, the bottom line is that mounted Polish Cavalry unquestionably was in the field at the start of the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, and succeeded in repelling some initial infantry attacks until they were run off by oncoming Panzer units. Further, the US and other armies still had units with horses that were labeled "cavalry" whatever they did with them. The Cavalry remount programs were not phased out until after the end of WWII. I guess I am using "cavalry" in the sense it was used by the US Government and going by when they stopped using horses, making "cavalry" a term for tank-based units. Now off to my talk page... Montanabw 20:31, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Recent edits

Many good edits, but made a few revisions:

  1. Removed definition of cavalry in intro--for one thing, there were/are many different kinds of mounted units, heavy cavalry, light cavalry, chariots, infantry, etc...this generalized of a statement will draw the wrath of the military historians. We either have to define all of them or none of them, I vote for none, this article focuses on horses, we can wikilink to definitions of cavalry, etc...
  2. Removed reference to Donkeys as food. ALL equids were eaten in extremis by all military units--or by those who defeated them. That is a can of worms I think we need not open here--horsemeat references start edit wars. Made rest of statement more general. Though info is correct, naming specific modern units when they have been used this way for 2000 years invites others to create laundry lists of their favorite specific mounted units. Once that starts, it never ends. (sigh) (If you found a PHOTO of donkeys as pack animals, that would be cool though, and you could credit the unit in the caption, as was done with the 1st Cavalry unit photos...)
  3. Removed reference to bicycle infantry. It's unsourced and actually tanks succeeded horses more than bicycles did. Arguably, there IS a possible place for a section discussing ALL the successors to the cavalry, including bicycles, tanks and helicopters. On the other hand, the article is already a bit long, so maybe we need to find a good link to modern "cavalry" units with helicopters and tanks, one with a good history section, and just link to it not a bad notion to insert a wikilink to these related articles, just not in a sentence hanging out there all by itself just for the sake of a wikilink, I expanded the see also section...
  4. Cut the laundry list of nations with horse units down to continents. Once these lists start, they get endless. We could have 30 countries listed here, and "listy" sections could cost this piece its GA status.
  5. I finally figured out a way to clarify that WWI vesus WWII issue--I did make the WWI change, but added new language to clarify that cavalry did exist in WWII.

Overall, good ideas, most rephrasing of different sections was an improvement and thank you for the info on donkeys as pack animals. Montanabw 17:24, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

I wrote a response to this, but the system swallowed it; most frustrating. I will now withdraw from editing on this article for an indeterminate time. I will point out here the errors I see remaining in the article and leave you or other editors to make those changes as you see fit.
  1. Cavalry -- as I said, I am neither a military nor a horse expert. One of my target readers is the intelligent and curious 12 year old. The article should make it plain from the outset that "cavalry" refers to soldiers on horseback (and their modern descendants), and thus that anyone looking for information about horses in warfare would be well advised to look there too. There is a 90% overlap in the material covered, and the main word, cavalry, should be flagged up -- the subsidiary divisions don't have that urgency, and can be defined or linked to later in the article, or not at all, because the curious can find, e.g., light cavalry via cavalry.
  2. Horsemeat -- one of the functions of horses during times of war was as sources of protein. This has been true throughout history, as you acknowledge. Sometimes this was planned for (cf Roald Amundsen eating his dogs on the way to the South Pole), sometimes in extremis. To fail to acknowledge this in an article that is supposed to cover the whole subject of horses in warfare seems rather a lacuna.
  3. Bicycle infantry -- as that article explains, bicycles began to be used from the turn of the 19/20 century, to carry messages, to scout, and later to carry supplies. All of these were functions previously carried out on horseback. All it needs is a brief mention and a link to the aforementioned article. The "see also" section is all very well, but integration into the text is preferable: more readers see it, and it tells the story better. By all means include tanks and helicopters as well, as mechanised performers of some of the horse's functions.
  4. I agree with you about laundry lists, but here you have substituted the names of five continents for a list of dozens of countries. Why not just say "around the world"?
  5. Thank you for agreeing to reword the WW1/WW11 section.
  6. The rewording of the disambig page for warhorse has introduced certain difficulties; namely, the wording that follows "cavalry" may well be a dictionary definition, but it does not accurately reflect the content of that article, which in fact devotes screenfuls of information to what we might call post-horse cavalry.
  7. I never came across this article under what I believe was its previous name, warhorse. It seems to me that the phrase "horses in warfare" is rather broader than "warhorse". The introduction refers three times to "warhorse", which skews the perspective.

I wish you luck with this article. BrainyBabe 11:37, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

I actually DO appreciate your comments. Sometimes it just takes a little time for them to percolate. I will think about the cavalry matter, it is a good point...I just got swatted bad about it from the other side and am trying to figure out how to walk the tightrope. I also don't want to touch the cavalry article with a 10-foot pole unless I have to. (Try some edits over there and see that those editors say...?) The old War Horse article was the original, we moved all the text over here, but the history is probably still buried on the redirect page, another small issue that probably needs to be addressed...sigh. Anyway, feel free to comment any time. Montanabw 18:44, 13 February 2007 (UTC)


Contrary to popular belief, destriers, 'chargers' and other horses ridden by knights were not the forerunners of draft horses. Your reference is, unfortunately, wrong. I refer you instead to: Ewart Oakeshott, A Knight and his Horse, Dufour Editions 1962 & 1998, and Michael Prestwich, Armies and Warfare in the Middle Ages, Yale, 1996, amongst many. Knight's horses were middle-weight horses, similar to modern-day hunters. Your photograph at the top of the page is unfortunate: draft horses might be used by some modern reenactors, but you would do better to refer to the interpreters at, eg, the Royal Armouries who 'interpret' early documents rather than 'reenact'. The interpreters joust regularly, using middleweight horses. The medieval war-saddle on display in the museum fits one of their smaller horses perfectly. The speed, acceleration and agility required of a war horse should indicate a middle-weight horse. The only use for a draft horse in an army would be to pull the baggage train, although bullocks were far more common. Please don't take my comments as criticism of your fine article; I merely want to aid you in developing it. By the way, don't look to Destrier for accuracy, either! Gwinva 10:40, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

If you want to fix Destrier, go for it! I didn't write it and it appears to be abandoned. If you can find a better historical reenactment photo, please add it (we have trouble finding public domain images of horses that are appropriate...we need help!)
If you want to help with this article in the section on knights, use this talk page as a sandbox (I've created a new section for this, below), copying and pasting the relevant section here and working on it, we must keep everything meticulously footnoted to keep the article in GA status, and if you have these reference works, they sound terrific1 Just plug them into footnotes with the <ref> and </ref> tags . Then once we have the section polished up and footnoted, we can replace the existing material in the main article.
That said, for a middle weight, agile, ARMOUR CARRYING war horse, a better example that a "hunter" (modern hunters are largely Thoroughbred) is probably the Andalusian horse or other "baroque" breeds like the Friesian. Also, the people who breed Shire horses and other draft breeds like the Percheron and particularly the Friesian horse DO claim ancestry from the Great Horse, so keep that in mind. Lastly, keep in mind the balance between the weight of armor with the "speed, acceleration and agility required of a war horse" A horse can only carry 25% of its weight (maybe a bit more for short periods). Hence, a 1000 lb horse can carry about 250 lbs. While indeed, a middle-weight horse probably could easily carry armor of the 11th century (William the Conquerer was said to have ridden an Andalusian, in fact), by the time you get to heavy plate armour, well, figure out what it weighed, that's the horse you have to ride. The Laws of physics dicatate this. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Montanabw (talkcontribs) 00:02, 22 February 2007 (UTC).
Thanks for the reply and information. I must state that I don't really know much about horses: I come to this area through my interest in medieval warfare. I understand what you say about hunters -I think the reference I read likened them in size and strength rather than breeding (as the modern Andalusian breeds etc have moved on from the medieval ones). I think it is accepted that Andalusian and Arab stock were most prized for war horses. Of course, destriers were not that common: most warhorses were the more generic courser or rouncey, which probably differed in breeding, but could still carry an armed knight or man-at-arms. As I understand it, full plate armour rarely weighed more than 80lb. Horse armour intially comprised hardened leather with straw padding; after 1400 plate became more common for the chanfron, but the full plate sometimes seen in 16th century was extremely rare, and it is doubtful if it was more than ceremonial (ie not used in battle). As for speed: in a joust a horse was expected to get from standing to approx 30 mph at point of impact. When I get time, I'll collect all my books together and confirm all the references. By the way, I checked the Royal Armouries for confirmation of the horse size but all I could discover was a general statement: [2]. On that subject, I really don't know much about the use of photos, copyright, fairuse, etc, but it might be worth someone who knows what they're talking about contacting the armouries to see if there are any free-use resources: [3]. Gwinva 10:28, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Forgot to say: I realise many do claim that the draft breeds came from the great horses, and I have no intention to spark an edit war, especially as the assumption is so well-established that anyone could produce hundreds of references to back it up. The issue is best dealt with by saying something like: 'It is traditionally thought that destriers and other great horses were the ancestors of the modern draft horse, but current research suggests an alternative theory... (etc etc)'. I've got a book that includes the research on horse skeletons, and other archeological evidence. I'll hunt it out. Gwinva 14:02, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

The section on the medieval knight sure needs some of this work done. Your access to reference sources could be quite valuable, which is why I have created a thing to look at are the CHANGES in armour from, say the 11th through the 15th centuries...and how horses would have had to change with them.

As for weight, in addition to plate armour, you must consider the weight of the rider (even if people then were smaller, we're looking at 150 pounds minimum, I suspect), the weight of a saddle (a modern western saddle with a simple wood tree and leather coverings can weigh up to 50 pounds) plus the weight of weapons, shields, and other equipment in addition to armor. Also, even if late medieval armor was mostly ceremonial, you still would need a big enough horse to carry it for any period of time, even a couple of hours. Additionally, do not underestimate the abilities of a very large horse; the Percheron (which has some Arabian blood) and the Clydesdale both are ridden under saddle today and are remarkably agile.

I welcome anything you want to put in. If I think the info on horses is incorrect or defies the known laws of physics, we can work on that...sadly, a lot of historians know squat about horses.

I'm still gathering my references together, then I'll get going in the sandbox as suggested. Investigating the Royal Armouries further, I've found the following:
'The popular picture of a knight's horse is either a cart or shire horse. This is not the case. A destrier was about the size of a modern 'heavy hunter' but not as tall. Around 15 to 16 hands. Henry VIII stipulated in 1540 that his stallions should be no less than 15 hands.' [4]
I've emailed the Armouries, trying to discover the breed used, plus information about weight of rider, armour, saddle etc, so hopefully some information will be forthcoming. Many thanks for your help and interest: my knowledge of horses has been gleaned from books on armour, tournaments etc and, as you point out, historians don't always know much about horses themselves! However, their archeology is good... I can probably reference other things for you like saddles, bits etc (I see you've been working on those). Gwinva 14:44, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Very cool. Look forward to seeing what you have! The "modern heavy hunter" in the reference books is probably referring to a draft horse/Thoroughbred cross, which is real common in the UK and Ireland. (Look at the article in here on the Irish Draught, that is a classic example) In other words, a light draft horse or really, really heavy warmblood... Keep in mind that NONE of the modern breeds existed by name as such in, say, AD 1300, with the exception of the Arabian and the Andalusian. So if someone says it was a "Shire," they are wrong...they may be referring to one of the ancestors of the Shire, or a horse bred in the region, but not the modern breed. Some breeds then are extinct today, though perhaps provided original bloodstock for modern breeds.

The other thing to be careful about is that the modern 17 to 18 hand monster Shire horse is much larger than its counterpart in the middle ages. Back then, many light horses would qualify as ponies (under 14.2 hands) today. In reality, many horses, even today, are under 15 hands (the breed standard for the Arabian, for example, is 14.1 to 15.1 hands) 15 hands is 60 inches at the withers. Henry VIII's little decree resulted in the slaughter of many, many horses that became worthless with a stroke of the pen -- it would be like a decree that anyone under 5'7" couldn't get a job! A 16 hand horse is not actually a small animal and many modern draft horse breeds, including Belgians and Percherons, are usually still under 17 hands.

Probably the way to handle all of this is to focus on weight and "phenotype." Andalusian horses and Friesian horses are undoubtably the closest modern representatives, but I am quite interested in geting the feel for the evolution of the knight as an ever heavier-armoured fighter, and thus how the horse evolved to fit the need. If you skim the article's earlier sections where we discuss light, medium and heavyweight horse, you will see that the cutoff line between "medium" and "heavy" is kind of vague...basically within the Friesian breed, there is actually still a split between a lighter, more agile riding type and a heavier carriage driving type.

Also, we had quite a discussion earlier on this page (now archived) about how late medieval plate armour may have never been used in warfare, only for ceremonial purposes? If you can get any info on that...perhaps the highly stylized designs DID in fact weigh so much they needed to go on a draft type horse, who didn't have to do too much actual fighting... Do you know or can you find out??? Montanabw 17:06, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Knights and horses: weights and measures

ok, here are some figures to get us going (using heaviest examples)
knight's armour: 14th C mail hauberk 30 lb, with bascinet 12 lb
15th C field armour 57 lb
16th C tournament armour 90 lb
17th C musket-proof armour 70 lb
horse armour: 16th C (Henry VIII) 70 lb
I haven't yet referenced the earlier mail barding, but it was expensive and heavy, and very rare. I don't think any exists: mainly referenced in paintings and sculptures. Most commonly used was hardened leather and padded linen caparisons (with perhaps a plate chanfron0. yet to reference.
weapons One carried, perhaps another attached to saddle.
bastard sword (can't use two handed on horseback) max 3 lb
battle axe max 2 lb
mace 4 lb
lance 10 lb
data taken from A Knight and his Horse Ewart Oakeshott and Medieval History Magazine. can provide full title and publication details if figures used later.
saddle ?
knight: men weren't significantly smaller in middle ages: we're talking well-fed, well-conditioned, athletic men here. Edward I was over 6'. Henry VIII was a big man, too (especially in late years!!).
As for change in horse size over time: I have a book analysing German literary sources, which indicates horses did get bigger with change in armour. I'll save this (lost it once already) then check the bookshelf. Gwinva 21:07, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Courtly Culture: Literature and Society in the High Middle Ages Joachim Bumke, trans by Thomas Dunlap; New York: Overlook Duckworth, 2000 (German edition 1986) pp 176-178

"Historical documentation for horse armour from late 12th C...'iron horse blankets' 1200...'shoulder blankets' and chamfrons later...heavy horses cannot be validated 12th and 13th C...latin dextarius is not a breed...illustrations from 15th and 16th show larger horses...textual suggestions mares were sometimes used...epics speak of horses from Spain...also Scandinavian horses for combat... Hungarian horses for riding..."

Bumke also suggests late medieval armour weighed over 250 lb, which is patently incorrect. Hope he's right about the rest...

Does horse feeding tell you anything? Accounts kept by a keeper of horses in England, 1350, show each horse had an allowance of 1/2 bushel of oats and 3 loaves horsebread (from beans, peas and oatmeal) every 24 hours (Michael Prestwich: Armies and Warfare in the Middle Ages., p 33) Gwinva 21:34, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Nice info!

1. Define "armour" Human only, horse protective mateial too, horse saddle AND protective material??

2. I am not sure the weight of a bushel of oats, will have to check. However, that diet alone would kill a horse, they also need grass and hay. Formula is that a horse can eat a MAXIMUM of 2.5% of its body weight per day, (including grass or hay) and probably maintain on 1.5 to 2%. i.e 1000 lb horse will eat 15 to 25 pounds of food per day, depending on work performed.

3. Good to know the human side...a modern-sized guy who does team roping likes a 1,200 pound horse to carry the man, a heavyweight western saddle and drag around a steer... Montanabw 02:15, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

1. 'armour' refers to knight's -I've edited above to make it more obvious. Do the armour categories include the padded protective gear worn with armour? I wish I knew: the info didn't specify. The saddle is a good point: it certainly formed part of the protection for horse and rider. I'll have to keep digging.
2. Following links through bushel I've discovered the following. It is a volume measure, and a medieval English bushel of wheat weighed 64 tower pounds. A tower pound = approx 350g. Therefore a (medieval) bushel of wheat = 22.4 kg. Modern US bushel of wheat = 60 lb, where US bushel oats = 32 lb. Assuming the volume is constant, medieval bushel oats must be 11.98 kg. 1/2 bushel = 5.99 kg = 13.2 lb. Who knows how big a loaf was...
The figure came from accounts, so presumably grass isn't noted, since it wasn't paid for. Having said that, it was winter, and he kept between 50 and 60 horses. And "it does not seem that the horses were ever put out to graze." (Prestwich, p 33)
3. talking of knight's size...Henry VIII was pretty huge by the end of his life, yet had some pretty impressive decorative full armour, plus horse armour. He couldn't have ridden a small horse. That said, he was king: he could have jousted on a bullock as no one would dare knock him off!!
I haven't yet read through all my books, but here's a site you might be interested in. Includes articles on stirrups (interesting theory about development) saddles, riding techniques etc. [5]. Gwinva 16:51, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Ah -didn't see that link amongst the references. I guess you've read them. Gwinva 14:42, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

I've had a reply from the Royal Armouries, which was very informative. A few facts and figures:

man's armour (25 kg) plus mail and 'foundation garments' (7kg) = 32kg
weapons: sword and scabbard (3kg) plus lance (7kg) = 10kg
rider (5'8") = 70 kg
saddles (modern, based on British army SU02) = 14-19 kg (hard to determine what original weighed)
caparisons (horse barding) = 10 kg
total load approx = 71 kg

Compares that with 19th century cavalry horses expected to carry 28 stone (including rider) reduced to 21 stone in Boer war. Horses expected to carry that load for 25 miles a day. Other comments: variety of breeds used as warhorses during middle ages, some of which became draft breeds. Bayeaux tapestry shows horses of 12-14 hh; 15th century horses 14-15 hh. None of this can be classed as a citation, but bear in mind that this information is provided by those who work with the original artifacts, and interpret using modern replicas. Gwinva 20:57, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

New information and pages

As discussed with User:Montanabw on our talk pages, I have copied the information I've collated about warhorses from my sandbox into the sandbox on this page for further editing. I have also reformatted Destrier (removing the obvious POV and inaccuracies), and created Courser (horse) and Rouncey, and improved links to those three and this page by a quick search through wikipedia. Some of the info below might be more suited to those pages. Gwinva 14:42, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Sandbox for Revisions

Horse in medieval warfare

Medieval battles

Despite the popular image of a European knight on horseback charging into battle, the heavy cavalry charge was not a common occurence.[citation needed] Pitched battles were avoided, if at all possible, with most offensive warfare in the early Middle Ages taking the form of sieges,[3]or swift mounted raids called chevauchées, with the warriors lightly armed on swift horses and their heavy war horses safely in the stable.[4] While pitched battle was sometimes unavoidable, it was rarely fought on land suitable for heavy cavalry. In the fourteenth century, while mounted riders were very effective for initial attack,[5] it was common for knights to dismount to fight. [6]

By theLate Middle Ages (approx 1300-1550), battles became more common, probably because of the success of infantry tactics.[3]


Tournaments began in the eleventh century as both a sport and training for war. Usually taking the form of a mêlée, the participants used the horses, armour and weapons of war.[7] The sport of jousting grew out of the tournament and, by the fifteenth century, the art of tilting became quite sophisticated.[8] IIn the process the pageantry and specialization became less war-like, perhaps because of the knight's changing role in war.[5]

Horses were specially breed for the joust, and heavier armour developed. However, this did not necessarily lead to significantly larger horses. Interpreters at the Royal Armouries, Leeds, have re-created the joust, using specially bred horses and replica armour.[9] Their horses are 15-16 hands, and approximately 1100 lb,[10] and perform well in the joust. The researchers also tested historic artifacts and found that the medieval war saddle within the armoury fit one of their smaller horses perfectly.[citation needed]

Types of medieval war horses

The most well known horse of the medieval era of Europe is the destrier, known for carrying knights into war. Most knights and mounted men-at-arms rode smaller horses known as coursers and rounceys.[8] (A generic name often used to describe medieval war horses is charger, which appears interchangeable with the other terms).

Stallions were often used as war horses in Europe due to their natural agression and hot-blooded tendencies. A thirteenth century work describes destriers "biting and kicking" on the battlefield.[11] However, the use of mares by European warriors cannot be discounted from literary references.[11] Mares were the preferred war horse of the Moors, the Islamic invaders who attacked various European nations from A.D. 700 through the 15th Century. [12]

War horses were more expensive than normal riding horses, and destriers the most prized, but figures vary greatly from source to source. Destriers are given a values ranging from seven times the price of an ordinary horse[13] to 700 times.[14] The Bohemian king Wenzel II rode a horse "valued at one thousand marks" in 1298.[11] At the other extreme, a 1265 French ordinance ruled that a squire could not spend more than twenty marks on a rouncey.[8] Knights were expected to have at least one war horse (as well as riding horses and packhorses), with some records from the later Middle Ages showing knights bringing twenty-four horses on campaign.[15] Five horses was perhaps the standard.[13]

Breed and size of warhorses

There is little evidence for a controlled and consistent breeding of warhorses in Europe during the early Middle Ages, or a development of particular breeds or strains. uncontrolled breeding throughout Europe resulted in the loss of good warhorse stock, which had to be built up again over the following centuries.[16] However, there were exceptions; in the 7th century, a Merovingian kingdom still retained at least one active Roman horse breeding centres.[13]

It is also hard to trace what happened to the bloodlines of destriers when this type appears to disappear from record during the seventeenth century.Cite error: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page). Other modern breeds, including the Shire and Frisian also claim such descent.[citation needed] However, other historians discount this theory. [17] Such a theory would suggest the war horses were crossed once again with the cold bloods, since war horses, and the destrier in particular, were renowned for their hot-blooded nature.[18]

The origins of the medieval war horse are equally obscure, although it is believed they had some Arabian blood, through the Spanish or Andalusian horse. It is also possible that other sources of oriental bloodstock came from what was called the Nisaean breed from Iran and Anatolia were brought back from the Crusades. [19] Spanish horses were the most expensive (although that refered to their origin, not their breeding). In Germany, spanjol became the word used to describe warhorses; German literary sources also refer to fine horses from Scandanavia. [20]Feudal France was also noted for its warhorses.[21]

There has also been some dispute, in medievalist circles, over the size of the warhorse, with some notable historians claiming a size of 17-18 hands (as large as a modern Shire or police horse).[22] However, there is little evidence for such a size. Analysis of existing horse armour located in the Royal Armouries indicates they were originally worn by horses of 15-16 hands[23], about the size and build of a modern hunter. [24] Research undertaken at the Museum of London, using literary, pictorial and archeological sources, supports military horses of 14-15 hands, distinguished from a riding horse by its strength and skill, rather than its size.[25]

Perhaps one reason the 'myth' of the giant warhorse was so persuasive is the assumption, still held by many, that medieval armour was heavy. In fact, even the heaviest tournment armour (for knights) weighed little more than 90 lb, and field (war) armour 40-70 lb; horse armour, more common in tournaments than war, rarely weighed more than 70lb.[26] Hardened leather, and padded bards would have been more common [27], and probably as effective.[28] Even allowing for the weight of the rider, such a load could easily be carried by 1200 lb horse.

Further evidence for a 14-16 hand warhorse is that it was a matter of pride to a knight to be able to vault onto his horse in full armour, without touching the stirrup. This arose not from vanity, but necessity: if unhorsed during battle, a knight would remain vulnerable if unable to mount by himself. In reality, of course, a wounded or weary knight might find it difficult, and rely on a vigilant squire to assist him. Incidentally, a knight's armour served in his favour in any fall. With his long hair twisted on his head to form a springy padding under his padded-linen hood, and his helm placed on top, he had head protection not dissimilar to a modern bike helmet.[29]


Main article: Destrier

Destrier does not refer to a breed, but to a horse displaying certain characteristics: (be specific--powerful build, agility, whatever) . Also known as the 'Great Horse', the destrier was highly prized by knights and men-at-arms, but was actually not very common.[30] The word destrier comes from the latin dextarius, which means "right-sided" (the same root as our modern 'dexterous'). [31] It was described by contemporary sources as the "great horse" because of its size and reputation.[citation needed] This is, of course, a subjective term, and gives no firm information about its actual height or weight. The average horse of the time was 12-14 hands,[citation needed] thus a "great horse" by medieval standards might appear small to our modern eyes.

The destrier appears to have been most suited to the joust; coursers seem to have been preferred for battle.[32]


Main article: Rouncey

The Rouncey was a general, all purpose horse.[citation needed] While some sources describe rounceys as indifferent horses, suitable only for poor squires, others describe them as good all-purpose horses. When a summons to war was sent out in England, in 1327, it expressly requested rounceys, for swift pursuit, rather than destriers. [33]


Main article: Courser

Coursers were swift horses that seem to have been preferred for battle.[8] (Put a paragraph on coursers here with link to article)

Notes and references

  1. ^ Chamberlin, Horse, pp. 166-167
  2. ^ Waller, Anna L. "Horses and Mules and National Defense" 1958, Office of the Quartermaster General
  3. ^ a b Bennet, Matthew; Bradbury, Jim; DeVries, Kelly; Dickie, Iain; Jestice, Phyllis G. Fighting Techniques of the Medieval World: AD 500-AD 1500, London: Amber Books, 2005.
  4. ^ Chevauchées were the preferred form of warfare for the English during the Hundred Years' War (see, amongst many, Barber, Richard. The Reign of Chivalry, 2nd Ed. UK: The Boydell Press, 2005, pp 34-38) and the Scots in the Wars of Independence (see Prestwich, Michael. Armies and Warfare in the Middle Ages: The English Experience, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996)
  5. ^ a b Barber, Richard. The Reign of Chivalry, 2nd Ed. UK: The Boydell Press, 2005
  6. ^ Prestwich, Michael. Armies and Warfare in the Middle Ages: The English Experience, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996, p 31
  7. ^ Barker, Juliet. The Tounament in England: 1100-1400, UK: The Boydell Press, 1986, pp 4-15
  8. ^ a b c d Oakeshott, Ewart, A Knight and his Horse, Rev. 2nd Ed. USA:Dufour Editions, 1998
  9. ^ Royal Armouries web site, accessed February ?, 2007
  10. ^ Royal Armouries web site, accessed February ?, 2007
  11. ^ a b c Bumke, Joachim. Courtly Culture: Literature and Society in the High Middle Ages, translated by Thomas Dunlap, USA: Overlook Duckworth, 2000, p 175-178 (First published in 1986 as Höfische Kultur: Literatur und Gesellschaft im holen Mittelalter by Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag)
  12. ^ Edwards, Gladys Brown. The Arabian: War Horse to Show Horse. Arabian Horse Association of Southern California, Revised Collector's Edition, Rich Publishing, 1973.
  13. ^ a b c Nicolle, David. Medieval Warfare Source Book: Warfare in Western Christendom, UK: Brockhampton Press, 1999
  14. ^ Carey, Brian Todd; Allfree, Joshua B; Cairns, John. Warfare in the Medieval World, UK: Pen & Sword Military, 2006, p112
  15. ^ Prestwich, Michael. Armies and Warfare in the Middle Ages: The English Experience, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996
  16. ^ Carey, Brian Todd; Allfree, Joshua B; Cairns, John. Warfare in the Medieval World, UK: Pen & Sword Military, 2006, p112
  17. ^ See e.g.: Clark, John (Ed). The Medieval Horse and its Equipment: c.1150-c.1450, Rev. 2nd Ed, UK: The Boydell Press, 2004, p 23; Prestwich, Michael. Armies and Warfare in the Middle Ages: The English Experience, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996, p 30
  18. ^ Carey, Brian Todd; Allfree, Joshua B; Cairns, John. Warfare in the Medieval World, UK: Pen & Sword Military, 2006, p113
  19. ^ Nicolle, David. Medieval Warfare Source Book: Warfare in Western Christendom, UK: Brockhampton Press, 1999, p267
  20. ^ Bumke, Joachim. Courtly Culture: Literature and Society in the High Middle Ages, translated by Thomas Dunlap, USA: Overlook Duckworth, 2000, pp 177-178 (First published in 1986 as Höfische Kultur: Literatur und Gesellschaft im holen Mittelalter by Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag)
  21. ^ Gies, Frances; Gies, Joseph. Daily Life in Medieval Times, UK: Grange Books, 2005, p 88 (originally published by Harper Collins in three volumes, 1969, 1974, 1990)
  22. ^ Including: Davis, R. The Medieval Warhorse, London:Thames and Hudson, 1989;
  23. ^ study by Ann Hyland, quoted in: Clark, John (Ed). The Medieval Horse and its Equipment: c.1150-c.1450, Rev. 2nd Ed, UK: The Boydell Press, 2004, p 23
  24. ^ Gravett, Christopher. English Medieval Knight 1300-1400, Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2002, p 59
  25. ^ Clark, John (Ed). The Medieval Horse and its Equipment: c.1150-c.1450, Rev. 2nd Ed, UK: The Boydell Press, 2004, p 25
  26. ^ Oakeshott, Ewart. A Knight and his Horse, Rev. 2nd Ed. USA:Dufour Editions, 1998, pp 104-105
  27. ^ Barker, Juliet, The Tournament in England, 1100-1400, UK: Boydell Press, 1986, pp 175-6
  28. ^ Oakeshott, Ewart. A Knight and his Horse, Rev. 2nd Ed. USA:Dufour Editions, 1998, p 49
  29. ^ Oakeshott, Ewart. A Knight and His Armour, Rev. 2nd Ed. USA: Dufour Editions, 1999, p 92
  30. ^ Prestwich, Michael. Armies and Warfare in the Middle Ages: The English Experience, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996, p 30
  31. ^ Gravett, Christopher. English Medieval Knight 1300-1400, Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2002, p 59
  32. ^ Oakeshott, Ewart. A Knight and his Horse, Rev. 2nd Ed. USA:Dufour Editions, 1998, p 11
  33. ^ Prestwich, Michael. Armies and Warfare in the Middle Ages: The English Experience, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996, p 318

Wow! Double WOW!!

FANTASTIC EFFORT!! Decided this was too much good work to fit into Horses in Warfare, you are right, a new article is needed, so I created Medieval horses. Have fun, it's live! I'll have to figure out the really basic basics to add to the warfare article, but I think this hard work needs its own space! If the name "Medieval horses" is dumb, just move and change, whatever works for you. Montanabw 05:38, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for merging bits into the main article; I really wasn't sure what needed to go in. I think you present the different theories of size and breeding well. I just fiddled a bit with the definitions of courser, rouncey, and destrier. Reading through the article, two more points struck me. 1. ref to weight of heavy horses 'from middle ages on'. I haven't yet pulled the references together, but John Clark's Medieval Horse has the medieval draught horses as smaller than the war horses (ie 14 hands or so). I'll have to look that up. Also, ref to William the Conqueror's horse at Hastings at 15 hands. Royal Armouries research (as per email mentioned in talk a few sections up) puts Bayeaux tapestry horses (ie battle of Hastings) at 12-14hh. I'll have to try and find a citable reference for that theory. By the way, do we leave the sandbox on this page, or delete it now it's been copied to Medieval horses? Gwinva 22:01, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Let's keep it here for now, we may want to use the reference sources again, maybe archive it later -- there are a couple spots in the article that still need citations added. Thanks for your work clarifying the material I put in there. Tough to decide what to add when you can only add a little!
As for the height thing, never forget the other factor: WEIGHT. A 15.2 Belgian is pretty common and can weigh 1,500 pounds easily. On the other hand, 15.2 hand saddle horse may only weigh 1000 lbs. And skeletal structure matters too. Believe it or not, a 500 pound shetland pony can, pound for pound, pull practically as much as a Belgian that weighs three times as much! (Which is why they could use ponies in the mines) Keep in mind that a "lightweight" horse in the medieval period could be 13 hands and 800 lbs., a rouncey or courser might be 14 or 15 hands and 900 lbs, and a "heavy" or "great" horse could be 15.2 to 16 hands and 1300 lbs...we don't want to use the modern draft horse or warmblood as a real strong model, because I suspect horse breeds are all a bigger than they used to be...nutrition and selective breeding would both account for this. I liked the bit you put in about how we really can't use relative estimates to guess real sizes -- skeletons and, to a lesser extent, equipment size tells that tale. (FYI, measured my 14.3 hand Arabian today with a weight tape. She's fat, coming out of winter, and the tape estimates her at 960 pounds. If she were a medieval message horse, either half-starved or even just in fighting trim, she's probably be closer to 900 pounds) Montanabw 05:07, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

I have come across a reference which isn't appropriate for the Medieval horses page, but follows up discussion above, and applies to this page (eg. discussion of heavy horses; renaissance period): French artillery horses of 1697, harnessed in teams of four to two-wheeled carts, were in modern terms small ponies of 13-14 hands; 100 years later the minimum size of horses requisitioned for the French army was still only 13½ hands...[quoting a French 17th century writer]: four horses of 13-14 hands harnessed in file to a two-wheeled cart were expected to haul a load of 675kg (1400 lb) maximum -350lb per horse. Clark, John (Ed). The Medieval Horse and its Equipment: c.1150-c.1450, Rev. 2nd Ed, UK: The Boydell Press, 2004, pp27-28. Seems like the French, at least, were using medieval-type draught horses (see figures from this book at Medieval horses), not unwanted great horses, and certainly nothing like the modern heavy horse. (Bibliography credits study in Spruytte, J. Early Harness Systems, London, 1983)Gwinva 17:03, 6 March 2007 (UTC)