Palfreys and rounceys, hackneys and packhorses, warhorses and coursers, not to mention the mysterious ‘dung mare’ – they were all part of everyday life in the Middle Ages. Every cleric and monk, no matter how immersed in his devotional routine … Continue reading
Posted in conference, Medieval animals, Medieval horses, Uncategorized
Tagged call for papers, conference, horse, horsemanship, International Medieval Congress, medieval horse, practical horsemanship, warhorse
Were medieval horses loved by their riders? Or were their regarded as pieces of functional machinery, discarded when they run out of order without a second thought? So many sources, both modern and medieval, refer to them as if they had been mere machines, complex but replacable. The matter-of-fact testimony of restauratio equorum, analyzed for Edwardian England by Andrew Ayton, certainly suggests as much. Likewise, knights in romances rarely stop to grieve their fallen mounts, as long as they have replacements at hand. Even Dom Duarte I in his famous The Book of Horsemanship has little to say about the personality of a medieval horses, except that it must be a ‘good horse’.
But what was a ‘good horse’ in the Middle Ages?
Posted in Arthurian Literature, equestrian history, History, Medieval horses, Medieval Literature
Tagged bestiary, Chivalry, equestrian history, horse, knights, medieval horse, Old French, warhorse
‘the art of being a good horseman is one of the most important skills that lords, knights and squires ought to possess.’ (The Book of Horsemanship by Duarte I of Portugal)
Have you ever thought why horsemanship was an essential skill for almost any medieval person with any sort of ambition? Naturally, there were knights, who could not practice chivalry without a cheval, horse. However, any medieval person, peasant or knight, monk or king, housewife or lady, would have at least some practical knowledge of horsemanship. Horses were everywhere, like cars are nowadays, but there were ways in which horses were very much unlike cars. In fact, horsemanship could save your life – in this world and the next one – or lose it. Continue reading