Horsing Around Through History

Dame Aoife discusses horses in the Middle Ages and Renaissance in the latest edition of Aoife's Links.

Greetings everyone. This week's Links List is all about Horses in history and in the Modern Middle Ages. Such a noble past-time brings a great deal to the "flavor of the Middle Ages and Renaissance". I greatly enjoy watching contests involving horses at SCA events.

Below are many links for Kingdom equestrian groups. These in turn have terrific links lists, and I encourage you to use them. In addition, there is some information about carriages/carts, barding, how to begin SCA Horsemanship, Horse History, Sidesaddles, and more. Please feel free to pass this Links List along to those who will find it interesting and use these links to update your own webpages.

Cheers

Aoife

Getting Started in S.C.A. Horsemanship by Ld. Manfred von dem Schwarzwald
http://www.meridies.org/as/dmir/Equestrian/1003.html
(Site Excerpt) Riding the Quintain - This game involves the use of a device once used to train mounted knights in proper techniques of the lance. You will ride at the quintain with a lance "couched" or leveled, in an attempt to strike the target. The quintain itself is a wooden shield (the target) mounted on the end of a revolving T-bar. A score is given based on the number of times the quintain spins around after being struck by the lance.

The International History of the Horse: 600 - 1630 THE MIDDLE AGES EMERGENCE OF LIGHT CAVALRY
http://www.imh.org/imh/kyhpl2a.html
(Site Excerpt) The horse became largely a vehicle for battle or the hunt since the Roman roads, which had previously united Europe, fell in disrepair. Travel from one area to another was dangerous due to the hostile relations between kingdoms. For the most part, chariots fell from use and the wagon remained a farm vehicle. Despite a decline in the quality of technological innovation in many spheres of life, the Middle Ages saw the horse adapted to new roles in such diverse areas as warfare and agriculture.

Illuminated Image: Medieval Horses and Cart
http://www.imh.org/imh/jpg/cart.jpg

The Medieval Horse
http://victorian.fortunecity.com/manet/394/page29.htm
(Site Excerpt--note: scroll down 1/3 of page to get to the Medieval Information) It is commonly believed that the great war-horses, also called destriers, were developed during the Middle Ages to support the great weight of the armored knight. Actually, a good suit of armor was not over 70 pounds in weight; and therefore, the horse would only be expected to carry some 250 to 300 pounds. The real reason large horses were useful was because their weight gave greater force to the impact of the knight's lance, both in warfare and in the tournament. A destrier weighed twice as much as a conventional riding horse; and when the knight struck a conventionally mounted opponent, the impact could be devastating.

Brough's Books--Books on Horse-drawn Carriages and Carts
http://www.dropbears.com/b/broughsbooks/history/horse-drawn_carriages.htm

Kingdom of Acre Medieval Jousting Exhibitions, Associations, and Training Links Page
http://www.gymkhanarider.com/About/history/jousting.html

The Medieval Horse Store
Medieval Horses and Links

http://www.skyhorsekingdom.com/horse_breeds/medieval_horses.htm

A Medieval Sidesaddle by Ilaria Veltri degli Ansari
http://ilaria.veltri.tripod.com/sidesaddle.html
(Site Excerpt) I found an 11th c. painting of Mary and Joseph fleeing into Egypt. In this plate Mary rides aside and both her feet are in stirrups. I am of the opinion that this is unsafe. I also found a written reference in Hispanic Costume, that spoke of women using one or two stirrups on their saddles. (Note: Photos, illustrations, and bibliography provided)

Works of art portraying the medieval war horse
http://www2.truman.edu/~capter/jins343/medi.htm
(Site Excerpt) Caroligian, about 860-870 AD, Equestrian statuette of a Caroligian Emperor (traditionally identified as Charlemagne). The portrait type corresponds to manuscript and ivory images of Charles the Bold, not his grandfather Charlemagne. Medieval artists were usually not particular about which legs of the horse advanced together, but here the horse and rider's proud bearing, and the high foreleg especially, are significant reflections of imperial Roman forms. Walter Liedtke (1989), The Royal Horse and Rider: Painting, Sculpture, and Horsemanship 1500-1800, Black and White Plate 13, page 151.

Medieval Horse Guild
Medieval Horse Breeds

http://www.horseguild.com/Medieval_Horse_Breeds.htm
(Site Excerpt) Medieval horses were defined by their confirmation and the role they were intended to be used for. There were highly refined and trained Destriers, smooth gaited Palfreys, long winded and strong Coursers, and general purpose Rouncies. In addition, ponies, mules and donkeys also played a vital role in society of the period. Since the scope of this article is to inform briefly about medieval horses, I'll limit myself to broad generalizations about a few types of horses. The reader wanting more detailed information should choose and read some of the books listed in the bibliography which is in another part of this web site. A number of those books deal specifically with the breeding and use of medieval horses.

Horses and History or The Dog May Be Man's Best Friend, but It Was the Horse that Built Civilization! by Melinda Maidens
http://users.erols.com/mmaidens/
(Site Excerpt) "History was written on the back of the horse," according to an inscription at The Horse Park in Kentucky. Horse lovers do not need to be reminded how much human beings owe to equus caballus, but to the general population, civilization's debt is perhaps not immediately apparent. A comparison of civilizations that had horses with civilizations that did not soon makes it clear that human history, at least in Eurasia, would have been profoundly different were it not for the horse.

Belgian Draft Horse
http://www.imh.org/imh/bw/bel.html
(Site Excerpt) History shows that Belgians are direct lineal descendants of the "Great Horse" of medieval times. The Belgian, as the name implies, is native to the country of Belgium. This little country is blessed with fertile soil and abundant rainfall, providing the thrifty farmers of Belgium with the excellent pastures and the hay and grain necessary to develop a heavy, powerful breed of horse.

Kingdom of Aethelmearc Equestrian Webpage
http://home.twcny.rr.com/lienhart/equestrian/
(Site Excerpt) Garb: It should allow you to mount and dismount easily. Avoid flapping garments such as cloaks or long veils which may get tangled, and might frighten the horse you're riding, (After all, he might be new to the SCA). Wear trousers under skirts and kilts. Ladies; assume that you'll be riding astride, since sidesaddles are uncommon.

Stefan's Florilegium Horse Article
http://www.florilegium.org/files/ANIMALS/Horse-n-t-MA-art.html
The Horse in the Medieval Age by Malachy of Adamastor

East Kingdom Equestrian College
http://www.eastkingdom.org/equestrian/

Equestrian Activities within the Kingdom of An Tir by - THL Catelin Spenser, EM - An Tir
http://members.tripod.com/~EnchantedHawk/equestrian.html

Rules of the Ealdormerian Equestrian
http://sca.uwaterloo.ca/~flaming_sky/horse/rules.html

Middle Kingdom Equestrian College
http://www.midrealm.org/equestrian/

Northshield Cavalry FAQ
http://www.northshield.org/cavalry/equestfaq.html

14th C. ITALIAN RIDING CAPARISON
Master Johannes the Black of the Athanor

http://www.meridies.org/as/dmir/Equestrian/1007.html
(Site Excerpt, site has illustrations) The SADDLE COVER may be seen in Illus. 4 & 5. These are very much like the 'mochila' saddle covers which the conquistadors used. If you construct one, it is important that it's constructed of or lined with a coarse material, so that they will not slide on the saddle. It will be necessary to either fit them, or make them out of industrial felt, so that they may be put on wet and ridden, thus conforming to the saddle's shape. The stirrups are pulled around them, as the illustration show, though a horizontal slit could be made to allow them to be pulled through.

Mediaeval saddles and stirrup irons
http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/Meadows/4563/SCAhorses.html
Photos taken at Warwick Castle--scroll down page to find a set of "horse links"

SCA-Wide Equestrian Handbook
http://www.sca.org/officers/marshal/combat/equestrian/ equestrian_handbook.pdf
Complete sca-wide rules---Acrobat Reader required. Please note that there is provision for minors and horses!!!! Hurrah!

Horse Armor Information Page (many dealers)
http://www.ruble-enterprises.com/horse.htm