How were war horses trained?

Open to public view.

Re: How were war horses trained?

Postby admin » 07 Jul 2012 23:23

p.s. Note that there is a rein going from the buckler hand to the bit.
http://www.antique-swords.co.uk/

I like swords more than you.
User avatar
admin
Emperor
 
Posts: 35093
Joined: 13 Mar 2006 17:28
Location: Guildford, Surrey, England.

Re: How were war horses trained?

Postby Chiron » 08 Jul 2012 08:58

Well my my that is interesting 8) , I wonder whether they used (voice commands Henry the eighth used a fair amount of voice commands while riding) or are they prompting with the stick, as i mentioned earlier an element of dressage that would apparently predate the schools by 200. Dom Duart says in his book that he is not going to explain breeding, and training since those topics are already extensively covered in veterinary manuals but it's too bad that he didn't say which ones. But the other pictures make it very clear excellent work Mat :D

@ Ariella: It's definitely the romance of Alexander I was looking for it for images of horses for research reasons and came across the first one but missed the others for some inexplicable reason. Although games are prominent there are also many pictures of squires training and wrestling, an interesting one is the squires tilting at a target in a rowboat.
nay king, nay quin we willnae be fooled again!
Terry pratchet, the wee free men:
User avatar
Chiron
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 483
Joined: 18 Aug 2010 20:30

Re: How were war horses trained?

Postby Ariella Elema » 08 Jul 2012 20:27

Interesting!

Looking closer, those really are sticks that the men are carrying, not swords or play-swords. I don't think anyone has suggested before that these images are part of the training sequences in the Romance of Alexander rather than the pictures of entertainers. If we can find some contemporary references to horses being trained to rear and kick, you'd have an academic article there.
Ariella
User avatar
Ariella Elema
2nd Lieutenant
 
Posts: 383
Joined: 31 May 2006 19:23
Location: Toronto

Re: How were war horses trained?

Postby Chiron » 08 Jul 2012 20:52

Albertus Magnus's veterinary treatise predates this manuscript by about sixty years, but can't think of any others except for that very obvious one. Your right though, it would make a good subject already got something in that vane on my plate though, if I find anything I'll post it. But I'd much rather face a horse that just tries to bowls me over than one that's kicking and biting and knows not to get hit by he sword. Probably another reason they preferred stallions, stallions probably got more easily rapped up in the action, like in the examples BD gave.
nay king, nay quin we willnae be fooled again!
Terry pratchet, the wee free men:
User avatar
Chiron
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 483
Joined: 18 Aug 2010 20:30

Re: How were war horses trained?

Postby bigdummy » 08 Jul 2012 21:54

Supposedly warhorses were mean, and could be dangerous to be around, from what I've read.

BD
"In the case of an ailing social order, the absence of an adequate diagnosis... is a crucial, perhaps decisive part of the disease." -Zygmunt Bauman

"With any luck we'll be in Stalingrad by winter. " - Anyonymous German soldier
User avatar
bigdummy
Field Marshal
 
Posts: 15127
Joined: 06 Mar 2007 20:32
Location: New Orleans

Re: How were war horses trained?

Postby Ariella Elema » 08 Jul 2012 21:55

I wonder if Dom Duarte had seen or heard of the baytara genre of manuals in Arabic? Those veterinary treatises go back to the ninth century and they're often combined with military works. I wouldn't be surprised if some of those books also describe military horse training.
Ariella
User avatar
Ariella Elema
2nd Lieutenant
 
Posts: 383
Joined: 31 May 2006 19:23
Location: Toronto

Re: How were war horses trained?

Postby Ariella Elema » 08 Jul 2012 22:07

BD, I've seen discussion somewhere or other of that subject, possibly in Hyland's The Medieval Warhorse. A scholar found several references to knights praising the kind, steadfast and generous character of their horses.

A horse doesn't necessarily have to be a bastard to be a fighter. The video of the biting incident I posted upthread is an example. Dale's mare Maggie is actually a very safe, laid-back horse. He's mentioned that he often takes her to events instead of his number-one mount because she can be turned out in the pasture with the host's horses and she won't get into fights. But when he tries hand-to-hand combat on horseback, she sweetly, generously offers to help him out. :)
Ariella
User avatar
Ariella Elema
2nd Lieutenant
 
Posts: 383
Joined: 31 May 2006 19:23
Location: Toronto

Re: How were war horses trained?

Postby bigdummy » 08 Jul 2012 22:43

I'm basing what I said on records from the Teutonic Knights, referring to warhorses biting and kicking grooms, and being otherwise dangerous to manage. I think there was one anecdote of a courser killing a man who was trying to steal it from an Ordernstaadt breeding stable, though that was a translated excerpt from a modern Lithuanian history book.

But the ideal may have been different, or maybe they had unique breeds up there. There were many different types of warhorses.

BD
"In the case of an ailing social order, the absence of an adequate diagnosis... is a crucial, perhaps decisive part of the disease." -Zygmunt Bauman

"With any luck we'll be in Stalingrad by winter. " - Anyonymous German soldier
User avatar
bigdummy
Field Marshal
 
Posts: 15127
Joined: 06 Mar 2007 20:32
Location: New Orleans

Re: How were war horses trained?

Postby Chiron » 08 Jul 2012 23:05

Horses in general are clever, some are uncanny we have one who out of sheer boredom lifted a gate of its hinges because the new latch needed thumbs :lol: , but biting and jockeying is very common in young horses, (some breeds more than others) and it doesn't take much before it picks up on the masters intent. Horses being aggressive may have to do with type, maybe destriers or horses trained specifically to bite and kick their way through enemy lines were more aggressive. It might even be personal preference, god knows macho idiots are nothing if not still present in the horse world. It might be that the accounts of aggressive horse are acedemic sensationalism. There are accounts of knights using their hoses to clear paths though crowds not something I would try with a killer. It is possible that duart was talking about Arabic ones since he rode a form of gineta, but the monks were keeping breeding books pretty early. As a side note he is frank and matter of fact about the riding styles, and does not present the same extreme view as some modern scholars as to la brida.
nay king, nay quin we willnae be fooled again!
Terry pratchet, the wee free men:
User avatar
Chiron
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 483
Joined: 18 Aug 2010 20:30

Re: How were war horses trained?

Postby Chiron » 08 Jul 2012 23:07

Just saw BD post's I'll respond tomorrow.
nay king, nay quin we willnae be fooled again!
Terry pratchet, the wee free men:
User avatar
Chiron
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 483
Joined: 18 Aug 2010 20:30

Re: How were war horses trained?

Postby Ariella Elema » 08 Jul 2012 23:23

BD: Nifty! Would you happen to have a cite for those examples?
Ariella
User avatar
Ariella Elema
2nd Lieutenant
 
Posts: 383
Joined: 31 May 2006 19:23
Location: Toronto

Re: How were war horses trained?

Postby bigdummy » 09 Jul 2012 02:50

I think I read that in William Urban's Teutonic Knights book, and the original source was the Livonian Rhymed Chronicle, though it might have been the Chronicon Terrae Prussiae. I'll try to see if I find anything about horses in the index, it's been a while since I read that one and I've read about 10 books on the Teutonic Knights. If I can find it I'll post the reference here.

I think Chronicle of Henry of Livonia also mentions something about an aggressive warhorse though that was in a battle context.

BD
"In the case of an ailing social order, the absence of an adequate diagnosis... is a crucial, perhaps decisive part of the disease." -Zygmunt Bauman

"With any luck we'll be in Stalingrad by winter. " - Anyonymous German soldier
User avatar
bigdummy
Field Marshal
 
Posts: 15127
Joined: 06 Mar 2007 20:32
Location: New Orleans

Re: How were war horses trained?

Postby Jamie » 09 Jul 2012 19:28

I heard a story from one of the Hastings reenactments some years ago, and this is just something I heard from a friend, who heard it from a friend so lets not assume its all true...

The cavalry that turned up for that particular Hastings event was drafted in from a Napoleonic society (apparantly there being no earlier groups available), and so were used to the usual muskets, cannons and clatter of infantry close quaters fighting. What they were not used to was arrows. Apparantly as the first volley of arrows went whistling over their heads the horses decided that this wasn't a place they wanted to be.

Could there be any credence to this story?
The mighty slayer of anvils.
Jamie
Sergeant
 
Posts: 93
Joined: 20 May 2011 18:09

Re: How were war horses trained?

Postby Dave Long » 09 Oct 2012 11:56

Jamie wrote: Apparantly as the first volley of arrows went whistling over their heads the horses decided that this wasn't a place they wanted to be.

Quite credible. The horse I described above doesn't mind tractors, plastic bags, arrows, or gunshots ... but snowmen are to be treated with scepticism and given a wide berth.
Chiron wrote:I wonder whether they used (voice commands Henry the eighth used a fair amount of voice commands while riding) or are they prompting with the stick

I'd bet both; the fellow in the last two pictures has a pouch for the sugar lumps :-)
admin wrote:p.s. Note that there is a rein going from the buckler hand to the bit.

That's probably so the trainer still has some influence if the horse loses focus on the training. Anyone attempting to catch a horse that prefers playing tag to the human program for the day may find it helpful to meditate on the fact that any healthy horse would easily beat an olympic sprinter in the 100m dash.

My takeaway from these pictures is that the fellow with the buckler is also getting a nice distance/timing exercise, especially given the way the last two horses seem to be shod.
admin wrote:isn't that a war saddle?

Is there a difference? what do medieval civilian saddles look like?
User avatar
Dave Long
Staff Sergeant
 
Posts: 192
Joined: 30 Oct 2011 19:18

Re: How were war horses trained?

Postby admin » 09 Oct 2012 12:08

Medieval riding saddles seem to have been much lower and flatter, more like a modern saddle:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Codex ... 3%9Fen.jpg

The war saddles had very high fronts and backs and often also seem to be raised above the horse's back on a sort of 'tree':

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Einha ... h-cent.jpg
http://www.antique-swords.co.uk/

I like swords more than you.
User avatar
admin
Emperor
 
Posts: 35093
Joined: 13 Mar 2006 17:28
Location: Guildford, Surrey, England.

Re: How were war horses trained?

Postby Dave Long » 09 Oct 2012 16:54

I agree those are war saddles, then.

Looks like the "gala" saddles used by the cadre noir are descendants of the riding saddles:
[img]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/81/Cadre_noir_-_croupade_à_la_main.jpg[/img]

I wonder if saddlebow height is generally a good reflection of how likely a rider expects grappling-like activities to be? (or, for traditionalists, to have been...)
Image
User avatar
Dave Long
Staff Sergeant
 
Posts: 192
Joined: 30 Oct 2011 19:18

Re: How were war horses trained?

Postby CaptainAbrecan » 09 Oct 2012 19:53

Are you guys talking about quarter horses? I thought quarter horses need a special grain diet, that would be complicated and expensive for a renaissance farmer to grow. The horses used in war were probably a more common type of horse that could be raised easily, right? It would have been a different breed the farther back we go, I bet.
User avatar
CaptainAbrecan
Sergeant
 
Posts: 142
Joined: 16 Dec 2010 13:41
Location: Sterling, Massachusetts USA

Re: How were war horses trained?

Postby Chiron » 10 Oct 2012 21:17

CaptainAbrecan wrote:Are you guys talking about quarter horses? I thought quarter horses need a special grain diet, that would be complicated and expensive for a renaissance farmer to grow. The horses used in war were probably a more common type of horse that could be raised easily, right? It would have been a different breed the farther back we go, I bet.


No they were definitely not quarters, quarter arose as a breed in the early 20th century from old spanish stock and a lot of other influences :wink:

And yes, I totally believe the hastings story, horses have it in for hissing noises, even the best horse can shy at anything and if one does the others can follow suit, herd animals after all.

As to the saddles used, they look similar to the Fiori ones, they vary fairly widely, but the two constants seem to be a high cantle and some kind of support for the thigh, similar to bucking rolls on a western saddle.
Dave Long wrote:I agree those are war saddles, then.

Looks like the "gala" saddles used by the cadre noir are descendants of the riding saddles:
[img]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/81/Cadre_noir_-_croupade_à_la_main.jpg[/img]

I wonder if saddlebow height is generally a good reflection of how likely a rider expects grappling-like activities to be? (or, for traditionalists, to have been...)
Image

Dom Duart prefers a ala Brida Saddle for wrestling, his only criticism is that italians and french ride to much with their thighs and not enough with they'e stirrups. ever since I started riding in an old style mexican saddle (vary similar to medieval saddles in the way they function) I have found I have the same tendency, something that discombobulated severely when switching to a english saddle. When Dom Duart talks about riding with his thighs he doesn't (If my surmise is correct) mean gripping because he specifically refers to gripping with your knees. I think it means putting pressure with your thighs against the saddle counterbalancing. something that would the design of most medieval saddles would allow for, and is invaluable when maneuvering and orchestrating techniques.

As far as the horses wearing saddles. My guess would be that they are associating the action with the saddle, similar to modern benchmarking concepts. That would have the advantage of preventing the behavior cropping up out of place, a stallion is dangerous without being trained to not be afraid to kick the shit out of humans. I agree the lead is to keep the horse focused, but I wonder if he could also be giving cues. I doubt it but it's the ramblings of a tired brain.

Oh to the original question of the thread, Dom Duart talks about charging into crowds quite naturally, although he doesn't mention T-boning horses.
nay king, nay quin we willnae be fooled again!
Terry pratchet, the wee free men:
User avatar
Chiron
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 483
Joined: 18 Aug 2010 20:30

Re: How were war horses trained?

Postby Dave Long » 26 Oct 2012 12:29

Chiron wrote:Dom Duart prefers a ala Brida Saddle for wrestling, his only criticism is that italians and french ride to much with their thighs and not enough with they'e stirrups.

It would be interesting if you could quote a bit of the context for this remark.

My guess is that he's referring to what we'd call two- vs three-point riding. The old italian and french equitation seems to have been intended for sword duels, and so they emphasize a deep seat and long leg for maximal balance and precision. The alternative is to maximize mobility at speed, which requires riding with a light seat and short leg, or in other words more stirrup and less thigh.

Does that interpretation fit?

OK, maybe "at speed" doesn't, but for mobility in general shorter stirrups should be worth the loss of precision: with a big bend in the knee and heels out, one has a wide base of support for moving the upper body around well outside the horse.

(Chiron, you probably had a much better chance to observe Abdul's seat at the archery competition than I did; my guess from seeing him "on deck" is that (modulo the western tack) he would have had a fair amount of weight in his stirrups and not much in the saddle during his runs)
User avatar
Dave Long
Staff Sergeant
 
Posts: 192
Joined: 30 Oct 2011 19:18

Re: How were war horses trained?

Postby Dave Long » 16 Nov 2012 13:10

Chiron wrote:
Dave Long wrote:I wonder if saddlebow height is generally a good reflection of how likely a rider expects grappling-like activities to be? (or, for traditionalists, to have been...)

Dom Duart prefers a ala Brida Saddle for wrestling


Strange: the english translation seems to disagree with what's in pt.wikisource:
D. Duarte wrote:Primeiro busque sella que aia taaes arçooẽe traseiros em que se firme, E tenhã que he melhor huã sella gyneta que outra, senõ for degrande uantagẽ E aquesto se faz pera quem tem saber de se firmar no arçõ traseiro.
unless he's saying "take anything *but* a gineta saddle"?
In any case, it does seem that he recommends having at least enough saddlebow to hang on to.
User avatar
Dave Long
Staff Sergeant
 
Posts: 192
Joined: 30 Oct 2011 19:18

PreviousNext

Return to Arms & Armour, History, Militaria, Archaeology, Art

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron