Horse Racing

A Knight’s No-So-Tale

When we think of knights galloping into battle on mighty steeds, we think of these mounts as giant warhorses similar to crucifixes – or if cinema Modern has its way, Friesians. But a new study out of the UK has shed new light on the true size of medieval mounts, and the results may surprise you.

The study, published by a team of archaeologists at the University of Exeter, studied 1,964 horse skeletons from 171 different archaeological sites dating from 300-1650 AD, and analyzed the findings. to compare with our modern horses. The results were published in International Journal of Archeology.

According to a press statement launched by the University of Exeter on January 10th, horses in the medieval period were actually less than 14.2 inches tall, making them about the size of a horse. Size doesn’t matter, according to the researchers, and historical records show that a great deal of money was “spent on developing and maintaining networks of breeding, training, and keeping animals.” horses are used in combat.”

University of Exeter archaeologist and principal investigator of the study, Oliver Creighton, said in the statement, “The warhorse was central to our understanding of medieval English society and culture. , both as a symbol of status associated with the development of aristocratic identity and as a weapon of war known for its mobility and shock value, which changed the course of battle.

Indeed, through their work, the team discovered that the so-called “Great Horses” were not bred at all for size, but for different functions such as achievement. competitions and long-distance raid campaigns.

But when studying the skeletons of horses from that period, scientists who looked at shoulder height showed that, on average, “horses from the Saxon and Norman periods (5th-12th centuries) were ponies by standard modern standards.” Several larger mounts have been found dating from the Norman period (1066–1200 AD) onwards. “For the Norman period, the maximum recorded height of a horse from Trowbridge Castle, Wiltshire is estimated to be more than 15 hours, similar to the size of modern light-riding horses.”

Research indicates that it was not until the High Middle Ages (AD 1200–1350) that horses of about 16 hours were widely used, as the bones of horses recovered from the Tower of Heron, London show. . It was not until the post-medieval period (1500–1650 AD) that the average height of horses was found to be significantly larger, before reaching the size of modern warhorses and draft horses.

So the next time you’re watching a movie set in the middle ages, picture that tall, stylish A-lister riding a horse!

Post A Knight’s No-So-Tale appeared first on Canadian Horse.

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