Knights Warhorse Destrier

A Medieval knight on his warhorse was the quintessential image of a medieval battlefield.

A medieval knight generally possessed several horses which were used for different purposes. For instance, some horses were reserved for travelling purposes while others accompanied the medieval knight to the battlefield.

The Medieval knight’s warhorse could be seen accompanied by his squire writing new tales of chivalry and bravery.

Jousting Knights

Medieval Knights Horses

Medieval Knight Breed of Horse

Various breeds of horses were used by medieval knights. The best-known of these breeds was called a Destrier which accompanied a medieval knight to battlefields and various tournaments.

Destier War Horse *Knights Horse

Destrier War Horse *Knights Horse

It was also known as the “Great Horse” as it was the most important depiction of a medieval knight’s warhorse. For general travelling purposes, other breeds such as Palfrey and Ambler would accompany the medieval knight.

Training – Destrier War Horse

Special attention was paid to the training of a medieval knight’s warhorse. Since two of the most important components of the life of a medieval knight on a warhorse were battlefield and individual combat at tournaments, the warhorse was specifically trained for these purposes.

Destier The War Horse

Destrier War Horse

The warhorse was also trained to trample the bodies of the fallen enemies on the battleground in addition to being trained for biting and kicking when commanded.

William The Conqueror – War Horse

A Medieval knight and his warhorse went into battle multiple times in his life since wars were common during medieval times. The medieval warhorse that was most commonly used was called a Destrier.

It was the sturdiest and most active of all horses and therefore was preferred on the battleground.

This warhorse was brought to England by William the Conqueror after the famous Norman Conquest of England in 1066.

William The Conqueror

William The Conqueror

Knights Warhorse in Battle

A Medieval knight on a warhorse was one of the most essential elements of a medieval battlefield. Training of the knight’s warhorse was specifically carried out to accomplish different tasks during the battle.

In the event of a battle, for instance, the horse was trained to trample the bodies of enemies on the battlefield and even bite and kick when ordered by his owner.

Since a medieval knight on the battlefield had his armour and shield with him, the warhorses needed to be massive with a lot of stamina to bear the burden of the weight of his master, his armour and weaponry and needed to be able to understand and carry out his commands, only years of intensive training of a warhorse could accomplish this.

Medieval England Knight

Typical Knight *Medieval England

Warhorse Armour – Barding

The image of a medieval knight on a warhorse was particularly significant in that special Armour was used for the horse.

Cataphract Medieval Soldier on horseback

Early Horse Armour

The armour of the horse was made of steel and leather and was called “barding”.

Medieval Castle Military

War Horse Armour

The body parts of the horse that was generally armoured were the neck, head, and chest. Additionally, the rear of the horse was covered with a padded cloth made of leather.

Knights Warhorse Summary

Special types of horse breeds were used for a medieval knight on a horse. These breeds have generally become extinct although some of them such as Clydesdales and Quarter horses have been reproduced in recent times.

The horse, before accompanying his master to the battlefield, was highly decorated and in addition to barding, medieval warhorses were covered in a special kind of ornamented cloth called a trapper.

German Horse Armour

German War Horse Armour – Chamfron Head Armour