Part 6: Horses: What Types of Horses Were Used in Medieval Times?

Part 6: Horses: What Types of Horses Were Used in Medieval Times?

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Just like today, there were many types of horse in medieval times but they weren’t classified by their breed, but by their usage. Medieval knights must have used more than just their warhorse in their daily lives. In this episode, Jason introduces us to three horses that a knight might have kept in his stable and describes how each would have been useful in its own individual way.

• Executive Producer: Jason Kingsley OBE
• Executive Producer: Chris Kingsley
• Senior Producer: Brian Jenkins
• Producer: Edward Linley
• Director: Dominic Read
• Presenter: Jason Kingsley OBE
• Director of Photography: Ed Mash
• Camera: Andy Berryman
• Stills Photography and Continuity: Kasumi
• Associate Producer: James Howard
• Audio: Frank Newman
• Sound Design: Nick D. Brewer
• Music licensed from PremiumBeat
• Additional Camera: Darren Cook
• Additional Camera: Neil Phillips
• Additional Sound: Elizabeth Carlyon

Special Thanks:

• Chris Payton
• Ed Savage

Twitter: @ModernHistoryTV

34 thoughts on “Part 6: Horses: What Types of Horses Were Used in Medieval Times?”

  1. Back then Iberian (based) horses dominated horse breeding for a very long time. Every now and then were Arabians and native breeds used to bring out certain looks and qualities, for the sake of refining. Early horses of the following breeds before the thought for uniformity took over: Friesian, Fredericksborg, Lippizanner, Neopolitano, Iberian horses, Knabstrup.

  2. First, I like this series a lot, secondly some finer points were miss spoken or missed. Every source I've found suggests that palfreys were gaited. A TN Walking Horse is a strong example. The little Spanish horses in America (Mustangs) can be found (but not all) to have a smooth gaits. One is often called an Indian Shuffle. Racking horses and racking mules are gaited. It's generally easy to make correct distinctions between breed, type, and color. Ghost is an Iberian-type horse. He could be one of several breeds or crosses from the region. He is also a destrier (another type). Cremello, as is palomino from which cremello comes, is a color. (!!.html) A Palomino horse isn't actually a breed, it's a color type. An American Cream Draft is a cold blood breed (yet another designation), the type is a draft horse and the color is cream. This is one (the only?) breed that is actually a color breed. Perhaps the Suffulk Punch would also qualify. Internet warriors? Help.
    We didn't see a charger/courser. Faster than a destrier, strong and possessing more stamina the charger was a common war horse for the well-healed knight. I'll go out on a limb with this and suggest, knight fighting knight we'd probably see more destriers, otherwise, knights would have been as likely if not more likely to ride a courser into battle.
    Again, these are great vids! Glad they're posted.

  3. While everyone is arguing about the other horses mentioned, lets appreciate how handsome and calm Silver was. Anybody else thinking modern Thoroughbred? Don't believe his breed was mentioned in the video.

  4. nice! would be even more interesting if you could round off your equestrian equine series with not just pure horses and ponies used in medival times, but those types not used around warfare or middle class transport. how about medival work horses, for the plough or cart ( yes i know they also used serfs or oxen), and the types used by local priests etc, including the maligned mule, and the donkey?
    its so important, especially now in the 21st century and our total reliance on cars, tractors and lorries, that at least somewhere on the internet there is something showing our ancient reliance on equines for everything

  5. The first horse was a welsh cob not a welsh mountain pony. Too big to be a welsh mountain pony. Fantastic horses thought.

  6. Modern history i have a challenge ambiguously gay guy.
    Take that horsey from north Germany to Egypt. Carrying full armor for you and the horse. Remember horses had armor so i expect to see it on all the way. No aluminum or plastic allowed. Only steel crude and or iron. Lets be as true as possible you fraud. Plus your weapon. Altho i will allow a donkey to carry your provisions. No hotels no restaurants. Full mid evil gothic travelling. Lets see your horse in snow, mountains, mud, and finally sand.
    Your horse will die. Because the ankles cant support the 500lbs of weight period. So stop lying to these kids. Lier.

  7. Jason, if you want to make a video about the gaited palfrey maybe you could make a “business trip” to the US. There are many gaited breeds in N. America that are still here, probably because “the frontier” and it’s lack of good roads lasted into the 20th century. The Narraganset Pacer, popular in the 17th-18th centuries, was probably bred from a British gaited type in early Rhode Island, but went extinct with the advent of good roads in the 19th century.
    There are gaited breeds that have been specialized for horse shows that look and act nothing like palfreys (just as many modern dogs look nothing like their working ancestors), but the breeds Rocky Mountain Horse and Missouri Fox Trotter probably resemble the palfrey rather well.
    (Personally, I prefer riding my pony sized dressage-destrier, but I don’t need to rely on him to get over the mountain passes).

  8. Those… mmm… urgh… what about Fresians? They are kinda really brace horses and I have read a lot about them for war. I also know one at the barn I ride at. Horse info from a non-equestrian isn't always true.

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