War horses are not as we think: in the Middle Ages they were just ponies

Were warhorses just as we are shown in historical films? Unfortunately, it’s not exactly as we think: we weren’t told (or shown) the whole truth…

Movies have fooled us so far: the image we have of the beautiful, mighty and imposing medieval horses up to six feet tall is completely wrong.

No, it’s not us saying it, but a group of British archaeologists. In fact, it has been demonstrated (by the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology) that those who galloped armored riders were ponies no taller than 1.44 cm.

According to a recent study, the very first Norman horse was found in the castle of Trowbridge, precisely in Wiltshire and was exactly 1.5 meters high.

At this moment you are surely wondering: how is it possible that simple ponies could carry warriors into battle? Because despite their stature, large sums of money were spent to raise them and train them to be ready for war.

Medieval warhorses? It’s not what you think
In fact, it was not only the size of the horses that counted in the fights, there were several criteria that made a warhorse such.

In this regard, Alan Outram, a professor of archaeology at the University of Exeter in England, stated:

«Selection and breeding practices in royal stallions may have focused as much on temperament and the correct physical characteristics for warfare as on raw size.»

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How did science manage to discover all this? now we’ll explain it to you properly: they examined the size of the bones of horses born between 300 and 1650 AD and later, they compared them with those of our modern horses.

Oliver Creighton, the principal investigator of the project, also commented on this incredible discovery:

«Knowing the types of war horses is crucial to our understanding of medieval English society and culture as a symbol of status closely associated with aristocratic identity. In addition, equines became a prominent weapon because of their mobility and striking courage, which could change the face of battle.»

It’s clear by now: Hollywood has got us all fooled… all those times when you see these beautiful mighty medieval horses on TV, remember then, that the reality of the facts is not reflected at all.

 

 

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