In the middle ages, war was waged with ponies !

A recent study by archaeologists and historians from the University of Exeter in England shows that horses were just over 4 feet tall in medieval times

In the middle ages, war was waged with ponies !

Far from the image that we find in books and movies, our noble warriors of the medieval period would have actually ridden ponies.Far from the image that we find in books and movies, our noble warriors of the medieval period would have actually ridden ponies.

Far from the image that we find in books and movies, our noble warriors of the medieval period would have actually ridden ponies.Far from the image that we find in books and movies, our noble warriors of the medieval period would have actually ridden ponies.

This is more or less the summary of a study published last December in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology and conducted by English researchers from the University of Exeter. Archaeologists and historians analyzed nearly 2000 horse bones from 171 excavation sites in England, dated between 300 and 1650 AD. They compared these bones with those of our current adult equids (about 490).

Surprising results

The researchers deduced that the average height during the Anglo-Saxon (until 1066) and Anglo-Norman (until 1075) periods, from the fifth to the twelfth century, was 1.40m at the withers, which is a current pony height since it is below 1.48m (FEI standard).

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The largest model discovered near Trowbridge Castle must have been around 1m50. It is necessary to wait until the end of the medieval period, around 1200 to 1350 AD, to observe an increase in the size of the equids, with the appearance of horses of more than 1m60 as shown by bones found near London.

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The post-medieval period, 1500 to 1650 AD, for this increase in size to become generalized, with equids reaching 1m70. This suggests that, more than on physical criteria, the warriors of the time were more attached to behavioral characteristics.

Robust horses ?

To judge the robustness of equids, researchers looked at the metapods (or metatarsals). Until the end of the medieval period, the researchers noted a decrease in the robustness of the metatarsals, which they say suggests “that in the early 16th century, the English administration had difficulties with horse breeding caused by the collapse of the horse trade in the previous centuries.

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Equines became larger and more robust in the post-medieval period.

However, even with the robustness and size data, it is impossible for scientists to determine which horses were used for warfare and which were more for domestic or agricultural use.

Nevertheless, the emergence of large horses in the post-medieval period coincides with the development, in the 14th century, of new military technologies, relegating horses to second place.

They were then much more often used for agricultural work, hence the need for power. The demand for sport also began to develop at this time.

Did you know that Queen Elizabeth II is passionate about horses?

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ALL HELITE EQUESTRIAN PRODUCTS HERE

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Comments (3)

  • Meg Reply

    It’s a lot faster and easier to mount a 14 hh warhorse in full battle gear than a 16 hh warhorse. That’s rather important when the enemy is attacking.

    August 16, 2022 at 2:13 pm
  • Natty Reply

    And the people were smaller back then too.

    August 16, 2022 at 9:08 pm
  • vivianna Reply

    What is (was) the weight of a full set of armor? I understand that “war horses” were needed to carry the weight of of knight in full armor

    August 17, 2022 at 7:51 am

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