GETTING AROUND WITH THE MILITARY ORDERS
Horses during the Crusades period were seldom identified by breed although some reference is given to their place of origin (like horses from Spain), but rather by use. This led them to be described, for example, as "chargers" (war horses), "Coursers / palfreys" (riding horses), cart horses or packhorses.
Knights were familiar with the war horse (destier/charger/rouncey), riding (Coursers, palfrey/rouncey) and pack horses. Most knights and brethren of the Military Orders were provided an allowance to have several horses of the afore mentioned to complete their duties.
The Destier was the known a
s a type of horse rather than by the breed. As though by some the horse used by knights would be the heavier draft type animals. Rather, the Destier was an animal of 14 to 15 hands high (around 5 ft. tall) and trained as a warhorse. These horses were most commonly used by armored knights. Stallions were preferred due to their natural aggression.
were preferred in battle by many knights and the one most rode by knights due to its speed, agility and price. Rounceys were more of a general purpose horse used for riding and used by poorer knights or squires as war horses. The Rounceys were also used as pack horses and by farmers. These horses were generally less trained but known for their endurance. These horses could pull up to 600 hundred pounds. In many cases, environments helped to shape the preferred type of horse acquisition for the Orders.
or the Rounceys, especially on the Iberian Peninsula. CoursersThe horse type was dictated by the type of combat that was expected in certain operations. In many instances in the 12th century pitched battle was to be avoided and raids were one of the preferred methods of battle. The knights in these cases wore less armor and used faster horses like
As with all military operations, the movement of supplies along with the heavy lifting during sieges where the speed and training of the warhorse and riding varieties were of no importance, the value of the pack horses showed their worth.
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