Since jousting is no longer practiced as a serious sport, knowledge about the steeds used to perform the task has gone by the wayside. These are fascinating animals, though–and ones that deserve to have their history respected and continued. From body type to armor, these steeds were nothing like the pampered thoroughbreds today!
In fact, jousting horses were far more like warhorses than a thoroughbred. For those of you that don’t know what a warhorse looks like…well, picture the Budweiser Clydesdale. Now put a saddle on it. That’s the type of horse we’re talking about. No puny, stick-legged pony here! Part of jousting was to showcase the warrior’s ability on the battlefield, and with that came a big, tough horse who would be cold-blooded and up for the challenge.
Another thing to look at is the armor that these horses wore. It varied, and could have been anything from a chestplate to nothing at all. That’s right, you read correctly: These horses often charged down the battlefield with nothing at all covering their chests. And considering that a jousting pole to the chest would probably constitute a fatal injury, we’re talking about one heroic animal here.
The third aspect that’s sort of interesting is the type of training a medieval warhorse would be expected to undergo. An animal that spooks at loud noises is absolutely useless on the battlefield…so knights would often tie their horses up and rattle shields, or even bang pieces of metal together to teach the horses to hold still when they heard a scary sound or lots of commotion.
The result? A stunning animal that shook the ground when it ran, and didn’t scare at anything. This is the exact type of horse that would be useful in jousting competitions, as well…all in all, a spectacular beast!