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This is a discussion on Cavalry within the Horse Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Medieval jousting
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    05-20-2012, 05:51 PM

Hello again lads and lasses! As you've probably guessed by now, I have a thing about the more warlike use of a horse, namely cavalry.
I've made this thread more like an experiment, to see how many of you share my two hobbies (warfare and horses) combined in one
Now I'm sure there are some cavalrymen and amazons among you, so it would be nice if we can all gather in a thread and talk a bit about it.
This thread is about everything and nothing in particular. Feel free to share anything about riding, as a wargame activity or as self defense (I am aware another thread on self defense exists, though it doesn't involves maces, lances and swords ).
Anything from stories, experiences, if you like it, why so, if you don't, why so, etc.

May your charges be like fast as the wind and strong as a avalanche!

Edit: Forgot to say.... what's your favorite time when horses were used as war instruments?
For me it's the 18th century (I love the uniforms) and medieval era (heavy mounted lancers anyone?)

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    05-20-2012, 06:02 PM
This one was titled "Hostile Indian Camp" 1891:

General Miles and staff Six military men on horseback on a hill overlooking a large encampment of tipis. 1891. :

"Grand review." U.S. Troops after surrender of Indians at Pine Ridge Agency, S.D. Very distant view of a line of military men on horseback. 1891. :

All from:

John C.H. Grabill's Photos of Western Frontier Life | Plog

I think what interests me from a military viewpoint is the scale of these photos. We tend to accept Hollywood, and Hollywood has both a limited budget and scale. But if you were a cavalryman who needed to attack a village like the first two photos, and you were doing it with a line like the third, it would take a lot of time to go from one end to the other.

Then think of the logistics if you are part of a cavalry formation that has 2,000 horses, sometimes moving 250 miles in a week...or imagine a time when it was accepted to ride 40-50 miles a day for 3-4 days straight.
    05-20-2012, 11:10 PM
I had not considered that there was a large interest in such a topic until I saw that reality tv show of people doing modern jousting competition on the history channel. Full Metal Jousting I think is what it was. Interesting.

My interest in cavalry originates from Xenophon, and I would like to put more effort into researching his principles and practices of horsemanship.

My favorite time periods, around about when the Spanish brought horses to North America. And I secretly (not so much now haha) do love a romanticized cowboy and his horse.
    05-21-2012, 05:07 AM
Each subdivision of cavalry had their officers who gave orders to the soldiers. It was their responsibility to keep the line and follow the higher orders. Each of them had their part to play in that charge and I'm sure they knew it well. Though the true skill is in turning around a wedge formation (later diamond formation, for more facile manuvering)

Jousting is great, doesn't endanger the rider or the horse (the lance is supposed to break and shatter when it hits), it's fun, involves a horse and it's about eye-hand coordination. What more could you ask for?
I know I'm doing it if I ever get the chance

I don't know if it's ok to post links to other sites, but I've found Xenophon's - On Horsemanship
On Horsemanship by Xenophon @ Classic Reader

And Joidigm, cowboys are always dramatic

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    05-21-2012, 07:14 AM
Originally Posted by Boggart    

Look; even the horses are into it, it seems! Giving each other the "you're going down" look

I love the idea of it, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be coordinated enough to do it without seriously hurting someone (I'm accident prone.) Watched a few matches when I was little at Sherwood Forest in England at their little quarterly festivals and recently they had some displays at the Renaissance Fair in CO.

Pretty awesome, those horses are very desensitized :P
    05-21-2012, 07:36 AM
My great grandpa's dad was in the cavalry, My pop always talks about him and how much of an amazing horseman he was! :)
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    05-21-2012, 08:09 AM
Very cool pics. Looks like way too much fun.
    05-21-2012, 11:04 AM
Originally Posted by JustAwesome    
My great grandpa's dad was in the cavalry, My pop always talks about him and how much of an amazing horseman he was! :)
From what I know, my great grandmother's father was a cossack. Also my grandfather rode bareback, jumping over fences and always trusted the horse to bring him back home (when he got drunk, he would just mount the horse and the horse would bring him back home).
I hope my Ukrainian heritage will show up soon :)

Bunch of cossacks doing what they do best:

EDIT: no idea how to embed :(
    05-21-2012, 08:13 PM
Green Broke
My father-in-law was in one of the last mounted units, though they did not end up using the horses in a war.

He told hilarious stories about having difficulty riding in a regimented, micro-managed setting. He, and many others, were ranch raised. They were good horsemen. They could safely and effectively get a job done, but it wasn't the Army way.

He told one story of a drill where one rider had to race from way back to the 'front line' with four horses for other soldiers. His first trip, his sargeant yelled and yelled because he didn't do it on a run. Well, we don't run our horses in the west unless necessary. And that was not a true emergency. But, the second time, FIL brought them up at a flying gallop, scattering the troops.

I think he spent a lot of time in trouble.
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    09-29-2012, 02:17 PM
I'm more into civil war cavalry. Although I did go Jousting with a couple of trees when my lance got stuck between them and flipped me off LOL. Kinda hurt.
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