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lunes, 1 de agosto de 2011

Tipos de caballos medievales

palfrey - destrier  - courser - rouncey
palafrén (amblador) - montura de guerra - corcel - rocín
Ver: Horses in the Middle Ages
       El caballo en la guerra
A palfrey is a type of horse highly valued as a riding horse in the Middle Ages. It is not a breed.
The word "palfrey" is cognate with the German word for horse (of any type), "Pferd". Both descend from Latin "paraveredus", meaning a post horse or courier horse. The German term for a palfrey, meanwhile, is Zelter, which literally means "ambler" and is cognate with the Icelandic tölt.

A medieval painting of riding horses

The term 'palfrey' usually referred to the most expensive and highly-bred types of riding horse during the Middle Ages,[1] sometimes equalling the knight's destrier in price. Consequently, it was popular with nobles, ladies and highly-ranked knights for riding, hunting and ceremonial use.[2]
The significant characteristic of the palfrey was that, rather than trotting, it usually possessed a smooth, ambling gait.[3] The amble was the name given to a group of smooth, four-beat gaits faster than a walk, but slower than a canter or gallop. The trot is a two-beat gait, about 8 mph, suitable for covering a lot of ground relatively quickly. However, the horse also has a bit of a spring in its motion as it switches diagonal pairs of legs with each beat, and thus can be rough for a rider, and jostles about packs or weaponry to a considerable degree. The amble is about as fast as the trot, not tiring for a horse that performs it naturally, and much smoother for the rider. Thus, because much ground transportation in the Middle Ages was on horseback, with long distances to be covered, a smooth-gaited horse was much desired.
An amble is achieved by the horse when it moves with a four-step rhythm, either derived from the two-beat lateral gait known as the pace or from the diagonal trot, with the two beats broken up so there are four. There are several variations, but most either have a lateral sequence of footfalls (left hind, left front, right hind, right front), or a diagonal sequence (left hind, right front, right hind, left front). In either case, only one foot is all the way off the ground at a time. Such a gait can be maintained for long distances, and sometimes at considerable speed.
Ambling horses are now uncommon in Europe. They were effectively replaced by trotting horses for several reasons. The first was that travel by carriage became more common, and trotting horse breeds were generally larger and stronger, more suited to the job at hand. Another reason was the rise of the Thoroughbred and other breeds developed for horse racing and for light cavalry, both of which required horses able to gallop for substantial periods of time. Breeds swift at the gallop also tend to trot rather than pace or amble.
The smooth ambling gaits today have many names, including the single-foot, the stepping pace, the tolt, the rack, the paso corto, and the fox trot (see ambling). Though ambling horses are less common today than in the Middle Ages, there are still many ambling breeds, particularly in North America where today they are referred to as gaited horses. Some of these breeds include the Missouri Fox Trotter, Tennessee Walking Horse, Icelandic horse and a sub-group within the American Saddlebred. The Paso Fino and the Peruvian Paso, breeds developed in Latin America, perform two or three different ambling gaits of varying speed, and are probably the closest modern descendants of the medieval palfrey.
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The destrier is the best-known war horse of the medieval era. It carried knights in battles, tournaments, and jousts. It was described by contemporary sources as the Great Horse, due to its size and reputation.
The term destrier is derived from the Vulgar Latin dextarius, meaning "right-sided" (the same root as our modern dexterous and dexterity). This may refer to the fact that it was led by the squire at the knight's right side (or led by the right hand) or to the horse's gait, (possibly leading with the right).[1]

Mounted on a destrier, William Marshall unseats an opponent during a joust.
While highly prized by knights and men-at-arms, the destrier was actually not very common.[2] Most knights and mounted men-at-arms rode other war horses, such as coursers and rounceys.[3] These three types of horse were often referred to generically as chargers.
A Jennet or Spanish Jennet was a small Spanish horse.[1] It was noted for a smooth naturally ambling gait, compact and well-muscled build, and a good disposition.
In the etymology provided by the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, jennet is derived from the French genet, from Spanish jinete, a light horseman who rides à la jineta, explained as "with his legs tucked up." The term is taken to be a corruption of the Arabic Zenata, a Berber tribe famed for its cavalry. English and French transferred the word from the rider to the horse, a meaning which the word has only acquired in Spain in modern times. The American Heritage Dictionary's etymology is similar, citing the Middle English genet, from Old French, from the Catalan ginet, of Arabic or Berber origin.
The Baroque horse is a term used to generally describe the type of agile but strong-bodied descendants of horses in the Middle Ages such as the destrier.Specific ancestors of this type include the Neapolitan horse, and the Iberian horse of Barb ancestry known in the Middle Ages as the Spanish Jennet.
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A courser is a swift and strong horse, frequently used during the Middle Ages as a warhorse. It was ridden by knights and men-at-arms.

This depiction of a knight on horseback might show a courser
Coursers are commonly believed to be named for their running gait,[1] (from Old French cours, 'to run'.[2]). However, the word possibly derived from the Italian corsiero, meaning 'battle horse'.[3]
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The term rouncey (also spelt rouncy or rounsey) was used during the Middle Ages to refer to an ordinary, all-purpose horse. They were used for riding, but could also be trained for war. It was not unknown for them to be used as pack horses.

The Battle of Poitiers in 1356. A variety of horses can be seen
Use in warfare
While the destrier is the most well-known warhorse of the Medieval era, it was the least common, and coursers were often preferred for hard battles. They were both expensive, highly trained horses prized by knights and nobles, and the poorer knight, squire or man-at-arms would use a rouncey for fighting. A wealthy knight would provide rounceys for his retinue.[1][2]
Sometimes the expected nature of warfare dictated the choice of horse; when a summons to war was sent out in England, in 1327, it expressly requested rounceys, for swift pursuit, rather than destriers.[3]

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