Crusader Riding Armored Horse
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CRUSADER RIDING ARMORED HORSE

Not only did people require the defenses of protective wear. As mounted knights became the staple of Medieval infantry, their horses also required buffers from attack. In the late 12th Century knights began seeking the prowess of skilled blacksmiths to craft armor for their horses. Usually the pieces were simple. A strip of metal that guarded the bridge of the horse's nose and eyes and two metal slats that hung at the animal's sides.

If a knight's mount was to be cut down in battle, the fighter lost his advantage. For he had more maneuverability on his horse, better reach over his enemy and the thunderous element of charging. It was common for infantrymen and swordsmen to cut off the fragile legs of horses as the knights galloped into battle. In response, the metal slats that hung at the sides of the horses were such that they covered the front legs and shanks from outside attack.

Preserved in museums are some fine and rare examples of full and complete sets of platemail for horses.