Learning Resources

For Teachers, Pupils, Parents and more

  • Bard

  • About

Weight: 32 kg

Description

The bard was a full horse armour made of mail. Mail armour for men was expensive enough - for a horse it was an extreme luxury. Only rich lords and knights were able to armour their warhorses in this way.

Worn over a padded cloth garment like the aketon worn by the rider, the bard covered the horse’s head, neck and whole body down to the middle of its lower legs.

Like their armoured riders, fully-armoured horses had to be trained to wear such armour, which was heavy and required excellent fitness.

How was it used?

Fully armoured horses were placed in the front ranks of a heavy cavalry formation. It was their job to make first contact with the enemy lines in a charge, galloping through a hail of arrows, spears, stones and other missiles to smash into the opposing army.

They would be struck by spears and staff weapons as they crashed through, trying to create a hole for their companions following behind. Such a dramatic action was made possible only by well-trained, fierce stallions wearing good armour.