Most Important Parts of Horse Armor

Apr 2017
If you were a poor knight in the process of acquiring barding (horse armor) for your mount piece by piece, which parts should you buy first? This is assuming around 15-16th century western Europe.


Forum Staff
Aug 2016
Start at the front and work my way back - face plate, breast plate, flank guards in that order. In your time frame there were very few knights as you describe them. Most men who could not afford to equip themselves enlisted in the king's army as men-at-arms and were equipped at crown expense. Most men who ever became knights did so later in their careers when they could afford it. The rule during the Hundred Years' War was that knights were paid double as men-at-arms, but knights had to equip themselves. Men-at-arms had the same training and employed the same tactics as knights but had their expenses paid in exchange for accepting half pay.
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Feb 2019
Pennsylvania, US
I'm going to go with 'cover your unprotected vitals' first. The horse can get throw his head up to try to avoid an object, but it's harder to avoid something coming at his chest if he's moving quickly... also, there is a lot of bone in the head protecting the brain. A good puncture to the chest or neck could hit the trachea (which is just below the skin in the very front of the neck) or the lungs (deeper into the chest cavity).

A friend's horse just bashed his head up into a barn rafter, smashing a nail into his skull right between his eyes... Even at like almost 2" in, it was only in his sinuses (it fractured his skull, and he had all this sinus fluid bubbling out, later he had discharge from his nose - flushing the hole showed there wasn't any communication with the nostrils, so it was a very self-contained little wound). The amount of force with which he hit his head against a very fine metal object still wasn't enough to take him down... it was a pretty low-maintenance injury; just antibiotics and time. I'm not saying you want something to pierce your horse's skull... I'm just saying, their head is pretty tough compared to the trach area - or hamstrings, like johnincornwall mentioned.