Warhorses

Sep 2014
965
Texas
Source(s)?
Genghis Khan had a string about six horses if memory serves me right of matching Palomino's.

But I would disagree on the part that says they would have no stamina. Native breeds are often tougher than highbreds. The TBs that survived the Charge of the Light Brigade ended up starving to death on steppe grasses that Don's and Karbardins thrived on.

The Native ponies in America out maneuvered the Morgan's and TBs of the US army constantly.

The reason why is the large heart Gene. The Mongolian pony, Native American ponies are descendents of the Celtic pony C family. It is highly coveted by TB breeders. And the breed with the most carriers? The Shetland.

The Karbardins is the Russian super horse. I t lives outside on natural grasses. In three brutal tests it beat out all other breeds. In one a ride straight up a mountain only the Don came close.
 

janusdviveidis

Ad Honorem
Mar 2014
2,002
Lithuania
Whole idea of Lightning fast Mongol armies is mostly myth, or at least we don't have any really proof of that other than it seemed fast for medieval people. We have sources how fast nomad armies with multiple remounts were moving in something like 16th century. (From letters we can actually calculate when army left Crimea for example and when it was met in battle somewhere) And despite fact that contemporaries still were speaking about lightning fast strikes actual speed of these armies was something like 20 miles a day. So, modern special forces could catch lightning fast steppe nomad army on foot. :) This is simple logic even if you have remounts all these remounts still have to travel, just without rider. Driving huge herds also takes time. Truly fast were Mongol messengers, but they were changing horses in stations, these animals were well rested.
 
May 2017
213
Monterrey
Whole idea of Lightning fast Mongol armies is mostly myth, or at least we don't have any really proof of that other than it seemed fast for medieval people. We have sources how fast nomad armies with multiple remounts were moving in something like 16th century. (From letters we can actually calculate when army left Crimea for example and when it was met in battle somewhere) And despite fact that contemporaries still were speaking about lightning fast strikes actual speed of these armies was something like 20 miles a day. So, modern special forces could catch lightning fast steppe nomad army on foot. :) This is simple logic even if you have remounts all these remounts still have to travel, just without rider. Driving huge herds also takes time. Truly fast were Mongol messengers, but they were changing horses in stations, these animals were well rested.
Modern special forces(or indeed anyone used to marching) could catch up...sure, if they had all the luxuries of modern transport systems, logistics and such. If a modern special forces units had to move outside of Mongolia to Europe without any outside help they'd probably perish somewhere along the way. If the whole army, including the supply, moved 20 miles a day then that is quite a fast speed. I think.
 
Feb 2018
244
US
The professional consensus is that Mongol horses had a significant stamina and durability edge over all the alternatives. It could paw through snow and subsist off of tree roots, and didn't need to be tied to large pastures for campaigns so long as it could graze for the preceding summer. If you could pick an ideal horse for world conquest, it would hard to be wrong with it. Its weakness was in tactical short distance sprints, where the larger and stronger grain-fed horses could chase down a rider with a devastating charge.

Grass-fed horses were much more restricted by the seasons, to my knowledge. Nomadic armies were noted from the Strategikon to the Song to be at their peak strength in Autumn and at their weakest in Spring, due to the quality and abundance of grass in summer versus winter. They obviously could campaign, but it wasn't ideal and armies would frequently retreat to graze in the summer time. That said, there are enough exceptions to this that its more of a general pattern than a requirement, as there were a number of long campaigns in difficult lands (i,e Hanzhong to winter Henan, Yunnan to Vietnam to Guangzi to Hunan).

Whole idea of Lightning fast Mongol armies is mostly myth, or at least we don't have any really proof of that other than it seemed fast for medieval people. We have sources how fast nomad armies with multiple remounts were moving in something like 16th century. (From letters we can actually calculate when army left Crimea for example and when it was met in battle somewhere) And despite fact that contemporaries still were speaking about lightning fast strikes actual speed of these armies was something like 20 miles a day. So, modern special forces could catch lightning fast steppe nomad army on foot. :) This is simple logic even if you have remounts all these remounts still have to travel, just without rider. Driving huge herds also takes time. Truly fast were Mongol messengers, but they were changing horses in stations, these animals were well rested.
As for Mongol era speed, a lot of John Masson Smith Jr's conclusions have been discredited. His evidence, for example, used Hulegu's march rate from Central Asia to the Middle East, but Hulegu was pausing for nightly feasting and handling local administration, not trying to outpace his opponents. However, of the few known timetables, there are some very rapid movements:
  • Jebe marched some 100-160 miles in something around or a bit over a day to capture Shenyang in 1212, during a polar night.
  • Genghis Khan marched around 130 miles in 2 days through the very rough eastern Afghanistan while chasing Jalal al Din to the Indus in 1221 from Bamian->Ghazni through the Kabul route.
  • Subutai marched 180km in 3 days from Verecke Pass to the Danube in 1241.
  • Timur marched from Shiraz to Baghdad, 544 miles in 8 days, though he would've had more Central Asian than Mongol cavalry.
This certainly wasn't their normal marching pace, which is very unclear since it is subject to many other factors in the rare situations we do have information. But it's clear that when necessary, they could move at an outlier pace.
 

janusdviveidis

Ad Honorem
Mar 2014
2,002
Lithuania
That are short range distances, I was speaking more of average speed for moving army for 1000-2000 miles. That is mostly 20 miles a day if you don't want to damage your horses. If you are riding 1-3 days on well trained horse distance could be much better (140–160 km (87–99 mi) in one day, or 90–100 km (56–62 mi) per day over two days, or 70–80 km (43–50 mi) per day over three days or more) That is for modern endurance riding with very well trained horses, most popular horses in that sport are Arabians or Arabian mixes. So, Mongols should be slower. Still, If I remember right Russian Specnaz also had to be able to cover more than 100 km of-road with packs in one day, of course they probably couldn't do it many days in a row.
 

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,717
Horses were not categorised according to breed; they were categorised according to the task they performed. Horses from certain regions were preferred for certain jobs but there were never specific breeds until fairly modern times.
I am not sure where you have heard this but it is clearly wrong that horses were classified only to the type of work they did- at least not by the time of the Roman and Han empires. Perhaps some time in the really distant past prior to recorded history but even then I have my doubts as horses from certain 'regions' might all be pulling a chariot or working in a field but some were clearly better at one or the other and preferred for it which is why we see horses as part of trade and kingly gifts long before we have written records talking specifically about horses.

Mongol ponies didn't have much endurance. It is impossible on a grass diet. The Mongols compensated for this by having a string of remounts.
I respect your opinion on ancient armour and some other things but this is just wrong. Maybe if you are reading only some 1800s military cavalry manuals that go to great lengths talking about marching routes and distances horses can move on forage vs grain but humans have been breeding horses for millennium and quite a few things which breeders prize for cavalry mounts have led to the diminishment of other characteristics such as size, endurance, and hardiness.
 

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,717
That are short range distances, I was speaking more of average speed for moving army for 1000-2000 miles. That is mostly 20 miles a day if you don't want to damage your horses. If you are riding 1-3 days on well trained horse distance could be much better (140–160 km (87–99 mi) in one day, or 90–100 km (56–62 mi) per day over two days, or 70–80 km (43–50 mi) per day over three days or more) That is for modern endurance riding with very well trained horses, most popular horses in that sport are Arabians or Arabian mixes. So, Mongols should be slower. Still, If I remember right Russian Specnaz also had to be able to cover more than 100 km of-road with packs in one day, of course they probably couldn't do it many days in a row.
1000- 2000 miles? How many ancient campaigns covered that distance in a single campaign season? Marching 100 miles in 2 days was extraordinary and if it could be done repeatedly would seem almost magical. Most 'armies' marched only a few dozen miles a day and quick march could be twice that fast leaving supplies behind. If the avg speed of a Mongol army was nearly the same speed as a quick march of many other armies that is quite fast.
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,241
Sydney
horses were bred for a variety of traits ,

cavalry horses were either used for scouting and light cavalry work or for heavy armored fighters
the heavy duty horses were usually not ridden until battle , beside their strength , endurance and speed , they had to be brave
middle ages knight often used foul tempered stallions
they were a weapon in themselves , their diet was more particular than the light horses

possibly the oldest war horse breed , the truly magnificent akhal teke
tough as nails . survivor of one of the most hostile environment and soooo graceful

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