Intriguing piece over on the Rubicon Heritage blog about a lost breed of medieval horses that may have been raised and trained in Ireland. Another forgotten piece of our history being rediscovered.
Rubicon Heritage’s Faunal Specialist Claudia Tommasino Suarez describes work she has been carrying out on a highly significant horse assemblage from Mullamast, Co. Kildare, which may provide evidence for the breeding of the animals that gave rise to the Hobelar cavalry of the medieval period.
From the 13th century onwards Ireland made an important contribution to medieval warfare, particularly in the conflicts in and between England, Scotland and Wales. However this contribution was not typical- it came in the form of a small, light, swift and maneuverable horse: the hobby or hobin.
The secret of this four-legged warrior’s success was determined by its performance in difficult terrain. The animal’s attributes led to the rise of a form of light-mounted soldier known as a ‘hobelar.’ These troops became proficient at roles such as scouting and patrolling in environments like mountains, bogs and woodlands, where heavier armoured knights mounted on destriers struggled to operate.
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