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Medieval horse-wear

From: Diane

Dear Jessica: The first thing I want to do is THANK YOU for giving the most sensible advice to the thousands of questions asked of you.I read constantly about horses and the various METHODS of TRAINING and there are times I wonder why these people call themselves TRAINERS! I had my Paso Fino mare, supposedly professionally trained, and when I got her back I had to undo some pretty awful things. Then I had another ,so called trainer, try to help me and all she did was yank on her bit to get her to stand still after I got on her, which made her so nervous she never did settle down after for our lesson. I am now re-training her myself,plus training my Percheron gelding, I got him when he was 8 months old, he's 2 now and I"ll be hooking up an old truck tire to his harness and he'll have his first experience at pulling something behind him.He's ground driving real well now and I have had no problem with him accepting anything. I just take my time with him. I'm also training for riding(maybe dressage someday!) a Standardbred gelding who raced twice. He's a challenge, but he's got ATTITUDE! We are having fun! My question is and it probably sounds off the wall is: Do you know of any books that carry patterns for horse clothing? I would eventually like to ride my Percheron in parades dressed like a Knight and I need a pattern for the kind of tack the STEED wore at the Jousting competitions. I've contacted many Jousting teams and have received no concrete answers.HELP!!!


Hi Diane! Thanks for the kind words.

I don't have any patterns for barding - which is the name for the horse clothing you're asking about. I can point you at some very useful sources, though. If you know anyone who is connected, however peripherally, with the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) or any Renaissance Faires, you've already got at least one useful contact. There are any number of professional costumers who make and sell everything from bodices to bardings - and if they don't have the information you want, they will know someone who does. You might also get in touch with the Medieval Horse Guild.

Here are some useful online addresses to get you started:

An outstanding site full of barding information http://www.gweep.net/~trish/sca/barding/

Medieval Horse Guild
http://blackbox.psyberia.com/~HorseGuild/Default.htm

A few useful barding suggestions
http://davejacobs.com/sca/horses.htm

For jousting information
http://www.warhorse.com/home.html

More barding pictures that may help you get ideas
http://ilaria.veltri.tripod.com/overviewbards.html

Medieval Times puts on quite a show - you might look at their site for ideas, too.
http://www.medievaltimes.com

I'll just add a few more suggestions. Your library is bound to have one or more books on medieval history, and such books often include lovely illustrations of caparisoned horses. An afternoon at the library and a pocketful of change for the copy machine might be a very good investment. As well as history books, try horsebooks - both the general sort of "Everything About Horses" book that usually has at least one picture of a joust, and the more specific sort of book such as "The Royal Horse" by Sylvia Loch.

Oh, and one more thing! If you're going to ride your horse in parades wearing anything fancy, flowing, or with fringe or tassels attached, make him VERY familiar with the costume at home first! When a horse is hopping up and down with excitement, and other riders are giving you evil looks for slamming into them, it's too late to be saying "Settle down, sweetie, those pom-poms aren't going to hurt you, they're just going to thump you a little!" Also be sure that YOU are at ease with the extra material around the saddle and - if you bard your reins as well - with the added weight in your hands.

Have fun!

Jessica

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