This depiction of a knight on horseback might show a courser.

The courser was the race horse of medieval times. Built for speed, the courser was a strong lean horse with stamina and endurance. With either Turkish or Arabian blood in their veins, the courser came to England from the Kingdom of Naples where horses of African descent were bred to European stock. The resulting speedster was the equivalent of today's thoroughbred race horse.

Coursers are commonly believed to be named for their running gait,[1] (from Old French cours, 'to run'.[2]). However, the word possibly derived from the Italian corsiero, meaning 'battle horse'.[3]

Coursers in warfare

The courser was more common than the destrier,[4] and preferred for hard battle as they were light, fast and strong.[1] They were valuable horses, but less expensive than the highly prized destrier.[5] Another horse commonly ridden during war was the rouncey, which was an all-purpose horse.

Other uses

Coursers were also used occasionally for hunting.[3]

    See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b Oakeshott, Ewart. A Knight and his Horse, Rev. 2nd Ed. USA:Dufour Editions, 1998
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 10th Ed, 1999
  3. ^ a b Hyland, Ann. The Warhorse 1250-1600, UK: Sutton Publishing, 1998
  4. ^ Prestwich, Michael. Armies and Warfare in the Middle Ages: The English Experience, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996,
  5. ^ Gravett, Christopher. English Medieval Knight 1300-1400, Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2002, p 59