Power or ac­cu­racy

All About History - - HOW TO WIN A JOUST -

When King Duarte of Por­tu­gal came to write his trea­tise On

Horse­man­ship, he ded­i­cated a large por­tion of it to joust­ing. Con­trol­ling your horse was key to win­ning a joust. In the lists, horses could reach 40 kilo­me­tres per hour and man­ag­ing that mo­men­tum could give you a dev­as­tat­ing blow but fail­ing to would make you miss your mark. Go too slowly and you will be an easy tar­get for your ad­ver­sary. Go too fast and you are less likely to set your lance where you mean it.

A well-bred and trained horse was a valu­able part of a knight’s state. Death was a risk to the horse as well as the rider in a joust. Over­tax­ing your horse by rid­ing it too hard could be dis­as­trous. King Henry VIII “ran so freshly and so many cour­ses that one of his best cours­ers [joust­ing horses] was dead that night”.

Horse­man­ship was one of the ma­jor skills of a good knight

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