Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What was a Palfrey?

I had somebody ask at the con what the difference is between a palfrey and a rouncey - so I'm going to explain the four common Medieval horse terms in the next four posts - palfrey, rouncey, destrier, and garron.

A palfrey was, quite simply, a high quality riding horse. Knights would ride palfreys when not in battle (warhorses were used only for battle and tournaments). Most palfreys were what we would now call gaited horses. They were bred as a means of transportation, but also for hunting and parades.

So, basically, a palfrey was an expensive horse that would be ridden by a rich person. The spiritual descendants of the palfrey include the English park hack and the American Saddlebred.

Wealthy Medieval riders. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons.

And a modern American Saddlebred. (Source: AkimaDoll via Wikimedia Commons).

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