Is it known how thick Late Medieval horse plate armor (for field of battle) was? Was it as thick as its rider's armor?

Good horses were expensive and valuable, especially during a battle, so it makes sense to protect them. I would imagine it would be a disaster for a knight if his horse got injured during a fight. He would be very immobile on foot.

As a side note, did longbowmen shoot at the horses? It would make sense if they are less protected.

  • 1
    Please check wikipedia on barding.
    – MCW
    Sep 15, 2015 at 22:24
  • Tournament or Field?
    – arober11
    Sep 16, 2015 at 4:58
  • Field armor for battle.
    – Sogartar
    Sep 16, 2015 at 12:38

1 Answer 1


One of the better known examples is the late 15th century equestrian armour A21 in the Wallace Collection in London. There is a paper on this armour (ref.1).

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The paper includes measurements of the plates of the armour for both man and horse:

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  1. Edge and Williams A STUDY OF THE GERMAN ‘GOTHIC’ 15TH-CENTURY EQUESTRIAN ARMOUR (A21) IN THE WALLACE COLLECTION, LONDON, Gladius XXI, 2001, pp. 233-256 downloadable at: http://gladius.revistas.csic.es/index.php/gladius/article/download/88/89
  • Would this type be a good representative of knight armor at the time?
    – Sogartar
    Sep 16, 2015 at 12:43
  • The components are from a number of different armours but represents a field armour. The thickness of all the pieces other than the sallet and crinet are all comparable so I would expect 1-2 mm to be representative of the thickness of field armour of the period. The thickness of the crinet is similar to that reported elsewhere. But bear in mind that we are talking about hand crafted artifacts, each example will differ to some extent. Sep 16, 2015 at 14:09
  • So, this is comparable with the armor of the knight itself. This is pretty thick. This would deflect even the heaviest arrows.
    – Sogartar
    Sep 16, 2015 at 14:13
  • There is a certain amount of logic in it. During a charge, particularly against opposing lances, the heaviest armor would need to be on the upper front. That curved chest piece looks particularly designed to deflect lances.
    – T.E.D.
    Sep 16, 2015 at 14:40

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