I would like to ask what the heaviest known example of armor for war horses is. Specifically, I'm asking about horse-armor in the 16th and 17th centuries (European, primarily, but I will accept other examples).

The answer I'm looking for is about horse-armor intended for warfare. However, I will accept answers relating to tournament armours.

The estimate I've seen for how heavy horse-armor is, is that it was about as heavy as a knight's armor (about 60 pounds tops, by his estimate). Is this accurate?

  • Keep in mind that "as heavy as a knight's armour" is itself a vague phrase with a wide possible range.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 13:42
  • 1
    @Semaphore This is true. The link I posted goes into a bit more detail. Should I edit the post to clarify the range he stated?
    – Johnny
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 13:46
  • 2
    Good idea. Generally best to avoid leaving information behind links because of link rot.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 13:50
  • 2
    I have added in the person's estimate. I hope this is helpful.
    – Johnny
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 13:55

1 Answer 1


The heaviest example I could find was this outfit, which according to the photographer was on display at the Zwinger museum in Dresden back in 2005. He said it was displayed as "16th or 17th century". The museum in question probably has some info on its weight.

enter image description here

However, from everything I could gather, this level of barding was uncommon by the 16th Century. Protective barding seems to have primarily been a reaction to the longbow, as bowmen at battles like Crecy and Agincourt found they were able to defeat heavy cavalry by targeting their horses.

The Longbow was on the way out as an army's principle weapon by the beginning of the 16th Century, replaced by firearms. For whatever reason (I suspect lack of effectiveness against firearms) I cease to be able to find a lot of images of heavily barded horses after this point.

This nifty page on the various types of barding is a good illustration of the point. All of the examples shown of full coverage barding are from the 14th century.

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