"The destrier is the best-known war horse of the medieval era. It carried knights in battles, tournaments, and jousts. It was described by contemporary sources as the Great Horse, due to its significance....
.......While highly prized by knights and men-at-arms, the destrier was not very common. Most knights and mounted men-at-arms rode other war horses, such as coursers and rounceys. These three types of horse were often referred to generically as chargers." - Wikipedia
Regardless of what they were called, war horses were darned impressive. Somewhere in my reading I read that they averaged twenty to twenty-two hands (about seven feet at the shoulder). I also read that war horses were taught to kill the opposing fighters with their hooves and that some even had leg wraps with blades in them. I would cite the references here but frankly it has all become a bit of a blur.
It all started with the weather, and Shannon. Shannon had a good spring where she worked with Christina Warrysh and delighted many little girls and one beautiful bride. She did this in the few very brief periods when it stopped raining. As many people outside of Ottawa may not know, it started raining here on about April 15 and continued raining, with just a few hours break here and there, until the middle of July. I saw a Facebook meme this morning that showed our average rainfall in July to be 75 cm, and our actual rainfall for the month to be 259 cm. The entire farm was waterlogged and so were all its residents.
So I had some time on my hands. And I got to thinking. All those little girls and women. What about the men? No really ,what about the men ?? We also went to the Medieval Festival this year, and that contributed to my thinking. I thought about how draft horses are the descendants of war horses. And then I thought about how Christina provides little princess dresses for the girls to wear when coming to meet the real life unicorn. What would you wear around a war horse? Who would be around a war horse anyway? Did you have to be Sir Knight, or could you be his page, or his squire?
So, let's face it, if you are going to have your picture taken with a war horse, you probably don't have appropriate clothing in your closet. Maybe. Now possessed of the idea, frankly, I went nuts. I have spent more that two months making costumes. We now have two jerkins (leather body armor), a pair of gaiters to make even the most most modern shoe a little medieval, vambraces, etc, etc. We are not done yet. Duke's caparisons are not finished, and we need a few more tunics, a few capes etc.
Our target market for this is the kind of people who like role playing games, who go to comiccon, and maybe those who have hints in their dreams of having ridden a destrier before..............
We had our first photo shoot over the weekend, you know, to work out the kinks. And so without further ado, I would like you to meet Ben.
Ben was a trooper, having never modeled before. He is an archer with many years experience, and he brought four or five of the most beautiful bows, two quivers, arrows, and a bunch of other things.
So yeah, Duke was his normal sweet self, only slightly distracted by the presence of grass throughout the shoot. And as you can see, he looks stunning in his new kit.
A footnote: These are test shots, edited (in some cases badly, like with the water bottle above)by yours truly. Obviously, we hope to have Christina involved, Brett Stewart has expressed an interest, and we would welcome inquiries from other photographers. We would also welcome customers/models who have their own costumes or parts thereof. A photograph is created by the individual efforts of its subjects, as much as the photographer.
Oh, Why did I chose to refer to Duke as a Destrier rather than a war horse, or another type of war horse? Because it sounds cooler.