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Updated on December 1, 2016

The name destrier describes a type of horse, rather than a specific breed. Of the medieval era, the destrier is the most well-known war horse. It carried knights in tournaments and jousts and into battles. Artwork and literature from that period suggests that they were of an average height and extremely muscular build. It was also known as the Great Horse, due to its reputation and size.

While highly prized by knights and men-at-arms, the destrier was actually not very common. Most knights and cavalry rode other war horses, such as rounceys and coursers. These three types were often referred to generically as 'chargers'.

The name destrier derives from the Latin 'dextrarius', meaning right side or right handed. Destrier were only ridden in battle, whilst traveling, the horse would have been led at the knight's right side until it was needed.

It was often said that destriers would die for their owners. They were able to bear incredible pain from arrow, spear, sword and other types of wounds. Even though they had on extremely heavy armor destriers could be trained to rear up and fight like "boxers".


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