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Mounted Combat:

© 2000 Maitre R.P. Alvarez, All rights reserved

Richard Alvarez bio


Introduction to Mounted Combat
The Horse: Selection and Training
The Rider: Technique and Tack

Saddle, Lance and Stirrup


"They were besotted with the idea of firing off their pistols. I finally had to make some straw dummies and I was able to show them that all their pistol shots missed, whereas they cut down every single figure with their swords."

-Frederick the Great, c 1755

The weapons suitable for mounted combat fall into four categories; Lances, Swords, Mass weapons, and Projectile weapons. The characteristics that make these weapons suitable for mounted combat are their size and weight. All are uniquely suited for one handed use.

In describing the weapons used for mounted combat, the effective "Area of Engagement" will be outlined for each weapon. To aid the reader in visualizing these areas, consider the point of view from above the mounted rider. Superimpose a clock dial on this view with Twelve o'clock being the horse's head; Three o'clock the rider's direct right; six o'clock his direct rear, etc... This then, becomes the "Overhead Clock"

Overhead Clock

Next place the same clock over a side view of the horse and rider's off side, with the horse's nose at three o'clock directly ahead of the rider, and his tail at nine o'clock, directly behind the rider. This is the "Off Side Clock".

Off Side Clock

The "Near Side Clock" has the order reversed with the horse's nose at nine and tail at three. This system is similar to the one fighter pilots use for identifying enemy position relative to their own.

Near Side Clock


The Lance

The Sword

Mass Weapons

Projectile Weapons

The principal characteristics that mark all of these weapons for Mounted Combat are their size and weight. Most are suitable for use with one hand. While the bridle hand may be available for use in sheathing, reloading, holstering or aiming on occasion; it should not be relied upon for attack in a combat situation. The broadswords and sabres should be well balanced. The scabbards and holsters must fit the weapons perfectly in order to prevent loss in the jostle of combat but allow for smooth drawing at an instant.

Regardless of which period or style of combat the rider chooses he should plan on regular daily practice to attain even minimum proficiency in exercising his martial skill. Before he can be a threat to his opponent, he must pose no threat to his partner, the horse.


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This file was last modified Sunday, Mar 26 2006, 17:15:13 EST