The Well Dressed Horse
Bards, trappings, housings, and caparisons. All are names for the glorious coverings used to adorn the well-dressed destrier in western Europe, circa 12th and 13th century. Trappings at this time often covered the horse’s head, neck, shoulders, rump and flanks. They stopped at the horse’s hocks and knees, or extended all the way to the ground. Many covered the rider’s legs as well. A horse’s bards were often embroidered with heraldic arms and are usually depicted in brilliant colors with contrasting linings. Horses were adorned in bards for tournaments, jousts and war, and special state occasions. The luxuriant horse coverings served to identify the rider, display family pride, prowess on the battlefield, and great wealth. The functionality beyond identification of the knight is questionable . . . but hey, it’s fashion! To learn more about this topic and see some wonderful images, check out Madonna Contessa Haria Veltri degli Ansari's website.