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Old 07-18-2008, 08:29 PM   #9
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Re: Horses, encumbrance and travelling speed

Originally Posted by robertsconley
A couple of medieval

A warhorse upkeep is equivalent to the Knight itself. A manor worth a knight's fee would be about 3,000 acres. 1,500 acres to support the knight and 1,500 to support the horse.
I'm not all that certain your figure of 3,000 acres is applicable here. The figures I get from reading various books are that in general, the knight's fee in England was around 1200 to 1800 acres of land. The Lord's demense was approximately one third of that while the remaining 2/3rds were those of the tenants themselves.

Using that baseline, the Knight required about 400 to 600 acres to support himself and his family as well as those things required to maintain his station - arguably not just one horse, but multiple horses.

Generally speaking, if an acre of meadowland is set aside for the production of hay, you're looking at about 2 tons worth of hay over the period of 1 year. As best as I can figure, that's about 1.5 tons for the first harvesting, and about a half ton for the second harvesting - but don't quote me on that. Information on oats production is readily available such that in general, like most grains, oats can generate about a 1:4 ratio of invested seedstock to yield. If you know the horse's weight and work load, you can generally figure out what the horse needs in food. All that remains then, is figuring out the cost of horseshoes, vet needs, supplemental foodstuffs and vitamins for the horse etc. Not to mention the wear and tear requiring maintenance of the leather saddles or reins or bits etc. All that however, is incidental to the original poster's intent - which was to discuss the horse's encumberance levels, its travelling speed, etc.

One thing that might be worth considering is that well kept horses might with the right diet and care from those charged with the horses care - may grant the horse the "VERY FIT" advantage, while standard care from less than "expert" level caretakers might keep the horse from sliding into unfit. Indifferent care of the horse or bad conditions etc, might lead to the horse being allowed to slide into unfit or even very unfit. Question is - how does that affect trying to simulate a horse of any breed?

For example, if you take the benchmarks of the very best horse of the very best "run" timewise or distance wise, the question would become "What is the general average" result, and could the exceptional results be a function of fit or very fit horses attempting to do what most horses cannot? That would be like assuming that one should build stats based on the very best sprinter and wonder why those stats seem out of synch with the rest of the race's normal achievements.
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