The Stirrup

In the medieval times, horses were used for speed and mobility during battles. It was often hard, however, to control the horse while defending with a spear or a sword in the other hand. Then came the emergence of the stirrup. A stirrup is a small ring-like structure that allows the riders of horses place their foot inside and attach it to the saddle by a strap. They were useful to the medieval soldiers to mount or dismount the animal. The emergence of the stirrup occurred between 500 BC and 750 BC and changed everything. They aided the rider’s ability to stay in the saddle, which significantly improved the animals’ usefulness to humans in things such as communication, transportation, and welfare.

Many different people took advantage of this new technology. Asian riders took advantage of the art of the stirrup mainly for archery while the Europeans evolved the stirrup into a new form of shock cavalry. Instead of using a spear for warfare, they used a lance which could be simply placed under the arm of the soldier to fight. This saved time for the soldiers and kept them more protected then the overhead motion of a spear. This technique of fighting was then paired with a shield and a suit of armor to become one of the most famous fighting techniques from the late 10th century to the end of the 17th. Lances took several forms through the time in which they were used. There was the classic wooden lance that was about 10 to 12 feet long, to be equipped with a sharpened spear tip. When firearms were created and used in battle, lances soon became less popular, but the polish Uhlans continued to use lances up through World War I.


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