This is what the Merry Wives of Windsor is about.
THE SUPER HORSE THAT SHOOK THE WORLD.
The knight on the left was King Henry VIII and is circa 1530. The one on the right is Elector Christian I of Saxony circa 1590. Please focus on the horse's armor and not the size of horses (because the museum used the wrong horse for the one on the right. To me it looks like a child wearing a large helmet.) The right horse's armor not only covers twice as much of the horse but it is heavy steel plate and not thin sheets like the left horse's armor. The new horses like the one that should be on the right could run down the one on the left to complete exhaustion and then immediately run down a second one exactly like it, then run back to where he started.
Jousting was popular from the middle ages until the early 1600s.Wikipedia
These horses are why jousting tournaments suddenly went out of style. The increase in speed caused almost ten times the injuries and four times the deaths that had occurred only 30 years before. The increase in speed made the joust nearly suicidal. Two knights who traditionally rode horses that ran at 17.5 mph for hundreds of years impacted each other with lances at 35 mph suddenly found themselves crashing at nearly 50 mph. It's almost the same as with car crashes without seat belts at those speeds so you can tell how much more devistating it was. Any person who participated in jousting went from being thought brave to fools in just a few years.
|The actual change is a little hard to see clearly. What it mainly consists of is that the forelegs of both the front and back legs used to be longer than the flanks of the horses. This gave them a great degree of leg control but they are too massive to allow for a lot of speed. The lengthening of their flanks over their forelegs gave them a much greater speed. Here are some photos that show the change very clearly. Just open up each of the windows and compare them very closely.|
This change in English horses occurred in less than 12 years. The modern horse we now have and use came from special giant horses from Spain via Austria and here is how it all came about.
The plot of the play 'Merry Wives of Windsor' involved a series of frauds by some fast moving Austrians who left their horses behind. You can follow along with this summary of the play.
This neat paper that I found on the Internet about horses and the visiting Germans that came to England in about the 1560-70's tells about half of the story so that should save me some time writing it all out if you read the last part of it and then lazy me will fill in the details that were kept secret. Although that page (near the bottom) says they came to England in 1592 but they were there several times before then and once was when they pulled the fast one.
Since Habsburgs had absolutely no sense of humor and the Merry Wives is one big laugh then you know the play was written to humiliate all the Habsburgs them into never coming back to England. It didn't work. 1492 was when they came back.Now, the visiting Habsburg royalty came from near the 'Spanish Riding Academy' in Austria where the only horses of a special breed of very large Andalusian stallion existed outside of Spain. Once the gene's got out they were suddenly obsolete and were then breed down to a much smaller horse which are now called Lipizzaners. However, don't believe what you read about their early history except that 'the founding of the breed dates to 1580,' Before 1580 it was a state secret so they did not exist before then. When the secret (and the genes) got out and across Europe courtesy of England's Queen Elizabeth in 1580 they started their history.
Lipizzaners still have hindquarters that are several times as powerful as horses that used to exist so they could carry a lot more weight. Their genes got mixed into the bloodlines of most horse breeds so their jumping does not appear to be quite as spectacular as it once did. (Anyway that is why Lipizzaner's look so awesome when they are jumping and that is why they have them jump in the first place.) The original Super horse had hind quarters that were three to four times as powerful as you can tell by comparing the flanks on the above horse armor. I think someone bent the armor on the left one to fit the new horses. Whoever did it probably destroyed all the paintings of King Henry VIII when he was younger and he was good looking. You won't find a single one anywhere. His suit of armor on the above horse shows you that he was a stud. It's easier to see why men would be jealous of him if you look about mid way up on this suit of his armor. He probably also had painters add white paint to the face of many of Queen Elizabeth paintings making her look anemic. (That can easily be prove by the non destructive x-raying of some of those paintings.)Probably King James or Charles had these childish things done out of jealousy. How would I know which one did these despicable deeds? I wasn't alive in England then. I just remember that there were a lot more paintings of young Henry VIII than there were of him when he was older. I also look at the paintings of Queen Elizabeth and realize they have been changed since I remember them without the white paint on her face. All I know about is that period between 16th and 17th century England and what I find out on the Internet in this life. I know nothing at all in between then and now.
On the right is much more typical of the armor for early Shire horses and from it you can see how thin the flanks of the earlier horses were. You can see this is a piece of art so it was never reshaped for the new horses as most older horse armor was at the time the new horses were introduced including the horse armor on the King Henry VIII exhibit was (above).
Compare it to Spain's King Phillips 1551 armor on the left. As you can see it has a little bit larger flanks. His horse was an intermediate in the process of making the big breed and you can tell it had not reached the apex of the maximum size that it became in just a few years.
However it was some of the largest ones they took to the New World that awed the Aztec's completely to death. The impressive size of the Conquistador horses can be seen a few of their paintings. (I should have saved that one painting I found last year on the net. Now I'll have to find another one.)
Super horses were also about ~40% heavier and had 2 times the endurance of the typical European riding horse at that time. This is why the Habsburg's thought the could take over the world.
The Habsbergs had talked the Spanish into letting them take some stallions to Austria and under the cover provided by their isolated 'Spanish Riding School' they were in the process of breeding about 50,000 Super horses. Then they planned to take over the world starting with Russia. Since the horses could almost carry as much on it's back as a cart could they planned a blitzkrieg attack using them to over run territory faster than the enemy troops could run away. That is what is is what the plans were and it was only about ten years from happening when some Habsburgs went to England to do scams and took along three stallions to impress everyone.
So they rode them right out of Austria and since they were Habsburgs nobody questioned why each of their three 'gelded' horses had 'two things swinging between their legs'.
The royals then ran a bunch
land scams in
England and then suddenly ran out on everyone they owed money to. They
left those three huge Stallions standing at the docks when they found
out that the first boat for France was a small (and most important)
fast sailboat which could not handle the added weight of the horses
since it was already filled up with passengers.
They did not seem to care at the time that they had left behind three stallions that had sperm that could take over an entire continent. However, the entire Habsburgs family had long before devolved their conscience to the point where it didn't consider what harm it did to anyone else including other Habsburgs who had been planning to take over the entire world until they left the three stallions on the wharf in England.
Queen Elizabeth could not believe England's luck even after she had ridden one of them and scandalously she did it bareback I might add.
I mean the Crown held the horses in the Royal Stables of Windsor as collateral until the Hapsburgs paid up for the fraud that 'the future Duke von Württenberg and his entourage' had pulled off. You can see parts of how the play connects to them toward the bottom of this page and you can follow the play itself on this page. It was a scandal that those Hapsburgs took the horses from Austria in the first place and it had to be kept especially quiet from the Spanish or else Spain might have gone to war, but with whom? Would they take the Hapsburgs hostage and charge them ransom for giving away the secret sperm or would they combine their forces to invade an already weakening Holy Roman Empire? Or would they invade England just to take back the horses and contain any genes that had gotten out by killing all the horses of England except for the small ponies?
The best assurance that Spain or the Austrians or Germans did not invade England to take the stallions by force was to get as many mares pregnant as possible and as fast as possible because Spain was preparing to invade. Then get some of the pregnant mares out, first to the Netherlands. That way the Spanish could never kill all the mares even if they invaded England. That took away part of the incentive for an invasion . It was also important to get as many mares pregnant by these three stallions as possible in case England was ever invaded by a force with a large number of knights. (It was rumored that Queen Elizabeth had stockpiled several large storerooms filled with either steel heavy crossbows which were brand new in world of warfare or guns. Either crossbows or guns could pierce full armor at two hundred yards and go entirely through a heavy armored knight at a hundred yards. This is a recalled rumor so I don't know if it was true or not but England wanted large horses as a backup in any case for draft animals.)
The British told the official delegates of Austria that they would not mate the horses and officially they didn't but us peasants bribed the guards with maybe two pence (which the queen reimbursed us for) to allow us to smuggle out the horses for a few hours of breeding with our horses every night. This was at Windsor.
I need to tell you the whole story I guess. If you are a horse person then you are still reading and won't settle for less.
This was long before I wrote the plays and when I was just married a few years and only about 20 years old. I was invited to participate and actually ended up organizing to maximum efficiency. My uncle was asked if he would become involved since he was in charge of the breeding at the royal stables but his demeanor did not support such intrigue. It was also a major problem with the official involvement angle so we had to avoid at all cost it getting back to the royal family or it would immediately start a war. I was the main person who put it all together. I was the organizer of my husbands shipping company and as such I held almost a thousand items in my head. I could tell you where and when each ship was due to arrive at which port and every item in the ship. I also was a social gadfly. I loved intrigue and mysteries so my uncle thought I would be perfect even though as a proper lady I had never had anything to do with the breeding the horses even before I was married. So I became the organizer of the whole event.
My first visit to see the stallions was to see how the processing of the English mares could be improved. It was also to find out what kind of horses could be produced. It was going successfully at one or two a night when they were breeding the largest of the stallions. They were squandering the opportunity of lifetimes by smuggling in mares two a night when they should have been smuggling out the stallions so they could breed with 10-20 a night.
I was taken aback by his size when I saw the first one and this painting 'VA Horse Center' by Sandy Huffaaker is how I saw them at times as it amplifies the difference between them and other horses. iI thought to turn around and leave. I always took care of small ponies and had to I asked myself if I could organize it all by myself. All of England rested on my shoulders and I was ready to run away,like the little horse I felt like I was inside would, to France which is where we had a second home. I then decided that I could run away later if, or more likely when, it all fell apart.
When girls were growing up in that era they looked forward to many things. Usually it was getting married or going to mainland Europe to study. I had a different goal. Living at the downs and the Royal Stables with my family what I looked forward to was growing tall enough so that I would never have to look at a horses asshole again. I had looked horses in the asshole from as early in life as I could remember. From the age of three with the colts and little ponies like the Shetlands all the way until after I was 9 years old all I remember seeing was horse assholes. Finally when I grew up I was about 5' 8" and then I could look horses in the eyes and the tallest horses in England had an asshole that was only up to my shoulders. That was my rite of passage and was when I knew I had grown to adulthood.
Now once again I looked right in the asshole of the biggest stallion I had ever seen in my life. I mean he was huge. He was fully 6' 2" at the shoulders (about 18.3 hands). Suddenly and for the first time in my entire life I wavered in my devotion to queen and country. I did not know if I wanted to be involved in a project, that if I succeeded, would leave me looking in the assholes of horses again and this time it would be for the rest of my life. Luckily the offspring of this stallion were not quite as tall.
I decided we needed to smuggle the stallions out of the stables and that way we could do a much better job. We made five locations at farms around the stables where the mares could be brought to. The locations of these farms were far from towns and they had to be kept secret. A person only had to leave their mares at one of about 100 farms with a piece of cloth of a color corresponding to which horse they wanted their mare mated with. The mares were shuffled and moved closer to the main five farms. Then when the mare became receptive the cloth was tied to the horses mane and moved to one of the five farms. That way the right stallion would be mated with the mare. Red was for the huge stallion, white for the slender stallion (you can follow along in the play) who was inexperienced and needed lots of encouragement and green for the one that refused to mate with half the mares. He was so passive and picky that he became Casius in the play, because Casius in Latin means 'vain'.
Anne's father has told Slender she will be the only person in white at the midnight gathering; her mother has told Caius she'll be wearing green;
My name in that life was
Anne and so
that was me in the play. My uncle secretly helped with the
so he was Anne's father in the play.
This summary of the play can be found here.
The mares would be transferred from farm to farm until they had passed through up to four farms. This was to keep it secret. To do this at any one time there were literally 300 mares being secretly shuttled all around England. As one would become receptive to males it would be moved closer to one of farms where at night the stallions would be brought.
The three horses got hooked on the Royal Carriage which was taken out of the Royal Stables without question. The worst thing that occurred was that the best horse had an accident with a mare. A horse has bones inside their penis and he broke one of the bones, however he would not stop until he couldn't walk. He was ten miles from the stables so the farm workers freaked completely out and wanted to just throw him in the river and hide.
The women convince Falstaff to hide in a trunk, then have Mrs. Ford's servants take it to the Thames and dump it and Falstaff into the river.
They were prevented from it but someone sent word to the castle and soldiers came to rescue the horse.
On their way out, Mr. Ford does indeed show up with other men. They search the house (but not the trunk) and cannot find Falstaff.
Right before the soldiers arrived everyone calmed down and they realized that they absolutely had to return the horse. So they had to take this huge 1,700 pound animal stuffed inside the carriage (in a trunk in the play). However, the carriage actually converted into an open carriage by removing the top. That is how he was smuggled back to the stable. He was on his back because of his injury and his feet were sticking up but that was kind of OK since they had taken injured horses back that way before. But since all the Royal Carriage horses (and this was the actual Royal Carriage of the Queen of England that nobody was allowed to stop) were all mares or geldings and this horse had a two foot long something that was so swollen that it was sticking straight up and that didn't belong on a mare, and that wasn't OK.
They decide to dress Falstaff as a woman.
So they had to hide the broken part of the stallion under a large cloth to get him back to the stables and that looked like a dress.
Anne's father has told Slender she will be the only person in white at the midnight gathering; her mother has told Caius she'll be wearing green; in fact, she'll be wearing neither and will spy away with Fenton.
The next problem was that my family had spent a lot of money on a mare that we wanted to mate with the big horse and when he broke his penis we had to figure out which of the other two we would use instead. We did not know which was better, so we left off the handkerchief (wearing neither in the play) and went looking for advice from a horse breeder (a priest in the play. Since a horse breeder sanctifies a union he became the priest). Without the scarf the people at the farm thought our mare was not ready to be breed they put her in with a bunch of other horses and there was a worthless English stallion that mated with her (they eloped in the play).
Unhappily, Mr. and Mrs. Page learn that neither Slender nor Caius married Anne. Instead, all learn of Anne and Fenton's elopement.
Since our mare was pregnant it was too late to mate her again so we were very upset. We lost lots of money because that mare was a prize mare that we went over to France to buy just to mate with the big horse. We paid lots of money for her and yes I am still upset over it.
Slender, upon seeing Anne, falls in love. Parson Hugh Evans and Shallow suggest he tell her his affections and propose to her. He tries, but is overcome with shyness.
Looking back over it there was one other part that was kind of funny. The 'slender' horse was so inexperienced that somebody actually had to teach him how to have sex. He wanted to but the mares all knew he was inexperienced and did not appreciate his endeavors in the least.
Guess who had to teach him with lots of encouragement? A horse breeder again the same duty as a parson but for horses.
It's confusing for me since I am recalling both the original event and then when I recalled it later on when I wrote it many years later at the same time. It is really strange. There are two images of memory superimposed on each other. I am seeing both the original event and a vision of the memory that I recalled years later when I wrote the play so it is kind of like an echo.
Idiots Guide to Horses.
(I named it this since I'm an idiot (in this life) as far as horses are concerned and don't mind admitting it at all.)
The army of every nation was completely freaked out over the Andalusian strain of horses that were developed in Spain by monks in highly isolated monasteries. There always had been a way for a knight to get to a safe place before these horse were breed. If you got tired and wearing two hundreds pounds of armor got you tired pretty fast then could just go to the rear of your unit and rest until you got strength back. If a knight chased you, you would continue until your horse and his got too tired to run. Then you would just find some foot soldiers and they could outrun an exhausted enemy horse. One would keep busy the knight and another one would walk behind the horse and cut the tendons on the horse legs and down both would fall. The knight would never be able to sit up even without help so they would take him prisoner and sell him back or kill him. The horse would be food for a few weeks. This was standard operating procedure if the enemy was foolish enough to go behind the enemy line.
The knights on tall Andalusian's could run down all the horses that existed. They were both a lot faster with about 500 pounds on their back and they could run a lot longer with that weight. They would run down the enemy at 5-15 mph faster than their horse would run and just hold up a hammer. Bam, a fatal head blow right through the helmet and then circle around and go right past the slow soldier to the safety of his own lines. Alternately he could just wait until the enemy horse literally fell over dead from exhaustion and then kill the knight. But there was not a way that he would be stopped at this point. His horse would not be exhausted and so he could run it all the back to his own lines right past the slow foot soldiers. There were many incidents of this nature. No knight was safe from the Andalusian's. That was the horse that Cortes took 24 of to Mexico and they scared the scat out of every body.
You often hear of the English and others fighting the Spanish at sea but not on land. The Knight/Andalusian combination was the 'tank' of the 1500's and nobody wanted to fight Spain on the ground and for the same reason that no nation wants to go up against US ground forces with the US A1-Abrams tank.
There was no way to get an Andalusian Stallion so that you could have a defense against them. The Spanish all the stallions. The first ones were finally exported in 1962.
In 1580 there appeared the Lipizzaner horse in Austria and it has similar power and endurance. I think there was deal that went down between Spain and Austria. The two countries were so far apart that they never fought so however it happened a few Andalusians ended up over in the east making babies called Lipizzaners. They were kept under lock and key but before long it ended up like I read the Soviet store weapons grade uranium (the locks were found rusting off) and they were not watched that closely. (Or maybe they were watched closely but nobody stood up to royalty who wanted to take a horse and then go overseas with it. I'll bet that is what happened but I never knew it that life and didn't care. Politics are not organized enough for the bard to have deal with. They still look totally absurd and I think the biggest comedy on TV is the CNN channel.
Apparently Austria was planning to take over Russian territory, like most of it, and normally it would be out of the question because of the population and the distances they needed to travel, Russia being huge. They envisioned 10,000 knights and up to 90,000 additional horses for transport and supplies. These horse could increase the distances they traveled five fold or they could five times as fast as with mules or more because mules pulled wagons got bogged down. So they planned Blitzkrieg long before Hitler did and they also knew what Napoleon and Hitler ignored and that was to be certain they had good supply lines for a Russian invasion.
Nobody had thought out these tactics and then spent 80 years in secret 'building' a horse that could do these things. The monks in Spain had lots of time and they had isolated/secret monasteries. They had to isolate the horses from other horses because one stallion could defeat 60 years of breeding in 15 minutes.
Many monasteries were conveniently located on top of hard to reach mountain tops in Spain. That was the system that worked and just about nothing else could at the time. Wooden fences? Think a fence can stop a stallion. Ever ride a stallion? You get within a quarter mile of a female in estrus and you have a 'fucking war' on your hands. He will get to her. He will tear you off his back using whatever it takes and then he will tear apart any fence to get to that female...like when I was 25 years old and I was working in the Aerospace Industry in Southern California. This gorgeously beautiful girl came over near where I was on the beach in Malibu and put out her towel and since she had her swim suit on underneath her clothes she removed her pants exposing the cutest little purple-pink bikini bottom with a great looking launch pad. In me booster rockets started to fire and it was getting hot already and it was only about 10 am. Then when she started to pull her shirt over her head it was bunched wrong and my eyes were opened in disbelief of what was happening. She was pulling her top over her head and those nose cones were about to separate from her stage 'DD' rockets and my organs were losing communications with central control. Then she saw my eyes were about to explode and she stopped and rearranged her top saving me from being blind for the rest of my life. (I'm on a different crusade now and such as this would not bother me that much.)
This is a cheap shot but it is pretty funny and the point I make is a necessary one, so I'll finish my story. I needed to show my appreciation of her beauty and thank her in an oblique way for saving me from a life of blindness. We talked and I found out she lived near me and which book she was reading and I gave her my phone number and left the beach. It was very hot that day. If you think I am going to spend any time trying to convince you that I put her out of my mind completely, then no I won't, or that I managed to not think of her, it would be a lie. I thought about her and the bra that I should have not looked at with exploding eyes only 1,182 times that day. Later that night the phone rang. She had called me and she asked me if I would like to 'come visit her' and it was 11:30 PM. The cop gave me a ticket after he stopped me the second time he stopped me for speeding and after he had let me go the first time with a warning. When I finally thought about it the next day, actually when I started thinking again, I realized that getting that ticket didn't slow me down any more than the warning had. The point is that the wooden fences they had then could keep a stallion away from mares about as effectively as if you wrote him a traffic tickets or gave him a warning.
The isolation of pure lines of horses was nearly impossible until the advent of steel fences and solid gates. The monasteries were often in very isolated locations such as on mountains and that afforded the same protection as a steel fence. They had the manpower to assign a monk just to follow a single mare around and keep males away from her. They had patience, time and the intelligence enough to develop a breed of horse. Those kind of conditions existed almost nowhere else in Europe so the maintaining of pure breed line was next to impossible elsewhere. The places where the successful breeding of large mammals occurred were mainly on islands such as Jersey Island with the cow of the same name, nearby Guernsey Island also with the cow of the same name and the Shetland Island with their famous Shetland Ponies. Without the the isolation provided by these locations any male of the same species could scramble the genes of a pure breed easily and very fast. The genes may not be expressed for several generations. In other words all the colts may look like mom. When those colts grow and have colts of the genes of the 'grandfather' may express themselves and the colts will look and act like the wrong stallion and fifty years of work would have to be scrapped.
Then once they had the huge horse bred they started the Spanish Riding Academy in Austria where the Hapsburgs planned to breed them until they had about 50,000.
Then those Hapsburg dukes took three of them to England to impress the locals so they could get lines of credit and then pull off some scams involving land. They never realized the full value of those horses until after they had left in a hurry abandoning them.
First take a look at the
native horses of England which were pretty well adapted to wading
through marshes and compact for windy mountain trails.
This Highland Pony is an excellent example of the Middle Ages equivalent of the ATV..
These are the Exmoor pony and the Fell pony.
This is the famous Shetland pony. They claim it's been isolated for 2,000 years on that island and that explains the large difference between them and other alleged pure blood English horses and ponies.
A few were breed to larger sizes like the Percheron heavy horse or this one.
This is a Suffolk Punch but they were pretty much just out sized versions of the short legged English ponies. The real difference between all of the native horses and the new ones that appeared after the Hapsburg incident are easily seen here. Compare the hind leg of the Suffolk with this Andalusian. Yes the Andalusian has longer legs overall but that can be breed in a hundred years or so. What I am referring to is that the Arabic genes from the horses the Hapsburgs brought in created a horse whose upper legs are so much longer than the lower legs, in both the front and back, than of the true native horses have. That is a genetic change that only occurred with about ten thousand years of evolution or the introduction of Arabic stock thanks to the Hapsburgs.
The old horses had long lower legs and you can see how long the lower legs of these horses compared to the new horse's (below) who often had lower legs that were much shorter than their upper legs. That is a genetic change that only occurred with about ten thousand years of evolution or the introduction of Arabic stock thanks to the Hapsburgs.
The taller breed of horse
could never have survived in the wild until England developed roads and
drained most of the swamps.
Long legs get stuck in mud and Arabic stock sometimes can get stuck in only half the mud that the Highland Pony (at the top) could wade right through. Many horse's get stuck in mud or fall on it every year. If you run a google search for [mud horse stuck] you get lots of them and half of them seem to be in England (But I really think most of that is because the English love horses so much.).
After the swamps got drained England were
able to breed their horse with Arabian stock.
These were originally from desert areas and
so they developed long legs and great
endurance to be able to travel long
distances in search of sparse foliage.
The Andalusians had the genes
of desert walking horses.
They originally were very large and tall, high stepping
horses with great endurance.
The heavy version of the
was developed fully in 1580 from
Andalusian stock, hence the name
'The Spanish Riding Academy' (the name was a
cover for the secret operation.)
They were huge originally and very tall,
high stepping horses with great endurance.
In 1730 England
'declassified' their secret
Scottish Clydesdale horse which
kept the huge size of the original Lipizzaners.
Which I guess was in case guns ever
went out of style and knights came
back in popularity. It was a tall, high stepping
horse with no real past other than rumor
The Clydesdale is better known among the
cultured elite of America as 'Doze Beer Horses'.
Also, there is this horse, the Lincolnshire,
Shire horse which is a tall high stepping
horse with no real past other than rumor
Also, this horse, the
Bay horse came from now where and was
a tall high stepping horse with no real
past other than rumor
There is a rumor that the
out about what was going on and they sent
ten mares to Britain to breed them before the
British had to send back those horses.
Then there is the Netherlands Friesian horse
which is a tall high stepping horse with no
real past other than rumor
This next one is my all time favorite.
These are Queens own Royal
They are, you guessed it a tall high
stepping horse with no real past other
than rumor and wild conjecture and
one of the rumors that flew is that they
were almost pure blood Lipizzinger's.
They sure do look like it don't they?
But they would have had to have
Lipizzinger stallions right in the
Windsor Royal Stables
and that never occurred because
the Hapsburgs kept them under
lock and key and no stallions
would have been allowed to leave
Austria for fear it might cause
a war with Spain.
That would have meant some
pretty 'happy wives (mares)
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