A target was erected and the Page would mount a wooden 'horse' on wheels holding a lance. The wooden horse would be pulled along by two other pages towards the target and the page would aim the lance. The Page was expected to learn the technique called the 'couch' where the lance is held under the arm to steady it during a course, substantially reducing the amount of flex and increasing the accuracy of a lunge. Sword play was practised using wooden swords and shields. Fighting on piggyback introduced the young knights to the balance and skills required in mounted combat.
Knighthood Training in other physical skills included climbing, swimming, throwing stones, javelins, archery and wrestling. Knighthood Training - Equestrian Skills The knighthood training of both the Pages and the Squires of the Middle Ages continued with acquiring excellent equestrian skills. A horse played an extremely important part in the life of a knight. A knight would own several horses which were built for different duties. These knights ranged in various sizes starting with a palfrey, or an ambler for general travelling purposes.
Bigger and stronger horses were required as warhorses. The Courser was the most sought after and expensive warhorse, owned by the most wealthy knights. The more common warhorses were like modern hunters, known then as Destriers.
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The apprentice knights would learn how to ride and control their horses and the art of this type of warfare. Starting with small ponies they would hone their equestrian skills in their Knighthood training. The pages and squires were also expected to play their part of caring for the horses in the stables.
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They had served as pages and learnt the basic skills required during their Knighthood training. As Squires they were seen as men capable of fighting in battles. Their Knighthood training became far more dangerous. Injuries were a common occurrence during their knighthood training.
In actual warfare, a squire followed his knight. When on the move, the squires usually rode ahead with the extra horses and baggage. If the knight were seriously wounded, it was the squire who was responsible for extracting him from the battlefield. When finally fully trained, a squire could be made a knight by their lord or another knight, usually when between the ages of 18 and It is not clear what happened to squires who failed in their training, although a career in the church or law might have been a common alternative for some noble children. One celebrated figure who never made the step up from squire to knight was Geoffrey Chaucer c.
Still other squires simply continued to be squires into adulthood and served a knight throughout their career.
Knights In Training
A lack of financial means might be another reason never to achieve knighthood as the cost of horses, armour, and equipment was high. Those squires who were knight material and had the means to progress underwent an elaborate initiation ceremony to welcome them into the brotherhood of knights.
There were some knightings made just prior to a battle, so in that case, the ceremony had to come later but it was certainly worth the wait. The preparation for a knighting or dubbing as it is sometimes called , which might include any number of knights-to-be, began the day before, with the squire brushing himself up with a bath and a shave or beard trim.
Overnight he might spend the hours in a vigil within a chapel with his sword resting upon the altar, no doubt contemplating his good fortune on achieving his goal and pondering the risks to life and limb yet to be faced. On the day of the ceremony the squire was dressed by two knights with a white tunic and white belt to symbolise purity, black or brown stockings to represent the earth to which he will one day return, and a scarlet cloak for the blood he is now ready to spill for his baron, sovereign, and church.
The actual ceremony, which varied over time and place, might occur in the open air, in a chapel or, for the lucky ones, within the royal palace when the dubbings were usually held as part of a wider celebration such as royal weddings and coronations. The blade had two cutting edges - one to represent justice, the other loyalty or more generally, chivalry.
Then, before witnesses, the squire kneeled before the knight or king giving the honour. The person doing the dubbing was actually taking a risk with his own reputation as any glory or dishonour the new knight acquired also reflected on he who had knighted him. Now a knight, he was given his horse, which was paid for by either his father of the person knighting him, and then his shield and banner, which might bear his family coat of arms.
After all this preparation and ceremony a knight was ready to fulfil his purpose: win victory on the battlefield. Knights were involved in warfare for several reasons: they were in the paid service of a local baron as part of his permanent force of household knights, they were sent to perform a duty for their sovereign by their baron or they had no particular attachment to anyone but earned their living as a mercenary. Knights might also fight for a religious cause such as during the Crusades or belong to an order of knights like the Knights Templar.
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Knights were generally paid for their services, but not always if it were in service to the king in a war against another country or rebellious barons. In medieval warfare, sieges of fortified cities and castles were more common than field battles, but a knight was still expected to play their part. Knights might form raiding parties from a besieged castle, for example, and these had to be met. In battle, knights formed the front line of an army and rode in close formation, using their lance first until it was broken.
Next, they wielded swords and dismounted if their horse were injured, as frequently happened. During a siege, a knight might be expected to man a siege tower or be ready to enter a fortification once it had been breached. When not fighting for real, knights were expected to keep their skills sharp by performing at tournaments where they participated in mock cavalry battles, jousted on horseback, and fought on foot in one-on-one fights.
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Cartwright, M. How to Become a Medieval Knight. Training a Knight Knights belonged to the noble class and were part of a military order, but not all soldiers could become knights.
Becoming a knight – Apprenticeship
Those lacking the equipment, status or wealth to join an order were usually denied. However, some from the poorer class could elevate their status and be accepted into knighthood through valor on the battlefield. While Orders of female knights were rare, they did exist. Becoming a page was usually the first step most took in the path to knighthood. Training began at a very young age.