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MAP
04-20-2010, 09:07 PM
I need some information on how the horse trade worked in about the 1600's in Europe (I am not that picky on the time frame since I am writing fantasy). I am thinking that there would be breeders, trainers, and dealers of horses. But I would like to know how this process worked.

Did the breeders also train the horses or were the horses sold untrained and the buyers trained or hired someone to train the horses? Or were the horses passed from the breeders to trainers and then to dealers? I'd like to know which scenario seems most logical.

I am having trouble on the internet finding info on the history of horse trading. I did find two books that I am thinking of purchasing since I can't find them in the local library.

Horse And Man in Early Modern England by Peter Edwards
The Horse Trade of Tudor and Stuart England by Peter Edwards

But before I spend my hard earned money on these books, I was wondering if anyone knows of any other books or internet sites that would answer these questions?

Has anyone read these two books I am thinking of purchasing, if so, are they any good?

Thanks you so much for any help you can give.

stephenf
04-20-2010, 10:15 PM
In England horses are traded at Horsefairs .Trainers and breeders is a modern idea . Yeas ago people just owned horses and some were able to breed them .Have a look at
www.cotswold.info/horsefair.htm

sunandshadow
04-20-2010, 10:26 PM
Yeah people weren't that organized in 1600s Europe. Only noblemen had the money to own dozens of horses and try to breed for some specific result, such as size, speed, or temperament, and importing breeding stock from far away was especially expensive. So a nobleman might get a reputation as a horse fancier and breeder, or he might have a master of horse running his breeding program. But most people, such as farmers, who owned a mare would try to breed her with any available stallion because anyone who needs working horses has to replace them regularly. That's why geldings have always been the cheapest horses, because they don't give the owner any way to recoup their investment.

MAP
04-21-2010, 01:06 AM
Thanks for the quick replies. I am a little surprised that the horse industry wasn't more organized considering how important horses were.

I can see that the nobles and the farmers could easily breed and train their own horses, but what about the merchants and artisans which might have need for horses? I can't see them having the time to breed, raise, and train horses.

I am assuming that they would probably buy horses from the horsefairs supplied by farmers who had extra horses? It seems reasonable that someone could capitalize on supplying horses to merchants, at least since I would think they would have a great need for them. Weren't there any horse farms?

Medievalist
04-21-2010, 01:32 AM
Nobles had extensive breeding programs.

Farmers bred work horses.

And yes, horse fairs.

Also extensive laws in pretty much every medieval code about horses, their keep, their breeding, etc.

veinglory
04-21-2010, 01:37 AM
Even today most horses are bred causually by people who only own a few horses and are hoping to make some money from them. And rich people breed racehorses and polo ponies. The more things change...

eurodan49
04-21-2010, 05:54 AM
1600 in Europe is such a general time and place, for there was a huge difference between England, France, Spain, Italy, and the rest. At that time Germany was going through the devastating 30 year war (so 90% of horses were taken by armies). Poland was a major power, as was Austria (but both had few horses-cavalry). The rest of East-Europe was under the Turks… and also raided by Tatars and Mongols. Farmers were not free, but serves, and didn’t own horses… unless a farmer distinguished himself in battle and was awarded a hors (which he probably sold), or until a nobleman saw the horse and took it (at the point of the sword). Kings (some, but not all of them) had stables, stable hands, and some would even import breeding stock and specialized breeders (usually from Spain or the Ottoman Empire). Some noblemen might have a small breeding stock but most only owned a few heads (and they had a few servants to look after them). Smaller nobility, knights/warriors owned even less, usually one or two horses, for which they cared themselves. Armies of that time were smallish, except the Turks. Cavalry ratio over infantry was about 1/9 (except the Mongols and Tatars which were mainly mounted forces). At the Siege of Buda (part of Budapest) in 1683, the Turks had 7,000 Ghalam (cavalry) out of 120,000. Specialized cavalry units (usually no more than a few hundred), were mainly for forays into enemy territory, scouting and defense of the king. Large cavalry units didn’t develop for another 100 yrs.
In the 1600’s horses were a luxury.

Tsu Dho Nimh
04-21-2010, 06:46 AM
Thanks for the quick replies. I am a little surprised that the horse industry wasn't more organized considering how important horses were.
The logistics of travel kept horse breeding and training a local industry for the most part.

War was the main mover of livestock ... Flemish draft horses went to the crusades,
Arabians came back.


I can see that the nobles and the farmers could easily breed and train their own horses, but what about the merchants and artisans which might have need for horses? I can't see them having the time to breed, raise, and train horses.
There were aways specialists - people with the knack for training up a good draft horse or a lady's mount.

Keeping a stallion is not easy, and I have some accounts from the 1700s of a travelling stallion of good build and breeding touring the countryside making babies.


I am assuming that they would probably buy horses from the horsefairs supplied by farmers who had extra horses? It seems reasonable that someone could capitalize on supplying horses to merchants, at least since I would think they would have a great need for them.

It was more complex than that ... dealers or agents usually took the horses to regional fairs to be sold. Rather than lose a couple of weeks farming time, a farmer would sell or delegate the sale.


Weren't there any horse farms?

If you have a couple of mares, it's easy enough to have foals every year. All you need is a couple of minutes of a stallion's time.

One common practice as late as the 1840s was for the lord (or landlord) to have a really good herd sire that was available to any minions or tenants as part of the servitude or rent.

shaldna
04-21-2010, 10:05 AM
Did the breeders also train the horses or were the horses sold untrained and the buyers trained or hired someone to train the horses? Or were the horses passed from the breeders to trainers and then to dealers? I'd like to know which scenario seems most logical.

It depends. Nowadays people will breed, others will train, and others will deal. But in the past people couldn't afford to do that. So, the same person might do all of it.

Bear in mind too that many horses at this time were not bred in the context that they are now. They were loose bred - native breeds living 'wild' and herded in once or twice a year.

Most families would ahve had one or two horses, rahter than breed 20 of them.

Also, bear in mind the type of horses you would have, because I swear to god if I see another thorooughbred in a medieval fantasy I will cry. The European horses at that time were primarily native breeds and in the north they were heavy, industrial type horses. spain and southern france had some lighter breeds to deal with the heat better and there was a steady influx of horses from mongial etc. but these did not fair well in the colder northern climate.

eurodan49
04-21-2010, 06:26 PM
Arabian horses have by the 17th century been in Europe for many years. First introduced in Spain in the 8th century, were reintroduced during the Crusades (as knights brought some back). Then, by the 14th century, the Turks introduced them heavily into south-eastern Europe. In the early 16th century, over 100,000 Arabians were brought into today’s Romania and Hungary. The Turks had a fetish with horses—some bringing them to live in their tents.
Regardless, in the 17th century horses were not that much used in farming (oxen, mules, and donkeys were used instead). Peasants of those times were tied to the land, with few or no rights and in some kingdoms they weren’t allowed to own horses. Many laws were given in regard to horse trading and special taxes applied to the breeding and selling of horses. Large stables were the exclusivity of kings and high nobility.

MAP
04-22-2010, 11:50 AM
Thanks so much everyone. This was very helpful.



Also, bear in mind the type of horses you would have, because I swear to god if I see another thorooughbred in a medieval fantasy I will cry.

LOL good to know.

shaldna
04-22-2010, 12:15 PM
Thanks so much everyone. This was very helpful.




LOL good to know.


tb's are a created breed, the breed began in the 18th and 19th century with a handful of stallions and 70 odd mares and didn't gain breed prominance until the mid 19th cent.

The founding mares were grouped into 8 groups, with group one mares being the best and group 8 being the worst.

Anyone with a TB now can trace the pedigree back to one of those mares.