Master Johannes the Black of the Athanor


(Being some suggestions for practical (re)construction, ornamentation and use.)

It is a very rewarding endeavor, this fashioning of equestrian trappings and it's equipage. This is for two reasons; the horse was very much a vital influence in the medieval societies we study, therefore the research necessitated by the making of horse furniture gives us much useful insight; additionally, fewer projects make such a complete test of the quality of ones craftsmanship. A set of caparison shoddily made, or of faulty design, will rapidly disintegrate after only a short ride.

So it is that this article is written; not to give you step-by-step instructions in the construction of caparison, but to give you some design and construction considerations which you will hopefully find useful in arriving at your own original product. For the seamstress/tailor or leatherworker who perseveres, there will be a measure of satisfaction hard to describe, when you first ride across the fields in garb and caparison. Should you make your own, you will understand.

Most non-tourney caparison (referred to as riding caparison) of the 1300's was very much the same in all of western Europe. It seems to have consisted of;

I'll leave you with some general construction tips:


After various caparisons depicted in 'Tabula sanitatis', a 14thc. Italian MS in the Oesterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna. Published modernly as the 'Four Seasons of the House of Cerruti'.