Leaders often chose a white horse because it would stand out on the field of battle. This picture shows William the Conqueror defeating King Harold at the battle of Hastings, riding his white stallion, wielding a mace.

Here are some other interesting snippets.

Battle of Hastings by Tom Lovell - Cranston Fine Arts

In the Crusades, Middle Ages and More Recent Times

William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings 1066
"He...sat on a white horse, so that all might recognize him. In his hand he held a mace."
For more about the Battle of Hastings click here.

Eleanor of Aquitaine circa 1147
Queen Eleanor appeared at Vézelay dressed like an Amazon galloping through the crowds on a white horse, urging them to join the crusades. Aged 19, she knelt in the cathedral of Vézelay before the celebrated Abbé Bernard of Clairvaux offering him thousands of her vassals for the Second Crusade. For more about Eleanor and her adventures click here.

Joan of Arc ( 1412-1431) and her White War Horse
"Armour shining in the sun, a lone soul sat upon a white war-horse tall and proud. Helmet at her side, her loose hair whipped in the wind, a youthful soft loving face peeped beneath. Her lighted eyes show wisdom that surpasses this earthly realm".For more about Joan follow this link.

El Cid in 11th Century Spain
The Carthusians, an order of monks, were reknowned for their Andalusian horses in 11th Century Spain .Pedro El Grande, a monk, was the grandfather of a boy called Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar. When he came of age Pedro offered the boy the pick of a herd of beautiful horses. Rodrigo chose a white foal which he named Babieca, "my stupid one" which grew into a forminable charger. This white stallion carried Pedro into battle for some 30 years, every time to victory. The Saracen enemies called him El Cid Campeador or My Lord the champion of Warriors. After the death of El Cid in the battle for Valencia, one of the last Moorish strongholds in Spain, Babieca never carried a mount again and died two years later at the ripe old age of 40.

Andalusian horses were a blend of mainly Arabian and Berber stock with some admixture of English blood.They were used with great success as war horses by the Carthaginians in their campaigns against the Romans who in turn captured and bred then for their own purposes.Its not known what percentage of this original breed were white. The Andalusians of today are however about 80% white

Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo 1815
Napoleon was seen on a white stallion at Waterloo believed to be his famous mount Marengo. After the battle, Marengo was taken to England and put on display at the Waterloo Rooms on Pall Mall where the crowds pressed in to see this "White Barb Charger..favourite horse of the late Emperor". For a longer account about Marengo, the White Horse, follow this link.

Lt General U.S. Grant and Methuselah in the Civil war
In 1861 General Grant rode Methuselah,his favourite horse, a white stallion, into Springfield, Illinois.

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