A 14th century depiction of the 13th century German knight Hartmann von Aue, from the Codex Manesse.
Scotland Forever! [crop] depicting the cavalry charge of the Royal Scots Greys at the Battle of Waterloo.
A Norman knight slaying Harold Godwinson (Bayeux tapestry, c. 1070). The rank of knight developed in the 12th century from the mounted warriors of the 10th and 11th centuries.
A soldier in World War I with his mule.
The battle between the Turks and Christian knights during the Ottoman wars in Europe
Chariots and archers were weapons of war in Ancient Egypt.
David I of Scotland knighting a squire
Haniwa horse statuette, complete with saddle and stirrups, 6th century, Kofun period
The miles Christianus allegory (mid-13th century), showing a knight armed with virtues and facing the vices in mortal combat. The parts of his armour are identified with Christian virtues, thus correlating essential military equipment with the religious values of chivalry: 
The helmet is spes futuri gaudii (hope of future bliss), the shield (here the shield of the Trinity) is fides (faith), the armour is caritas (charity), the lance is perseverantia (perseverance), the sword is verbum Dei (the word of God), the banner is regni celestis desiderium (desire for the kingdom of heaven), the horse is bona voluntas (good will), the saddle is Christiana religio (Christian religion), the saddlecloth is humilitas (humility), the reins are discretio (discretion), the spurs are disciplina (discipline), the stirrups are propositum boni operis (proposition of good work), and the horse's four hooves are delectatio, consensus, bonum opus, consuetudo (delight, consent, good work, and exercise).
The "War Panel" of the Standard of Ur
Tournament from the Codex Manesse, depicting the mêlée
A Qin dynasty sculpture of a chariot with horses and rider from the Terracotta Army unearthed near the tomb of China's first emperor Qin Shihuangdi, Xi'an, China, 3rd century BC
Elements of a harness of the late style of Gothic plate armour that was a popular style in the mid 15th to early 16th century (depiction made in the 18th century)
Depiction of a Sasanian Persian Cataphract from Taq-e Bostan
Page from King René's Tournament Book (BnF Ms Fr 2695)
Life-size model depicting c. 1850 horse artillery team with a light artillery piece
The Battle of Pavia in 1525. Landsknecht mercenaries with arquebus.
A horserider of probable Xiongnu origin: the rider wears a hairbun characteristic of the oriental steppes, and his horse has characteristically Xiongnu horse trappings. 2nd–1st century BC. Excavated in Saksanokhur (near Farkhor), Tajikistan. National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan.
Fortified house – a family seat of a knight (Schloss Hart by the Harter Graben near Kindberg, Austria)
Manuscript illustration of the Mahabharata War, depicting warriors fighting on horse chariots
The Battle of Grunwald between Poland-Lithuania and the Teutonic Knights in 1410
Yabusame archers, Edo period
Pippo Spano, the member of the Order of the Dragon
Spanish and Moorish light cavalry (jinetes) skirmish at the 1431 Battle of La Higueruela
The English fighting the French knights at the Battle of Crécy in 1346
A re-imagination of Louis III and Carloman's 879 victory over the Vikings; Jean Fouquet, Grandes Chroniques de France
Miniature from Jean Froissart Chronicles depicting the Battle of Montiel (Castilian Civil War, in the Hundred Years' War)
Jousting is a sport that evolved out of heavy cavalry practice.
A modern artistic rendition of a chevalière of the Late Middle Ages.
Chasseurs of the Guard (light cavalry) to the left and cuirassier (Heavy cavalry) to the right, at the battle of Friedland.
A battle of the Reconquista from the Cantigas de Santa Maria
"Napoleon I with his Generals" by Ludwig Elsholtz. This painting shows light cavalry horses which come into use as officer's mounts in 18th- and 19th-century Europe.
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Kanem-Bu warriors armed with spears. The Earth and Its Inhabitants, 1892.
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Native Americans quickly adopted the horse and were highly effective light cavalry. Comanche-Osage fight. George Catlin, 1834
Confederate general Robert E. Lee and Traveller. Cavalry played a significant role in the American Civil War.
Australian Imperial Force light horsemen, 1914
Polish Cavalry during a Polish Army manoeuvre in late 1930s.
A memorial to the horses that served in the Second Boer War.
U.S. Special Operations Forces, members of Task Force Dagger, and Afghanistan Commander Abdul Rashid Dostum on horseback in the Dari-a-Souf Valley, Afghanistan, in October 2001.
US Air Force Special Operations Command Combat Controller Bart Decker rides a horse in Afghanistan in the early stages of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Mounted police in Poznań, Poland
Horse Cavalry Detachment of the U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry Division demonstrating a mock cavalry charge at Fort Bliss, Texas

The lords trusted the knights, who were skilled in battle on horseback.

- Knight

Muslim warriors relied upon light cavalry in their campaigns throughout Northern Africa, Asia, and Europe beginning in the 7th and 8th centuries AD. Europeans used several types of war horses in the Middle Ages, and the best-known heavy cavalry warrior of the period was the armoured knight.

- Horses in warfare
A 14th century depiction of the 13th century German knight Hartmann von Aue, from the Codex Manesse.

3 related topics

Alpha

Renaissance-era depiction of a joust in traditional or "high" armour, based on then-historical late medieval armour (Paulus Hector Mair, de arte athletica, 1540s)

Jousting

Martial game or hastilude between two horse riders wielding lances with blunted tips, often as part of a tournament.

Martial game or hastilude between two horse riders wielding lances with blunted tips, often as part of a tournament.

Renaissance-era depiction of a joust in traditional or "high" armour, based on then-historical late medieval armour (Paulus Hector Mair, de arte athletica, 1540s)
Depiction of a late 13th-century joust in the Codex Manesse. Joust by Walther von Klingen.
Depiction of a standing joust in an Alsatian manuscript of ca. 1420 (CPG 359); protection for the legs of the riders is integrated into the horse armour.
The Stechzeug of John the Constant (c. 1500). The shield strapped to his left shoulder is called an ecranche.
Jousting at Middelaldercentret
Armor of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor, 1549
Parade Armour of Henry II of France, c. 1553-55
Armour for King Henry VIII by Matthew Bisanz, 1544
Armour worn by King Henry VIII

From 10 July to 9 August 1434, the Leonese Knight Suero de Quiñones and ten of his companions encamped in a field beside a bridge and challenged each knight who wished to cross it to a joust.

It was heavier than suits of plate armour intended for combat, and could weigh as much as 50 kg (110 lb), compared to some 25 kg (55 lb) for field armour; as it did not need to permit free movement of the wearer, the only limiting factor was the maximum weight that could be carried by a warhorse of the period.

A modern working stirrup on an endurance riding saddle

Stirrup

Light frame or ring that holds the foot of a rider, attached to the saddle by a strap, often called a stirrup leather.

Light frame or ring that holds the foot of a rider, attached to the saddle by a strap, often called a stirrup leather.

A modern working stirrup on an endurance riding saddle
Depiction of a Kushan divinity using an early platform-style stirrup, circa AD 150. British Museum.
Stirrup from the Baekje (18 BC – 660 AD) kingdom of Korea
Haniwa horse statuette, complete with saddle and stirrups, 6th century, Kofun period, Japan.
Roman emperor Basil I the Macedonian and his son Leo on horses with stirrups. (From the Madrid Skylitzes, Biblioteca Nacional de España, Madrid).
10th century stirrup found in England
Modern fillis stirrups
Han dynasty mounting stirrup.
Han mounting stirrup
A funerary figurine with a mounting stirrup, dated AD 302, unearthed near Changsha.
Horse figurine with stirrup, Western Jin
The earliest extant double stirrup, from the tomb of Feng Sufu, a Han Chinese nobleman from the Northern Yan dynasty, 415 AD. Discovered in Beipiao, Liaoning.
Iron stirrups, Gaya confederacy

As a tool allowing expanded use of horses in warfare, the stirrup is often called the third revolutionary step in equipment, after the chariot and the saddle.

Among other advantages, stirrups provided greater balance and support to the rider, which allowed the knight to use a sword more efficiently without falling, especially against infantry adversaries.

Ottoman Sipahi heavy cavalry, c. 1550

Heavy cavalry

Class of cavalry intended to deliver a battlefield charge and also to act as a tactical reserve; they are also often termed shock cavalry.

Class of cavalry intended to deliver a battlefield charge and also to act as a tactical reserve; they are also often termed shock cavalry.

Ottoman Sipahi heavy cavalry, c. 1550
Early 16th-century French gendarmes, with complete plate armour and heavy lances
Spanish Heavy Cavalry - Royal Armoury of Madrid, Spain
Alexander the Great on horseback
The oldest known relief of a heavily armoured cavalryman, from the Sasanian Empire, at Taq-i Bostan, near Kermanshah, Iran (4th century)
Northern Wei heavy cavalry
A recreation of a medieval joust between heavily armoured knights at a modern Renaissance fair
Contemporary depiction in the Liber ad honorem Augusti, of Dipold of Acerra, an early 13th-century knight, when the knight was undisputed master of the battlefield
Mongol heavy cavalry in battle (13th–14th century)
Christian the Younger of Brunswick in the armour of a cuirassier
A re-enactor dressed as a Winged Hussar, who served as the heavy cavalry of the Polish Commonwealth
French cuirassiers, 19th century

Although their equipment differed greatly depending on the region and historical period, heavy cavalry were generally mounted on large powerful warhorses, wore body armor, and armed with either lances, swords, maces, flails (disputed), battle axes, or war hammers; their mounts may also have been protected by barding.

Among other advantages, stirrups provided greater balance and support to the rider, which allowed the knight to use a sword more efficiently without falling, especially against infantry adversaries.