In my previous one entry on the Medieval dextrarius and his lesser friends war-horse-dextrarius-opertus , I attempted to introduce the subject of the so called knightly 'great horse.' I gave links to plenty many illuminations and paintings form High and Late Middle Ages showing those artists impressions of their great horse, palfrey, courses etc.
So let us now turn the the one of the most important equestrian artwork of the XV century - the Cappella dei Magi in Florence Itally Magi_Chapel Gozzoli_magi . Painted by Benozzo_Gozzoli one of the most gifted 'equine' Medieval painters (and disciple of the famous Florentine painter of angels, Fra Angelico) for our purposes this series of frescoes is a cornucopia of images of a great horse and his lesser equine friends (because the true theme of the artwork is the glory of the Sforza family with some famous characters of the era Sigismodno Pandolfo Malatesta - below on a bay horse next to Galeazzo Sforza on white one, John VII Palaiologos on a grey horse above and in these sketches by Pisanello Sketches_of_John_VIII_Palaiologos Florence_in_1438 Pisanello ).
Please note that both horses have bridles without a noseband, heavy curb-bit (but with short and curved shanks) and heavy, single reins. Galeazzo Sforza horse has jeweled pendant hanging from his browband.
Here another Sforza rides a roan horse with a Eastern (Turkish or Byzantine) shabraque on his steed croup. The purpose of the shabraque is clear - it is to give support and protection to a wild cat sitting there. I daresay it is a cheetah and not a leopard, as these trained felines had been used exactly for that purpose - showy and fearsome display and for going hunting while riding to the spot behind his master. This tradition of employing 'horsed' cheetah is very ancient, being used by the nomads and rulers of Central Asia, spreading to Tang China in the east of Eurasia and to Islamic lands in the Northern Africa in the West. This collected roan horse and his comfortably mounted rider show high degree of schooling predating by more than a 100 years the world of Grisone and Renaissance manege schools, and they are intentionally performing for a viewer. Again no nose band on the bridle, single heavy reins and a curb-bit with glided round 'cheekpiece'.
Here we have a great view of a croup and crouper position. The tail on this black horse is not docked, perhaps following the advice of Xenophon :
I am going do a separate entry on the horses of Uccello, the painter of Medieval war horse.