A knight depended on his horse both as a weapon and a means of defense. He therefore had to take great care to protect his charger. From the 1100s on, knights first covered their steeds in trappings of fabric and later of mail. By around 1400, full steel plate armor for horses was complete. It is possible that this armor made for both man and horse originally belonged to a "garniture", that is an armor with multiple customized exchange elements which could convert the basic suit to various field and sporting uses. With different pieces of the garniture attached, this suit could have been worn either in battle or in various games of the tournament. The total combined weight of both the man's and horse's armor is 114 pounds.
The etched decoration of this armor is of a type that became fashionable in northern Italy during the late 1500s. It consists of ornamental bands of etched figures, animals, portrait busts, and armor trophies. In addition, a coat of arms is represented seven times in different places on the armor-- the center of the breastplate and blackplate, the front and back of each pauldron (shoulder defense), and the center of the peytral (horse's breastplate.) The coat of arms is that of the Colonna family quartered with another, still unidentified family. It probably belonged to an unknown member of the Völs-Colonna family from the South Tyrol, now part of northern Italy.