Stephen Curtin wrote:I'm not exactly sure why you think it would make sense for hobilars to frequently dismount and fight on foot. Irish armies of this time already had both heavy and light infantry. The heavily armoured gallowglass were better equipped for pitched battle but as a consequence less mobile than the unarmoured kern, who were better in a skermish. Hobilars had the same armour as gallowglass, but because of their horses were very mobile.
As for Anglo - Scottish border reivers, I've been looking into them as I agree with you that they are similar to Irish hobilars. I've heard some say that they used bucklers, but I haven't been able to confirm this by period source. If they did use bucklers then this probably means that it was a back up for on foot, so that might also be helpful in determining if hobilars did the same.
Stephen apparently you misunderstood my statement , I did not mean that it would make sense to dismount and fight on foot frequently, but that "IF" they did dismount and fight frequently on foot having a shield would make sense(at least to me). Since Cavalry would likely have a single handed sword or spear I don't see any problem having a shield on the other arm. Here is a quote from the Na Degad website so apparently they did dismount at times to fight. I'm no sword and shield fighting expert but others may know more about it.
From Na Degad;
"It wasn’t until the arrival of the Galloglaich that pitched battles became more commonplace and the Hobilars began to become more heavily armed and against other native Irish armies the Hobilar could dismount and fight with the infantry, bolstering the fighting quality of the traditionally unarmoured Gaelic warrior in a pitched battle. "
On a side note I just thought of, wouldn't it also make sense to have a shield if your opponent on horseback was charging you with a lance or stabbing at you with a spear??