It was in the 17th.Century rather than in the Middle Ages and in the English Civil War and in the Thirty Years' War in Europe that the cavalry/pikes issue was most important. The cavalry did not "resist", they attacked, and the pikemen, who were necessary to protect the musketeers during the long process of reloading their matchlock muskets, "resisted". The pikes were up to 18 feet long, and the shaft below the point was metal-covered to prevent the cavalrymen from just lopping off the points with their sabres. Since horses will not impale themselves on points, the cavaly gave up the lance and replaced it with heavy wheel-lock pistols carried on the saddle (hence "horse-pistols). Then, instead of charging home as in earlier times,,they stopped just beyond the pike-points and attempted to shoot down enough pikemen in one place to create a gap through which they could ride and use their sabres. If they succeeded, the pikemen had no choice but to drop their pikes and run, only to be cut down if they did so. Well-disciplined pikemen though stood firm and filled the places of the fallen, preventing any gap from being created. They also wore steel helmets and breastplates which could often resist pistol bullets. Once the musketeers had reloaded, the pikemen moved aside to let them fire, and the cavalry needed to get out of range as quickly as possible. This sequence, which required training and iron discipline, was repeated until either the 'hedge' of pikes was broken, or the pikemen were able to advance and engage the enemy infantry "at push of pike."