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Ask Me About Horses

Discussion in 'Research' started by ArielFingolfin, May 1, 2012.

  1. ArielFingolfin

    ArielFingolfin Troubadour

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    Ok, well I'm new here, so I have no idea if there was already a thread for this, but I skimmed through and couldn't see one, so I figured I'd post. I have a pretty extensive knowledge of horses as I've been working with them for about 12 years, and I've done a lot of reading on the subject, both for college classes and for pleasure, so if you have any questions, ask away! Or if there's someone who already does this, and I'm stepping on toes, holler at me, and I'll scuttle back under my rock :)
     
  2. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Hello ArielFingolfin, and welcome to Mythic Scribes!!

    I have a question about horses that may seem a little strange, but I am really curious about this: What is the total height that a large horse can reach when they stand on their hind legs?? I mean, how high above the ground would be the highest part of the horse's head while standing like that??

    Let's say, a 2000 pounds Percheron horse.
     
  3. ArielFingolfin

    ArielFingolfin Troubadour

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    Well, your average Percheron is anywhere from 16 hands at the whithers (where the neck connects to the body), which is 5 and a half feet to 18 hands or a little over 6 feet, but that's standing flat. Rearing you should probably add two or three feet since horses are roughly as long in the barrel as they are in the legs, and draft horses tend to have shorter legs and larger shoulders. They can go almost completely vertical in a rear, though a Percheron would have a little more trouble with that because of the heavier body than a lighter breed, say a Thoroughbred or an Arab. But I'd say 7 to 9 feet at the withers, and then add a few more feet for the neck, which normally wouldn't be completely upright unless it were fighting a larger horse and could balance off the other horse instead of the its neck. However, they bend their hind legs when they rear for balance, which also takes away from the height (this is starting to sound like a super obnoxious SAT math question :) ) But all in all I'd say 8 to 10 feet at the top of the head as a rough estimate and based on what I've seen.

    You mentioned a Percheron, but as I said a Percheron is a draft horse, so it's heavy in the body, which makes it harder for the horse to get vertical. However warmbloods (horses with draft and sport horse blood) can be just as tall and could most likely get higher since they're more athletic. I know a few horses that I'd say could even possibly hit 11 or 12 feet.

    Thanks for the welcome, by the way!
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
  4. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    Welcome. I love horses too, but in a less practical way. I rode many years ago in high school, but haven't since. If I move back to the midwest, I'm getting a draft horse. I just love them. So since I always wanted to make a full set of horse barding, but don't have one, I decided to do it for my dog... I don't think he's as impressed with my awesomeness as I am.

    Okay my own silliness aside, welcome to MS. This is a great bunch of people, and I hope you find what you're looking for here.
     
  5. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Thank you, Ariel!! I was really curious, and to know that some horses can rear to reach eleven or twelve feet is just the kind of information that I needed. I also love horses, so beautiful and fascinating creatures, and I am sure that you will get many more questions about them because we use horses a lot in our Fantasy stories =)

    One more question: What would be the approximate weight of a horse that could easily rear to reach a height of twelve feet??
     
  6. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    horse with barding?
    Ceremonial barding, but impressive.
    Welcome to Starry Knight Friesians

    Dog in armor?
    Dog in armor - Bing Images

    My puppy knows I am up to something, she won't let me work on my chain maille. I want a simple 4 in1 like this:
    Dog in armor - Bing Images
     
  7. ArielFingolfin

    ArielFingolfin Troubadour

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    That dog is so cute all decked out like a warrior. I always wanted to learn jousting, but there's not really a place around here.Too bad really, because I think it would be pertty awesome.
     
  8. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    I am a former SCA equestrian, there is a group in MAINE, Shire of Endewearde, Society for Creative Anachronism
    Jousting is only one game to play with a horse. I was not experienced enough to try jousting, but they have recently allowed jousting in the SCA.
    How about riding "poles" bashing heads (with a foam covered hammer) as you go? Throwing a spear at a target while galloping by? My favorite, has to be the Quintain, no better feeling then hitting the target on a charging steed.
    Severin Rheinfelser, Flaming Griffon Baronial Champion.
     
  9. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Ariel,

    Thanks a bunch for starting this thread. I have all kinds of questions about horses.

    1. I need for my intrepid heroes to get a bunch of horses to go into a cave. To make matters worse, there's the smell of a bear in the huge cavern and the way is lit by magically controlled fires. How difficult is it going to be to make them go in? The lead horse is a well trained war horse. The others tend to follow it.

    2. I need to add some tension by having one of the horses pull up lame. I need a condition, with a description, that will prevent the horse from carrying a rider, but I want him to be able to recover after a few days of rest. Got anything for me? Also, my assumption is that it will slow another horse down if they have to ride double. Sound legit?

    3. I need to show that some horses are "well bred." These are mounts used by soldiers. Any descriptive terms you could toss my way to add a little flavor?

    Thanks again if you're able to give me any assistance.
     
  10. ascanius

    ascanius Inkling

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    I grew up around horses, ranching an what not. I can trim hooves, basic first aid, and work them until they foam but sadly never knew how to describe them. Like I know hands are used to measure them but what's the conversion factor, or types of coat color, etc.
     
  11. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    I will offer my experiences;

    1. Cave; it would depend on how well lit, how much room for the horse to manuver. The bear smell could make it impossible to go in the cave. Fire-if the horse doens't have to get to close to fire, and it isn't extremely large fire, it probably won't matter. Horses will tend to follow another horse if they trust the lead horse, but I am not sure they will follow the leader into a dangerous smelling cave. (I have riden a green broke horse into a very large opened cave with ten other horses.)
    If one panics, the rest are very likely to follow.

    2. My green broke horse punctured the frog several times after moving him and his brother to our property. We figured out there was a row of fence that had fell down and partially covered, with several wires and broken T-posts. He was lame about 4 days requiring epsion salt soaks. Very pronouned limp, and it would be abusive to try to ride a horse with that much of a limp. Riding double and the injured horse limping behind would slow a healthy horse down. Possibly walking to far could make it worse.
    frog on horse - Bing Images
    3. I can't help with the describing good horse stock.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
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  12. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Severin,

    Thanks for the information. It helps.

    Brian
     
  13. ArielFingolfin

    ArielFingolfin Troubadour

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    Oh wow, that would be difficult. At least your cave is big; the bigger the better so that the horses won't feel trapped. Fire's not too big of a deal for horses in a medieval time as long as they're not extremely huge; they'd be used to camp fires and also anytime they go to a backsmith there's a hot fire there. They might be nervous about walking in between columns of fire though. I'm not sure how big or close the fires are. Your heroes could rig some blinders which would help the horses walk between the fires. They would still be able to smell them, but since they wouldn't be able to see them it would help.

    If it's just the scent of bear that shouldn't matter too much. I've seen bears while trial riding, and once it was the first time I'd taken the horse out on the trails. He smelled it and stopped, and I wasn't sure why, but I nudged him forward. He went and then a cub skittered across the path about fifty yards ahead, and he wasn't too scared. Of course there was another horse there who was in the lead, so he felt safer than if he'd been on his own. War horses are trained to go into unfamiliar situations, and you hit the nail on the head that horses will often follow each other even if they're not sure about where they're going. I would say have a rapport built between the horses and their riders, especially the one you said is the lead horse. You would be amazed at what horses can be trained to tolerate.

    So yeah, I'd say blinders for walking between the fires, keep the horses together, and have the heroes be talking to them the whole time. Depending on how much space you have let the horse walk by the enterance a few times before asking him to go in. If he wants to, let him stop and sniff. If you don't rush them and let them check things out by themselves at first they'll usually decide they're ok, especially, as I said, if they trust their rider. Once they're in the cave don't tie them if they're nervous; horses get scared if they can't move, so let them walk in circles until they settle down. Also food will help keep them calm once they're inside.

    Yes, riding double definitely slows a horse down. Horses pull up lame for a lot of reasons, getting kicked, stumbling, stepping wrong, etc. Also they can bruise the bottom of their feet, which is probably the most common; it's called a stone bruise. If you look up a diagram of a horse's hoof on google you'll see they have a triangular shaped part on the bottom of their hoof called the frog. This part is tender and right at the back of it is the heel, which can bruise from rocks or riding too hard. A bruise can take anywhere from days to weeks to heal depending on how bad it is, so you can stretch the lameness as long as you want. Obviously you can tell a horse is lame because he'll be limping, and also his head will bob slightly as he steps. You'd check the oot he favors by running your hands down the leg to feel for swelling and then picking up the hoof to feel for heat. Tap slightly along the sole, heel, and frog to check for tenderness; if it's bruised the horse will probably try to pull away because it's painful. Then all there is to do is rest the horse. If you have to keep riding (which is what I'm assuming you have to do based on the double rider question) you'll have to go a little slower so the horse can pick his way more carefully, and he'll be limping anyway.

    A destrier is a type of war horse. It's going to have a lot more muscle, especially in the neck and hindquarters, and the shoulders as well. A war horse is trained to be collected when he moves, which means he rounds his neck, llifts his back, and propels himself off his hind end. A horse that hasn't been trained to do that will typically drag himself with his front end when he's ridden. So you've got a more arched neck instead of a straight one, and the crest (the mid part on the top of the neck between the top and bottom) will be prominent. The eyes will be very intelligent and curious, and the head will be well shaped, sculpted even. Large shoulders and a wide chest. The mane and tail will be full. As well as being collected when ridden, he'll have a lot more balance and coordination and upward movement, or more rounded 3-dimensional movement instead of flat, plodding steps. So there's more lift. Hope that helps!
     
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  14. ArielFingolfin

    ArielFingolfin Troubadour

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    A hand is 4". Your basic coat colors are:

    Bay: brown with black mane, tail, ear tips, legs.
    Dark bay: Dark brown or black with back mane, tail etc. The difference between dark bay with a black body and black is that a dark bay will have brown on their nose behind their nostrils and sometimes their flanks and shoulders. A black horse is completely solid black.
    Chestnut: reddish brown with same color mane and tail.
    Sorrel: like chestnut, but the mane and tail is lighter than the body.
    Grey/white: anything from light to dark grey, sometimes with a darker mane and tail.
    Palomino: Goldish blonde with white mane and tail.
    Buckskin: Tan with black mane, tail, legs, ear tips.
    Dun: Goldish yellow with a dorsal stripe (a stripe that runs down the top of their body from ears to tail and usually stripes on legs. You can also have red duns, which are a reddish color with the stripes.
    Blue/red roan: grey or red with white hairs mixed in like flecks.
     
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  15. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Ariel, that was fantastic information, exactly what I needed. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer.

    Brian
     
  16. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I don't know if you can help with this or not as it's only tangentually related to horses: the view in my head, which might be completely erroneous, is that a lady will not ride a horse with her legs over the saddle unless she's wearing skirts split for riding (I think I picked this up from Jordan's WoT).

    I've got 4 girls wearing fancy dresses. There's an alarm at the town gate, and they're going to want to ride down to check out what's going on. How do they handle it? Change their dresses? Ride sidesaddle? How much does riding sidesaddle slow you down?

    How would you go about mounting a horse while wearing a humongous dress? They're at the castle stables, btw, so getting help from stablehands wouldn't be a problem.

    Thanks in advance.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  17. ArielFingolfin

    ArielFingolfin Troubadour

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    You can get going pretty fast in a sidesaddle. Never having ridden a horse in a huge dress, I don't know exactly, but I wouldn't think mounting would be too much of a problem, you'd just have to hike up the skirts. When riding the skirt would be hiked up high too, which is why girls typically only rode sidesaddle or in a special skirt. Too much ankle and calf showing :) But that's not really something you're thinking of in an emergency.
     
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  18. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Okay, so sidesaddle doesn't necessarily slow you down too much. I'll go with that then.

    It's not like a life or death situation. The duke is responding to an alarm, and they want to be included in what's going on.

    Thank you again!!!
     
  19. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    It takes time to adjust the dress when sitting in a regular saddle, but it can be done.
    riding a horse in a flowing gown - Bing Images

    I think it depends on the culture. Side



    I don't see riding in a hoop skirt.
    In a full flowing dress, side saddle would work. Side saddle was not the only way to ride though.

    I believe in and before the crusades, the side saddle was nothing but a pad, no one would be able to ride fast in this manner.
    When the side saddle was created, it allowed a foot rest and a back rest, so she would be more likely to remain in the saddle. I also have heard referenced that women were led while riding side saddle.
    Riding a stride even without anything between horse and rider can be done at very good pace, but sitting sidesaddle you would slip off within a few paces.
     
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  20. ArielFingolfin

    ArielFingolfin Troubadour

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    I don't know what they used in medieval times for a sidesaddle, but in early American history women used sidesaddles to compete in fox hunts and such, so they could definitely kick up some dirt in them, including jumping quite high.

    Edited in: Just looked it up, sidesaddles were invented in the middle ages, but they weren't very easy to sit in, and typically the horse was led or they rode astride or on a pillion behind a man. It wasn't until the 16th century that sidesaddles adapted to allow women more athleticism in the saddle.

    So I don't know how time accurate to this world you want to keep your world, but that's what I found. Thanks Severin for pointing that out.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
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