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Ask Me About Horses

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

  1. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    I have not, it does sound interesting. Sadly no drivers in the SCA. There are rules for them, but no one around.
    Been on several wagon trains, didn't pay attention to the wagon, except when they had many more horses tied to them on the way back, with the kids in the wagons.

    Just found the spear head someone made for me, it is attached to my pole, haven't peened the rivots yet.
    First spear, was heavier then it looked, no where close to the target. Next event through the heart. (also spearer the small ring, and won the event.)
    The different "games" we played with our horses.
    SCA equestrian games

    Bottom three are experienced riders only, so I did not participate.
     
  2. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I need for my mounted characters to be traveling at as fast a pace as possible for about two weeks because they've got the bad guys on their tail. How fast is that? What terms would you use to describe the pace of the horses? How often do they have to rest their horses? They are traveling through mountains for the first part of the journey. How does that impact the speed and the terminology?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  3. Graylorne

    Graylorne Archmage

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    My knowledge of horses is limited to the fact that they have four legs and a tail.
    But I was faced with this same question, and I googled up some (to me) adequate answers.
    I'll give you the links:

    How fast can a man travel on horseback, ?miles per day? - Yahoo! Answers

    Fantasy Fiction Factor - Using Horses in Fiction

    Hope this helps a bit.

    And I'm interested in all additional info the experts might supply!
     
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  4. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    BWfoster:
    In an emergency, one tends to get away without prep. So with little or no prep, how fas they move will be alot different then well prepared.
    Horses need good food and need time to graze on fiber(grass/hay) so their bowels will keep active. Reduce the fiber increases the chance of colic, serious colic kills. So a rider must graze regularly or allow a walking horse the chance to eat from a bag of hay, and feed the horse grain to keep it healthy.

    The pursuers always have the option of a hail mary, charge while the fleeing people stop to allow their horses to graze. Risk their horses for the chance to end the pursuit. If they suceed the pursuit is over and the horses get time to recover, if not they can ride their horses to death or loose distance behind the pursued, and allow their horses to recover.
    The pursued don't have that option. They either flee or stop and fight.

    Fast prolonged travel; dangerous on uneven ground, horses can break a leg easily. Galloping on a road is fairly safe, sometimes even troting in a grassy field can be dangerous.
    Mountain travel is slow, the ones on the mountain are slow but the ones pursuing keep going at a good speed so they will catch up a little, until they reach the mountain, then the type and condtion of horses will set the pace.

    Horse and exhaustion: One loooooooooooong trail ride, my daughters horse stopped listening to her, so I traded her horses, I had to keep waking the horse up, he would walk and fall asleep, slow down, or drift of the trail, click to him his head would pop up and he would basically pick up the pace and get back in line by himself then slowly drift off again.
    When they are tired, they will not respond to direction well.

    I can't give specifics but can offer what I have seen and know of horses.
     
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  5. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    Also it depends on the type of horses. Their characteristics all make for very different scenes: wide hooves vs. narrow, slender bodies vs. draft-style animals, long legs vs. short legs, etc. Some horses will be easier to work with in mountains, while others are well adapted for marshy ground.

    A google search on wild horses might help you to understand the differences. I refer to books I've owned for years.
     
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  6. ArielFingolfin

    ArielFingolfin Troubadour

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    Horses can reach 75 to 100 miles a day, but that would be under extremely ideal conditions, flat, even ground and well rested horses that are used to long stretches. Mountainous conditions would obviously differ that a good deal. If it's rocky your horses would have to be mostly walking. Is there a trail or road, or do they have to bushwhack? If the latter, like I said, they're going to be walking. A horse will walk at 2 to 4 miles per hour, but if it's rocky they'll go closer to 2. Here's a link about the gaits: http://www.ultimatehorsesite.com/info/horsespeedmph.htm

    If there's more than one horse per character they can switch out and go for longer stretches without stopping, but they'd still need to take breaks. If they're camping for the night they don't need to stop during the day, just take walk breaks every couple hours for a few miles. Endurance riders will do a 75 mile ride in 7 to 8 hours, but they're race only lasts a day. You'd need to go a little slower if you didn't want to wear your horse out over the course of weeks. So I'd say once you get on the flat out of the mountains maybe 35 to 45 miles. That's a rough guess based on what I've read about endurance racers though. I'd browse through Graylornes' links for more information.

    Basic information about a horse's gaits (sorry if you already know this; I'm trying to be thorough :) ):

    A walk is obviously a walk
    A trot is the next gait, it's got two beats, which means two hooves hit the ground at a time. You'll probably alternate between trots and walks on a long ride of the caliber that you're talking about.
    A canter is next, it's three beats. The motion is rocking.
    Lastly is a gallop, or a run in nonhorseman terms.

    I can't really think of any terms, but when you're riding through rocky terrain or trailblazing it's best to let the horse have their head or ride with a loose rein because horses use their neck for balance. When riding downhill, you want to stay sitting upright, slightly back with a loose rein, and when riding up a steep hill you want to stand up in the saddle to get off the horse's back so they can push with their hind legs. Also if the hill is really steep either way, horses will tend to go diagonally down to make it easier. I typically like to have a mare (female horse) in front when trailblazing because they're a little more careful about where they put theyir feet. Geldings/stallions tend to just plow through things without looking.

    That's all I can think of; hope it helps.
     
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  7. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    All that helps a bunch. Thanks!

    In answer to a few questions: They had ample time to prepare for their journey prior to breaking the protagonist out of jail. They've now got pursuers on their trail. I did not give them spare mounts, just one horse for each of the four riders and only enough provisions that they can carry.

    They are traveling a well worn path with plenty of grass for the first majority of the journey and are, for the most part, camping each night.

    By walk break, does that mean the characters get off and walk for a couple of miles or does that mean slowing the horses from a trot to a walk?

    I'm a little confused about whether the horses need food during the day since they rest at night.
     
  8. ArielFingolfin

    ArielFingolfin Troubadour

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    No, they can ride the horses while walking. They don't need to eat during the day, but at night they need to be hobbled so they can graze. A hobble is basically a rope tied around the ankle of a front leg and a back leg so they horse can walk but can't run away. Or you could give them a picket line, which is a rope tied to the ground that they can eat around. You could probably look up pictures to give you a better idea. Either way they'll be able to get grass at night.
     
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  9. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Fantastic. Thanks again so much for the assistance.
     
  10. ArielFingolfin

    ArielFingolfin Troubadour

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    Maybe I should start charging... :)
     
  11. gavintonks

    gavintonks Maester

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    grass alone is insufficient for a horse to provide energy for a rider and hard work on grass will see the horses looking like skeletons in days and hours
    2 - horses are grazers and need to eat, if you feed grain and fill their stomachs they will be able to work longer
    3 - their feet / shod or barefoot as hard riding wears the hoof
    4- going up mountains is hard work in some cases it is easier to lead
    5 - distance riders practice at least 20k a day everyday to achieve a distance ride and then the horses need a week to recuperate
    6 - you need at least 16l of water as well as the temperature will dictate the water loss
    7 -if you get a 2k head start that's not a lot, plus as others have mentioned
    is the horse suited - different breeds do different things
    how fit is the horse?
    has it just eaten or drunk

    horses have snooze periods where they lock their legs and sleep but they also require a time to lie down and sleep
    how much are they carrying? that is also an impact on their ability to work
    cowboy movies have done a lot to make people think it just goes on forever but I would say 3km
    plus of course do not think you are just going to get on any horse and it will perform for you, unless it is trained or used to being ridden by different people
     
  12. gavintonks

    gavintonks Maester

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    I used to do a long ride every month and about 30k was 6 hours on a very fit horse. 8 hours when we went to the beach I would say 400k in 2 weeks but you also lead a trail a mile wide and its easy to see if a horse has past as the sand oxidizes so you can easily gauge time up to 2 days
    so have pursuers be at leaast a day away they can see them in the distance as in some landscapes you can easily see 100k
     
  13. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    #3: Some people might not realize, horses don't have to be shod. It cost money, and in the right conditions a horse does just as well without iron nailed to the hoof.
    #4: Some horses do better on mountain trails so one rider might be better walking the horse, one might be better to ride. My paint was great walking along a cliff, but some horses were clumsy and nervous near cliffs.
    #6:Water: Very good reminder, humorous posiiblity; If hot, the horse will walk into the water, and will paw at the water, this is a warning that the horse is about to lay down in the water. (Mine started down just as I spurred him out of the water.)

    Horses sleep: How often do they lay down? I very rarely found my horses laying down. I assume they're schedule had them getting up well before I came to feed.

    Like in cowboy movies, if your being chased, campfires are probably not a good idea.
     
  14. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    How far can a horse jump? I know the world record is almost 30 ft., but I'm wondering what's more typical. If the horse has a rider and some gear, how far would you expect him to be able to jump?
     
  15. gavintonks

    gavintonks Maester

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    depends from a standstill or what gait walking or galloping but 3 to 9ft also depending on the size of the horse bigger the horse longer the stride
     
  16. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    30ft would have to be a running jump. My colt did a standing jump over a downed tree, easily cleared it, at least one body length forward movement, so I'd guess 5-6 ft?
     
  17. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    And at a run?
     
  18. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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  19. gavintonks

    gavintonks Maester

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    the distance traversed is related to the horses ability as an athlete. I recall Andre horse he rode was his pony he rode through the grades. So he was very small not like the big warm bloods today.The wall he jumped was incredible the horse jumped over the wall he could not even see over it, but his trust in Andre was absolute and he was just an excellent athlete. This happened in my home town and I knew the stables he rode at. I had a a grade pony I used to ride and we could easily jump on a lunging circle,the poles were angled and around 1,2 m high I could jump out of the area on a stride and jump back in again. He was just a superlative athlete.

    There has never been another horse I have felt so comfortable jumping as he loved to jump and never ever said no. Sp how athletic is the horse, and how willing is the horse willing to jump, a horse used to jumping if you look at a cross country clip on u tube you will see most jumps are around 1, high and 2m wide and are ridden at around 32m a minute
     
  20. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Not sure if this is the right place to ask this or not. It tangentially involves horses.

    My intrepid heroes are caught in a howling snowstorm making their way to a large cavern for shelter (Oh no! Will they make it? How can they survive in the horrid snow?). They're on foot leading their horses and pass by a grove of trees. One of them gets the bright idea to gather a bit of wood for later use for fires in the cave.

    I first thought, they'll just tie the stupid wood to the saddles, no problem. I got this comment:

    Question 1: Is the comment valid? They have rope. Can they just tie some limbs to the side of the saddle?

    Question 2: If Q1 is no, how would you do it? They don't need a ton of wood at this point, 8 to 10 good sized branches should get them through for now. I was thinking maybe putting some on the top of each horse's saddle and covering it with a bedroll. If you hold the bedroll, maybe that'll keep things stable.

    Question 3: Our intrepid heroes make it to the cavern (Yay! That was a close one.). Turns out, this cavern goes on a long way, and they plan to go through it instead of over the snowed in passes. One of them decides they need more wood and decides to go out for it. How best to do this if you had a little time to prepare? I'm thinking some kind of make shift litter, two long branches with the bedroll stitched between, that the horse drags. Will this work? How do I attach it to the saddle?

    Question 4: Completely unrelated to horses, I need to incapicitate our lovely hero while she gathers wood. Would a tree falling on her work, or does it make sense for the storm to blow over a tree? They're on a mountain. She could step in a hole and get her foot caught. I leave her with a limp the rest of the way, but I can't have the leg broken.

    Thanks so much in advance for your help.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2012
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