Information on Horses in Fantasy Writing – Part II

Horse in the Middle Ages

Last week I went over about some of the body language of horses, different gaits or traveling speeds of horses, and the shoeing of a horse.  This week, I have information about the descriptive information on horses, the breed types, and the working types of horses.  This information on horses can be very helpful in fantasy writing.

* The average height of a horse is 16hh (hands high) – small horses are 14hh while war horses are usually stallions standing 18hh.
* Basic colors – black, brown (light or dark), bay (light or dark brown coat with black points), chestnut (reddish brown coat, mane, and tail), gray or fleabitten gray (black and white with flecks of brown), dun (yellow coat with black points), roan (mixture with white – example is strawberry roan), piebald (irregular patches of black and white, skewbald (irregular patches of white and brown), palomino (varying shades of gold coat with flaxen or white mane and tail), dapple gray.
* Basic head markings – tar, stripe, blaze, white face, snip (white mark between nostrils).
* Basic leg markings – sock (white marking covering the fetlock and part of the cannon area), stocking (white leg as far as the knee or hock).

Types of Horses
* Carriage horse – about 15-16hh, variously colored but dapple preferred, athletic, refined head, narrow in build as compared to draft horses, large crested neck, short back.
* Cart horse
* Charger – a warhorse.  Also called a destrier.
* Coach horse – dappled mares were a favorite coach horse
* Cob – used by heavier, less confident riders, cobs are thick set with muscular bodies, wide chest, barrel-like girth, draft-like in build, short legged.
* Destrier – a warhorse.  Also called a charger.
* Draft horse – about 16hh, variously colored, generally have blazes and white feet, calm temperament, powerful legs, compact body, thick neck, feathers from just below knee and hock to cover hooves.
* Garron – small sturdy pony found in cooler mountainous areas.  May be used by farmers in the highlands.
* Gelding – castrated male, gentlemen preferred to ride geldings because they weren’t as temperamental as stallions.
* Hackney – about 14-15hh, carriage horse, variously colored, has high stepping action, refined head, strong neck, sloping shoulder, compact body, short strong limbs.
* Noble horse – about 15hh, sophisticated horse breed, deep wide body, short back, built for speed, wide chest, tail carried straight up and out, has a floating step, long strides, has fine strong limbs, sometimes spirited in nature, often solid colors preferred, likes to prance, body and hindquarters muscular, used as a remount for traveling.
* Packhorse – about 16hh, variously colored, short square head, heavy, feathered feet.
* Palfrey – mare, riding horse usually ridden by upper class females.
* Remount – replacement riding horse used by soldiers.
* Running horse – about 14-15hh, small but highly agile, strong, short stocky legs, long neck, broad muscular body, feathered legs, full mane and tail.
* Riding horse – about 14-15hh, variously colored, low set tail, light boned, wide head, intelligent, high endurance, strength, quick and agile.
* Steed – term applied to any lively spirited horse.
* Warhorse – about 17-18hh, heavy, agile, surefooted, hardy, short back, broad chest, good depth of girth, powerful hindquarters, short legs, built for power not speed, natural vigor and power of endurance, heavy boned, may have docked tail.
* Wild horse – massive both in height and girth, long hair, often unusual colors such as roan or dapple.

Next week I will go over what I learned about horse trappings, horse armor, and other miscellaneous information on horses such as traveling distance.  For more information on horses check us out next week at my Squidoo page “Helpful Information on Horses“, and from books such as “The Medieval Horse and its Equipment“, “The Horse in the Middle Ages“, or “The Encyclopedia of the Horse“.  All these books and other great fantasy writing books can be purchased at the Writing a Fantasy Novel Amazon a-Store.


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