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Empire Warhorse

An Empire Warhorse.

Horses are of great utility off the battlefield. In the Empire, there is no faster and more reliable means of transport than a horse – even some river barges are drawn by horse or mule, plodding along the edge of the river. Farmers yoke teams of draught horses to their plow, and Strigany wanderers travel in horse-drawn caravans. Roadwardens take especial care of their mounts, as being unhorsed in the more hazardous portions of the Reikwald can be a death sentence. Adventurers, too, will find many reasons to love their steeds. A horse can carry bulky items that would weigh a human or elf down (not to mention the adventurer himself), horses can travel further and faster in a day over level ground than a man on foot, and, as nearly every fighting force in the Old World has discovered at one point or another, there are many advantages to fighting from horseback.[1a]

In the Old World, almost everyone has at least some knowledge of horses. Even a character with no training can mount a horse and point it in the right direction. Basic tasks such as riding along a level road at a walk require neither training nor a check. Maintaining saddle and tack, feeding and grooming a horse, and dressing a horse for work or battle, however, are more specialised skills that would generally require training or a natural skill – thus the widespread use of grooms, farriers, and squires.[1a][1b]

The finest steeds in the Old World are bred within the lands of fair Bretonnia. However, so highly valued are these beasts that a Royal Decree of many centuries standing forbids the export of these magnificent animals.[2a]

Concerning Dwarfs

Dwarfs are a proud, stubborn folk, much bound by tradition and suspicious of change. They are also a mountain dwelling people, who build great cities beneath the earth, and as such do not have much use for horses or other mounts, except as beasts of burden or labour. It is, in fact, a point of dwarf culture that Dwarfs do not ride. Why don’t dwarfs ride?[1b]

Because they don’t and that’s all there is to it![1b]

Unlike humans and elves, dwarfs have no tradition of horsemanship in their culture. Obviously, they’re physically capable of riding; although they are rather too small for most horses, a dwarf could do quite well on a suitably sturdy pony. Rare indeed, however, would be the dwarf capable of overcoming the weight of generations of tradition of not riding to mount such a beast. Any party attempting to travel at speed with a dwarf in tow is well-advised to invest in a wagon or carriage, where the dwarf will be much more comfortable.[1b]

Suggestions that dwarfs don’t ride because they are afraid of horses are not advisable, and will likely be met with a new entry in the Book of Grudges.[1b]

Industry

The buying, selling, rearing, and training of horses is a major industry in the Empire. For most people, a horse represents a major investment, and no-one wants to make the wrong choice. Everyone has a story about an unscrupulous horse-trader, a bad purchase, or a lucky foal that grew up just right. Horses may go through a dozen owners over the course of their lives, and acquire a host of habits good and bad along the way.[1c]

The following are common breeds of sold Horse:

  • Draught Horses - are large, even-tempered horses commonly referred to as “cold bloods.” They are bred for power and docility, not for speed.Often times draught horses are sold in matched pairs, called teams. A team that is trained to pull together, and are the same height, can command significantly more than the two horses sold singly. Draught horses are not ideal mounts, for obvious reasons, but they are less prone to spook or startle than most other breeds.[1c]
  • Riding Horse - is the term for a number of varieties of horse bred throughout the Empire for speed and endurance. Sometimes called “hot bloods,” these horses are normally more spirited and finely proportioned than draught horses. Most riding horses are mares or geldings, and they are commonly used by roadwardens, messengers, travellers, or anyone else trying to cover a lot of ground in a hurry.[1c]
  • Warhorses - are the finest examples of horseflesh in the Old World – just ask any warhorse breeder. Larger than a riding horse, faster than a draught horse, warhorses are the product of meticulous breeding and years of training and careful conditioning. Intact stallions are favoured as mounts of war, due to their increased aggression and power. The greatest of all warhorses are ridden into battle by the Knights of Bretonnia.[1c][2a]

Gallery

Sources

  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 3rd ED -- Omens of War
    • 1a: pg. 42
    • 1b: pg. 43
    • 1c: pg. 47
  • 2: Warhammer Armies: Bretonnia (6th Edition)
    • 2a: pg. 56

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