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EricD
April 29th, 2007, 07:13 PM
I grew up around horses. My dad was a horse trainer you see, I knew all about the different breeds, the gaits, how you should treat your horse. Now, it is apparent to me that many fantasy authors treat horses like sportscars, able to gallop around for days on end without rest. That's not right. Doing that would kill the horse. So i've put thought up this tip for writers regarding the noble steeds in their fantasy stories.

Use the different gaits. There are four, in increasing order of speed they go: walk, trot, canter and gallop. The walk is self-explanatory, the trot is about equivalent to a human jog, the canter is pretty much a slow, relaxed gallop and the gallop is a flat out sprint. Use these gaits, a horse can't gallop everywhere. Like I pointed out, that'll kill your horse. For long distance journeys, i'd suggest periods of the canter, sandwhiched between trots and walks for resting the horse. The gallop should only be used for short bursts of speed, like a cavalry charge or a horse race.

arodace
April 30th, 2007, 07:08 AM
I think that's an excellent tip, Eric. Some prospective writers just kill the stories by not including the practicalities of medieval life in their stories.
Good on ya

Michael B
April 30th, 2007, 02:00 PM
I grew up around horses. My dad was a horse trainer you see, I knew all about the different breeds, the gaits, how you should treat your horse. Now, it is apparent to me that many fantasy authors treat horses like sportscars, able to gallop around for days on end without rest. That's not right. Doing that would kill the horse. So i've put thought up this tip for writers regarding the noble steeds in their fantasy stories.
I didn't which is one reason why a lot of the time my characters walk or use river transport, or in the case of enchantresses, fly. ;)

AgentRustyBones
May 1st, 2007, 09:43 AM
Of course, if you have magical horses like Shadowfax of Lord of the Rings, then you can ignore that sort of thing.

The general point is good. If you are using 'normal' horses, or any other 'normal' animal in your stories, it does good to do some basic research into terms, behavior, capabilities of the critters you are writing about.

I have been turned off from stories that failed to do such basic research.

Doug
aka Agent Rusty Bones

choppy
May 1st, 2007, 02:18 PM
Basic research is essential if you want to be taken seriously as a writer. I think a lot of people start writing fanstasy in the first place because they figure they can just make up what they don't know. Unfotunately it seems that in order to be consistent in what you make up, you need to do even more research.

Thanks for the tip Eric.

Stephen Palmer
May 2nd, 2007, 05:47 AM
What about the destriers in Gene Wolfe's The Book Of The New Sun?

:cool: