The Sarvonian Heavy Horse is one of the larger horses of Caelereth, nearly approaching the immense Kuglimz war horse, the Kev'lor, in height and overall body mass. There are two main varieties, the Northern and the Southern Draught Horses.
Appearance. The Northern Draught Horse is basically a cross between the Kev'lor and the wild Tirpan. It was first developed by a Kuglimz clan that experimented with putting Tirpan or part-Tirpan stallions to full Kev'lor mares. The offspring of such a cross would frequently retain some of its dam’s great size but with the increased bulk of its sire’s heavily muscled build, and the gentle nature of both. However, the tribe found that these beasts tended to lack the spirit and the speed of their lovely Kev'lor animals and so were less successful as warhorses. Eventually they sold these animals to the settled peoples in the northern lands as work horses and the breed became solidly established.
The Northern Draught Horse
The Northern Draught Horse tends to retain the colouration of its Tirpan ancestors, a dark grey in colour but frequently with the white markings that characterize the Kev'lor. However, the occasional brown, chestnut, bay, or black animal is found. These horses are quite large, standing about 5 fores (for the mares) to 5 fores and a palmspan at the withers (for the stallions). They usually weigh about 200-230 hebs. They tend to have a large, heavy head with rather square, chunky formation, big intelligent eyes, long, slightly tufted ears and a tendency to what is known in the North as the “Ashmari nose" among horsemen, that is, a distinctly aquiline curve to the muzzle profile. (In more southerly regions of Sarvonia, this muzzle shape is known as the "Maeverhim-face" after the elven race of that name.)
These horses are noted for their strength rather than speed, much like their Tirpan forebears. However, they are significantly faster than Tirpans are. They tend to be slightly shaggier than the Kev'lor, but not as heavily coated as the Tirpan. They have powerfully built hindquarters and heavy shoulders. At a distance, they may well be mistaken for a Kev'lor horse. Typically, they are calmer in nature and not as spirited, however. Their feet are not quite as large, though with the heavy white “feathering” surrounding their hooves it can be hard to tell. Their manes and tails, normally thick and heavy, are usually kept clipped short by the owners. For animals living in softer or sandy ground areas, the hooves need to be trimmed as well, though this is less common in the North due to rockier terrain.
The Southern Draught Horse
Southern Draught Horses have a more varied ancestry, and so there is often more variety in appearance. However, the foundation studs for their breed were four Kev'lor studs, stolen from the Celeste Lowlands by a clever Centoraurian thief, whose name is lost to antiquity, and smuggled on board a southbound ship. They were sold at prohibitive cost to a horse breeder from Nyermersys, who later set up the Nyermersysian Draught Horse Farms. This enterprising man, a human by the name of Taddon Grieson, set out to breed a workhorse for Sarvonian farms. He had previously acquired some Centoraurian “cull” mares from the Xaramon horse fairs, crossed them with Tirpan stallions to bulk up their offspring, and then crossed these offspring with the Kev'lor studs. He also experimented with some Landesh pony and Rusik strains. (These were originally rejected as breeding animals because of their small size but eventually became the foundation animals for the Sarvonian Draught Pony.) After a few years, the breed type began to develop a distinctive look, and nowadays, horses from the Nyermersysian Farms are recognized to be the best examples of this type of horse.
These southern horses may be any colour, but often retain white markings. Recently a preference has been developed for the lighter coats, as it is believed that the horses is less likely to suffer from heat stroke, and the Nyermersysian Farms breeders have been responding to this preference. The "best" Southern Draughts have particularly graceful heads, with large prominent dark eyes, small ears, wide foreheads and comparatively delicate muzzles, reflecting the Centoraurian strain in their ancestry.
Their necks are long, thick and muscular, sloping down into heavy shoulders and well-muscled body. Slimmer and smaller than the Northern variety, they are nevertheless very strong, hardy animals. Southern Draught Horses usually stand about 4 ˝ to 5 fores tall and rarely weigh more than 180-190 hebs. They are primarily used as workhorses but have a pleasant gait which makes them good riding animals as well.
Draught Horses - as the name already implies - are used mainly in the
agriculture for ploughing and dragging carts and heavy objects.
Territory. Northern Draught Horses are found wherever there is agriculture in Northern Sarvonia, from the Celeste Lowlands to the Kanapan peninsula. They are not usually found in the Icelands however, as there is not much need for a heavy horse there.
Southern Draughts are found everywhere in the south from Nyermersys to about Bardavos. They are a much more affordable animal than the Centoraurian or Rusik horse and very popular with the commoners.
Habitat/Behaviour. Not found in the wild, Draught Horses are usually kept singly or in pairs. Sociable like all horses, they will often befriend a farm cat or dog and it is not uncommon to see one nestled in the animal’s manger while the big horse carefully eats around his little friend, or snuggled against the horse's side for warmth in the winter. Some horses have even befriended taenish hens and the sight of a hen and her chicks, happily pecking around the big hairy feet while the gentle giant stands completely immobile so as not to disturb them, is absolutely delightful.
Diet. The Northern horse is mostly fed on alth’ho grasses and various combinations of grains and hay. Southern horses have a more varied diet, depending on where they live but eat primarily grasses, grains and leafy shrubs.
Mating. Due to the Tirpan nd Kev'lor in their ancestry, the Draught Horse’s mating behaviours tend to be rather fierce and can be dangerous to the people involved. To mate two beasts with the least amount of violence, the mare's hind feet are often loosely hobbled and she is led into a special stall, too narrow to turn around completely, and tied at the front so she cannot back out either. The stallion is brought in behind her and things usually progress very quickly from there, though it is often a noisy, aggressive encounter.
Usages. Primarily a working animal, the Sarvonian Heavy Horse is also used for meat and milk production, though this is more common in the northlands where there are less cattle. The nomadic tribes generally do not eat horsemeat, but there is quite a market for the smoked horseflesh, as it is usually eaten, among the more settled folk. The mares' rich creamy milk makes a delicious, sweet, light-flavoured cheese, which is very popular. The Southern Draught is also a popular riding beast for those who cannot afford the more expensive types. Where the beasts are used for meat, the tails are much in demand as decorative accessories (dress helmet plumes, or tent pole "tassels", for example) and the hides are used for heavy clothing, especially among labourers.
Information provided by Alysse the Likely