The Azhorhrian Desert Horse is a small, sturdy animal, unique among horses in its unusual adaptations for life in a hot, dry climate. It is only found on the continent of Aeruillin, mostly among the five tribes of Azhorhria.
An attractive animal, this
is small but typically has beautiful formation and perfect proportions.
Stallions usually reach about 15-15 ˝ palmspans in height, while mares are
generally about 14-15 palmspans. They tend to have large, thick hooves (usually
black), long, slim but muscular legs and solidly musculed bodies, especially
through the haunches and shoulders. They have tremendous endurance and long-term
have exceptionally short hair and always have black skin, though their coats may
be of any colour. Indeed, the desert men particularly prize their animals of
more than one colour, especially with unusual markings (see
Myth/Lore). Animals with such markings are considered to be “touched by
Allahra” and blessed to her.
Desert Horses also have an unusual feature that is not seen in other horses. They have an extra eyelid, a transparent membrane that covers the eye during high winds or sandstorms. This allows the animal to keep moving with its eyes open yet completely protected during such conditions. Their eyes, usually a very dark indigo colour, are large, slightly sunken into the head, rather than protruding like that of most horses and fringed by extraordinarily long lashes. Their heads are heavier that that of the Centoraurian, with a more square shape to them, but still well proportioned and attractive, if not as gracefully refined.
The Azhorhrian Horse is typically a very hardy animal. It is not prone to many
of the ailments that can afflict other
although this may simply be a function of climate. It has incredibly strong
lungs and an amazing breath capacity for its size. They are said to be the
on all Caelereth, though it is not known
whether this is true or just what is derogatorily known as “just another
Aeruillin sandstorm” (i.e., a lot of noise and
wind but not much substance.) However, the
Azhorhrians prize their
highly, and the trustworthy report available to this researcher does suggest
that the animals are indeed extremely fast and agile.
Territory. To date, these horses are only found in Aeruillin. The Azhorhrians do sell them to other peoples at the annual horse fair in the city of Shan'Zarathan - each tribe will set aside ten of its slowest male horses each year and bring them to the fair - but the horse traders will also have the horses they are selling gelded so as to prevent buyers from mating these horses with other breeds and thus producing a "tainted strain". They will never sell a mare.
Habitat/Behaviour. Spirited and temperamental, these animals are not noted for their gentle, easy-going nature. They tend to be unruly (except with the person they have accepted as master, to whom they give absolute devotion) and are quick to bite and kick. This makes them very good as warhorses, for they fight fiercely, lashing out with viciously fast, hard feet and snapping with strong jaws. They are usually very gentle with their master and his/her family members, but few outside that special circle.
Diet. The Azhorhrian Horse eats almost any greenery. It breaks apart cacti plants such as the ger-ger and the pango and eats the pulpy flesh inside. It also browses on totit plants, southern sunflower leaves and petals, (though not the stalk) mutliweed, and leaves from any trees available, though there are not many in Aeruillin. It can get sustenance from most desert plants that are safe to eat, instinctively avoiding the poisonous or hallucinogenic ones.
Mating. Since the Azhorhrians are horse breeders, they control mating procedures rigorously. It is discussed, argued, and sometimes even dueled over, which mares will be bred to which stallions and which animals should not be permitted to breed for fear of passing on a bad trait, how many mares a given stallion may breed per season, and so on. Once the decisions have been made, however, they simply put the two animals together in a small fenced in area. The mare’s hind feet are hobbled so that she cannot kick. Usually after a bit of sniffing, circling and playful nipping, mating will take place successfully. If the mare is highly resistant, as some are, the owner will take her out and try again later.
Myth/Lore. Much of Azhorhrian lore centers around their horses. For instance, tales are often told of the semi-legendary stallion Maimon (named after the famous first Rhahadah, or ruler of the Azhorhrians) who was white with a black splash mark across his withers, resembling a pair of wings. He was one of the fastest horses ever bred, and though he died of old age nearly a hundred years ago, the Azhorhrians still remember and honour him. To have a horses whose lineage can be traced to Maimon is a high status mark among the tribes. Men dueled for the right to have their mares bred by him.
Information provided by Alysse the Likely