The Sarvonian Carriage Horse (also known informally as the "Wain Horse" or "Wagonhorse") is one of the newer breeds of horses, developed as a light draught animal for pulling private conveyances. Big and sturdy, they are nevertheless not as heavy or expensive to feed as the Sarvonian Heavy Horse, which makes them more affordable as a carriage animal.
Although the Carriage Horse was developed from the
Southern Draught Horse, they are finer
boned and not as big, due to the infusion of
Around 1580 a.S., a Tharian breeder at the Nymersysian
Draught Horse Farms took
three mares culled from breedstock for their smaller than normal size, and put
them to a Landesh stallion. The resulting offspring were two colts and a filly.
The Tharian breeder then bribed an unscrupulous
Centoraurian breeder to acquire
horses of the warhorse breed and bred them to his
offspring of these animals became the foundation for the modern carriage
Carriage Horses may be any of a wide range of colours; white, any shade of brown, bay or chestnut, black, dappled, piebald or skewbald, though solid colours are preferred, and bright bays with white blazes and socks are most common. Black (again with white blazes and socks) are also popular. The average Carriage Horse stands about 15-16 hands at the shoulder and weighs between 130 to 160 hebs. They are solid muscular animals, with small refined heads clearly marking their Centoraurian ancestry. Animals selected for breedstock typically have immensely powerful haunches and shoulders from their Landesh and Draught horse ancestry, but are clean limbed with strong sleek legs and large but elegantly formed feet with short lower legs and ankles. They have thick but long arched necks and heavy manes and tails, with sleek, short, and very fine hair on their hides. They have an attractive high stepping gait, which looks impressive when pulling a carriage but makes them poor choices as riding animals, since the gait is excessively jolting and painful to endure for long periods of time. This horse can travel at quite a pace and has a great deal of stamina and endurance.
The Carriage Horse does not have any unique abilities, aside from the high
stepping gait that has garnered them much attention as a private Carriage Horse.
Territory. Although a fairly recent breed (Carriage Horses have been around for less than 100 years) they have become extremely popular and demand has always been high. Thus, Carriage Horses may be found in larger towns or cities across the whole of Southern Sarvonia, usually pulling carriages/wagons for the nobility or wealthy people. There are several breeding farms in Southern Sarvonia now dedicated to the preservation and continuation of this attractive breed.
Habitat/Behaviour. By nature the Carriage Horse is a gentle animal, less high-strung and temperamental than its Centoraurian ancestors, though more spirited in behaviour than the heavy Draught Horses. When handled and trained well, these animals do not spook easily, and are unlikely to become runaways. They work well in teams and are quite friendly by nature, tending to be roughly affectionate with each other but rarely aggressive, even the stallions. They extend this behaviour to their grooms and caretakers with head butting, nuzzling and gentle shoving, accompanied by little whickering sounds and snorts such as those a mare might make to her foal.
Diet. Like most horses, the Carriage Horse eats grass, hay, oats, and whatever else its owner or caretaker may provide. Fodder for city animals is typically brought in from outlying areas by wagon and can be bought in any marketplace or by personal arrangement from an accommodating carter. Some nobles who live just outside the bigger cities have pasturing available on their estates, while others inside the city may choose to rent pasture space, use city stabling, or build their own stables. The Carriage Horse does not eat as much as the Draught Horse and thus is a more attractive and economical alternative if one is not using it for hard labour.
Mating. Since this is a man-developed breed, mating occurs under the supervision of humans. Mares in heat are put to the chosen stallion during their heat period as with most man-bred animals. When conception has occurred, the mares are looked after with special care. After the typical eleven-month gestation, a foal is born. For some reason, though twins are very rare in most horses, this breed tends to have them more often, and then the mare needs extra care to ensure her survival, so they are watched carefully throughout the pregnancy if twins are suspected. Twin foals are almost always identical and so can fetch a very high price if both survive and they are trained as a matched team. Training begins early, when the young horse is about a year old. It will usually be matched with another animal and put into harness with a very light wain, to get them used to the idea of pulling a load. As they get older, the load is increased and they gain experience going through city streets and being in noisier environments. By the time a carriage horse is three, it is usually well trained, used to working in tandem and ready to be sold (usually as part of a matched team, though not always).
By age four a carriage horse is sexually mature. The mares begin going into heat (about every six to eight weeks, for three or four days) and the stallions become interested in them. Typically carriage horses are geldings or mares. Stallions are kept only for breeding purposes, as they tend to be too temperamental to make docile carriage horses. Depending on the work load required of it, a Carriage Horse usually has a working life span of 15-20 years, and most live well into their 20s if allowed to live their full span and not heavily overworked.
Usages. As the name suggests, the primary use of this horse is for pulling carriages. Sometimes, the milk may be used in cheese-making as is the case with Draught Horses, but this is less commonly done. The hides of these animals may also be used for purposes such as leather making or as decorative fur accents in clothing. The tails may also be used decoratively, since they are long and thick. Although the meat of these animals is edible, it is tough and stringy, with little flavour, so horseflesh of this type would usually be fed to dogs or other carnivorous pets.