The Sarvonian Draught Pony is a small sturdily built animal that the hobbits use as an all-purpose workhorse. It is most common in the Shires throughout Sarvonia, but is also increasing in popularity with less wealthy human farmers who can’t afford to buy or keep one of the big draught animals. Humans often call it the “Hobbithorse” or the “Poor Man’s Draught”.
Appearance. For its size, this pony is one of the strongest of the Caelereth equines. Standing anywhere between 11-13 palmspans high, the little “Hobbithorse” is a very sturdy beast. It was originally developed by the Nyermersysian Horse Farms in their experimental breeding programs to produce the big draught horses. Five Tirpan/Kev’lor cross mares were bred to a Landesh/Centoraurian cross stallion. Four of the offspring were rejected due to their small size. Sold off at a horse fair to hobbit buyers from the Helmondsshire, the four small ponies (three fillies and one colt) that had been produced from the crossbreeding became the foundation animals for the breed now known as the Sarvonian Draught Pony. They were crossed a few more times with Landesh ponies and a couple of times with Tirpan or part Tirpan stock to keep the bloodlines fresh but now they are a thriving breed and gaining in popularity.
Image description. A Sarvonian Draught Pony, also called "Hobbithorse", fooling around with a hobbitling. Picture drawn by Viresse.
This pony is a very attractive little animal. One of the early foundation sires
was born, for some odd reason, with curling mane, tail and coat hair. The story
says that this pony’s dam drank Despondmire
water and this caused the abnormality but this is thought to be unlikely.
However, the hobbits found this animal
particularly attractive and used him for breeding stock. All of his descendants
inherited the curly coat and it is now a characteristic of the breed.
This pony can be any colour, though the commonest shades are brown and dark grey. The mane and tail are long, thick and curly. This animal shows some of the indications of its Tirpan ancestry in the thickness of its coat and silkily “feathered” fetlocks. It has a large but well-shaped head, very broad through the forehead but narrowing to a slender muzzle, large alert eyes and wide nostrils. Its neck is short and powerfully muscled, thickening down into strong, well formed shoulders, and a compact, deep chested little body with solid, sturdy hindquarters. The legs are short but muscular, ending in surprisingly delicate looking fetlocks and small, well-shaped little hooves. It has a free moving, pleasant gait that makes it a good riding animal as well as a workhorse. The ponies of the Dogodon Shire are slightly smaller than the average, rarely measuring more than 11 palmspans and often not more than 10. This is probably due to the fact that these reclusive hobbits are shorter than the average and so prefer smaller animals.
This tough little animal is immensely strong for its size and will pull a load
that seems big for a full-size horse. It can carry a
full-grown human male rider and negotiate
treacherous terrain with the surefootedness of a wild goat. It is extremely
versatile and willing to do nearly anything asked of it.
Territory. A domestic animal solely, these ponies are usually found in or near hobbit settlements; the Silvershire, the Dogodon Shire and the Elenveran Shire. They have been gaining in popularity with humans, however and are becoming more well-known and widespread in the areas around the Shires.
Habitat/Behaviour. This pony is a very sociable little beast and loves company and attention. It will go out of its way to gain praise and loves to show off. Mischievous young hobbits have frequently taught the family pony a “clever’ trick (such as playing “fetch” with a stick or taking in the fresh wash off the wash line, and dropping it in the basket - with big teeth marks and pony drool dripping off it) of which it is then nearly impossible to break them. They are gentle, cooperative animals and can be left with the family baby. More than one hobbit baby/child headed for trouble has been picked up by the seat of its pants and, gently but firmly, returned to its mother. And a longsuffering little pony lying in field at the end of a hard day’s work will often be swarmed by crowing hobbit children who want to play.
Diet. Not picky in their food choices, Draught Ponies will eat nearly any greenery. The beautiful grassy Upper Marsh of the Silvermarshes is ideal terrain for them, as is the fertile area in the Alianian Hills and the grassy plains of the Elvergrounds. They are also usually fed a mixture of grain and corn by their hobbit owners, and hay in the winter time.
Mating. Unlike many of the bigger horses, these ponies are not particularly aggressive in their mating behaviours, though young stallions should not be brought into close proximity with each other in the presence of a receptive mare in heat. Usually for a day or two before the mare comes into heat (every 8 weeks unless pregnant) she is put into a separate pasture with the stallion and left with him for the duration of her heat. Usually the two will mate on their own initiative without a lot of violence or fighting. Once this has been accomplished, the mare and stallion are separated.
Usages. The versatile Hobbithorse is most commonly used as a draught animal, but may be ridden or taught to perform tricks (many are bought for this purpose by traveling players and/or performing companies) or used for hunting, as it can pack out a full grown elk carcass from rough terrain. They can even be housebroken, though this is uncommon.
Researchers. Most of this information was provided for the Compendium by the Eminently Respectable Horsebreeder for the hobbits, Mr. Kippin Chanders (Esq.) of the Silvershire. The researchers are indebted to him for his kindness.
Information provided by Alysse the Likely