Writing Believable Horses: 1. Writing Believable Horses

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1. Writing Believable Horses

When you are writing about horses and you want them to be more than sketchy background, have a look at this list. I've put down some of the habits and traits most horses possess in one way or another. Writing about some (not all) of these will fill in the horse in your story to be a real animal, not a cardboard vehicle.

Believable Horses...

  • startle.
  • don't always feel thrilled about being saddled.
  • stand on peoples' toes.
  • don't like going away from the herd.
  • go into season.
  • demand food, NOW! - and they are vocal about it.
  • search your pockets in the hope of a treat.
  • sulk when you make them stop doing it.
  • sometimes startle as the white pebble in the grass while not blinking an eye at the advancing army in the distance.
  • try to walk away while you are mounting.
  • are curious.
  • demand your attention, and they demand it now.
  • will ignore you if they have just found a nice bite of grass.
  • will race each other.
  • will not race each other if you want them to.
  • buck in excitement.
  • instinctively flee from danger.
  • will chase each other away from the food or water.
  • will protect their foals – against humans.
  • like being groomed.
  • will roll in the dirt just after you've finished grooming them.
  • love playing in water.
  • refuse to even put a hoof in a puddle.
  • make weird slorpy sounds when they drink.
  • like cuddles - most of the time.
  • splash water back at you when you're trying to wash them.
  • will try to grab a bite of grass or bush while you are riding.
  • chew on stuff.
  • do not always feel like taking the bit.
  • will stumble.
  • will have an off-day.
  • will neigh. Loudly. Especially if you are trying to travel quietly.
  • go lame.
  • will bite.
  • chew on their lead rope.
  • get tired.
  • fight to establish rank order.
  • get dirty.
  • let their riders chase them around the field because they don't feel like working today.
  • smell of horse.
  • Riders of Believable horses also smell of horse.
  • like the feeling of running hard - but only on their own terms.
  • sweat.
  • are skittish on new territory.
  • get ill.
  • will try to throw a rider.
  • manure.
  • pee, too.
  • will stand there snoozing while you are shaking with nerves.
  • will kick
  • will look vaguely guilty when you catch them doing something forbidden.
  • walk faster on the way home.
  • will make a fuss for absolutely no reason at all.
  • will behave like angels when you expect them to act up.

I will probably add to this list later on.
If you know a few things you think should be on the list, email them to me and I will add them in an update.

Arwen Lune

This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

Story Information

Author: Arwen Lune

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: Other

Genre: Research Article

Rating: General

Last Updated: 04/05/03

Original Post: 09/28/02

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