A Reign of Toads
Classification by breed and use
Destrier – destriers are tall, strong, splendid animals and are often high spirited. Destriers give knights a majestic air at tournaments. They are normally the most valuable type of horse, being well bred and highly trained. Some even consider them too valuable to risk in war thus the courser is the preferred mount for fighting.
Courser – lighter than destriers and less costly, coursers are still beautiful animals. Coursers are also strong and fast, fit for war and for hunting. Warhorses are usually coursers, although they may in rare occasions be destriers. The expected mount of knights and nobility when they find themselves in combat or jousting situations.
Charger – a warhorse used by mounted armoured noble of Slaver’s Bay.
Palfrey – the distinguishing characteristic of a palfrey is its ambling capability that makes it a more comfortable mount for long riding journeys. A well-bred palfrey may be as expensive as a destrier. Even royalty and high nobility will often be seen riding palfreys, although they are not meant for combat or jousting. Sweetfoot, one of Dunk’s horses, was a palfrey.
Garron – North of the Wall, Garrons are the only reasonable choice of horse. Both the Night’s Watch and its enemies use them in considerable numbers, both for riding and carrying cargo. Among horses, garrons are notable for their capability to deal with irregular terrain and cold temperatures. Under extreme cold, they fare better than palfreys and far better than destriers, who have considerably higher eating demands and are not particularly capable of dealing with snow.
Rounsey – a strong and capable steed of no particular breeding. Although rounseys are perfectly capable war horses, they are relegated to hedge knights, squires, and non-knightly men-at-arms. Rounsey are common riding horses and may also be used as pack animals.
Sand Steed – common in Dorne, it is a smaller than normal warhorse and cannot bear the weight of the armor (barding) that a warhorse usually wears. They are able to run for a day and a half before tiring.
Stot – An inferior or worthless horse.
Zorse – a fierce black-and-white striped horse from Eastern Essos.
Pony – a horse that is noticeably small even when fully grown. Useful as children’s mount, for driving charts and for carrying cargo and even riding (for riders of compatible size, of course). Ponies are not inherently less athletic or less capable than ordinary horses.
Mule – the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. Usually infertile, although it is possible for female mules to breed. Valued for their endurance and versatility for non-combat tasks. Mules are excellent working animals and may even be ridden, although they are not meant for combat.
Dray – dray horses, also called plow horses, are strong horses meant for heavy tasks. They are not necessarily unfit for riding, although they will not be the best choice for combat situations.
Horses by Sex and Reproductive Capability
Gelding – a gelding is a castrated horse, of any breed or purpose. Castration is useful for making the horse less hormonal and supposedly easier to deal with.
Mare – a mare is a female horse, of any breed or purpose. A young mare is known as filly.
Stallion – a stallion is a non-castrated horse, of any breed or purpose. The presence of testosterone may make stallions more physically impressive than otherwise comparable mares or geldings, but it also makes their behavior more aggressive.