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Horses are an interesting system added to DR to give it a bit of flavor. I myself haven't dabbled with them much, a Ranger-on-the-go doesn't need to be tied down to having to have a stable nearby, especially one who often travels to out-of-the-way places like M'Riss where it's not currently feasible to get one's horse there in the first place and nowhere to keep it. Hopefully someday a way for our characters to "park" (find shelter, a place to rest) in the wilderness and picket our horses at our camping spot will be implemented. That, along with a few other features would make the system more atractive to more people.

In the meantime, here I gather what information I can find about horses for those who might be interested. I warn you now, much of this information is second-hand. It was gathered from official info on the DR site as well as an old webpage by Nimmo he made back before he took his big break from DR (though eventually he realized DR was much better than DaoC ) and some general info I gathered from Naturn who is recognized as one of the biggest experts on horses in DR. Not to be confused with those players who are experts on horses IRL, so please don't take offense if you happen to be one.

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A Horse Is a Horse, Of Course

Horses come in many varieties, and no matter how much information I list, it would likely still be incomplete. But to give you an idea of what's possible, here's a rundown of the basic categories and examples of what can be had in each category.

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From a "Stable" Home

Before you go and get a horse, there are a couple of issues to consider, specifically if your character is a Prydaen, Rakash, Dwarf, Olvi or Gnome. First, due to their similarity in appearance to known predators, horses are wary of a Rakash in moonskin or a Prydaen. A horse to be used by a member of those two races first needs to be taught tolerance by a Ranger capable of doing so. Second, a pony can only be ridden by one of the three shorter races, namely Dwarves, Olvi (Halflings) and Gnomes; taller races can buy/own them but can't ride them. In addition, those three races can use a full-sized horse only if it is first taught to kneel, otherwise it will be the same to them as a pony is to the larger races, i.e. they can own it but not ride it.

OK, so you're getting a horse. How to get one comes down to two different ways: buy it or wrangle it, the latter option is only available to Rangers. We'll talk about wrangling more later (towards the bottom of this page), for now here's how to go about buying one. Again, there's two choices: you can buy from a stable or from another player. That other player might be a Ranger who wrangled it, a Trader who is brokering horses (player-wrangled or store-bought) or simply someone wanting to pass along ownership. Rangers and Traders are the only Guilds who can have multiple horses (a must-have feature since otherwise wrangling and selling would be virtually impossible, only having one horse and its always one you're selling), though they still can only have one horse "active" at any given time, the rest are all stabled.

The actual transfer of the horse's ownership (from one player to another, not when buying one from the corral at the stables) requires a Trader, so one of our player merchants will always be involved. I will update this page later with info on how that works, my information is sketchy on that point. Though I do know that for Rangers, they can't handle sales directly either so those with a herd in the stable to sell must either have a Trader involved in each deal or find a Trader willing to unload the Ranger's herd into their own stock in one grand transaction.

So for now, I will leave it at this: if you want to buy a horse from another player, find an experienced Trader, they will will let you know what to do next. Meantime, let's talk about buying from the corral.

There are currently corrals for buying horses in Therenborough, the Premium club near El Bain's (north of Langenfirth), Steel Claw Clan, Horse Clan and Aesry. There are stables for keeping your horse in all of those places plus Crossing. I will try to update this page later when I have more information, making sure that list is as complete as it can be, as well as provide more detailed directions on how to find each. Until then, it never hurts to ask a local, heh.

The stables themselves are multi-function places and are the heart of the horse world as it were in DR. At a stable you can buy a horse ... if it has a corral, most do ... or buy tack (riding equipment: saddle, bridle, etc) and barding (horse armor), buy food to keep them fed, stable your horse for a while, sell them, locate them or even get training in a few basic courses that are taught to riders directly by the stablemaster or their assistant. Some corrals even have a riding area for playing with your mount and keeping them exercised, perhaps even an area to practice jousting if that is one of your passions. While stabled, your horse will be well cared for, kept well-fed and groomed.

While at a stable with a corral, simply LOOK IN CORRAL to see what horses are milling about. You can also ORDER to see a list of what horses are currently available. Looking at a specific horse is different than you'd normally expect, you need the list the attendant gives you when you type ORDER and if you want to look at the fourth horse on the list, for example, then you type LOOK 4. If that were the horse you wanted, then you type ORDER 4. The attendant takes your coin and you have your horse.

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Saddle Up!

Tack is the basic equipment needed for riding a horse. Tack, barding and feed can be bought at most stables and there are also stores that sell nothing but equine supplies, such as the one in Horse Clan. You can ride bareback, but unless you are a Ranger or have been trained by one, it will be hard on the horse ... and you. For basic tack, you need:

  • a halter
  • a bridle
  • a saddle
  • some saddle

If you don't use the padding under the saddle, the horse will show wear from it over time, the chafing of the saddle making life uncomfortable for them. Make sure you put the padding on first, then the saddle. The padding can be in the form of a saddle blanket, caparison, saddle pad or quilt. In order to lead the horse while you are on foot, you will also need a lead rope.

Currently the only one of the above items not needing to be bought from a store is a lead rope, which you can make yourself by braiding grass or vines. Forage some grass or a vine then BRAID <grass/vine> until it is long enough to make a lead rope, then PULL <grass/vine>, voila ... a lead rope. You may need to add a second or third piece; if so, hold the partially braided section in one hand, new grass/vine in other hand and BRAID <grass/vine>, the new piece will be braided right in so you can keep going.

Barding is armor built for horses. Currently, it is little more than fluff since horses can neither be attacked nor otherwise injured. However, that is supposed to eventually change, but not until we have a way to get horses healed (other than stabling them) and possibly a way for horses to be resurrected. The types of armor and the areas they protect are:

Piece Name      Area of Horse Covered
Chanfron   head
Crinnet   neck
Peytrel   chest and legs
Crupper   hindquarters and legs
Flanchard   legs and abdomen
All of the above are available in leather, chain or plate

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Apple FROM the Teacher?

Anyone of sufficient circle can ask the stablemaster to teach them the rough basics everyone needs to know in order to ride a horse. Just ask them about horses, and you're off to the races (pardon the pun, heh). You can also ask them about PREPARE and they will teach you how to keep your concentration while casting spells from horseback. This doesn't mean the horse will want to go along with it, at least not until a Ranger trains them to tolerate such activity.

Rangers can talk to both the stableman out in the stables about various things and if the Ranger is of sufficient circle and has enough skill in animal lore, they will teach the Ranger how to train horses in that area. Remember, the stablemaster teaches riders how to deal with horses, the stableman teaches Rangers how to train a horse in a particular area, Rangers then use that knowledge to teach the horse. If you're not a Ranger, then the stableman doesn't have anything to teach you, although he might still have some interesting things to say.