The Centoraurian Horse, also called "Grothar's Child", is a lovely animal, with the delicate build and graceful beauty of a deer. Originally found only among the Centoraurian peoples, it is widely thought to be among the most beautiful of the horses of Caelereth.
|Image description. The Centoraurian Horses are known for their extraordinary beauty and speed. Illustration drawn by Bard Judith.|
This horse is one of the smaller of the horse breeds,
rarely standing more than 15 hands high at the withers. However, it has an
unusually long, slender, arched neck and proportionately long legs, making it
almost resemble the famed white deer. The head is
small, with large, lustrous, widely-spaced eyes and dainty muzzle. Many a
Centoraurian will proudly boast
that his horse can drink from a cha cup, so fine and
graceful is its slender jaw.
The most common colouration for these horses is gray, ranging from nor’sidian to frost white. The darker ones often have a white mane and tail, one or more white stockings and a white star or blaze on the face. Occasionally one will encounter a dark eophran brown animal. The eyes are always dark, widely spaced, and fringed with long dark lashes. The nostrils tend to be large and highly sensitive. The mane and tail are typically very thick and heavy, and thicker, more coarsely haired than those of most horses. The tail is often carried high, due to an oddly shaped arch in the animal’s tailbones that is not seen in other horses. The long slim legs end in elongated fetlocks and small, dainty hooves. In spite of its delicate appearance, this little horse is extremely tough and hardy with great endurance and speed. It is thought that the rusik horse was developed as a result of crossbreeding with the Centoraurian, since they originally come from the same area and also have a more delicate, graceful build than most other Sarvonian horses.
This horse is especially noted for its extraordinary speed and beauty.
Territory. Originally the Centoraurian Horse was only found in the lands controlled by the Centoraurian Kingdom (see map of Ancient Sarvonian Kingdoms below), from Milkengrad, in the province of Vardưnn, in the north to Magic Sickle Point, in the province of Xaramon, in the south. However, it may now be found in many areas of the continent, being very popular with those wealthy individuals who can afford the extremely high prices charged for a purebred riding horse. Most individuals wishing to purchase one will have to travel to the Xara Horse Auctions, held every three years in the town of Horth, in the province of Xaramon. However, one is unlikely to find a full stallion or mare for sale. The Centoraurians guard their breeders carefully and usually offer only geldings, older horses or "culls", that is, horses which do not fit their rigid breed requirements, at these sales. These so-called "rejects" are usually still lovely animals, though, and may well produce perfect foals.
Map of the ancient kingdoms of Santharia (482 b.S.), Centorauria highlighted. Click on any kingdom to read more details at other kingdom entries. Picture drawn by Artimidor Federkiel.
As a domestic animal, the Centoraurian Horse behavior is very similar to that of
Breeders are very concerned about lineage and ancestry and mares and stallions
are usually kept rigorously separated. Mares are usually kept together with
their foals. Typically, there is one lead or senior mare, who keeps the others
in line and intervenes in the occasional fights between colts and so on.
Stallions, generally more temperamental, must be kept separated or they will
almost invariably pick fights or at least put on an aggressive display, arching
their necks, rolling their eyes, snorting and pawing the ground, facing their
perceived rival head on (which is very aggressive to
and making mock feints towards each other. This will inevitably lead to a fight
unless they are separated.
Diet. Identical to that of most horses - grass, hay, grains, etc. This depends partly on the area they inhabit. However, almost every Centoraurian clan has their "trade secret" receipt for a special mash, cake, or horse nuts which are fed to their animals to improve their glossy coats, strengthen their muscles, enhance their stamina, etc. No "outlander" is permitted to have the receipts for these things, instead having to purchase them from the Centoraurians at obscenely high prices. In spite of the assistance of skilled Santhalchemists, it has not been determined to date exactly what substances this special fodder contains, nor in what proportions.
Mating. These horses have a slightly more complex courting ritual than that of most horse breeds of Caelereth. When the mares go into heat (once every 8 weeks unless pregnant) they become very skittish and nervy. The stallion will approach cautiously and do what is known as the "courtship dance", prancing, arching his neck, preening and showing off shamelessly. However, if he gets to close before the mare decides she is ready, she will back away and face him aggressively with laid back ears and bared teeth. An intelligent stallion will move away and continue the "courting dance" at this point. A more aggressive one will get rejected and even attacked by the mare. Interestingly enough, the other mares will often back her up and help her to keep the stallion at bay.
When the mare decides she is ready, she will approach the stallion slowly, drooping her head and avoiding eye contact to encourage him. Mating usually takes place quickly after this.
The gestation period is about one year. Foals are almost always born norsidian black, and their coats usually lighten as they get older. The foal stays with its mother for a year, during which she does not usually go into heat and will not breed, even if separated from her baby. After this, fillies join the mares and colts are kept together until they reach the age of two, when they are either gelded or separated for breeding purposes. Fillies start coming into heat by the time they are around three or four years old.
Usages. These beautiful animals, famed throughout Sarvonia, are primarily used for riding. However, there are three distinct breeding trends which are beginning to produce some differences:
These are slimmer and slightly taller than average, with exceptionally long legs. Incredibly fast (able to run a league in under a quarter hour) they nevertheless do not have the longer term stamina of the other varieties.
On the whole, they tend to be bigger and heavier but the difference is not dramatic. They are usually mares - the Centoraurians believe that mares are better behaved and more trainable than stallions. They are not quite as fast but are bred for their intelligence, trainability, and endurance. The Centoraurians are famous for their elite cavalry forces and it it said with a wink that an accomplished rider, or two, can do anything on horseback. This reseacher, though an accomplished rider herself, has not personally attempted to determine the accuracy of this boast and thus cannot vouch for it.
These are the best known and usually what is thought of when one refers to Centoraurian Horses. They are famous for their gentle dispositions and calm natures, smooth gaits, intelligence and trainability. The war and racing varieties are not usually offered for sale, while the riding horses are more commonly available to those who have the means to buy them.
Myth/Lore. The Centoraurians have a delightful tale of the origins of their animals. The story goes that the first Centoraurians were wanderers, without horses. One day, lost and alone in the middle of a storm, a devout young boy prayed to Grothar for aid. The rain ceased and a fiercer wind sprang up, temporarily blinding the youth. When he could see again, there were two of the most beautiful animals he had ever seen - a mare and stallion, the children of Grothar, the forerunners of the Centoraurian horse. To this day, the Centoraurian people speak of their horses as "Grothar's children".
Information provided by Alysse the Likely