This has led me back to working on my sage tables, as the mastery of horses is logically an ability that is acquired through training and expertise. A year ago I suggested that a Cavalry field would start with mounting and maneuvering warhorses . . . just today I've created some rules (shown below) for persons with very little experience in doing that (amateurs vs. experts). Rather than making one set of rules that apply to all horse riders, I'm working towards rules that would distinctly favor those with a lot of riding experience over those who can just manage to keep in the saddle. This creates a wide frame for horse combats, with players able to perform an increased number of actions as their levels increase and their proficiency in horses does as well.
Like the rules I made about shipping, I hope that these rules will more firmly fix what can be done from a horse and what can't, at a level of detail that has been expressly lacking in the game - and which does not presuppose that there is a possibility that someone who is trained and able will fail to succeed, the idiot's solution to the problem that birth 3rd Edition.
I recently spoke with a local horsejumping association - one that holds national and continental tournaments - on the limitations of turning a horse as one might wish. Here's the take: there is no limitation on how a horse can be moved or how tight a turn can be made, no matter what the speed of the horse, including at a full gallop. A 360 degree turn at a full gallop? It's called barrel racing.
The only limitation is the rider. How fast can the rider think and manipulate the horse naturally in the shortest amount of time. This is the basis upon which I am going to base my system - that once the rider has managed a certain level of skill, the horse can be made to dance on the battlefield if need be.
Very well, the main wiki article on horseback riding, up to what an amateur can do, is listed below. The links to the sage abilities under amateur all work. Some of the others are placeholders.
In a departure from usual table-top fantasy rules, not everyone is able to ride a horse. Horseback riding is a skill that is acquired with knowledge points gained with sage ability. It is possible to ride a horse without this knowledge - but the rider must be led by someone with experience. See Assisted Riding.
Knowledge of horseback riding allows the character to make use of a horse in a wide variety of ways, with additional skills in training and managing horses, administering to their health, breeding and recognition of breeding, employing horses in combat and a proficiency in the skill of riding, driving or vaulting. Furthermore, this ability at riding will translate to an ability to master larger and more aggressive horses as knowledge is accumulated.
Horses are divided into several forms, based on size, physical ability and training. Warhorses different from riding horses, in that they will support a rider using weapons without adverse movement. Ponies describe both young horses that have not matured and certain breeds that are naturally small as adults. Draught horses, while heavy, are bred to be docile and usually move a walk (a trot could not be long sustained, while the animal would resist a canter or a gallop).
In most cases, a particular animal can be described by its weight:
- riding horses: 800 to 1100 lbs .............. (2d4 x 50 +700)
- warhorse, light: 1000 to 1300 lbs ......... (2d4 x 50 +900)
- warhorse, medium: 1300 to 1700 lbs ... (2d6 x 40 +1220)
- warhorse, heavy: 1700 to 2000 lbs ...... (2d4 x 50 +1600)
- draught horse: 1000 to 1500 lbs .......... (2d6 x 50 +900)
- pony: 600 to 800 lbs ............................ (2d6 x 20 +560)
A horse's total movement is typically 7 action points, or AP. It should be noted that some horses will be slightly faster or somewhat slower, with bonus AP potentially measured in fractions of 1/2, 1/3 or 1/6. This offers some question as to a horse's potential to win or fail to win races, when trained; details regarding these differences is left to discussions about the breeding of horses and racing potential of horses discussed in some of the links below. For most purposes, these details need not be considered.
Domesticate: gives the basic training to young or feral horses, enable them to perform as ordinary working animals.
Feeding & Diet: gives judgement regarding the physical size and needs of horses.
Handling I: enables the character to direct the horse or ride at various gaits with minimal skill.
Mounted Combat I: the character possesses enough skill to fight from a warhorse with minimal skill.