Any class is able to ride a horse. Only fighters, paladins or characters with proficiency in the Ride skill are able to ride medium or heavy warhorses.
Only fighters, paladins or characters with proficiency in the Ride skill are able to fight from horseback, this being a skill that has been taught to them as part of their training. It is presumed that all other classes must dismount before entering melee.
Those who are partly fighters or paladins as a facet of their multi-class are also able to fight from horseback.
Those characters whose father’s career was associated with any of the following may also participate in this ability: outriders, squires, knights, nobles (dispossed or otherwise) or crusaders.
Occasionally, a character’s background may also indicate an ability to fight from horseback.
Light horses and warhorses are calculated to be 1,200 lbs.; medium warhorses, 1,500; and heavy warhorses, 1,800. A paladin’s warhorse may be anywhere from a light to an extra-heavy warhorse, weighing up to 2,100 lbs., depending on the paladin’s personal preference.
A draft horse is considered to weigh 1,500 lbs. A pony, anywhere from 600 to 800 lbs.
Horses that spend the day not being ridden or which do not take part in work will require 2% of their body weight in forage each day – this may generally be gained from the local growth when available.
Horses which are ridden gently or walked on roads will require 2.5% of their body weight in forage.
Horses which take part in combat, or are ridden continuously all day, or must travel overland off roads, or take part in hauling, must consume 3% of their body weight in forage.
Additionally, horses will require that 1 part in 10 of their daily food intake must be contributed in bagged grain that cannot be obtained from the environment, but must be fed directly to the horse by some individual.
Thus, a 1,500 lb. draft horse hauling a cart would eat 45 lbs. each day, 4.5 lbs. of which would be grain feed which the master would need to ensure the horse was fed from a trough (part in the morning and part at night). Maintaining a horse in some parts of the world is an expensive proposition.
Overland travel is subject to the presence of roads, the variety of vegetation or topography, the weather and the change in elevation.
Normally, upon first grade roads, or in hexes which are either predominantly cropland or mixed cropland and local vegetation, movement is as follows:
Horse, 60 miles per day
Mule or donkey, 40 miles per day
Walking, 20 miles per day
Cart or lightly loaded wagon, 10 miles per day
heavily loaded wagon, 5 miles per day
The absence of good roads reduces travel distance by 50% for steppelands or veldt. Mixed steppe and forest, or other open country of mixed grassland and forest, such as savanna, caatinga or open Russian woodland, reduces travel distance by 60%. Forest or taiga, or heavily deserted areas where much of the ground is soft or extraordinarily rocky and filled with wadis, reduces travel distance by 75%. Jungles and marshlands are impassable to carts or wagons, and force mounted persons to walk, and further reduce travel distance by 90%.
Elevation reduces travel distance by 10% per 400 foot change in elevation from one hex to the next. Thus, if the party were moving from a hex at sea level to one that was 1,200 feet above sea level, upon a road and walking, they’re travel distance would be reduced 30% to a total of 14 miles that day. It is presumed that the road climbs and falls, as well as switchbacks, when climbing or dropping in elevation. Going downhill makes no difference to distance travels for this reason and because descent – particularly with animals and heavy loads – often requires more rest and greater care for safe travel. Momentum can also be dangerous.
A second horse or mount drawn behind the first can improve travel distance by 33%. Two horses would thus allow 80 miles per day upon roads; a horse and a mule would allow 73 miles. Two mules would allow 53 miles.
High Speed Riding
Riding horses at high speeds over unprepared ground can be extremely hazardous to both horse and rider. Each minute a horse is driven at speed through landscape not specifically prepared for horse traffic roll the percent for the given terrain on the table below. Roll 1d20 if a mishap occurs.