Mounts of the Clay Giants
The soft patter of hooves on grass follows them as they move across the hills back to their home. The long days of rolling hills would not be possible for just any mount, but the creature beneath the Clay Giant is special, bred to handle the size and weight of his people, but also able to withstand the long days of riding that are sometimes possible. Their gentle lope got them closer to their destination, but a surprising sound turned their lope into a full run, the terrain flying by like a blur of colors. The Clay Giant held on as the horse beneath him ran a great distance, another trait that his people had worked to breed into their animals. One of the most important parts of the lives of the Clay Giants is animal husbandry as can be seen in their livestock and the horses that they ride. The Tatanka were the first success, large creatures that would provide sustenance and other goods to the Clay Giants, but a trusty mount, one that could handle the weight and size of these people, would be their next attempt. With generations of breeding and planned traits, the Hillbreds were born, a breed of large draft horse that could handle the Cradle of Clay and the people that called the area home. These horses are far larger than any others found throughout the world, standing hands above the draft horses that pull wagons and carts in the plains areas of the Southern Continent. While bred to serve as mounts, Hillbreds are also used as draft animals to pull carts, wagons, and plows in the various agricultural areas of the Cradle of Clay. Often called "gentle giants," these horses are of calm temperments and rarely spook, making them great with children and many of the elders that may have lost their strength.
Hillbreds are large creatures, with the males reaching lengths up to nine and a half feet from head to rump, while the females reach lengths of up to about seven feet. These beasts can reach up to twenty hands at the withers, and a weight of over three thousand pounds in males and slightly over twenty-five thousand pounds in females. Their size makes them one of the largest creatures used for mounts in Vóreios, although other larger mounts exist in the Southern Continent. These animals have longer coats that become shaggier in the winter and thinner in the summer, although still fairly long. Their coats can range in colors from black to greys to browns and even white. Facial and leg markings are common, including blaze, bald face, stocking, and sock markings. Markings such as star, stripe, and pastern are more rare, but are commonly found in Hillbreds that have black or dark brown coats. Hillbreds are known for their strength and durability which allows them to carry Clay Giants across long distances, often for days in a row, or to pull fully loaded carts that weigh upwards of ten to twenty tons. It has been noted that these horses can pull more, but this is not a good practice for the health of the animal. Their hooves are also larger than a cast iron cooking pan, making them dangerous to those that may try to harm them.
Uses, Products & Exploitation
In most instances, draft horses are standardly used for the purpose of pulling carts or serving as working horses in other ways. Rarely are they used as mounts, but their size makes it possible for them to carry the likes of a Clay Giant. While Hillbreds are classified as draft horses, they are used both as mounts and for working purposes. Most Clay Giants will use a single Hillbred to accomplish their work, but some cases require two horses to be hitched to a single wagon or other items to pull without injury. Because of this possibility, Clay Giants in a village or area will often practice creating a draft team so that they can determine which of the Hillbreds work the best together. These established pairs are often recorded with the village Shaman so that any work that requires a draft team can be accomplished promptly. While the Great Plains is known for their oxen teams or various Dinosaurs to plow their fields, Clay Giants prefer to utilize the Hillbreds as they tend to be soft of foot while pulling plows and other equipment, rarely harming the ground covering crops the Clay Giants grow amongst their taller-growing crops. Many of the farmers attempted to use oxen in the past, but they often trampled crops or would scare the children.
Hillbred by Image via Midjourney, created by Riverfang
Hillbreds are a special breed of horse bred for their size and stamina. One of the only creatures that can serve as a mount for Clay Giants, these creatures are strong and hardy, with the ability to pull heavy loads long distances. While they may not be fast, Hillbreds make up for their lack of speed in dangerous situations with their large hooves that have been known to crush the bones of predators that attempt to harm them.
17 to 28 years
18 hands to 20 hands at the withers
2000 lbs to 3500 lbs
7 ft to 9 ft 6 in
While massive creatures, they are such gentle souls, allowing our children upon their backs and never running off. Their hooves land so softly, yet one knows that such a creature is never in danger when a single kick could shatter a bone. We are thankful that they find kindred spirits in us and help us better the hills that we call home.
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Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
I love big shaggy horses. They always seem so sturdy and sensible.