Cyclopaedia 25: Horses

Welcome to Cyclopaedia 25: HorsesCyclopaedia is a monthly article on the InnRoads Ministries website as part of the Getting Started series. Sometimes you read one article online and that spirals down a deep rabbit hole, in this case a long horse trail. I read the post Horses Are Not Machines: On Writing the Steeds of Fantasy Fiction by Rosalind Moran and couldn’t get it out of my head. Horses are such a significant element of so many stories I love, especially fantasy and western cinema and literature. I grew up watching the Lone Ranger riding Silver, reading about Gandalf’s journeys on Shadowfax, and watching every western I could. I have also enjoyed family trips out west with opportunities to ride horses in the mountains. There is something very special about the relationship between rider and horse, a deep emotional connection even on short rides. Perhaps horses could be even more in our writing and gaming? So saddle up and let’s ride!

If you have questions about this article or topics you would like me to consider researching for future Cyclopaedia articles, please leave a comment below.


The taxonomic family Equidae, horses… animals, but yet so much more in reality, fiction, and myth. They are transportation, workers, racers, investment, companions, pets, and more. Horses have helped conquer nations and bust sod for farmers. Horses have carried great leaders in parades and small children at fairs. Horses have raced for millions of dollars and have pulled buggies of families. Horses have rounded up cattle in prairies and controlled riots in city streets.

Horses are romanticized in the American West as the companion of the cowboy. How could the Wild West have been tamed without the trusted horse? Fantasy literature abounds with famous steeds who aided their heroes (and villains) to traverse great distances to arrive at just the last moment to save the day. Where would a knight be without his brave warhorse to charge into battle? The Bible speaks of the four horsemen of the apocalypse reigning terror on earth in the final days. How else do we see Death, War, Famine, and Pestilence other than upon their mighty horses come to cleanse the world?

We have an emotional attraction to horses that comes out in our myths, our writing, and our relations with them.

Mythical Horse Relatives

Horses have a magical tale all their own, yet they have also spun off so many related creatures of folktales, legends, and mythology. Each creature has elements of a horse so you know they are related, but has some twist, mutation, or magical ability that makes them stand out.

  • Centaur
  • Hippocampus
  • Hippogriff
  • Kelpie
  • Nightmare
  • Noggle
  • Pegasus
  • Phooka
  • Unicorn

Following are sources of information pertaining to Horses to assist prospective game masters, game designers, writers, and storytellers in knowing where to start their research.



The domestication of the horse
By Drower, Margaret S
Source: Domestication and exploitation of plants and animals, S. 471-478

Horses Are Not Machines: On Writing the Steeds of Fantasy Fiction
By Moran, Rosalind

Interview With a Practitioner: Hippotherapy
By Delinger, C
Source: Alternative Health Practioner, 3, no. 3, (1997): 161-212



100 Horses in History – True Stories of Horses Who Shaped Our World
By Stewart, Gayle

The Age of the Horse: An Equine Journey Through Human History
By Forrest, Susanna

All the Pretty Horses
By McCarthy, Cormac

The Art of Horsemanship
By Xenophon and Morgan, Morris H.

Black Beauty
By Sewell, Anna

The Black Stallion
By Farley, Walter

Borrowed Horses
By Griffiths, Sian

Centered Riding
By Swift, Sally

Chosen by a Horse
By Richards, Susan

The Complete Horse Riding Manual
By Micklem, William

Dawn of the Horse Warriors: Chariot and Cavalry Warfare, 3000-600 BC
By Noble, Duncan

Eleanor McGraw, a Pony Named Mouse, and a Boy Called Fire
By Marcus, Katharina

The Faraway Horses: The Adventures and Wisdom of One of America’s Most Renowned Horsemen
By Brannaman, Buck

The Horse and his Boy
By Lewis, C. S.

The Horse in the City: Living Machines in the Nineteenth Century (Animals, History, Culture)
By McShane, Clay and Tarr, Joel

Horses of Long Ago
By Ipcar, Dahlov

The Horse: The Epic History of Our Noble Companion
By Williams, Wendy

The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World
By Anthony, David W.

The Horse Soldiers
By Sinclair, Harold

The Horse Whisperer
By Evans, Nicholas

How to Think Like A Horse: The Essential Handbook for Understanding Why Horses Do What They Do
By Hill, Cherry

The Lady
By McCaffrey, Anne

Misty of Chincoteague
By Henry, Margeurite

My Friend Flicka
By O’Hara, Mary

The Mythology of Horses: Horse Legend and Lore Throughout the Ages
By Hausman, Gerald

National Velvet
By Bagnold, Enid

Oh, Harry!
By Kumin, Maxine

On a Pale Horse
By Anthony, Piers

The Pony Express: The History and Legacy of America’s Most Famous Mail Service
By Editors, Charles River

The Red Pony
By Steinbeck, John

The Saddle Club Series
By Bryant, Bonnie

Silent Hoofbeats
By Copeland, Bobby J.

Summer of the Redeemers
By Haines, Carolyn

The Valley of Horses
By Auel, Jean M.

War Horse
By Morpugo, Michael

War Horse: A History of the Military Horse and Rider
By DiMarco, Louis A.

By Grey, Zane

The Winter Pony
By Lawrence, Iain



Arimaa – Tabletop Game
Ave Caesar – Tabletop Game
Battue: Storm of the Horse Lords – Tabletop Game
Bella Sara – Tabletop Game
Champion Jockey – Video Game
Chariot Race – Tabletop Game
Circus Maximus – Tabletop Game
Darksiders – Video Game
HomeStrech: Race to the Finish – Tabletop Game
Horse-lords of Rohan – RPG
Let’s Ride – Video Game
Long Short – Tabletop Game
Lucinda Green’s Equestrian Challenge – Video Game
My Horse and Me – Video Game
The Really Nasty Horse Racing Game – Tabletop Game
Red Dead Redemption – Video Game
Riders of Rohan – RPG
Royal Steeple Chase – Tabletop Game
Saddle Up: Time to Ride – Video Game
Stretch Run – Tabletop Game
Totopoly – Tabletop Game
TurfMaster – Tabletop Game
Winner’s Circle – Tabletop Game
Win, Place and Show – Tabletop Game



Adventures of the Black Stallion – TV
A Horse for Danny
All the Pretty Horses
All Roads Lead Home
Black Beauty
The Black Stallion
BoJack Horseman – TV
A Day at the Races
The Electric Horseman
Heartland – TV
The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit
The Horsemasters
The Horse Whisperer
In Pursuit of Honor
International Velvet
The Man From Snowy River
Mister Ed – TV
Moondance Alexander
My Friend Flicka
My Friend Flicka – TV
National Velvet
Phar Lap
Running Free
The Saddle Club – TV
Spirit: Stallion of Cimarron
Thunder – TV
War Horse
Wildfire – TV



American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum

International Museum of the Horse

Kentucky Derby Museum

Kentucky Horse Park

The Mongol Derby

Olympic Equestrian Dressage

Pony Express National Museum

Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy



(Well…Horses actually)
Black Beauty
Jim Key
Little Sorrel
Man O’ War
Mister Ed
Red Hare

I hope you find these resources informative and inspiring for your adventures, storytelling, or game design.

Stay Creative!

T.R. Knight

( If you would like to save this list of resources as a convenient PDF for later reference, you can find that HERE )


He is a freelance editor, proofreader, and writer in the game industry. He is also a Husband and Caregiver to his wife Angie, Father of Twins Emily and Rachel, Foodie and Hobby Chef, and Director of Academic Technology/Associate CIO at Taylor University. You can learn more about T.R. at his blog

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