Forums: Index > Lore Discussion > Were there horses in Ferelden at the time of DA:Origins?
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"Off-topic" discussion from Journey times in DA.

Hiya I'm writing fan fic and any ideas about how far a day's journey - on foot, on horseback walking, on horseback riding fast or how long it would take to sail between Amaranthine and Kirkwall, Amaranthine and Highever and Jader to near Cumberland would be appreciated. (talk) 12:17, October 9, 2016 (UTC)

I don't know if the original poster still cares, but I wanted to point out something crucial about Ferelden, at least in Origins & its DLCs, and DA2. (I haven't played Inquisition.) There are no horses.
-- Bitter Lily (talk) 15:53, February 24, 2017 (UTC)
Only because you haven't seen any, that doesn't mean "there are no horses." Look here: Horses. Tonguesmiley --CompleCCity (talk) 17:19, February 25, 2017 (UTC)
Feh! I went running all around Ferelden, trying to save the entire country from an enemy that was not only killing off the populace but actually Blighting the countryside for years to come, and no one -- NOT ONE farmer, innkeeper, or bann -- offered me a horse to ride? They preferred to feed them to the darkspawn? Even after the King declared me to be the leader of his armies and his Queen/Consort-to-be? Well! See if I risk MY neck dancing around in front of the NEXT archdemon who comes their way! Smiley
-- Bitterlily (talk) 21:20, February 25, 2017 (UTC)
It's possible that the party was using horses and wagons the entire time and we just never saw it. The game doesn't have to show 100% of what happened. We don't experience 6-8 hours of them sleeping each night but we know it happened. We see food but we never see them eating or going to the bathroom, and it's safe to assume they did that. The game only showed us the interesting stuff: killing things and talking to people. Riding on horses for hours just isn't that interesting. Silver Warden (talk) 22:09, February 25, 2017 (UTC)
It's possible... (Thanks, CompleCCity, for the link!) But the earlier games don't show us horses in any capacity. You never see anyone riding, nor do horses pull the wagons we often find overturned -- oxen pull wagons. Dog has his place in camp, but not tethered horses. In fact, we see the party mid-travel in some of the random encounters -- afoot. In DA2, refugees desperate for speed don't grab horses when fleeing Lothering. (And we do see the Hawke family as they travel down the road.) Well, we find out that Chevaliers are mounted... and a threat to Fereldens because of it. I personally would have preferred that Inquisition had respected the world-building, and kept horses out of Ferelden livestock. -- Bitter Lily (talk) 17:51, February 26, 2017 (UTC)
Dog is present at camp because he's considered a party member. But otherwise you're right. The encounters where the party is "ambushed" basically prove that they were walking.
However, the Inquisition is located in Orlais (well, that's where Skyhold is anyway), so it's not going against the lore to show the Inquisition with horses. When the party takes their mounts to Ferelden areas, they're simply bringing the horses they already had along. So it makes sense that the Inquisition, with its vast resources, would have access to mounts when the Warden's party would not. Silver Warden (talk) 21:48, February 27, 2017 (UTC)
Though he speaks of tales, King Cailan at least mentions something to ride on, and as the king isn't a Warden I don't think, he speaks of Griffons.
I'd hoped for a war like in the tales. A king riding with the fabled Grey Wardens against a tainted god!
--CompleCCity (talk) 08:26, March 2, 2017 (UTC)
It makes sense the Warden and co don't ride horses, mainly for financial reasons. They'd either have to buy the horses or steal them, and I can't see Alistair's moral code would allow for theft. So that'd mean buying enough horses for, what, 8 people? No way they'd have that kind of money. And chances would be slim anyone would just give them horses since they're considered king-killers for most of the game. If we go by real world medieval comparisons (and the purchase prices of them in Inquisition, horses are likely a luxury; used by the wealthy and influential as transportation, or else used for labor on farms and such. Not for giving away to a scraggly bunch of misfits. Kelcat Talk 08:47, March 2, 2017 (UTC)
Well spoken, Kelcat! Smiley --CompleCCity (talk) 09:44, March 2, 2017 (UTC)

Well, the reasons Kelcat says and I don't think Shale and Dog will run after the horses XD. --Virrac (talk) 16:30, March 2, 2017 (UTC)

Surely you must grant that Fereldan carters and refugee farmers rely on oxen in DA:Origins. Yes, a merchant in a DLC claims to have a mule that has gotten lost -- but then, Felix de Grosbois has an Orlesian name. And he is so suspicious that I instinctively doubt his entire story, anyway. (He is most likely coming from Orzammar with a big load of lyrium, you know, and bribing a heavily armed party not to ask any questions!) But if I pay attention to the world-building, I can mentally script my Warden's reaction to the word "mule:" it's not a sign that Felix is poor & ordinary, but a sign that he is (to her) wealthy & foreign.
Note that despite his wistful line, you never actually see King Cailan on horseback at Ostagar. Nor Loghain (who is prepared to pull out fast), nor Ser Cauthrien. Similarly, although someone else says that most of the Grey Wardens will "ride with the King" in battle, we do not see a mounted force of Wardens in any of the cutscenes. If Duncan ever had a horse, he's lost it by the time he ends his life avenging Cailan's. We don't even see horses in the cutscene depicting the forced march from Redcliffe to Denerim -- and IRL Arthur invented cavalry to get to get clear across the country shockingly fast, a very effective strategy even though his "cavalry" then fought on foot. It would make sense in a Ferelden with no horses that Cailan would have a love of Orlesian majesty, and that the books he'd read in his youth included tales of armored Orlesians or Free Marchers "riding to battle" (with hand-painted pictures to give an idea of what horses look like). Alternatively, "riding to battle" might be a Fereldan idiom by now rather than a literal phrase.
If Fereldan nobles actually have horses, there'd be no question of having to steal good transportation when you leave the Arlessa of Redcliffe to go to the Circle Tower or Denerim -- the life of her son or husband (in theory) hangs upon your speed. And then, after you bring back the Urn, the Arl himself is backing you on all of your further travels.
In short, I still believe that the best world-building is that Ferelden is a poor nation without horses. Alternatively put, that it's a stubbornly independent nation without Orlesian livestock! But Dog and Shale not being capable of riding horseback is IMHO the best reason anyone has advanced thus far that Fereldans might rely on horses without giving them to the Warden.
-- Bitter Lily (talk) 18:39, March 2, 2017 (UTC)
Ferelden have horses. In DAI Dennet was the former horsemaster of Redcliffe and Alistair work in the stables of Redcliffe before Arl Eamon sent him to a chantry. And last, one of the Inquisition mounts are a Fereldan Folder and other an Amaranthine Charger --Virrac (talk) 19:19, March 2, 2017 (UTC)
By Inquisition, they have horses. Inquisition takes place ten years after Origins. Maybe horses are new to Ferelden. As for Alistair working in the stables, although the term "stable" is most often applied to a barn used to house horses, it can technically mean housing for any domesticated animal. Ferelden has oxen, so perhaps that's what the stables were used for. Silver Warden (talk) 21:03, March 2, 2017 (UTC)
It's just a gameplay thing. Ferelden had horses before DAI, we just didn't see them because the devs didn't bother/hadn't figured out horse models. Dennet's bio specifically says that he had a gift with horses from a young age and that Redcliffe's horsemaster took him in as his apprentice. He became horsemaster 10 years before the Blight. Horses were always meant to exist before DAI. --Evamitchelle (talk) 00:22, March 3, 2017 (UTC)
Sure, I believe you that the devs abandoned a piece of planned worldbuilding in favor of speed or some such thing. But having done so, they should have lived with it! As Silver Warden says, any horses you met in Ferelden during the third game could simply have been brought in due to diplomatic warming after the 5th Blight was defeated and a new monarch put on the Ferelden throne. (As I said above, I haven't played DAI. So I don't know, but would it cost the game that much to cut a couple of breeds of horses & give an NPC a different background?) So it comes down to whether you find it too jarring to throw your DA:Origins experience out in favor of revised continuity from Inquisition, or not. --Bitter Lily (talk) 03:49, March 3, 2017 (UTC)
So maybe Ferelden horses in Origins time were extremely rare, something only nobles could afford? Or maybe Isolde convinced Eamon to bring horses over from Orlais and make their own stable. Because there's zero evidence of horses in Feredlen in Origins' time outside Redcliffe. It could even have been a trend Eamon started. Silver Warden (talk) 04:02, March 3, 2017 (UTC)
DAO don't have horses, maybe because the limitations of the game's engine cannot allowed (similar, perhaps; to not give hornes to Sten because the imposibilities for the use of helmets). --Virrac (talk) 06:10, March 3, 2017 (UTC)
Horses might not be common in Ferelden, but they certainly existed before 9:41 Dragon. Their absence is just a limitation of the game, like the absence of children besides (maybe) Kieran in DAI, not a planned piece of worldbuilding. As for proof that horses existed in Ferelden, outside of Redcliffe, before the Inquisition, and that this was established in the first game: Codex entry: Camenae's Barbute, a codex entry found in DAO which says: "When Calenhad came to demand the Waking Sea's fealty, Bann Camenae greeted her would-be king by shooting his horse out from under him half a league from Castle Eremon. [...] To this day, the Eremon family of the Waking Sea presents every newly crowned king or queen of Ferelden with two gifts: an arrow and a horse." Another DAO codex entry Codex entry: Thorval's Luck mentions a knight from Rainesfere riding a horse to a tourney in Denerim. Horses are also mentioned dozens and dozens of time in Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne, which is set around 8:99 Blessed, and came out before DAO. --Evamitchelle (talk) 11:47, March 3, 2017 (UTC)
More evidence:
You Grey Wardens get to ride with the king while I'm left with the drudgery of guarding this deserter. ―The Hungry Deserter's Guard
By the way, I'm ignoring the engine aspects here, though they are certainly true. But we are looking for a lore, an in-game explanation, don't we? --CompleCCity (talk) 06:05, March 4, 2017 (UTC)

I think the lore explanation could be that they just didn't think of getting horses. In one of the conversations with Zevran the Warden can say they they could go and get horses, but Zevran says it's too late for that now. User signature henioo henioo (da talk page) 06:32, March 4, 2017 (UTC)

CompleCCity, I agree: we're talking about lore, in-game reality, not the out-of-game reasons for how it took form. That quote from the guard I already alluded to, although I didn't remember who said it. It would be quite reasonable to believe that after the Orlesian occupation, Fereldens have come to talk about "riding into battle" as an idiom for entering battle, especially in regards to individuals (as opposed to troops) -- since they cannot be said to "march." And Evamitchelle, the Stolen Throne is set during the Orlesian occupation, is it not? One possible premise is that horses were always the privilege of Orlesian nobility in Ferelden, and they removed or killed all of the poor creatures as they withdrew.
The fact is, there's an inconsistency in the lore that you can't get around if you add DA:I's stable at Castle Redcliffe to the experience players have in the game-world.
<> Here I am, at Castle Redcliffe, talking to the Arlessa, with a demon held barely in check from stealing her son's mind & self. Her only and dearly beloved son's very life is at risk! We're all agreed: I need to race to the Circle Tower in order to fetch the First Enchanter, other mages, and a load of lyrium, so that we can slay the demon in a fashion that will save both the Arlessa and her son. Bann Teagan, speaking as the Arl's regent, urges me to make great haste. So off I go... on foot.
<> Here I am, at Castle Redcliffe, talking to the Arl himself, after I've done the freaking miraculous and healed him of an ailment with no earthly cure, by finding the very ashes of the blessed Andraste herself. He's completely grateful, of course. More than that, he's gotten up to date on the political situation, and is in full agreement that the ruler of the country has gone mad and must be stopped. The fully grateful and involved Arl urges me to go collect the remaining allies we need to fight the Blight. I agree, and set forth... on foot.
<> Here I am, at Castle Redcliffe, talking to the Arl after the Landsmeet. The archdemon has been sighted marching on the capitol city itself. We're all aghast at the news, and we agree: a small party needs to race to Denerim to save the city! If ever we are going to spend horses to the point of foundering, this is it! Tens of thousands of lives hang upon getting the only three people who have the capability of destroying the archdemon there in time to save the city. And if we don't stop Urthemiel there, the rest of Thedas is put at risk. I'm leaving Redcliffe with the Arl's backing on this utterly, utterly urgent mission... on foot.
<> Now I've left Denerim as the Commander of the Grey. The new monarch has sent me to take command of my new fortress -- an unprecedented royal grant to the Grey Wardens. So naturally I travel to Ameranthine... on foot. My Seneschal is eager to maintain all the appearances and perquisites of nobility for me, so as Warden Commander, I travel about the arling... on foot.
These aren't short lines from dialog or codices. These are experiences that the player has, through the eyes and body of their PC. I at least cannot forget them. (Although I have to grant that both Golems and Witch Hunt involve personal missions, where I might not have the official backing to ride horses, if they are in fact perquisites of nobility.) -- Bitter Lily (talk) 19:13, March 5, 2017 (UTC)
There are no random encounters after the final trip to Redcliffe, so the argument could be made that the party does use horses to reach Denerim. And we don't know just how rare horses were - maybe only very affluent arls and teyrns had them. The Warden Commander is not actually nobility, and there's much less urgency in Awakening. It is odd that the party does not have horses once they reach Redcliffe or after they rescue Eamon, but to be fair that could have happened at any time. In fact, I always go to Haven last (so that my party is a strong as possible when they face "Andraste"), so by then they'd be heading straight for Denerim, where horses were no longer necessary. The party doesn't always necessarily go to get mages and lyrium either. There are plot holes in Origins other than missing horses. If the game is played a certain way, some of those holes disappear, just a this one does. Silver Warden (talk) 22:31, March 5, 2017 (UTC)
I see you ignored the codex entry stating that horses have been in Ferelden since at least the Exalted Age, 300 years before the Orlesian occupation, and that the Waking Sea Bannorn has a 400-year tradition of giving the monarch of Ferelden a horse upon their coronation. As for the Orlesian army removing/killing every horse in Ferelden upon their retreat: the horses in Ferelden weren't just hanging around a field, the winning Fereldan army was using them. Loghain was riding a horse and Rowan was leading the "horsemen" at the Battle of River Dane. They didn't lose literally every single horse they had in that one battle, which was a crushing victory for Ferelden.
As for the lack of horses in Redcliffe, there's a very simple explanation: Connor had all the horses killed to prevent anyone from leaving the castle and calling for help. There's so many different explanations you could come up with to explain away the lack of horses for the Warden: horses themselves are expensive, buying food and equipment for half a dozen horses is also expensive, most of the companions (Warden too depending on origin) wouldn't know how to ride a horse or care for them, they go through a variety of terrain unsuitable for horses (mountains, forests, underground tunnels), the Warden regularly fights demons and wild beasts which would scare all but the most well-trained of war horses, it's easier to go unnoticed on foot etc.
No one here is even arguing that horses are common in Ferelden. Your argument that there are literally no horses in all of Ferelden during the Dragon Age, and that them being shown in DAI is actually lore-breaking, is just not supported by the facts. And personally, I'm all for the devs adding things that they weren't able to implement due to game limitations. See: no qunari having horns in DAO despite their description saying that "nature has given them fierce horns" and Tranquils not having brands on their foreheads until DA2 despite being told that the process for Tranquility involves branding the forehead with lyrium. --Evamitchelle (talk) 06:10, March 6, 2017 (UTC)