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Legendary historical ponies


In order of preference for character:

French Alps: Merens Pony. The legend of the founding of L'Hospitalet-près-l'Andorre depicts a traveler who, exhausted by the cold, kills his horse and buries himself in the steaming bowels, swearing that he will build a small hospital in the place if he survives. This is thought to be a Merens horse.

Julius Caesar mentions small black horses that resemble the Mérens in his Commentarii de Bello Gallico (Commentaries on the Gallic War), when discussing the defeat of Crassus by the Sotiates and their cavalry. The local Cathars held a special place in their religion for horses, especially through their belief in the transmigration of souls. In the 12th century, the Cathar princess Esclarmonde of Foix climbed to the fortress of Château de Montségur on the back of a small, sure-footed black horse. Merens are more of a small horse than a pony.

The Achetta (Giara) horses of Sardinia are said to have been brought over by the Greeks in the 4th or 5th century BC (Pre-Alexander).

During Charlemagne's battles of the 8th century there were legendary horses (ponies?) including Roland's horse Veillantif (vigilant) who may have been a pony or small native horse, especially as Roland is also called Childe Rolande. Roland fainted and recovered while still mounted on Veillantif.

In the Harz, Israel, there is a myth about a Jewish Huntsman who refused to suffer our Blessed Lord to drink out of a river, or out of a horse-trough, but had contemptuously pointed out to Him the hoof-print of a horse, in which a little water had collected, and had bid Him quench His thirst thence.

Another tale of Charlemagne's army describes Rinaldo and a damsel finding 'a wonderful horse... a creature of enchantment, matchless in vigor, speed and form, which disdained to share the diet of his fellow steeds - corn, or even grass - and fed only on air. His name was Rabican.' ... 'the wonderful horse, all caparisoned. He was coal-black, except for a white star on his forehead, and one white foot behind. For speed he was unrivalled, though in strength he yielded to Bayard.' (Thomas Bullfinch, Legends of Charlemagne, or Romance of the Middle Ages, ebook, Publishing, 2010.) Later in the book Rabican is the only steed not to run away at the sound of a horn, is described as less fast than a hunting bird and is mounted by 'a young rustic'. A different horse is described as a courser but not Rabican.

Alpine superstition supposes "the power of averting evil supposed to be a magical attribute of horses' heads... Thus in Mecklenburg and Holstein it is a common usage to place the carved wooden representations of the heads of horses on the gables of houses as safeguards, and when fixed upon poles in the vicinity of stables they are thought to ward off epizoötics... The fore-parts of horses are to be seen on the gables of old houses in the Rhaetian Alps, "carved out of the ends of the intersecting principals."  In parts of Germany, 'a horse-shoe when found is either carried about as an amulet, or placed on the chamber wall or threshold; and a young girl who finds a certain number of horse-shoes in a year, or who sees a hundred white horses within the same period, will be married before the year is out.'

England: King Arthur's knights were described as riding on black horses that fit the description of Dartmoor Ponies. Galahad when he discovered the Holy Grail almost certainly had a pony with him, as he was a child of fairly high birth.

Epona was the Celtic horse goddess.

List of pony and small horse breeds in or near Italy: Achetta now called Giara, Arriegeois now called Merens horse, Avelignese, Carmargue horse (white, southern France), Esperia, Halflinger, Noriker (spotted, Austrian), Pentro horse, Pottok or Pottoka (Pyrenees), Sarcidano horse, Selvina horse (now extinct except for crossbreeds), Tolfetano horse.

The Smurfs are called the Pottokiak in Basque according to

(Sorry, didn't see this until now). I think Mythic Blood works best with a specific horse with extra-ordinary features, rather than a breed, which probably fits Rabican best of the list below? I'm not sure he fits brilliantly with the compassionate flaw, though. Epona could work, but as a pagan goddess Epona is more likely to have been a faerie than a magical being.

Sleipnir could be a possibility? Loki's explicitly defined as a magical being in setting, so he would be too. Same problem with the compassionate flaw, though.


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