Note: you can also refer to your horse by its name in aliases and such
Display all skills relevant to horses:
horseskills: options output skills = list;skills ad.mo.ri.ho,fi.sp.mo,cr.hu.an.gr,cr.me.di $*$;options output skills = branched
asn: assess $arg:mounts$ needs
ast: assess $arg:mounts$ traits
ash: assess $arg:mounts$ health
Nickname (your name) as me
buyhay: buy hay;palm hay from hay;bury empty sacks on me;stash hay $*$
buyoats: buy oats;palm oats from oats;bury empty sacks on me;stash oats $*$
fhay: retrieve 1 handful of hay from my mount;feed 1 handful of hay to my mount $*$
foats: retrieve 1 handful of oats from my mount;feed 1 handful of oats to my mount $*$
Grooming and care:
Nickname: saddlebags&saddle&shoes as horsestuff
grm: ask my mount to drop horsestuff except shoes;cda;get kit from saddlebags;groom my mount;put kit in saddlebags;get horsestuff;dress my mount with horsestuff;ass $*$
hcomps: get saddlebags from my mount;frimble oats;count brief oats in saddlebags;frimble hay;count brief hay in saddlebags;dress my mount with saddlebags $*$
hcond: glance damaged things on my mount
hdry: ret towel;dry my mount with towel;wring towel dry;stash towel;wet my mount $*$
hshoe: ask my mount to drop horseshoes;get horseshoes;fix horseshoes;dress my mount with horseshoes $*$
gb: get $*$ from my bag
pb: put $*$ in my bag
hcall: gb ocarina;hold ocarina;play ocarina;pb ocarina;ph $*$
ret: retrieve $*$ from my mount saddlebags
stash: noalias stash $*$ in my mount saddlebags
storm: noalias storm $arg:opponent$ at a trot with my weapon
dis: dismount and lead $*$
floc: ask my mount to forget location $*$
hcheck: check my mount saddlebags $*$
hn: ask my mount to focus on $*$
lloc: ask my mount to learn location $*$
lrou: ask my mount to learn a route $*$
rems: ask my mount to remember $*$
ride: noalias ride to $*$ on my mount
cont: continue riding
frou: ask my mount to forget route from $1$ to $2$
Quickstart Guide to Horsewomanship
You need four skills. Get 250 bonus in mounted and horse riding, 100 bonus in grooming and 150 bonus in diagnosis. Lower than this and you're in for frustration.
Look out for a horse for mounted combat, at Prinscilla's (one west of the stable room). Best combat horses are chargers. When you see one, 'haggle' with Prinscilla and buy it. Will cost you $750 - $900. Ponies are cheaper and easier to handle, and best for combat is a D'reg warpony.
Buy a sack of hay, a sack of oats, a horse towel and a grooming kit at the stables. Then a Genuan saddle, a set of iron horseshoes and brown leather saddlebags at the Ridings shop. You can invest in an ocarina to summon the horse, but getting your riding skills up reduces the need.
Take the horse to the horse doctor. If the horse won't move for you, just move rooms and 'su'. Go into the stable and 'retro' the horse to max docility. Use the doctor between retros so it doesn't die of concussion! Dress the horse with the saddle, shoes and saddlebags, and stash the contents of the sacks, the towel and the kit in the saddlebags.
Mount the horse and start fighting! Warriors should warpaint the horse for +5 intuition and strength. Armour is optional. Storm and charge are slow to prepare, but combined with warcry can be great to start combat with a non-aggressive opponent.
Every hour or so, 'assess' the horse's needs, traits and health. This will also TM well. You have hay (fibre) and oats (calories) to feed it with if it gets low - but one handful is enough. Dry the horse with the horse towel every time it gets wet or does a long ride. When it is low on stamina, groom the horse (this will take a couple of minutes) and then stable it to recuperate and be fed while you're off fighting solo.
Riding is faster than speedwalking, and commands don't queue while riding. Teach your horse specific locations and routes in geographic sequences (Ankh-Morpork to to Sto Lat, then Sto Lat to Sheepridge, then Dinky to Ohulan Cutash. And then Ankh-Morpork to Ephebe, followed by Ephebe to Il Drim, and Il Drim to Djelibeybi). It will automagically know how to string routes together between all the places it knows (Ohulan Cutash to Djelibeybi, in this example). You can also stable your horse in one location, and destable it at any other stable! Perfect for when you move towns while the horse is resting.
Rauna and Gaetania Discuss Horses (A Fictional Conversation)
So Gaetania, I'm late to the party. Finally managed to get myself a Munz charger, and I absolutely love it.
Totally agree. Horses are an easy way to increase your murdering power by a lot, and that's completely ignoring using them for carrying stuff or fast travel.
And they are so easy! Everyone complained early on about how hard horses are to get started with.
That's because horse docility affects how hard everything about them is. You need to hit them in the head as soon as you get them!
Right, the retrophrenologist. This is a great point because I think a lot of people get really frustrated when they can't get the horse to do anything. But once you max out docility and get the basic skills, all should be fine. So, for a combat horse, what's the quickest start?
If you want to start fast, put 100 levels into riding, mounted, grooming and diagnosis. Riding lets you ride and lead, mounted lets you fight and makes the horse strong, grooming allows you to dress and groom it, and diagnosis tells you if it's getting sick. Then get a pony, retro it until it has 100 docility and enjoy your new warpony! You will start to TM from that base and can lower docility again as your skills improve.
See, I had my heart set on a Munz charger and their docility will only go to 72. In my experience the quickest start on a combat horse is to get 250 bonus in riding and mounted.
For combat, mounted is the key. And it seems to increase all of your horse's miscellaneous bonuses, so once you have about bonus 300 or so, your horse won't even slip in the grflx caverns or have issues with giants.
Amazing. My aims are less ambitious, but I'll keep that in mind. I was worried about all the maintenance and that I would kill my horse by accident. But apart from some over-strenuous 'retro-ing' at the start, I haven't killed it once.
A horse is easy to take care of. It just needs stabling once every 4 to 6 hours, when its stamina will get low. At that point you can groom it, and put it in a stable for a few hours. It'll be rested and fed when you take it out. The only thing that's a pain is drying it off if it gets wet or after a ride - and that's why stables sell towels.
I love how much the horse assists me in combat - it's fun, and speeds things up. Horses drain an opponent's AP, do damage, boost defence and do specials!
Definitely. I can solo Imperial guards -easily, all day- with my horse skills at around level 300 each. I've spent a lot of time thinking about what the 'ideal' horseman would have, and here it is. Join the Lancre Highland Regiment, or the Hublandish Barbarians, for their primaries: 300 levels of riding make it simple to take care of a high docility horse instead of a pony. Acquire and use the biggest enchanted heavy weapon you can, and start knocking heads off with storm!
I find the storm and charge specials so slow to prepare - how do you make that work better as a warrior? I find I only really use them to open combat, when it is very satisfying to see the amount of damage done right out the gate.
Well, firstly it comes down to better skills for more damage. But then you want a very big weapon to storm with, because you do not get any base round attacks while preparing. All of your AP are used for defence while storming, so wimp is probably the ideal tactics for a horseman. If storm is your primary damage source, using a big two-handed weapon has no downside and may be better for parrying. If you use block, a one handed mace and a shield is pretty ideal too. Since you get no auto attacks in the round, dual wielding is actually the least efficient way to horse.
Right. What about a build for non-warriors? Is there a 'best configuration' for them?
Well, they can pretty much do what the warriors do, but there is another option if you want your horse fighting alongside you instead of mounted. In addition to the basic riding, grooming and diagnosis, get a lot of skill in grappling and unarmed fighting. Trip or shove your enemies while your warhorse fights at your side. The higher a horse's intuition, the more likely it is to trip or trample. However, if you trip or shove the enemies yourselves, then there is only a check against trample! This will result in your horse's damage being increased quite a bit on top of the AP drain that being tripped or shoved does to your enemies!
I have one other thought that has been brewing for a while... the build for the Forbidden Guild. Fools have thrown as a primary and can juggle multiple items. They also have riding as a primary. A fool, riding a horse, juggling steel harpoons, throwing all of them round per round, adding them back to the juggle when they return. My heart is full of fear and my face is full of stab wounds!
Terrifying! Okay, a final comment. I was really worried about the horse dying. But with the mounted skills we talked about, I've found his HP levels are excellent, and I can bandage him in case of wounds. Plus, I hear horses do wimpy out of the room too - though mine has never had to. All up, I think horses are really the best thing to have come out on any given Thursday!