There’s Always Horses

Did you ever notice in fantasy stories, no matter how extreme the otherworld appears, there’s always horses?

In many fantasy stories there’s usually castles and magic and mean women, and a cook who used to be a woman warrior.  But, no matter what the wild animals or domesticated animals look like, horses are everywhere. 

In Dune there were no horses, but the hero learned to grab joyrides on the sand worms.  That was unique.

In Avatar the horses had six legs, but they were obviously horses, and were not nearly so interesting as the banshees.  Maybe the needed augmentation helped with carrying the oversized blue people.

In Planet of the Apes, the apes that were soldiers rode horses. The apes had evolved, but not the horses. That was explained in the 2001 rendition with Mark Walberg that spoke to apes as test subjects in the lab where horses were spared.

In Narnia, the horses could talk, but so could all the other animals. The horse the oldest brother rode was a unicorn but did no fencing with this blade. Some of the fighters were centaurs — or men with horse parts below the waist.  None of the centaurs were women, though.  I noticed that.

In Alice (the most recent movie with Johnny Depp), the bad guy’s horse could talk.  The white queen’s horse was just a prop, though, and I think she rode side-saddle.  How antiquated is that?

What other exceptions can you name of fantasy stories where the writer thought about changing the looks or abilities of the ever-present horse?

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