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Horsies! - Tactical Ninja

Aug. 8th, 2013

09:20 am - Horsies!

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So I lasted most of the day at work yesterday before my boss came along and basically booted me out, telling me not to come back till I'm properly well.

Me: "Do I really look that bad?"
Everyone in the office: "Yes you do, go home you idiot."


This is what I look like this morning:



I don't think I look that bad, but I'm the one that's used to seeing myself after a day shearing, so, you know, I may not be the most objective judge.

Anyway, the good news is I only woke up twice last night. The bad news is that it was to cough so hard my throat hurts. The cold has now moved to my lungs. Joy. Oh well, at least I can breathe?

I've negotiated to take the rest of the week off. It's a slack time at work and because I don't get sick all that often (and probably because of yesterday), nobody's too concerned about me taking all the time I need. By Monday I should be fine. I bloody well hope so anyway, because I have a bunch of heavily-pregnant ewes to belly crutch on Saturday if it's not raining.

And to add insult to injury, my pompholyx is taking this opportunity to flare up all over my fingers. It's understandable given that it's an immune system thing, but I could do without it.

So I need to find ways to entertain myself for another four days. Luckily, I'm not short of ways. Right now I'm weathering, among other things. Last night I did the first coat on the gryphon armband:




What this shows is the armband, which had been painted black, covered with the silver Rub 'n' Buff, then given a wash of graphite to settle into the deeper bits. It doesn't stick well as a wash, but it will give a guide to the natural dips which I can then use a drybrush on to get the desired effect.

I also started on the breastplate - first a coat of silver all over:



It's not covering the nooks and crannies of the gryphon motif, but that doesn't really matter because that's where the grime would collect anyway, so eventually it'll be covered with darker paint, thus:



That was all I managed to do before I ran out of decent light, but I'm pretty pleased with the effect so far. This part will be front and centre for the armour, so I have to get it right. Today I'll graphite-wash the rest of the breastplate and add the dirt in the corners, then start with the umber/black grime-weathering. Finally there will be another addition of the silver Rub 'n' Buff on highlight areas as suggested by pickleboot*. If I work at it, I could have all the armour painted by the end of the weekend. I'd like this because a) then I could get on with the leatherwork to put it all together and b) I'd like it off the table before Dr Wheel gets home. Lalala...

* Yay! We have a smith in the house!


So, um, Not So Hardcore Ackshully. But it's ok, I'll stop whinging about my cold now that I don't have to try and pretend I'm well for the sake of appearances. I can just get on with getting better with no pressure.

Also, in case you missed it yesterday, it seems DA:I will have mounts. I have three thoughts about this so far:

1. Ponies, yay!
2. I hope they are not suicidal like the Skyrim ones.
3. The brief glimpse you get in that video shows the rider neck-reining, Western style. Now, neck-reining isn't limited to just Western riding, but that particular way of doing it, with the hand moving forward and down and the horse's head at a low angle, is very Western. Most English/European neck-reining raises the horse's head and the riders' hand higher up the horse's neck (even if that is bad form - sorry about that, it's just what happens). It bothers me, that. Yes, I realise it's nitpicky of me to say so, but if they're representing medieval Europe, perhaps using a riding style developed centuries later on another continent is somewhat incongruous? /wanker.

*ahem*

Comments:

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From:pombagira
Date:August 7th, 2013 09:45 pm (UTC)
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yay for being at home sick as apposed to at work sick.. *grins*.. i dont' have the colds as bad as you do, but i did wake a few times last night.. now to hot, oh wait now to cold.. and dear cat can you not sleep in the middle of the bed, thanks.. *sigh*.. so kinda sleepy but thats pretty much about it..

and yay ponies..


*smiles*
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From:meri_sielu
Date:August 7th, 2013 09:50 pm (UTC)
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Hope you feel better soon!
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From:tatjna
Date:August 7th, 2013 10:42 pm (UTC)
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The answer to your first question is likely yes. Western style developed through people having to be in the saddle for long periods of time working cattle, and the one-handed riding with a deep seat and slightly leaned-back approach was developed from the need to be able to sit the horse as it was chopping around cutting cows and dealing with ropes (hence the saddle horn on Western saddles) and all the things that happen when you're dealing with recalcitrant cattle from horseback.

In Europe, horses were less common among working people, and were mostly either used for transport (draught) or war. So while the one-handed requirement was still there, the chasing cows part was missing - so one-handed fine steering at speed wasn't as necessary. From what I understand, war horses did a lot of gymnastic movement from a standstill (courbette style) or charging in a straight line while some bugger swung an axe or sword off them.

And then there's the bits. Western horses are almost without fail ridden in a curb, which lowers the head and allows a lot of control. English style mostly uses the snaffle, which lifts the head, until the advanced levels, where a curb is added and the horse's head is supposedly balanced between the lifting effect of the snaffle and the curb.

I guess art and statuary are likely the best indication of what style people were riding in in medieval times. And while 'strict English form' is probably not what they were doing, let's have a look.

Alexander the great used a snaffle and went without stirrups:



This Viennese dude is using a curb, but note the distinctive high head position of the horse. That collected look is very English:



And here we have a collection of medieval horse art. What you'll notice is the distinctive high head carriage of a highly collected horse - and for me, that's the difference between English and Western.

Western horses (cattle horses) are firmly connected to the ground - propping, spinning, sudden changes of direction. English horses (ie, dressage as a derivative of war horse training) are supposed to be able to leap in the air from a standstill at any given moment, and hold themselves in order to be able to. The Spanish Riding School still practices this form in the Airs Above the Ground:



So, unless Thedas has suddenly turned into a gigantic cattle ranch and the Orlesian chevaliers are packing in their war training to become cowpokes, then having a horse neck reining on the horizontal rather than the vertical is a bit .. odd.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 8th, 2013 12:15 am (UTC)
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Actually, at the time when those folks were depicted with the ridiculously short rein like that, carriage horses were often fitted with a thing called a 'bearing rein' specifically in order to make them carry their heads higher, because it made them look spirited apparently. It also fucked up their backs, but who cares about that, right? (this gets a mention in Black Beauty, btw)

So I wouldn't be so sure that the ridiculously short rein and high head carriage are inaccurate. It's been a thing in most depictions of European horsemanship since the year dot - a rounded crest and vertical head carriage with the chin close into the chest is the one thing pretty much all of them have in common. These days, having the head carriage behind the vertical is considered bad form, but even in modern dressage the crest is expected.

Meanwhile, I guess the difference between England and the Western US in terms of cattle handling would be the amount of cattle and the distances required to be covered, and the way they are handled when caring for them. In the US, they had vast herds of semi-wild cattle that spent their entire lives without ever being yarded - they even castrated the calves by roping them in the open and wrestling them to the ground. From what I understand, in England the cattle would be brought in for winter, for calving, for docking - and were probably fed hay as well - all reducing the requirement for horses to muster and handle them. They would be handled in yards and kept in barns at least part of the time. Cattle that are handled regularly learn to come when they are called. Unless you know otherwise, I'm going to suggest that cow horses were a development that happened outside England.

Riding style doesn't depend on how you handle cattle. Riding style depends on what use you put your horses to, and a lot of that is culturally and geographically dependent. Witness saddle seat, which developed on the plantations of the antebellum Southern US, along with its very own breed of horse.

Australian stock style developed on similar lines to US Western style (large open areas, big herds of wild cattle), and the seat has a lot of similarities - but the saddle doesn't have a horn because Aussies built yards for handling their cattle and didn't use ropes. The poley saddle is pretty much a western saddle with no horn.

I guess what I'm saying here is there are no cultural markers that I know of that would lead to the development of a Western style of riding in England or medieval Europe. If you know differently, I'd love to see what you're basing your knowledge on.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 8th, 2013 02:23 am (UTC)
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Given that the Spanish are credited with introducing both horses and domestic cattle to the Americas (north and south), it wouldn't surprise me if they had some influence. And also, mounted bullfighting.

It's reasonably well-established that mustangs (and quarter horses) descend from barbs, as do Andalusians. So there's definitely a link there, and the Spanish do have a history of using horses to work cattle, but everything I've found has only touched on it - Iberian bulls, war horses, that sort of thing.

I would hazard a guess and suggest that the similarities between Western and Argentinian styles developed later - again with the vast tracts of land and wild cattle to be somehow handled in amongst the vast tracts, horseback being the most sensible way to do this. This article suggests that ranch-style cattle farming (which is what the Americas do as opposed to farming) was limited almost entirely to the Iberian Peninsula in medieval times, and was a very specialised pastime within Europe.

So back in Thedas, Rivain or Antiva are the countries that most equate to Spain. I've no idea if they do cattle ranching there. It seems unlikely given how small they both are. The only mention of horses there's been so far has been the Orlesian chevaliers, so perhaps we should be looking at the French styles?

Which is a longwinded way of coming to the conclusion that Western-style neck-reining in DA:I is more likely an oversight by developers than a well-researched inclusion.
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From:rivet
Date:August 8th, 2013 12:37 pm (UTC)
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I like that you guys know this stuff and can have a nuanced and well-informed discussion on the horsemanship in videogames. Geekysexy ;)
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From:pundigrion
Date:August 9th, 2013 09:08 pm (UTC)
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I totally remember reading about bearing reins from Black Beauty actually!

*goes back to reading interesting things I didn't know before about horses* You always have the most interesting comment threads!
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From:tatjna
Date:August 10th, 2013 05:20 am (UTC)
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Heh. Often they have nothing to do with what I posted about, but this time at least it's a little relevant...
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From:tieke
Date:August 7th, 2013 10:38 pm (UTC)
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omg, sitting on the withers like that? That's gonna hurt!
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From:tatjna
Date:August 7th, 2013 10:43 pm (UTC)
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Videogame characters don't have genitals, clearly.

If they give them saddles with a horn, I shall write a strongly-worded letter.
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From:fairwells
Date:August 8th, 2013 01:58 am (UTC)

photo, armband

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You don't look sick per se, but you look irritable and you might be irritable because you're sick.

I do hope you get better soon.

That armband is coming out very well :)
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From:tatjna
Date:August 8th, 2013 03:22 am (UTC)

Re: photo, armband

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Irritable, that's a good word for it. Yep. ;-)
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From:tatjna
Date:August 8th, 2013 03:23 am (UTC)
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I just had a look and I take vitC daily, but zinc could be an issue. Although, with all the galvanised scales I've been handling, I'm surprised I haven't overdosed on it! ;-)

I feel like a bit of a wally tbh - it's only a cold, but it's totally laid me out. Bollocks.
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From:ecosopher
Date:August 8th, 2013 02:55 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, you look shocking.

Hey, I was going to ask regarding the other post you made: have they banned pseudoephedrine completely? Here, it's still available, but you need to show ID (Driver's licence, or whatever) to be able to buy it.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 8th, 2013 08:38 pm (UTC)
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You can get it, but only on prescription. This change has made zero difference to P production, and I would guess quite a big difference to the number of work days lost to colds.
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