The Ajja Coldblood is a large, feral breed of horse that resides in the snowy regions of the North. Originally bred from farm horses and warhorses, these animals are the result of several generations of living in the wilds of frigid plains, and are as tough and as potentially dangerous as the land they live in.
Standing at around 17 hands (70 inches, 178 centimeters) to 18.2 hands (72.8 inches, 184.9 centimeters), and weighing in from 900 - 1,100 kg (2,000 - 2,400 lbs) they are some of the largest horses in Aversia. Their lifespan is around fifteen to twenty years in the wild, and up to thirty-five years when domesticated and kept in captivity.
Foals are born with pale coats that often darken or grey as they get older, and only facial markings are clearly visible for the few few months of their life. The lighter coat colors allow them to blend in more with their surroundings, but they darken as they age to aid with attracting and trapping heat within their fur. Their coats are thick, and almost wool-like in texture when not trimmed, and they rarely shed the fur fully like animals do in the south. They lose fur in the warmer months, but the coats never thin out due to the fact that the Hinterlands are cold all year round.
Their eyes are almost always brown, although a few with white marking over their eyes have been known to have blue eyes, but this is extremely rare. The blue eyes don't have any adverse effect on their vision, low-light or otherwise.
Their coats aren't known to have much variation; black, blue roan, grey, bay, and bay roan are the ones that have been observed, and any others are likely the result of the feral horses interbreeding with domestic stock, and not colors found within the pure bred animals themselves (silver, smoky, sooty, flaxen, pearl, pangar, and cream modifiers do not exist within the genetics of these horses either). Interbreeding is uncommon, however, as the north has very few domestic herds that the feral horses are able to interact with.
Tobiano, overo, and tovero patterns don't exist within the breed, but splash and hidden splash (white 'paint' markings that go up the legs and along the underbelly) do appear, but they are very rare, and more likely the result of interbreeding with domestic stock.
The animals are broad-chested and have large shoulders, allowing them to plow through deep snow. Their necks are thick and slightly arched, and their legs are large, heavy, with thick feathering around their hooves and up the back of their legs. They are heavily muscled, and grown adults are not as fast as warm-blood or hot-blood breeds, but their stamina is nearly unmatched; they can outlast wolves if pressed, and sometimes even other horses.
As their name suggests, they are most commonly found within the blasting cold of the northern region. These horses are very nomadic by nature, and they rarely stay in one place for long. They've been known to wander as far north as the northern mountains, although this is rare. A small herd is believed to have made the mountain passes their home, due to the amount of tree and brush that live there, but they are rarely, if ever, seen, and are likely a herd that has simply been pushed northward by another, larger one. Overall however, they are quite common.
They can be found among the pine forests of the north area, and this is where many of them make their home, although they tend to prefer the flat, open space that the lands may provide for them. The pine forests often provides food and shelter during harsher months.
If the winters are particularly harsh, or when the warmer months aren't enough to make even the tough tundra flora grow, herds will travel to the greener, warmer plains to the south, although they tend to remain along the border due to the fact that they are extremely ill-suited for warm weather. They are prone to heat-stroke in warm temperatures, and traveling to the plains is normally a last resort for herds.
Ajja Coldbloods prefer wide-open spaces as opposed to forests or rocky mountains, as it allows them to see for miles, and prevents predators from being able to easily sneak up on them. During the winters, they often gather along the pine forests to eat the needles off of the trees, and the various plants that are able to grow within the dense woods.
They will stay near the forests well into foaling season, as the area has enough food to support mothers with nursing foals, and once the foals are two months old, they will move north again to spend the rest of the warmer months in familiar territory.
Ajja Coldbloods are entirely herbivorous, meaning they only eat plant material. Lichen and tundra grasses and flowers make up the bulk of their diet during the summer, with pine needles and grass from along the edge of the northern border make up their winter diets. Ajja Coldbloods very rarely drink from water sources; most are frozen over, or flowing too quickly and too strongly to be safe. Instead, they eat large amounts of snow along with their food.
They require large amounts of plant material to survive, and because of that, they spend most of their waking hours eating, or searching for food. They have very slow metabolisms, however, meaning it is possible to go a few days without significant amounts of food, but this is only during times where food is extremely scarce.
These horses are relatively docile, but can become extremely dangerous if threatened. They're large enough to kill a human, and anything smaller or weaker, and potentially seriously injure an orc if they charge, but this is only done by herd stallions protecting mares and foals, or animals that believe there is no other way to escape. Anything smaller can be very easily killed in a charge, or from a strike from one of their hooves.
Ajja Coldbloods are naturally wary of all sentient races of Aversia, but not so much as to stampede away if one were to approach. They will simply move away to keep distant between themselves and whatever person happens to be nearby, and they will allow riders on horseback to come even closer, although the scent of anything that isn't horse will make them wary and move away.
Foals and adults alike can be captured and tamed for use, but it's easier to train a foal than an adult that has been living in the wild all its life. They are aggressive and dangerous until they have adjusted to captivity, and it can take months and months to reach that point. Even after they are tame, the animals can be unpredictable, especially stallions, and need to be handled carefully as to avoid being bitten or kicked, as either can be seriously damaging.
Ajja Coldbloods are most often domesticated by snow elves, and used as pack animals, or for hunting, as the animals can often travel for longer distances than a hunter on foot.
Other races use them as well, although they are rarely seen outside of the north. Settlements in the far north use Ajja Coldbloods to pull carriages or clear snow from town streets after a snowstorm, as they are able to pull up to 275 kg (606 lbs, or about 25% of their body weight at the highest). Animals that are domesticated are never used for meat, but the wild herds are sometimes hunted, as one horse can provide quite a hefty amount of food, as well as thick pelts that are good for lining clothing.
Some horses can be used in the south as well, but they are used as war horses for knights or soldiers who want sturdy, intimidating mounts. The only trouble is that they must keep the animals' coats clipped to prevent them from becoming overheated.
Ajja Coldbloods are often bred with other breeds of horses to give them extra hardiness in cold weather as well as strength, and this is especially common in the south, where pure blood Ajja Coldbloods are impractical due to the warm weather.
- Well-suited for freezing weather, but extremely ill-suited for warmer climates; prone to heatstroke
- Extremely high stamina, but low speed
- Can carry and pull heavy loads; more efficient in groups of 2-4 animals
- Meat is edible to any race that consumes meat.
- Bones can be used in decoration.
- Fur can be used to line clothing.
- Tail fur--which can be taken from live animals as well as hunted ones--can be used for musical instruments, namely instruments with strings.
- Undiscovered; likely none.
|Geography • Races • Flora • Fauna • Stones • Metals • Cloth • Foreign Continents|
|The World of Aethius • The Multiverse of Aethier|