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Horses of Middle Earth
Horses of Middle Earth
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Beasts of burden and transport used by Elves and Men through the ages. Famous among horses were Rochallor, the warhorse of Fingolfin, and Felaróf, the steed of Eorl the Young. The breeding and riding of horses were arts developed to their greatest height by the Rohirrim in the Third Age.

The Rohan people, also know as the Rohirrim, are known for their horses.

In Rohan, horses are an important part of life. The animals are bred to be strong and fast, and are prized all around Middle Earth.

The armored helmets of the Riders of Rohan feature flowing horse manes and their reverence to the animals is reflected in the architecture of Edoras.

Bill - Sam’s faithful pack pony. Sam Gamgee's pony, named for its original owner Bill Ferny, that travelled with the Company of the Ring through the leagues of Eriador to the West-gate of Moria.

Roheryn - The steed of Aragorn. The horse of Aragorn, brought to him out of the north by the Rangers during the War of the Ring, and said to have been a gift from the lady Arwen Evenstar.

Hasufel - The horse of Rohan that bore Aragorn. The grey-coated steed of Gárulf of Rohan. After the loss of his master in battle, Hasufel was lent by Éomer to Aragorn when they met in the northern fields of Rohan. The hardy creature saw many adventures, including the Battle of the Hornburg, before Aragorn was brought his own horse, Roheryn, by the Rangers of the North.

Windfola - a strong gray stallion who carried Dernhelm (Eowyn incognito) and Merry from Edoras to the Pellanor. At the Pellanor, Windfola was spooked like many of the other horses, and ran wild across the feilds. It is unknown what became of him, but I find it possible that he returned to Rohan on his own, or that his was captured again after the battle. Eowyn, as nobility, probably owned several horses, but only one is named in the novel.

Arod - The steed of Legolas and Gimli. A light horse of Rohan, whose name means simply 'swift'. After the loss of his original rider, Arod was given to Legolas by Éomer, and he served his new rider faithfully throughout the War of the Ring. For much of this time, Arod carried two riders, since Legolas was often accompanied by his friend Gimli.

Asfaloth - The horse of Glorfindel. The horse of Glorfindel, who bore Frodo Baggins to safety at the Ford of Rivendell.

Felaróf - The great horse of Eorl. Eorl's father Léod was a tamer of horses among the Éothéod, who captured this wild white horse while it was still a foal. He tried to tame it himself, but when he attempted to mount it, it threw him and escaped. So Léod died, leaving a sixteen-year-old son, Eorl. Eorl hunted the white horse, found it, and demanded that it give up its freedom in payment for the death of his father. The horse agreed, and took the name that Eorl gave it: Felaróf, a name said to mean 'very valiant' or 'very strong'. Felaróf was a very remarkable horse indeed. It is even recorded that he could understand the speech of Men. He gave rise in turn to a race of wonderful horses, the Mearas, who according to tradition could only be ridden by the Lords of the Mark, Eorl's descendants. It was from this line that Gandalf's horse Shadowfax came, making him a descendant of Felaróf himself.

Béma - The name for Oromë among the Northmen. The name used by the Northmen for the Vala the Elves called Oromë. As the great huntsman and horseman of the Valar, he and his steed Nahar were known to the horse-loving people of Rohan, who claimed that their great horses the mearas had ancestors brought out of the West by Béma himself.

Black Riders - The Nazgûl on horseback. One of the forms taken by the Nazgûl when they went abroad in Middle-earth; black cowled figures riding coal-black horses.

Firefoot - Eomer's mount of Rohan.

Mearas - Noblest of the horses of Rohan. In the old north of Middle-earth lived a proud race of wild horses, long-lived, wise and fleet of foot. The legends of Men said that their ancestors had been brought from the West by Béma, their name for the Vala Oromë. One of these was captured as a foal by Léod of the Éothéod. It grew into a strong white horse, but when Léod tried to mount it, it threw him and killed him. Léod's son Eorl took the horse himself, naming him Felaróf. Felaróf was one of the greatest horses to have ever lived, and was said to understand the speech of Men. He carried Eorl when the Éothéod rode south to Rohan, and there sired a race of horses nearly as great as himself. These were the Mearas, noble horses that lived as long as a Man, and had extraordinary strength and intelligence. Throughout their history, they would only allow themselves to be ridden by the Lord of the Mark or his sons. This long tradition was broken by Gandalf, who managed to train the greatest of the Mearas of his time, Shadowfax, and rode that mighty horse throughout the War of the Ring.

Nahar - The steed of Oromë. The legendary horse ridden by Oromë, the Huntsman of the Valar. Nahar's coat was said to be white under the Sun, but to shimmer in silver in the night.

Nine Riders - A name for the Nazgûl. Another name for the Nazgûl, the slaves of Sauron's Nine Rings. It applied especially to those times they rode abroad on coal-black horses as the Black Riders.

Rochallor - The steed of Fingolfin. The great horse of High King Fingolfin, on which he rode to the gates of Angband and challenged Morgoth to single combat.

Rochand - An ancient form of the name Rohan. 'Land of Horses', an Elvish name for that region that later became known as Rohan, and the origin of that word.

Shadowfax - The grey-silver steed of Gandalf. A mighty horse of Rohan, the chief of the Mearas, tamed by Gandalf and reluctantly granted as a gift to him by King Théoden of the Rohirrim. Shadowfax is thought to have passed West over the Sea with his master.

Snowmane - The swift horse of Théoden. The steed of Théoden, King of Rohan, on which he rode to the Battle of the Pelennor, and beneath which he fell in that battle.

White Rider - Gandalf astride Shadowfax. A title given to Gandalf the White as he rode the great horse Shadowfax in the later days of the War of the Ring. The name was given in opposition to the nine Black Riders who served Sauron.

Riders of Rohan - The cavalry of the Rohirrim. Common name for the Rohirrim, the horsemen from the north who dwelt in the land of Rohan after its foundation by Eorl the Young.

Riders of the Mark - The horsemen of Rohan. Another name for the Rohirrim or Riders of Rohan, and probably closer to their own, unrecorded, name for themselves.

Ringwraiths - The slaves of Sauron’s Nine Rings. The Nazgûl, the slaves of Sauron's Nine Rings; originally Men who were corrupted by the Rings of Power.





Horse quotes from the Lord of the Rings

"Their horses were of great stature, strong and clean limbed; their grey coats glistened, their long tails flowed in the wind, their manes were braided on their proud necks." - The Riders of Rohan - Two Towers

"Arise now, arise, Riders of Theoden! Dire deeds awake, dark is it eastward. Let horses be bridles, horn be sounded! Forth! Eorlingas!" - The Riders of Rohan - Two Towers



Horse pictures from the Lord of the Rings movies