Selkie and horses are a match made in heaven,
The Selkie-term for horse is capall in general, with the breeds often added. Selkie say from themselves, that they were born in their mother's beds, but born for the saddle.
Ancient Selkie Horses
Archaeological Evidence points towards horses being adopted more then six thousand years ago, the feral breeds living in the Mainland at the time being bred further and further into usable horses by the Selkie.
In the 1st Century BCE, real horses were a luxury of the elite, on average between 120 and 140 centimeters in height, with a very long mane and tail, with small bodies and required little hoof care. Written record shows, that these horses had immense stamina, were shaggy and came usually in brown colour, different colours being specifically noted in price lists. Usually, these horses were used for hunting and war.
During the same time, a small breed of small horses, known as the Asal, came up, . The Amadán descents from this type of workhorse.
Mechanization of Warfare and Agriculture
Role in Cult and Culture
The Marcach, traditional Selkie-Horsemen,
Each year, for the Spring Festival, the Selkie offer a total of six horses as sacrafices to their Gods. This Spring Sacrafice is the highest religious ceremony of the Selkie.
The Winged Horse - Capall SciathánThe Winged Horse, in Selkie Cult and Culture, has a special place, known as Capall Sciathán, literally Horse with Wings. It is, traditionally, not a warhorse, but a symbol for bardic and poetic freedom, the poet and bard soaring on its back, but is also sometimes seen as a symbol for wisdom and philosophy.
The Pórlíne, established in 1670, is to this day the central registry for horse-bloodlines, working out the genealogies of all horses and their races. One of the founding mothers was Alaina Lách of the Tribe of Galway.
|Name||Nickname||Colours||Height (average, cm, hands high)||Uses||Notes|
|Móinteán||The One from the Moorlands||Black with no markings||135-145||Draught, riding|
|Bratach Ríoga||Royal Standard||Grey, Brown, Chestnut, Bay, Palomino, Buckskin, Black||130-150||Sportspony, Warpony, Long-Distance Riding|
|Geal||White||Brown with mealy markings, white markings||120-135||Driving (especially pit-ponies), long-distance riding|
|Mór||Large One||Black, Bay, Chestnut, Grey||160-175||Draught (heavy loads, especially forestry)|
|Capall Cogaidh||Warhorse||Bay, Black, Chestnut, Brown||145-155||War and Sports Horse|
|Garda Onóra||Honour Guard||Brown, Black||150-175||Police||Civilian use usually draught|
|Oileánach||Islander||Black, Chestnut, Bay||70-110||Draught, children's riding pony, petting zoos||Used in therapeutic riding|
|Strainséir||Foreigner||Black, Bay, Fuchsia, White||150-170||War, sports, cattle herding|
|Amadán||Hard Worker||Black, Brown, Bay, Grey, Fuchsia||130-150||Agriculture, riding||Sometimes called the Selkie-Donkey|
Móinteán, the One from the Moorlands
- Colours: Black, no markings
- Height: 135 to 145 centimetres
- Uses: Draught, riding
- Characteristics: Strength, hardiness, stamina, endurance, courage, intelligence, calm and kind disposition, feathered legs (abundant and silky), straight and broad between the eyes, fine muzzle, incurving ears, very muscular and strong-boned legs, broad and deep ribcage
The Móinteán is the preferred horse among the 'normal' Selkie-Riders and tourists as they can be used for long-distance rides by nearly everyone and can carry a lot of weight (or draw it) over all kinds of terrain. Their calmness and kindness is very conductive to beginners especially, but with the right rider at the reins, they can become forces to be reckoned with.
Originally from the moorlands, bogs and swamps around Bodmin and Lake Iasc, they were first bred as draught horses for forestry and agricultural work. They spread out over the Lands of the Selkie and abroad, especially competing against other draught horses, like the Mór and the Oileánach, each having their own specific advantages they were marketed to. They also quickly found a home in Conall Curach and the Criostal Islands once the settlement there began.
Bratach Ríoga, the Royal Standard
- Colours: Grey, Brown, Chestnut, Bay, Palomino, Buckskin, Black
- Height, 130 to 150 cm on average
- Uses: Sports- and war-pony, long-distance riding
- Characteristics: Strong back, hind and loins, laid-back shoulders, good bone, refined jawline, solid cheekbone, short ears, intelligent, large and kind eyes. Powerful and feathered legs, temperament, hardy and sturdy.
Geal, the White
- Colours: Usually brown with mealy markings, white markings allowed
- Height: 120 to 135 centimetres on average
- Uses: Driving (including as pit-ponies), long-distance riding
- Characteristics: Deep chest, broad back, hardy, thick mane and tail, thick fur with an oily upper layer and a wooly lower layer, feathered legs, fleshy eyelids. Ideal for the Northern Islands and Icy Shore.
Mór, the Large One
- Colours: Black, Bay, Chestnut, Grey
- Height: 160 to 175 centimetres on average
- Uses: Draught horses for heaviest of loads, forestry
- Characteristics: Heavy, feathered legs, shoulders deep and wide, slightly arched and long neck, easy-going temperament
Capall Cogaidh, the Warhorse
- Colours: Bay, black, chestnut, brown
- Height: 145 to 155 centimetres
- Uses: Warhorse, sports horse
- Characteristics: Long endurance, powerful front end, high withers, short back, sloping croup, low tail, hardy, clean legs, sound hooves, not good at gaiting but very good at sprinting
Originally Kyrenaian Light Cavalry (known there as Eada, Sprinter), came back with Mercenaries
Garda Onóra, the Honour Guard
- Colours: Brown, Black
- Height: 150 to 175 centimetres
- Uses: Police, civilian further use differs, usually draught
- Characteristics: Speed and endurance, calm and tough, slightly arched and muscular neck, long and sloping shoulders, deep but not overly broad chest, short and compact back, muscular croup with powerful hindquarters, clean legs
Breed of choice of the City Guards and Police, many found their ways into civilian lifes, crossbreed of Capall Cogaidh and Mór, developed in the 19th century
Oileánach, the Islander
- Colours: Black, chestnut, bay.
- Height: 70 to 110 centimentres
- Uses: Draught, children's riding ponies (including therapeutic riding), petting zoos.
- Characteristics: Feathering, sturdy built, thick coat, small heads, very gentle, quite intelligent, very strong. Good children's ponies.
Developed on Shella Island for Islander Use.
Strainséir, the Foreigner
- Colours: Black, bay, fuchsia
- Height: 150 to 170 cm
- Uses: War, sports, cattle herding
- Characteristics: Powerful built, flexibility, affinity for movement, temperament, intelligent
This breed was brought into being by Alaina Lách of the Tribe of Galway at Graíre House in 1679. Lách used horses of a Kyrenaian Breed, the Alasila, and of a Selkie-Breed, the Mór, to breed this race, criss-crossing time and time again for maximum effect. Her intention was to create a new race of multi-purpose horse, which could be used in war, cattle herding, draught and field work. Mostly, she did not succeed, only creating a race known for its affinity for movement, flexibility and temperament - still a niche, which needed to be filled, as the Strainséir quickly became a household name in war and cattle herding and other jobs requiring a fast, powerful horse.
Amadán, Hard Worker
- Colours: Black, Brown, Grey, Bay, Fuchsia
- Height: 130-150 cm
- Uses: Agriculture, riding
- Characteristics: fur a bit shaggy, longer ears, large, long head, strong neck, long back, short croup, round haunches, strong leg, friendly, affectionate and docile
Famous Horses and breeders
- Alaina Lách of the Tribe of Galway (17th century).