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Horse of a Different Color

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Giant yellow birds are the mount of choice for the spiky-haired RPG hero on the go.

"Good bird-horse-thingy."

Evolution being what it is, alien worlds (or Earth time periods far removed from the present day) are bound to have different forms of animal life from our world. The people there, however, are usually just like us, or close, and would therefore develop different breeds of livestock to fill the same needs.

And one of those major needs is for animals that fill the niches that horses fill on Earth: basic transportation in areas where mechanical transport is impractical, unknown, or expensive; or prestige transportation in areas where mechanical transport is cheap and easy.

Of the types of creatures available, large flightless birds are probably the single most common type of horse-replacement. Two-legged non-avian dinosaurs also come up frequently. To replace the larger draft animals, vaguely ox-like creatures and large lizards seem to be popular, and some may be Mix-and-Match Critters.

Evil, bloodthirsty races will often use a giant form of a common predator, like a wolf. Cats are a mixed bag; they are predatory and notoriously disobedient, but both heroes and villains can be seen riding them and performing great feats of sure-footed trick riding.

A flying creature that can be trained, and can carry a man, is truly the holy grail of animal husbandry. Most fantasy settings have at least one, either a scaled-up version of a currently existing creature or something from prehistory or mythology. Dragons are especially popular in this department as are Gryphons and Pegasi.

For maximum Speculative Fiction cred, try having the mount not even being made of flesh and blood. In video games, these often become a Power-Up Mount.

Named for an idiom meaning "another matter entirely", and a pun on that phrase in The Wizard of Oz which was a literal horse with an ever-changing coat.

Subtrope of Fantastic Fauna Counterpart. Sister Trope to Chariot Pulled by Cats for unusual draft animals and carriage pullers. Compare Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp", when the animal actually is, for all intents and purposes, identical to a real-world animal. Super-Trope of Zebras Are Just Striped Horses, Kangaroo Pouch Ride, Seahorse Steed, and War Elephants, and sometimes Domesticated Dinosaurs and Our Centaurs Are Different (if they let people ride them). For actual horses (or other animals) with unusual colors, see Amazing Technicolor Wildlife. The rider may be a Fluffy Tamer.

Nothing to do with the album of the same name by Big & Rich.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Azumanga Daioh: Chiyo-chan is so small, she can comfortably ride Mr. Tadakichi, a Great Pyrenees, to Sakaki's envy.
  • Belle and Sebastian: A small boy would often ride on the back of the enormous Belle (also a Great Pyrenees), as they traversed the French and Spanish countryside in search of Sebastian's mother.
  • Blue Ramun: Zig-Zagged — horses do exist in the "Arabian Nights" Days setting, but their use seems to be restricted to the military police of the Silkdeep Empire, and even then only for patrol within the city walls or for battles that take place not too far out of town. Other methods of transport include:
    • Civilians use large flightless birds for transport across the desert. Protagonist Jessie rides one in the first chapter as she makes her way from the caravans into the city, and several birds are seen in the background of a merchant's convoy.
    • The Northern Nation of Seldia has managed to tame their region's flying dragons, which are employed to transport small groups of diplomats and soldiers. The only Dragon Tamers that show up in the series are highly trained soldiers who work for the government/ military.
  • Dog Days has cellkulls, who are about as close to chocobos as you can get without violating copyright. They normally can't fly, but can be granted that ability through the use of seal spells.
  • Gungrave: The anime also has the Tomas, which, while not featured as a primary mount, are used instead of horses for racing purposes. Mostly just a Mythology Gag owing to Yasuhiro Nightow creating both series.
  • Sandybell of Hello! Sandybell rides her Scottish sheepdog/collie mix, Oliver, like a horse, and he even pulls carriages.
  • In the Land of Leadale: Cayna has a Crimson Pig summon, "P-chan"/"Li'l P", who is the size of a small house and is easily ridden by her like a horse or used as a draft animal. It should be noted that Li'l P is still a baby and in adulthood, could easily grow up to 25 meters.
  • Inuyasha:
    • Sesshoumaru's preferred mount for his followers is something that can only be described as a two-headed dragon-horse in what might have been inspired by certain types of kirin imagery.
    • Youkai Ultimate Blacksmith Totosai rides on a three-eyed (probably youkai) ox.
  • Last Exile has some very chocobo-esque flightless birds. Although they were never used as mounts they replaced horses as the animal of choice for racing.
  • Maze Megaburst Space: A two-legged brown dinosaur is the preferred cavalry mount.
  • The Morose Mononokean: Played with when Ashiya is given a piggyback ride by a tiger demon while running some errands. The tiger demon turns out to be one of the three rulers of the Underworld, and he's definitely not a convenient mount; The Justice still allows Ashiya and the others to ride on his back when they wish to travel across the Underworld, which led to a severe case of Mistaken Identity when several locals see Ashiya on his back while Abeno and the Legislator went shopping.
  • My-HiME: Natsuki rides on the back of Duran, a metal wolf she is able to summon at will.
  • Naruto: While Akamaru is as small as most dogs before the time-skip, he grows to the size of a pony over the course of 2 and a half years. His owner, Kiba, uses him as a mount occasionally post-timeskip. Other ninja dogs, including Kakashi's and Kuromaru (the one used by Kiba's mom), are capable of talking. And after the Time Skip Kuromaru is inexplicably even larger than Akamaru.
  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind: Horseclaws are giant flightless birds used as rides (and inspired chocobos). Nausicaä also features another type of unusual mount, referred to as Warbeasts, which are something like giant, shaggy dogs with cow horns and lizard-like feet.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: The mount of choice appears to be dinosaur-like reptiles such as the one Makie rode while buying groceries for the bar she worked in.
  • One Piece
    • The Kingdom of Alabasta uses what look like giant ducklings as mounts.
    • The Wano Arc shows that the Animal Kingdom Pirates sometimes ride around on dinosaur-like steeds called "Madsaurus".
  • Panzer World Galient: In the world of Arst, people ride horned, bipedal critters that look like a wingless bird mixed with a dinosaur.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • In the early series, it was rather common to see Dodrio (a three-headed ostrich-like bird) used as a mount.
    • Arcanine and Stoutland have been used as mounts anime a few times. Ash himself also uses a Garchomp as his personal Ride Pokémon.
  • Princess Mononoke: The hero of the story rides what is referred to as a "red elk", but looks more like a (slightly modified) Siberian ibex. Not only can the beast comfortably carry a rider, but is so so strong that he can do that kind of animal's graceful leaping so burdened.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero: As a large Filolial, Filo often acts as Naofumi's and friends' main means of transport, since she'll pull around their wagon and carry them on her back when necessary. Unusually, for the trope though, Filo also acts as just another member in Naofumi's party, since she is sentient and even has a humanoid form.
  • Samurai 7: Some people ride around on giant turtle-like creatures. With shells.
  • SPY×FAMILY: Anya is small enough and Bond (who also appears to be a Great Pyrenees) is big enough that she can ride on his back (usually hanging on for dear life).
  • Trigun has the Tomas, weird crossbreeds between ostriches and non-avian dinosaurs.
  • Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-, the peoples of Shura and Yama ride on four-legged creatures that bear a slight resemblance to dragons but which are the size of horses. They are used as mounts in battle.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: In Kaiba's in-universe virtual reality video game, the characters ride Niwatori (giant flightless birds), which some of the characters call giant chickens.


  • Comedian David Crowe tells a story of Ostrich riding in South Africa, which went poorly for several reasons: ostriches are too stupid to train, a lack of safety procedures and the guy running it was still excited to have people running them since your guide should be jaded from doing it every day.

    Comic Books 
  • The Adventures of Peter Wheat: Since the cast are made up of Lilliputians and anthropomorphic bugs, they use mice as their steeds to get around.
  • Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld: The resident mounts on Gemworld are vyala, which look like multicolored winged lions with tusks.
  • Ant-Man Hank Pym took to riding Korr, his flying ant companion, after Janet's flying power made the catapult superfluous.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: One issue of the comic series (known for its Mix-and-Match Critters) had the bad guy riding a puma-goat of all things.
  • Black Moon Chronicles: Greldinard rides a Krell into battle, a giant armored four-legged Xenomorph Xerox which usually resides in volcanic landscapes. In fact, the only reason he survived the encounter was that his mother helped him from the spirit world to subdue the beast.
  • The DCU
    • Strong Bow roamed America in the time before the horse was reintroduced to the continent by the Spanish. He sometimes rode a buffalo as a mount.
    • In DC comics the Atomic Knights of Earth 17 ride on giant dog creatures. The Atomic Knights also show up in Final Crisis riding these dogs into Bludhaven.
    • In the He-Man-style DC alternate universe DC Primal Age, Krypto the Superdog and Ace the Bathound have been reinvented as the giant steeds of Superman and Batman.
  • In ElfQuest the Wolfriders (unsurprisingly) ride wolves.
  • The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck: Scrooge McDuck has established his badass credentials several times with these. When he was left for dead in the South African Savanna, he went berserk against all the animals trying to eat or kill him and cowed a lion into becoming his steed. In Australia, he encountered an Emu and used it instead, at least until it ran off from an approaching flood. In the Klondike, he has used moose for transport on more than one occasion. In Hearts of the Yukon, we also briefly see a rider arrive into Dawson City on a bear—but even he's scared of Samuel Steele.
  • The Lost Boy: The Buglings tend to steal dogs from humans and train them to be mounts that they can ride into battle.
  • Mampato: On a journey to the XL century, the protagonist and his best friend Rena ride mutant dogs the size of horses (the dogs are named after Sirius and Procyon, which are the names of stars in the constellations Canis Major and Canis Minor).
  • Mickey Mouse Comic Universe: In the comic story Iceberg let us alone, a tribe of Inuits living in a cave network inside an enormous iceberg use walruses as riding animals (though the comparison with horses is a bit far-fetched — we never see any walrus galloping, they seem to walk slowly as normal walrus would.
  • Rat Queens: Few people are seen riding horses but there are people riding giant ravens and the occasional pug.
  • The Star Wars: In Issue 4, the Imperials are seen riding ostrich mounts. Ostriches with teeth. Luke ends up hijacking one of them (after he and Annikin killed the others) to chase down one of the survivors and bisect him with his saber.
  • Star Wars Legends: All over the place, from the Tauntauns of Hoth, to the Dewbacks of Tatooine and lizard-like Varactyl of Utapau, any planet inhabited by sentient aliens will be guaranteed to have domesticated and rideable exotic beasts of burden of some sort.
  • Strontium Dog has morks.
  • Superman:
    • In The Krypton Chronicles, ancient Kryptonians had the Tanthuo Flez, also called "the Winged Ones": winged, four-legged mammalian beasts with beaked snouts.
    • Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow: In Ruthye's planet, people ride a species of mammal that looks like a giant moose with mouflon's horns.
  • White Sand has tonks, horse-like creatures made of sandstone-esque substance, with segmented body, feet rather than hooves, rhino horns, and armadillo-like tails. They're used as mounts ubiquitously in desert parts of Dayside, but their skin melts on contact with water, so they're absent in Lossand oasis.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942):
      • In some versions, the first Amazons ride kangas (giant riding kangaroos) at home on Paradise Island.
      • Amazonian children have ridden giant rabbits since even before Kangas arrived on Paradise Island. Mala and Diana are shown racing on them in a story about Wondy's childhood.
      • Tigra Tropica can ride her large "tamed" tigers, and attempts to escape Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor on one.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): An old recording of the Sangtee Emperor shows them riding some kind of lizard-like mount.
    • Wonder Woman (2006): Achilles rides a flying elephant with two trunks named Mysia.
    • Wonder Woman and the Star Riders: Purrsia rides a giant flying purple panther.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side had one uncaptioned strip set in The Wild West showing the outside view of a raging Bar Brawl and... well, here's an explanation of the scene in the author's own words from The PreHistory of the Far Side:
    In this case, every customer in the place is either running or being thrown out—implying that there's a pretty tough and angry character somewhere inside it. And how tough a guy is this mystery person? Well, that's his bear parked outside.

    Fairy Tales 
  • "The Cat on the Dovrefell": webcomic adaptation, the traveler rides their great white bear.
  • "Hans the Hedgehog": Before the main character sets off into the woods, he has his father get the rooster shod and uses it as a mount throughout the story. This suggests that, despite being part human, Hans is of rather small size, which would justify such a mount, though this point is never made clear.
  • "The Wise Little Girl": Since the Tsar insists that she must appear before him "neither on foot nor on horseback", the little girl goes to his court riding a large hare.

    Fan Works 
  • The Ambassador's Son: According to Sharptooth, the diamond dogs who still live in their long-lost homeland ride six-legged lizards that he originally mistook for dragon-kin, until he realized that they are simply mindless beasts.
  • Ice and Fire (Minecraft): Players can tame and ride hippocamps to have aquatic mounts, amphitheres and hippogriffs to have aerial ones, and dragons to have a handy flying fortress.
  • The Infinite Loops: A Running Gag in the YGO loops is the Duel Runners (basically highly advanced motorcycles) get replaced with random steeds from different franchises, like Chocobos, Ostritches, and other random stuff.
  • The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World: Scads of these are running around C'hou, and that doesn't even include the things George changes into on occasion. A short list: giant flightless birds, a wingless dragon, large six-legged pack lizards, a small woolly mammoth, and centaurs.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines: It's common to use Pokémon as steeds, especially in the Alola region. Bonus points for literal examples with the following evolutionary lines: Ponyta/Rapidash in Kanto, Mudbray/Mudsdale in Alola and Blitzle/Zebstrika in Unova (this one being more a zebra than an actual horse, but otherwise it fits).
  • Equestria Divided: House Everfree makes use of some rather peculiar creatures as war steeds, including ostriches, boars, hippos, rhinoceri, elephants, and oliphaunts.
  • The Rise of Darth Vulcan: Having already learned how to enthrall the plants and exotic foliage of the Everfree Forest and bend them to his will, Darth Vulcan turns the power of the Alicorn Amulet into reshaping several Timber Wolves to turn them into mounts for him and his Diamond Dog minions to ride upon.
  • Eternal Fantasy: The most common mount used is a Mustid, which resembles a horse-sized ferret. Hermione rides a gryphon, which is rare enough for Harry and Dudley to have no idea what it is. According to Draco, the only form of horse left in the world is the Threstral.
  • Nihonverse Pocketville: Deer, antelopes, and other hoofed animals with antlers or horns are used for public transportation in Pocketville instead of horses, which is said to be for "exotic purposes" by the author. However, it is mentioned In-Universe that horses are rather used in rural areas outside of Pocketville.

    Films — Animated 
  • In The Croods, it isn't institutionalized (as this is before the domestication of animals), but by the end of the film, the new-and-improved caveman family have adopted unusual animals as mounts; the father gets a saber-toothed cat that had been their enemy for much of the film, the daughter and her boyfriend ride an owl-cat that was originally an enemy, the feral baby is riding on a dog-reptile, and the lunky son is bouncing around on a land-whale. The animations during the credits show one of them riding on a "classic" flightless bird as a bonus.
  • Epic (2013):
    • The Leafmen ride hummingbirds into battle. The Boggins prefer Creepy Crows because they are more tolerant of decay. They also can ride on bats due to their leader's ability to imitate the cry that bats use to locate others of their own kind (he also uses a star-nosed mole on occasion). However, the bats aren't actually loyal to the Boggins; in one scene, a Leafman knocks a Boggin off his bat and takes the reins, and the bat has no complaints. Birds such as sparrows are considered inferior to hummingbirds and are generally used only for racing.
    • On the good guys' side, the heroes take a ride on a deer—which is ABSURDLY large compared to them—though this is not considered typical.
  • Frozen (2013): Sven the Reindeer serves as Kristoff's main mount.
  • Heavy Metal has the barbarians mount huge vampire bats to pursue the fleeing Action Girl Taarna. Taarna herself rides a critter that resembles a kawaii pterodon, and a mighty faithful one, to boot.
  • Hercules (Pure Magic) has Hercules and Iolaus ride the Boar of Erymanthean after helpin him out.
  • In the How to Train Your Dragon franchise, the dragons are frequently used as mounts for human riders.
  • Ice Age:Dawn Of The Dinosaurs has Buck, Crash and Eddie ride a pterodactyl to travel faster through rocky ravines and canyons to rescue Sid. Buck uses vines as reigns to steer the flying lizard.
  • In Raya and the Last Dragon, the warriors of Fang ride into battle on large panther-like cats.
  • In The Rescuers Down Under, Bernard tames and rides a wild razorback boar to rescue Jake, Bianca, Cody, and Marahute from Evil Poacher Percival McLeach, and uses it to steal the keys to the man's truck. Also, the mice tame and ride a sugar glider and a snake.
  • Strange Magic: The fairies are small enough that Roland can ride an armored squirrel, despite the fact that he can, y'know, fly with his own wings.
  • Malek Khorshid: The king grabs a lion by the mane, hits it on the head, and then rides it like a horse.
  • Wizards has the assassin Necron 99 ride a biped creature with ostrich-like legs and body, topped by the meanest, ugliest horse-ish head ever. Necron's mount gets an arrow to the forehead early on, but a few more make appearances as the heroes penetrate into the irradiated wasteland.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Avatar: The Na'vi ride on Banshees, flying dragon-like creatures who form lifelong bonds with their riders. There is also the Toruk, an aerial apex predator ridden only by a mythic warrior of legend, which Jake tames in order to regain the trust of the Na'vi. Later on, in the climax, Neytiri tames a lion-like Thanator and rides it into battle against the human soldiers' mech suits. Na'vi also ride fa'li, or "direhorses", six-legged, nectar-drinking horse-like aliens.
  • In Black Panther, Wakanda's Border Tribe trains armoured rhinos as their heavy cavalry, with their head of security, W'Kabi, riding one as his mount into battle.
  • Blazing Saddles: Mongo rides a white humped bull rather than a horse.
  • Buffalo Rider features Jake Jones, an Old West outdoorsman who rides a buffalo.
  • The Dark Crystal: When she and Jen need mounts, Kira calls up a herd of Landstriders: long-legged quadrupeds with an extendable proboscis.
  • Deep Blue Sea: In the climax, Carter inadvertently ends up performing a rodeo on the back of the biggest shark by grabbing its dorsal fin, since it can't get to him that way.
  • In Dune and Dune: Part Two, the Fremen ride the eponymous desert planet's gigantic sand worms. Though the way they do is more akin to an Outside Ride.
  • In Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, the titular characters at one point ride a cheetah.
  • The Hobbit:
    • There is a Megaloceros deer-like steed Thranduil rides on during the film's prologue.
    • The leader of the Dwarf army rids on a large boar.
    • A number of other dwarves ride giant rams.
  • The racing snail in The Neverending Story movie.
  • Night at the Museum: Tiny diorama-figure Octavius tames and rides a squirrel in the second film.
  • In Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, ostrich racing is a popular sport.
  • The inhabitants of Dirt from Rango primarily use bats, roadrunners, and peccaries as horses.
  • Rebirth of Mothra: The Elias use a hawk-sized moth as a transport and bodyguard.
  • Star Wars:
    • On the ice planet of Hoth, mounts are the bipedal Tauntauns.
    • The planet Tatooine has several native species seen being used as mounts or for haulage: Tusken Raiders favour the bantha, dewbacks were used by Imperial Sandtroopers, and ronto are used by Jawas, although it has been suggested that ronto were imported from Nubia rather than native to Tatooine.
    • In Darths & Droids there are Kaadu (Baby Dinosaur Ponies) on Naboo.
The Swiss Family Robinson: Ostriches are the mounts that are ridden. (Truth in Television: Ostrich jockeys have races in Arizona every year.)

  • In "The Atlantean Age", a setting book for Fantasy Hero, the Tellat Empire fields units mounted on "battledons" — take a rhino, make it 50% bigger, and add extra horns, claws, and bad attitude. Meanwhile, the Hazarians look almost normal with their knights in plate armor riding giant wolves.
  • In The Book of the New Sun, noblemen and cavalry troopers ride on animals called "destriers". Readers might assume this is just the author using a fancy medieval word for "horse", until they learn that the destriers have claws, eat meat, and generally seem to be some kind of genetically-engineered jaguar.
  • In Blood River Down by Lionel Fenn, lorra are oversized goats with powerful legs, massive horns, and extremely thick, soft fur. Any person who manages to befriend and ride one of them is automatically considered a hero or hero-to-be. Although they can't speak, Red the lorra understands human speech well enough that he won't respond to orders unless they include the word "please".
  • In Bored of the Rings, the Roi-Tanners ride merino sheep into battle.
  • It's not clear what the "horses" in The Carpet People by Terry Pratchett actually are, but given that they have compound eyes that change colour when they're frightened, and are ridden by people to whom a matchstick is an unending wall of wood, they certainly aren't horses.
  • Codex Alera
    • Gargants are mentioned in the first book, but, aside from being the size of a freakin' minivan, not described until the second. Word of God says they are related to giant ground sloths (which went extinct sometime around the end of the Ice Age in real life).
    • In books five and six, we see Canea, the Canim homeland, and their riding beasts the "taurga" [singular "taurg"], creatures that are depicted as fairly bull-like (with some rabbit-ish features), extremely large (they're cavalry for wolf-warriors that can reach 9 or 10 feet in height, with proportional weight), incredibly ill-tempered, and enthusiastically omnivorous.
  • Cradle Series: Countless variants are common. Sacred beasts (who may or may not be sapient) are often hitched to wagons, remnants can be bound to service and employed for manual labor, and constructs specifically built for the purpose are not unheard of.
  • Creature of Havoc has a dragon-headed, horse-like monster with a stinger tail called an Ophidotaur, which the titular Creature attempts to ride in order to find the magic vessel called the Galleykeep.
  • The Death Gate Cycle:
    • Due to the natives of Pryan, the world of fire, living in the canopies of a world-encompassing, miles-high rainforest, their favored mounts are giant flying squirrels called cargans who can easily navigate the treetops of their world’s colossal jungles.
    • The Sartan of Abarrach use mud dragons, large chameleon-like lizards, as mounts for their undead armies.
  • Taylor Anderson's Destroyermen trilogy has domesticated elephant-sized dinosaurs which the U.S. destroyer crews, not knowing the "brontosaurus" was actually an apatosaurus, think of as miniature brontosaurs and call "brontosarries."
  • In Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age, the upper-class transport of choice is the Chevaline, which is a kind of robot horsey with a vestigial knob for a tail.
  • Dinotopia: The Skybax Riders, who train and fly on huge Pterosaurs, rest very proudly in the realm of the Rule of Cool. Dinosaurs are also frequently seen being used as mounts.
  • The Dinosaur Lords uses, unsurprisingly, dinosaurs of all stripes, mostly hadrosauruses and deinonychuses, although larger beasts such as tyrannosaurs, triceratopses, or various sauropods are also ridden in and out of combat.
  • Discworld:
    • Herons and buzzards qualify as "giant flying steeds" if you're a gnome. And one of the Nac Mac Feegle has a hawk as his steed of choice.
    • Dragon Riders are parodied in The Colour of Magic.
  • Dorian Hawkmoon: In the trilogy by Michael Moorcock (also known as the History of the Runestaff), there are flamethrower-wielding warriors who ride giant flamingos.
  • The Duel of Sorcery Trilogy featured rambuts (something like talbuks, or possibly Yakkul) and macain (reptilian mammals, or mammalian reptiles, that hatch from eggs and resemble ornithopod dinosaurs). There's also a creature called a vinat, which has urticating quills on its throat and antlers but otherwise seems to resemble a moose or other large deer, which is used to pull a wagon.
  • In Dune the Fremen ride the sandworms of Arrakis. Great-worms and lesser-worms are used in teams to pull a chariot.
  • The Dying Earth series of Jack Vance featured "oasts", huge humanlike primates whose riders sat on their shoulders. On at least one occasion, the hero Guyal was chased by a mounted troop on these creepy things.
    • Twk-men, miniature humanoids who trade information for resources like salt and thread, ride dragonflies. Minuscules, even tinier beings hired by Rhialto to carve a way-post, are so small that their leader rides a mosquito.
  • The Hokas in The Earthman's Burden use large, dinosaur-isque lizards as mounts. Particullarly apparent in the first story, in which the influence of the Wild West has even led them to call them "ponies".
  • In Earth's Children, Ayla occasionally rides on the back of Baby, her pet cave lion whom she raised from a cub, although she cannot control his movements as she does with her horse.
  • Fengshen Yanyi: Steeds used by the taoist characters include: Immortals or people related to them can count on more exotic beasts. Notable examples include Jiang Ziya's Supuxiang (a divine beast resembling a draconic deer), Huang Tianhua and Wen Zhong's Qiling (the former is jade-colored, the latter is black), the Four Saints' mounts (half-dragon, half-beast monsters), Zhang Kui's impossibly fast "One-Horned Black Smoke Beast", Tongtian Jiaozhu's one-legged bull, Princess Longji's Shenniu (a divine giant bird with fish-like scales, fins and whiskers) and other animals such as stags, cranes, mythical birds, camels and oxen. There are two istances of a taoist character riding on the back of a tiger to show off his power. In both instances, there's a gag of normal soldiers panicking upon seeing the tiger approaching, only for the rider to reassure them that the beast is domesticated.
  • C. J. Cherryh's Finisterre series of novels has creatures called nighthorses that could be easily mistaken for horses, except that they are telepathic foul-tempered carnivores whose group behavior is based on being pack hunters. In contrast to herbivorous horses' tendency to form groups for protection, nighthorses formed groups for attacks. The implications of this are shown in the stories in such a way that it becomes quite plain that nighthorses are not just differently colored horses.
  • H. Beam Piper mentioned in Four-Day Planet that most people in the Terro-Human Future History universe believe (incorrectly) that horses are extinct. The narrator mentions having seen "so-called Westerns with the cowboys riding Freyan oukry."
  • Garrett, P.I.: In Petty Pewter Gods, the Shayir pantheon's original believers were the Ox-Riders of Gritn. As their culture is long extinct, it's unclear if anyone in Garrett's world still rides oxen.
  • Gaunt's Ghosts: Birds called Struthids are used as cavalry on one of the planets; the general description made them look like the bastard child of cassowaries.
  • The General Series: The stranded inhabitants on the fallen colony of Bellevue ride genetically engineered giant dogs instead of horses. The native wildlife (Velociraptors) was hostile enough that horses weren't considered viable, but a 1200-pound Doberman the size of a draft horse was. Biological implausibilities were gleefully ignored, although it's mentioned in passing that modifications were made to their spines to enable them to bear the weight of a rider.
  • Gor: Equines don't exist on Gor. There are other animals that fill their niche, such as kailla, some types of thalarion, and tarns.
  • Harry Potter: There are a number of different breeds of winged horses (based in part on the legend of Pegasus and Bellerophon), according to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Hogwarts employs thestrals, probably the least horse-like breed (they look part-dragon, for one). Then there are the hippogriffs, first seen in Prisoner of Azkaban.
  • In Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar novels, the Hawkbrothers sometimes ride on dyheli, which are something like sentient wapiti.
  • In the Humanx Commonwealth novel For Love of Mother-Not, Flinx rides a stupava riding bird through the soggy forests of Moth, where its partially webbed feet come in handy for the muddy terrain.
  • In Andre Norton's Ice Crown and other works, duocorns take the place of horses. (With, as you may guess, two horns.)
  • Indigo: Creatures called "chimelos", which may or may not be dromedaries, are used as mounts by desert-dwellers in Infanta.
  • Iron Council: The Rudewood's hotchi ride donkey-sized chickens. They also use these oversized, highly aggressive roosters in gladiatorial cockfights.
  • The preferred mount on Barsoom in the John Carter of Mars novels is the thoat, a vaguely reptile-like animal with eight legs. The human-like Red Martians ride a breed that is roughly horse-sized, while the larger Green Martians raise a much larger breed, as well as the "mastodonian" Zitidars.
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen: In the last book, the K'Chain Che'Malle — bipedal, sentient Hive Mind-inclined dinosaurs — serve as mounts for their human allies. They are even capable of changing their physique to better accommodate their human riders, e.g. by creating a saddle out of their own flesh.
  • Mike Mc Quay: In his duology of Pure Blood and Mother Earth, dogs called Woofers are used as mounts.
  • The Myth Adventures series has featured some pretty bizarre mounts, including the hiphippohippus (think: rhino slimmed down for agility) ridden by Aahz in "Myth-ter Right", or the many-legged armored beast (think: glyptodont with millipede feet) used by the Ta-hoe team's rider in Myth Directions.
  • Nine Goblins:
    • Goblins ride pigs.
    • Sings-To-Trees at one point has to ride a cervidian, a skeletal stag, to his great discomfort.
  • Ology Series: Dragonology and Monsterology mention a number of fantastic creatures as possible steeds, including dragons, pegasi and kelpies.
  • Planet of Adventure has "leap-horses" as the native substitute quadruped. They have heads resembling a horned tapir and exaggeratedly long necks as shown here. As their name implies their motion is more of a bounding motion than a horse-like gait. All in all riding one sounds like a fast-track to lower back problems.
  • The Weber/Ringo collaboration that is the Prince Roger series has a species referred to variously as 'flar'ta' and 'pagee', described as a hexapedal triceratops, almost. They are herbivorous, and mostly placid, although there is a related species ('flar'ke' or 'pagithar') which is far more aggressive (the analogy drawn is to Cape buffalo). The flar'ta fills much the same role as an elephant- pack animal, mount, and occasionally war beast. There are also the civan that are used as cavalry mounts. They are described as horse-ostriches, and are two-legged, omnivorous, scaly, and have a vicious streak about two miles wide.
  • In his speculative non-fiction book Profiles Of The Future, Arthur C. Clarke pondered possible future transport innovations. One of his more fanciful ideas was that genetic engineering might produce a new riding animal superior to the horse: a miniature elephant that could use its trunk to open doors, handle packages, etc.
  • Reign of the Seven Spellblades: In volume 5, Katie starts raising a griffin fledgling as a class project. By volume 7 she's managed to befriend the now-much-larger griffin to where it will let her ride it, something few mages have ever achieved since the beasts are normally too proud.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero has Filolials, which is yet another case of what are basically chocobos in every way except name. Even Filolial Queens, which look more like giant fluffy balls of feathers than birds, are just as eager to act as mounts and carriage-pullers, with main character Filo outright getting vocally upset if she's prevented from doing so.
  • River of Teeth: Ever after the Great Louisiana Hippo Rush, hippopotamuses have become the mounts of choice in the area. They're better suited to the newly formed environment and can go where horses would simply sink or break their legs. Everyone has adapted, including inns, which now have water holes to house the hippos of their patrons.
  • The Safehold series by David Weber has an interesting variation. Dragons (massive hexapedal reptiles the size of buses) are used as heavy draft animals. Unlike most examples, they aren't replacing any terrestrial animal. Instead, dragons can haul loads no terrestrial critter could, making it practical to bring some truly titanic cannons on campaign.
  • In The Saga of the Borderlands of the Argentine writer Liliana Bodoc, the Desert Shepherds has dedicated themselves to the breeding of llamellos (a combination of the word camello — camel — and llama), basically llamas big enough to be ridden by grown men. However, when the sideresios of The Ancient Lands arrive with horses, they are quickly adopted as a mount.
  • In Julian May's Saga of the Exiles, the mount of choice for the Tanu dwelling in Earth's prehistoric past is the chaliko- short for chalicothere. Chalicotheres are extinct relatives of horses, rhinos, and tapirs. (Unfortunately, they're also generally pretty slope-backed and have a gait that really wouldn't work well at all on a riding animal. Oh well.)
  • The Spellsinger novels feature riding snakes: huge serpents capable of carrying a whole party on their back at once. They're neither venomous nor constrictors: they're so large they simply eat their prey live. Fortunately, they seem to have been bred or trained not to consider sentient mammals as prey and restrict themselves to non-sentient reptiles.
  • The Lorini in Star Trek: Ex Machina use animals resembling protoceratopians as beasts of burden.
  • John Maddox Roberts's Stormlands series has "cabos" (the word is implied to be derived from the Spanish caballo; essentially four-horned horses) and "humpers" (basically camels, only with horns and tusks).
  • The Stormlight Archive:
    • Horses exist, but they can only be found in one secluded corner of the continent, making them extremely valuable everywhere else. Nobles use them for travel and cavalry charges, but one of the most important parts of warfare is getting the horses out of the way immediately after their charge because they're too valuable to leave in danger. The standard beast of burden is the chull, a placid giant crustacean with a rock-like shell that can be carved into a seat. They are slow and stupid, so many characters find horses far too intelligent and dangerous to bother riding.
    • Then there are the Ryshadium, bigger and stronger horses that may or may not be sentient in their own right. They are intelligent enough to choose their own riders and refuse to accept any other. They need very little care since they mostly look after themselves, but they are more rare than Shardblades and Shardplate.
  • The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen: In one of Baron Munchausen's tall tales, the Baron tames and rides a roc.
  • Tales From The Year Between: In Achten Tan, the world of the first volume, both g'ants (giant ants) and tartules (giant turtles) are ridden for transportation and for battle.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium: In the second book Sugar Rain, characters ride 'horses'. This functions to emphasize that English is really a 'translation' when a rider settles in for the night he gives the 'horse' a feedbag of meat.
    • The Hobbit: Goblins ride on Wargs — huge, intelligent, evil wolves.
    • Beren and Lúthien: Huan, a horse-sized sapient wolfhound, lets Lúthien ride him several times.
    • Orcs/goblins cooperate with wolves known as Wargs (which roam around on their own in packs) and often the orcs will ride them.
    • In The Lord of the Rings, Sauron's Ringwraiths ride the wyvern-like flying 'fell beasts'. There are also the giant eagles that have been known to give people rides. Notable example, Gandalf's escape from the tower of Orthanc.
    • The Fall of Gondolin: A squad of twenty Orcs riding giant wolves try to hunt down a group of Elves fleeing from the battle.
  • Trail of the Seahawks: The 1987 Ardath Mayhar/Ron Fortier After the End collab also featured giant riding dogs (and giant mutant foxes that could be trained as mounts).
  • In True History by Lucian, the king of the Moon rides on a vulture-horse.
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • The Seanchan have corlm, creatures like large ostriches with brown fur instead of feathers, although these are used mainly for hunting rather than as mounts.
    • The Seanchan have raken and to'raken, large bird-like creatures used mainly for scouting and surprise attacks.
  • The Worldbreaker Saga by Kameron Hurley has various cultures fielding bear and dog cavalry (for additional weirdness the bears have forked tongues).
  • In "The Yellow Dwarf", the titular dwarf rides on a very large Spanish cat.

    Live-Action TV 

  • Super-Science Fiction: The December 1958 issue has bird-like bipeds as domesticated mounts, with blue feathers/fur and gold-coloured saddle and tack.

  • In the music video for Xia's "Flower" he is seen riding a large black horse with a monstrous head.

  • Frey of Norse Mythology rode a golden boar created by the same dwarves who forged Mjolnir.
  • The gods from Hindu Mythology have unusual animal mounts tied to a certain symbolism. For instance, the three creator gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, ride a swan, a bird-man (Garuda), and a bull, respectively. The most comical may be Ganesha, who rides a rat.
  • In Brazilian Folklore, the Caipora, a jungle spirit, commonly rides a peccary.
  • Gdon, or Dawon, is a sacred tigress in Tibetan and Hindu mythology that is ridden by the goddess Durga.
  • African Mythology: In some African myths, witches ride hyenas, not brooms.



    Tabletop Games 
  • Anima: Beyond Fantasy has red ostriches" in Eurakia. Given the strong influence of Final Fantasy on this game, they're more than likely to look like chocobos.
  • BattleTech:
    • Mounted infantry in the Lyran Commonwealth sometimes ride Coventry kangaroos, which are large, genetically modified red kangaroos that were specially designed to be riding beasts.
    • Tabiranth, an alien big cat that takes surprisingly well to riders. At about eight and a half feet long, four and a third feet tall at the shoulder, and over five hundred pounds, tabiranth are essentially riding tigers.
    • The Odessan raxx. In spite of looking like a six-legged elephant-sized monitor lizard, it is actually an implied herbivore, explicitly noted to be a Gentle Giant, and an extreme Mama Bear to boot.
    • Branth, a large flying reptile with toxic saliva that it can spit at its enemies. They're capable of carrying a rider and gear while flying, but due to their sensitive immune system, they invariably die of infection if taken off their homeworld.
    • The massive hipposaur, a semi-aquatic herbivore that resembles a cross between a hippopotamus and a sauropod dinosaur. At 30 tons, it's more than capable of carrying an entire infantry squad on its back or even functioning as a mobile artillery platform. It's also strong enough that its physical attacks can smash battlemech armor!
  • Chaotic has a Battlegear known as a Skeletal Steed, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: an animal that has nothing but Dem Bones for biology.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: D&D has several entries under every category of this trope, so it's worth pointing out that you can ride essentially anything in this game under the right circumstances, including a gelatinous cube.
    • "Axebeaks" (Phorusrhacos, more or less) have featured in several editions.
    • Giant striders are featherless, fire-resistant flightless birds used as mounts by firenewts.
    • Halflings in the Eberron campaign setting ride two kinds of bipedal dinosaurs, called fastieths and clawfoots. note 
    • "Riding dogs" (read: big, working breeds) are common mounts for small characters, especially gnomes and halflings, in many settings.
    • The drow are commonly depicted riding giant lizards.
    • Some dwarves are known to breed large rust monsters — buglike creatures that can rust metal to nothingness with a touch — to be ridden into battle by soldiers wielding stone weapons and wearing hide armor. Such cavalry can rout an enemy army all on its own.
    • Dark Sun: The standard steed in Athas, a kank, is a giant beetle.
    • Yugoloths are known to ride slashraths, monsters resembling giant worms with membranous wings.
    • The 3.5 Dungeon Master's Guide includes alternatives for a paladin's special mount. This include aquatic options, but also beings like giant spiders — all of them literally summoned from Heaven.
    • Eberron: The Kingdom of Breland is famous for its bear cavalry, while the halfling of the Talenta Plains ride freaking dinosaurs.
  • Exalted:
    • Claw striders — giant featherless raptor dinosaurs, essentially — can be domesticated thanks to their social nature, and are used by some southern tribes as mounts. They make deadly mounts in battle but have foul tempers. Similarly, austrechs — terror birds — are ferocious and difficult to tame, but someone who manages to do so earns a fiercely loyal mount.
    • The humans of Mount Metagalapa ride giant hawks in order to be able to leave their floating island home. Particularly skilled hawkriders can coax the island's great rocs to bear them aloft.
    • Sky titans — giant, predatory pterosaurs — can be tamed at great risk. Those who can avoid being made into their prospective mount's meal become masters of the air.
    • Agatae, demons resembling immense wasps, exist to serve as flying steeds for other creatures.
    • The Fair Folk often ride gryphons.
  • Gamma World: Other than the aforementioned Podog there also is the Hopper (a giant mutant jackalope who is as dumb as a brick), the Centisteed (a horse with a whole lot of legs, as well as bug-eyes and antennae) and the incredibly odd Pineto (think of a cactus plant merged with a horse, and you'll get the idea).
  • In Ironclaw, since horses are a playable race, there is a variety of domesticated dinosaur-like reptiles. The ones intended for riding are named after varieties of horse, i.e. palfries look like struthiomimuses while destriers are more like utahraptors.
  • Magic: The Gathering: Various creatures have turned up riding, among other things, pegasi, deer-like "cervins", hooved lion-like "leotau", flying manta rays, wolves, griffins, oxen, goats, giant cats, giant bats, giant foxes, robot gargoyles the size of houses, several kinds of giant bug, dinosaurs, pterosaurs, copper-tusked boars, enormous lizards, birds of numerous kinds and whatever the hell this thing is.
    • The card "Knights' Charge" takes this to its logical extreme, showing a motley company of knights charging into battle on the backs of horses, unicorns, lions, a giant raven, and a griffin.
    • The elves of Eldraine almost exclusively ride foxes the size of horses.
    • Specters and archons, powerful creatures that act as secondary embodiments of Black and White besides the more common demons and angels, are characterized by always appearing astride fantastical flying mounts — the archons and their mounts, at least, are explicitly stated to be one and the same being. Specters typically ride things resembling the Nazgul's fell steeds, although some fly astride things like giant wasps and winged skulls; archons usually go for winged lions and winged stags, but at least one has been seen flying atop a winged ox.
    • Some Kithkin knights ride large, leaping sheep called springjacks.
  • Numenera:
    • Aneen are bipedal pack animals twice as tall as the average human, used as pack and riding animals and as meat producers.
    • Snow lopers, bipedal mammals native to high altitudes, are thought to have been created as steeds capable of navigating cold, mountainous environments. While they are easily tamed and do make very good steeds, most in the setting's present live in the wild.
    • The priests of the city of Lhauric ride razorcats, huge tiger-like beasts with spikes growing from several parts of their bodies.
    • The cavalry of the Mahal Shards rides reptilian coursers called brehm.
    • A number of flying mounts exist as well, including the biomechanical rasters and the xi-drakes.
    • Pirates riding giant sea snakes have been attacking merchant ships along the northern coast of Lostrei. The pirates wear water-breathing gear that allows them to travel with their mounts beneath the waves.
    • Vralkans usually ride shantags, large purple-skinned creatures with apelike forelimbs and rhinoceros-like horns.
    • In the Lands of the Dawn, most people ride six-legged, red-scaled, white-furred reptiles called hirroc.
    • In an interesting inversion, there's mention in the corebook of a woman riding a strange steed of a kind no one has seen before, which she claims to have unfrozen from an ancient tomb and says is called a "horse".
  • Pathfinder:
    • Lini, the iconic gnome Druid, is sometimes depicted as riding on the back of her snow leopard animal companion.
    • Numerous types of creatures, besides common horses, are available as mounts for characters who specialize in mounted combat (such as the cavalier class, for instance). Among others, these include clockwork steeds, lions and hippogriffs. Cavaliers with the Ghost Rider archetype modify things further, conjuring their mount out of pure ectoplasm.
    • Goblins ride goblin dogs... which is a case of Non-Indicative Name, since they're actually giant, disease-carrying hairless rats.
    • The duergar — evil cousins of the dwarves — ride beetles bigger than oxen, which they believe to be gifts from their god, Droskar. Numerous kinds of such beetles are used, and are available to different members and strata of society — only priests of Droskar, for instance, are allowed to ride giant stag beetles.
    • Giants commonly use appropriately-sized monsters and megafauna as steeds. Stone giants are known to ride mammoths, while cloud and storm giants fly on the backs of Roc Birds. Storm giants also use whales, large sharks, and sea serpents as steeds when they need to travel over sea.
  • Risk Legacy: The Enclave of the Bear faction has bear cavalry as its three-troop "vehicle" unit.
  • Rifts: Exotic mounts are the order of the day, and include giant bugs, bears, dinosaurs, and even stranger things.
    • The Simvan Monster Riders are an entire species specializing in riding monstrous steeds and can tame and ride most varieties of beastly steeds with relative ease. Their favored rides are the giant reptilian ostrosaurs, but they also ride rhino-buffaloes, dinosaurs, and a variety of large and normally intractable creatures.
    • The world of Dr'myr is home to two species associated with exotic steeds. The br'talb ride kr'talpa or "demon hounds", horned predators with whom they formed a symbiotic relationship in order to better catch shared prey and evade their common predators and share a close psychic link. Simvans, notably, are the only species beyond the br'talb who can form empathic links with demon hounds. The sky riders instead prefer flying steeds, especially the hammerhead shark-headed flying serpents and the horned insectoid beasts known as skelter bats.
  • In Rocket Age Bahmoots, velociraptor-like reptiles, are used as beasts of burden on Mars, while the Silthuri use a three-and-a-half-metre-tall bird called the Royal Karn to pull their chariots. Fanthir are feathered lizards that run on two legs and are used as mounts by the Venusians.
  • In RuneQuest, the Morokanth are a race of tapir-like humanoids. What they ride are a subspecies of humans who have only animal-level intelligence. Morokanth use these "herd-men" as beasts of burden and occasionally as an ingredient for the Morokanth stewpots.
  • Scarred Lands has "tent birds", a desert-dwelling variant with supernaturally heat-resistant feathers that could use its huge—albeit still flightless—wings to shelter itself and its hatchlings (or its rider).
  • Smash Up: One of the factions in the "Awesome Level 9000" expansion is Bear Cavalry.
  • Talislanta: Striders — similar to riding birds, but scaly and butt-ugly — are used as mounts by the Kang, and their smaller, feistier cousins, marsh striders, by the Jhangarans.
  • Warhammer
    • Dark Elves and Lizardmen ride theropod-like creatures known as Cold Ones.
    • Goblins and their Grot successors from the sequel game Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, ride a variety of large predatory beasts into battle. These mounts range from the giant wolves ridden by regular goblins and grots, and the giant spiders used by forest goblins and spiderfang grots, to the more unusual cave squigs (creatures consisting of little more than balls of fungus, teeth, and nasty temperament) that night goblins and Moonclan grots cling desperately cling to.
    • Certain Elf princes can ride to battle on white lions and, along with humans, can tame and ride griffons.
    • Ogres ride on Mournfangs, beasts resembling a cross between a bear and saber-toothed cat.
    • Unicorns can be taken as mounts by high elf, wood elf, and Bretonnian lords and heroes. In addition, wood elves also ride great stags with some frequency and can mount their generals on immense eagles.
    • Dark elves of sufficient power can break vicious, bat-winged pegasi and ferocious manticores as aerial steeds.
    • Chaos dwarfs lords and sorcerers ride upon great tauruses — red-skinned, fire-breathing bulls with dragon wings — and lammasu — much like the former, but black-skinned and with the heads of ugly, horned dwarfs — both of which are supposed to descend from ancient chaos dwarfs whose taurine mutations got really out of hand.
    • The ogres of the Ironskin tribe ride rhinoxen, creatures resembling very ill-tempered wooly rhinoceri with two horns side-by-side. Their warlord, Ghark Ironskin, rides a great mechanical beast shaped like a Rhinox, rumored to be haunted by a Daemon, that was given to him by the chaos dwarfs.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Kroot (descended from avians) use a degenerate member of their species known as Knarloc as ill-tempered baggage carriers that can easily defend themselves. The Greater Knarloc is used exactly the way a creature looking like a hybrid between a terror bird and a Tyrannosaurus rex should be used. Krootoxen are used similarly, but despite the name look more like flatbeaked gorillas that can punch through tanks.
    • Some veteran Space Wolves ride Thunderwolves into battle. These massive lupine predators, native to the Space Wolves’ homeworld of Fenris, are fast and powerful enough to bear their space Viking Super-Soldier riders into battle with ease.
    • Exodite Eldar ride into battle on megasaurs.
    • Imperial Guard Rough Riders mostly ride normal horses but some regiments will field rough riders mounted on other riding animals native to their homeworld.
      • Kashann and Catachan regiments both use species of carnivorous giant lizards that are native to their respective worlds.
      • Savlar Chem Dogs sometimes use the heavily mutated Chem-Beasts from the chemical wastes of their homeworld.
      • Tallarn rough riders often use normal horses but some are instead mounted on Mukaali, a species of desert-dwelling herbivores native to the world of Goru-Prime.

    Theme Parks 

    • Rock steeds are bipedal dinosaur-relatives ridden by desert bandits. For some reason, however, the movie The Legend Reborn had them acting exactly like actual horses.
    • Ussal crabs such as Pewku are the mount of choice for the Matoran, who even race them for fun.
    • Gukko birds like Ka resemble giant hummingbirds with a second pair of wings replacing their legs. The Le-Matoran of Le-Koro had a defensive squad of Gukko riders.
  • Masters of the Universe: He-man's typical transportation is Battle Cat, a giant tiger. Skeletor rides a giant black panther named Panthor as Battle Cat's Evil Counterpart.

    Video Games 
  • Age of Empires II: Several real-life examples feature in the game, notably elephants and camels. The unusual smell of camels was known to make horses skittish; accordingly, camel units have an attack bonus against horse cavalry.
  • Age of Wonders: While most characters ride fairly typical horses, several units throughout the games ride rather unorthodox mounts:
    • Goblins and Frostlings are both in the habit of riding wolves; goblins also ride wyverns and giant beetles. In Age of Wonders 2, the frostlings trade in their wolves for mammoth and ice drake riders.
    • One Lizard Folk unit rides a giant frog.
    • Dwarves ride boars and giant moles.
    • One syron unit rides an unnamed, armless, vaguely dinosaurian creature with a large fin along its tail.
    • One halfling unit rides giant epreagles; similarly, nomads can come mounted on Roc Birds.
    • Some tigrans ride saber-toothed cats.
  • Practically the entire point of ARK: Survival Evolved: a key mechanic of the game is the ability to tame almost all of the dozens of species of fossil (and sometimes fantasy) animals that populate the game world, and most of those can be equipped with saddles and ridden, from the relatively small sheep and moschops all the way up to the kaiju-sized giganotosaurs and titanosaurs.
  • Battle for Wesnoth:
    • There are undead units which ride skeletal 'chocobones' which are a clear parody of the Final Fantasy birds.
    • The goblins use wolves as mounts.
  • In Civilization: Beyond Earth the Xeno Cavalry unit consists of soldiers mounted on Raptor Bugs, large predatory insects native to the planet. The bugs have been genetically engineered and selectively bred for speed and load capacity, allowing the cavalry to cover ground as fast as tanks and move unimpeded over rough terrain.
  • The Crystal of Kings: Cocco, the heroic dwarven knight, rides a giant anteater as a steed. Said anteater can be killed during gameplay if Cocco receives too much damage, at which point Cocco is an easy sitting duck without the height advantage, but if Cocco dies and respawns he gets a new anteater steed.
  • Dota 2: Chaos Knight always refers to the mounts other riding heroes have as horses, be they equine or not.
    Chaos Knight (to Batrider): "You taught your horse to fly?"
    Chaos Knight (to Mirana): "That is an ugly horse you ride."
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition: The player can ride mounts for the first time in the series. These include horses, harts, dracolisks, giant nugs, and other exotic mounts. Of particular note is the "Bog Unicorn", a possessed zombie horse whose "horn" is a sword shoved into its skull. The horsemaster finds the nugs particularly disturbing since they have hands.
  • Dragon Quest VIII: A sidequest earns you Baumren's Bell, an item that allows you to summon and ride sabretooth tigers on the Western continent.
  • Dwarf Fortress: Your dwarves can't ride anything, but sometimes a besieging army will have cavalry units. There are dozens of species a rider might choose from, depending on their race, ranging from normal horses to the outlandish elk bird. The mounts are not necessarily well trained, however. One piece of advice given regarding fortress defense is that it's better to leave a moat dry and deep than to flood it because some of the mounts used by goblins can and will swim. The goblins themselves, on the other hand...
  • In Edge of Eternity, the primary mounts are giant two-tailed cats known as Nekaroos.
  • Elemental — War of Magic: Empire factions may use wargs (giant wolves) as mounts for their soldiers, assuming they can find any. Heroes of either faction may purchase and ride warg mounts. If you want your badass leader to ride into battle on top of a white wolf, then why the hell not? Warg Knights are not horses and oxen as we know them, but are instead descendants of each respective species.
  • Elden Ring: Nox Monks occasionally ride giant ants that they've tamed with magic. Knocking them off their mounts breaks the spell and results in the ant immediately turning on its rider.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In series' lore, there exist 17 known sub-species of Khajiit dictated by the phases of Nirn's two moons under which they were born. The largest of these sub-species, the Senche and Senche-raht, can be as tall as two men and weigh upward of four tons. Built like apes and moving as quadrupeds, they allow their kin to ride them in battle. Imperial Legion troopers have nicknamed them "battle cats" as a result.
    • In Skyrim's Dragonborn DLC, the Player Character can gain the ability to ride dragons.
    • In The Elder Scrolls Online, Seneche tigers and guars are options, in addition to many other mount options.
    • Rieklings (a race of diminutive blue-skinned humanoids native to Solstheim) tame Tusked Bristlebacks (Solstheim's native wild boars) to use as mounts and as Beasts Of Battle.
    • The Maormer (Sea Elves) are said to tame and use sea serpents in this fashion.
    • The Dunmer of Morrowind have long used the native Silt Striders, giant flea-like insects, for transportation of both passengers and cargo.
  • Far Cry Primal takes place prior to horse domestication, so Takkar can use three alternative forms of animal transport: saber-teeth, cave bears, and woolly mammoths.
  • Final Fantasy: The various world settings in the series use an iconic type of giant bird called a chocobo as a riding mount, which has been the inspiration for many of the other entries in this category. Some variations of them can fly (usually black), though most of them are ground-based. Travelling on one is faster than just walking, and usually avoids running into random encounters. Final Fantasy VII also includes chocobos that can run over water, oceans, and mountains, but you have to breed them first. Final Fantasy IX has chocobos with similar capabilities, the catch being that it's actually all just one chocobo that you can keep upgrading throughout the game. You can eventually have it gain all of the capabilities of the gold chocobo from VII and if you boost it to the max, it can even fly.
  • Gaia Online has a few mount options, mostly from the Wild Things set. The Roc is pretty obviously a chocobo ersatz, and the other Wild Things are a wolf (Fenrir) and a tiger (Khan). In addition, the Fallen Wish item has a serpentine dragon that you can ride, and the Kelp o' the Loch gave you a proper horse... as well as a hobby horse.
  • Gems of War: Some of the goblins ride into battle on boars.
  • Grandia: In the first game, there was promotional material as well as small cameo in the game proper of a large, long-legged turtle which was used as a mount. Unfortunately, you don't get to ride it at all, and disappeared after one town.
  • Guild Wars 2 added a variety of mounts starting with the Path of Fire expansion. Options include the raptor (bipedal dinosaur), springer (jerboa-like creature), skimmer (levitating manta ray), jackal (magical wolf-like being made of sand), griffon (flying mount), roller beetle (scarab beetle), skyscale (lesser dragon), and siege turtle (turtle).
  • Heroes of Might and Magic:
    • Heroes of Might and Magic III has wolf riders and, with the first expansion, boar riders.
    • Heroes of Might and Magic V: Every faction except Inferno has a different mount for their heroes: wizards go to war on the backs of elephants, elves on unicorns, dark elves on T. rex-like monsters, human knights on ordinary horses, necromancers on skeletal demonic steeds, dwarves on mammoths, and orcs on giant bulls.
  • The first Jak and Daxter has the Flut Flut, a tropical bird that Jak rides on in certain levels. However, its flightlessness is due to the fact that it's a baby, so it's fair to assume that a full-grown Flut Flut would be more of a Giant Flyer. Jak 3: Wastelander, meanwhile, has the Leaper Lizard, which despite being a dinosaur/dragon-like creature is, well... A Flut Flut of a different colour in essence.
  • League of Legends and Legends of Runeterra:
    • Sejuani and the Winters' Claw favour enormous boars. Some of Sejuani's alternate skins have other steeds, such as a bear, a dire lion, or a giant poro.
    • Kled's mount Skaarl is a drakalops - a sort of giant frilled lizard whose total invulnerability is offset with incredible cowardice. His skins are riding a chocobo and a giant bat respectively.
    • Sheriff Lariette Rose in Legends of Runeterra is riding a steed that combines a seahorse with a regular horse.
    • A few Freljordian units ride elnuks, a hairy, horned creature that appears to be distantly related to cows.
    • Noxian basilisk riders use giant carnivorous lizards. They do use horses, though...the lizards find them delicious.
    • Demacian silverwings are giant birds. One unit is shown riding one.
    • The Slippery Waverider is a tiny turtle creature riding on a giant axolotl.
    • Genevieve Elmheart is riding a moose.
    • He's not shown riding it, exactly, but the Black Market Merchant is using a giant crab as a beast of burden.
  • The Legend of Spyro:
    • Apes are often encountered astride bizarre creatures:
      • Throughout the first two games, they often ride giant, horned batlike monsters known as dreadwings.
      • The Apes in the Munitions Forge ride giant scorpions called buffalo beetles.
      • The Apes who attack the Dragon Temple in The Eternal Night ride giant snails.
    • In The Eternal Night, some of the Skavengers ride owl-like monsters known as scurvywings, while others ride blundertails, giant scorpions with blunderbusses for stingers.
  • The Legend of Zelda has a number of examples:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: In its battle's second phase, the Gekko in the Woodfall Temple calls in a turtle-like snapper and rides around on it. Link must knock it off its steed in order to damage it.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: The protagonist serves as a mount to his Ninja Butterfly while he is transformed into a wolf. Link himself rides a horse, and can temporarily take over the giant boars ridden by Bulblins.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: Loftwings are large shoebill-like birds that almost the entire culture of Skyloft is built around. Skylofters bond with individual loftwings, which then serve them as flying steeds through their World in the Sky.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Besides the usual horses, Link can ride Stalhorses (skeletal undead horses), deer, bears, and a deer-like mountain spirit, although stables will only allow him to permanently register regular horses. In addition, as regular mounts won't go through the deep sands of the desert, Link and the local Gerudo instead get around by riding shields hitched chariot-style to sand-swimming walruses. Among enemies, skeletal Bokoblins often ride around on Stalhorses, while some living Bokoblins ride bears, turning them into full-blown Demonic Spiders.
  • Lunar: Eternal Blue also makes no effort to hide the parodic nature of the 'Chuckuboo.'
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor: You can ride Caragors and Graugs into battle. Graugs apparently are not trolls, but they do vaguely resemble them.
  • Minecraft:
    • The player can ride pigs if they put a saddle on them and dangle a carrot on a stick in front of them. The Nether Update introduces striders, red, two-legged, armless creatures that roam across the lava seas of the Nether; they can likewise be ridden with a fungus on a fishing pole, and serve as the primary means of crossing bodies of lava.
    • In the Mo' Creatures mod, besides various horse hybrids and fantastic equines such as unicorns, regular and dark pegasi, fairy horses, nightmares, bat horses, and skeletal and zombie horses, a number of tamable creatures can be ridden if given saddles. These include manticores, all big cats, wyverns, ostriches, bears, scorpions, and komodo dragons. Finally, Wild Wolves can spawn with a zombie, skeleton, or silver skeleton riding them.
    • The Dinosaur Age mod has rideable mammoths and sabertooths.
  • A few games in Monster Hunter see various monsters used as mounts:
    • Monster Hunter: Stories: The aptly-named Riders can use their Monsties as mounts, from the docile Aptonoth to more ferocious beasts like Rathian and Rathalos to elder dragons like Kirin and Teostra.
    • Monster Hunter: World: The Iceborne expansion pack introduced the ability to learn how to ride smaller monsters around by befriending the local Grimalkynes.
    • Monster Hunter: Rise introduces the canine Palamute, which not only fights alongside you like your Palicoes but can be ridden.
  • Mother 3: One sequence has Lucas and his dog riding a four-legged coffee table that gallops and even neighs like a horse.
  • Abe in Oddworld: Abe's Oddyssey can ride a strange, Ugly Cute creature named Elum in certain areas. The manual describes him as "Cranky, stubborn, and smells like a burst sewer pipe, and those are his good points. Fortunately, chicks dig him."
  • Onmyoji: There's Yama-usagi who rides a giant one-eyed frog, and then there is Mōba who rides a tea pot. With legs and fangs.
  • Perfect World has every kind of riding mount imaginable, in both living and mechanical forms. Living mounts range from horses (and spectral unicorns of various colors) to flightless birds (including a rainbow-feathered bird called an Aurora, typically awarded to first-time cash shoppers), to bears, lions, tigers, wolves (and even an oversized Golden Retriever dog), to dragons, harpies, and land-bound water creatures (e.g. the Wonderland Goldfish and Horror of the Depths). Mechanical mounts include machine verions of lions and rhinos, a land-bound hot air balloon, a Cinderella-style carriage, a wheel-like structure powered by a running mouse, and even a motorcycle said to be powered by the hydrogen present in water.
  • Pokémon
    • Doduo and Dodrio — based off of ostriches — can learn Fly in the games. The anime makes a clever justification when Falkner's Dodrio makes a leap that makes it look like it is flying, though the birds are usually ridden as land mounts when seen. Though Awkward Zombie suggests a different way that they could fly.
    • The character Yellow of the Pokémon Adventures manga is fourteen years old, but she is small enough to ride Dodrio's unevolved (juvenile) form, Doduo.
    • Pokémon X and Y allows the use of Pokémon such as Skiddo, Gogoat, Rhyhorn and Mamoswine as steeds. Skiddo can jump over those impassible ledges, Rhyhorn lets you cross otherwise impassable rocky terrain, and Mamoswine can cross snow-covered paths. However, Pokémon riding is mostly limited to a diversion in a few spots in the game.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon: You can register various Pokémon to your Ride Pager to call up when you need them. It plays a bigger role than in X and Y, replacing the HM moves of the previous games (Surf, Fly, Rock Smash...) as the way to move past obstacles. You can ride the bull-like Tauros to move fast and smash boulders, the huge dog Stoutland to sniff out hidden items, the plesiosaur-like Lapras to move over water, the draconic Charizard to fly between certain spots on the map, the huge horse Mudsdale to cross rocky terrain, the shark Sharpedo to move fast and smash boulders in the water, and the four-armed humanoid Machamp (which carries you in its second pair of arms) to shove boulders out of the way. Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon adds the manta ray Mantine that allows you to surf between islands in a surfing mini-game
    • Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: The player can ride the prehistoric dragon Pokémon Koraidon in Scarlet, and the futuristic Pokémon Miraidon in Violet. Their present-day counterpart Cyclizar is used as transportation by many in the Paldea region.
  • Putrefaction sees you battling Nazi cultists riding gigantic, eyeless demons as steeds, where their ride will try chomping you down while the rider tries taking potshots via rifle.
  • Queen at Arms: People, particularly military cavalry, ride reindeer instead of horses.
  • Ragnarok Online:
    • The standard animal of monture are giant birds called Peco Peco, whose appearance is not unlike Chocobos. They are limited on use to one class job, however (even if the things are also in the wild and can be captured as pet). With third jobs, Wargs, Griffons and the dragon-like Ferus are now both also fair game, even though they're also still limited to a few classes only.
    • Mounts were later introduced, allowing any class to ride something to go around. This wildly varies, from giant Poring for Novice class to a llama for Acolytes and a giant frog for Ninjas.
  • Red Dead Redemption: In the multiplayer mode, the player can unlock mounts other than horses and donkeys, including a bull, a zebra, and the American bison. In the Undead Nightmare DLC, you can ride the Four Horses of the Apocalypse (only one at a time, though).
  • Rift has a similarly eclectic line-up, including everything from ordinary horses to monitor lizards, Mechanical Horses, giant squirrels, a creature resembling a huge floating blue glaucus, and a sort of hybrid of antelope and oviraptor.
  • Rockman 4 Minus Infinity: In a Homage to the Mega Man (Classic) arcade games, Shadow Man rides a frog in Bright Man's stage.
  • Early in Rogue Galaxy, the hero is seen riding a sort of skeletal mount called a Yago. Apparently they must have some meat on them because a sand worm eats one at the end of the first chapter.
  • Horses are extinct in RuneScape so some races use other animals as mounts. Gnomes use terror birds (which in real life are an extinct clade of flightless birds) and giant tortoises. Scabarites, a race of humanoid scarabs, sometimes ride on giant locusts.
  • Sins of a Solar Empire: Some planets are described as having "Native Megafauna" improving commerce (presumably by using these beasts as pack animals across the planet).
  • Spelling Jungle: Used in both games.
    • In Spelling Jungle, Wali can ride a hippopotamus around the river after feeding it. This can cause complications if it wears off while he's in the middle of the water.
    • In Spelling Blizzard, Wali can ride an orca whale around the rider after feeding it. Unlike the hippos, they're constantly moving around and will swim out from under Wali, causing him to drown in the river if he's on them when the bribe wears off.
  • The "Cralluck" in Star Trek RPG materials; an Acamarian flightless bird.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: Tauntauns, Varactyls, Sleens can all be acquired as mounts. If it's appeared in the background of a movie, an animated series, or just as a random creature in the game, odds are it can be obtained in a rideable form.
  • Super Mario Bros.: Yoshi, to the point of being referred to as such (though in a rather derogatory fashion) by the popular Lets Player, raocow (and, by extension, A Super Mario Thing).
  • Tales of Symphonia has all three:
    • Noishe, the party's overworld mount, is a giant white green dog with massive ears. Who's deathly afraid of monsters. And in one of the skits is speculated to be an ancient ever-evolving creature.
    • Some enemies are seen to ride oversized raptors called "Velocidragons".
    • Actual dragons are sometimes trained as mounts, and the party even rides them at one point.
  • Tales of Vesperia: Flynn uses a horse-like monster with reptilian traits as a steed in one scene. The same variety of monster is also seen being used to tow merchant caravans in Tales of Xillia.
  • Giant mantises take the place of horses in Telepath Tactics, probably as a nod to the setting's tropical climate. A Cool Old Lady says she's had hers since she first joined the army, which implies they have roughly human lifespans.
  • In Theta vs Pi 7 there are etas (literally eta symbols who act as horses). In the final land, you finally get to ride one and discover they can walk on quicksand.
  • Touhou Project: Before she became an expert Miko and learned to fly on her own, Reimu Hakurei used to mount an intelligent, talking, flying turtle named Genji.
  • Total War: Warhammer: A fair amount of unusual creatures are used as mounts by the various armies, both as general cavalry and as the steeds of Hero Units.
    • The Greenskins are all over this. Orcs ride war boars and their Warbosses can ride wyverns. Goblins can ride giant wolves or giant spiders. The King and the Warlord, which introduces a number of Night Goblin units, brings Night Goblins who ride squigs, spherical fungoid creatures provided with a giant fanged mouth, strong hopping legs, and nasty attitudes.
    • The main human factions, the Empire and Bretonnia, get gryphons, hippogriffs, demigryphs (which are wingless gryphons), and pegasi.
    • The Vampire Counts can ride massive — as in dragon-sized — undead bats known as Terrorgheists, as well as actual undead dragons.
    • The Warriors of Chaos have a unit mounted on a manticore, in addition to a two-headed mutant dragon as a steed for their hero units.
    • Wood Elves can ride on giant hawks, unicorns, and elk, and their lords can ride giant eagles and forest dragons.
    • Dark Elves favor scaly, raptor-like beasts called Cold Ones, which they share with the Lizardmen. Lords and heroes can mount bat-winged pegasi, manticores, and dragons, and a unique variant of a regular cavalry unit likewise flies on dark Pegasi.
    • Unique mounts for Legendary Lords and Heroes include Karl Franz's giant gryphon Deathclaw, King Louen Leoncoeur's hippogriff Beaquis, and Azhag the Slaughterer's wyvern Skullmuncha.
  • The Trader of Stories has husks, oxen of another colour (they look like a dinosaur crossed with an armadillo).
  • The MMOG Ultima Online has an array to choose from. Bipedal dinosaurs without front arms called ostards, llamas, ki-rins, and giant beetles are among the choices.
  • In Utawarerumono and its sequels, bipedal lizards called woptars are the ubiquitous beast of burden, and are used for everything a horse would be used for. In the sequels, Rulutieh rides a giant flightless bird named Cocopo, who also occasionally gets used to pull carts, though it's indicated that Cocopo is much, much larger than normal members of its species.
  • The Warcraft series, particularly World of Warcraft, features such a wide variety of mounts that listing them all would be impractical — but, luckily, they come in a somewhat tidy number of categories.
    • For starters, each of the playable races have a distinctive basic mount. In the Horde, the Orcs ride giant wolves, the Forsaken ride skeletal horses, the Trolls ride raptors, the Tauren ride giant lizards called Kodo, the Blood Elves ride giant flightless birds, the Goblins ride three-wheeled motorbikes, the Nightborne ride big cats, the Highmountain Tauren ride moose, and the Vulpera ride hyenas; in the Alliance, the Dwarves ride rams, the Gnomes ride mechanical birds, the Night Elves ride saber-toothed cats, the Draenei ride elekks (a cross between an elephant and a pyrotheria), the Void Elves ride Void-infused birds, the Dark Iron Dwarves ride core hounds, and the Mechagnomes ride Chicken Walkers. In fact, the Humans are the only race that gets an actual honest-to-goodness horse (although from an in-universe point of view, these are likely no more or less unusual than giant birds or tame rams). The Pandaren, which are the only playable race that can be either part of the Alliance or the Horde, ride dragon turtles, fittingly as they are from the Azeroth equivalent of China.
    • Averted by the Worgen Alliance race. They don't have their own mount, they just run around on all fours (though you can ride a mount as a Worgen if you choose). The reward mounts for becoming Exalted with the Worgen as another race are simply reskinned horses — which makes sense considering they used to be humans until very recently, although that doesn't make it less disappointing.
    • Then there are the various flying mounts, starting with griffons and giant furry bats and later progressing to sporebats, drakes, miniature helicopters, hippogriffs, etc. Lastly, Wrath of the Lich King introduced a variety of new land and flying mounts including mammoths, proto-drakes, flying carpets, motorcycles, and turtles; not to mention achievements for acquiring as many mounts as possible. Most of these achievements reward yet another mount, usually particularly unusual.
    • There are also class-specific mounts. These are all horses — or at least look like horses — but largely have otherworldly origins, being more explicitly summoned by respective spells (Death Knight mounts are undead, Paladin mounts are divine spirits, and Warlock mounts are demonic).
    • In addition, many more mounts are available as various rewards in the game plus various flying mounts, plus constant new additions available and a variety of limited edition and promotional ones. Wolves, dinosaurs, giant bats, giant lizards, ostriches, dragons, big cats, sheep, pretty much all bases are covered somewhere.
    • Horde players technically couldn't even ride (non-demonic or undead) horses until the Argent Warhorse was introduced late in Wrath of the Lich King.
    • A lot of this dates back to its RTS roots, such as the sabre-cat mounts preferred by the Night Elves, Orcs riding giant wolves, the Tauren using kodo beasts as pack animals, etc all debuted there. Likewise, the basic flying mounts for both factions (and the ones used for flight paths well before that) have made their first appearances in the RTS.
    • It's worth noting that pre-release promotional material for the Burning Crusade expansion referred to the Blood Elf mount as a Cockatrice; eventually, however, someone at Blizzard realized that introducing a creature with "cock" in its name into a game largely played by teenagers and immature twentysomethings was just asking for trouble. They were renamed Hawkstriders.
    • There are even mounts with individual names: like Invincible, the undead winged horse once owned by the Lich King (which you can loot from his corpse, naturally). Some of the dragon mounts are also specific dragons not just random ones, and other times you can get rare mobs as mounts after defeating them. The original game had two mounts that you raised and trained from babies: a dino (for Horde only) and a sabertooth cat (for Alliance only). A few other mounts (but not nearly as many as people want) like this have been added.
    • In The Waterfire Saga, most merfolk ride hippokamps, but a few are wealthy and crazy enough to have orcas trained for them.
    • Blood elves ride flightless, vaguely ostrich-like birds called hawkstriders. The void elves — originally defectors from the blood elf faction — ride voidstriders, Void-infused versions of the blood elves' birds.
    • Gnomes get robotic ostriches called Mechanostriders.
    • Trolls like dinosaur mounts and the bipedal dinos are called Ravasaurs. There are several bipedal Ravasaurs in the game. They are basically T-Rexes.
    • The Pandarens have riding cranes. One feels sorry for the cranes though, as the Pandaren are quite rotund.

    Web Animation 
  • DSBT InsaniT:
    • Lisa rides on a Pink Fish Charger to fight her Darkness counterpart in 'VRcade'
    • Power Rams aren't supposed to be this, but Cody, Alex, and Seth use them like one anyway in 'Untamed and Uncut'.
  • No Evil has domesticated jackalopes the size of horses used as beasts of burden.

  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja's Yoshi the velociraptor.
  • Alice and the Nightmare: Cinnibar Army's mounts are over-sized riding dogs.
  • In one Arthur, King of Time and Space strip, Lancelot visits an inn that has a faerie riding dog in its stables. Lacking a horse, he asks if he can have the dog, but the innkeeper replies it's a very poor animal, not fit for a noble warrior. Sadly, Lancelot interrupts him with a completely different joke before he can explain further.
  • Astray 3 has bird-like creatures usable as mounts as well as a whirling bug creature that pulls carts.
  • A Beginner's Guide to the End of the Universe: The Everyman's first action after befriending the giant sparrow he names Chairman Jack is to equip a shield and lance, mount on his back, and take to the skies to battle the void birds.
  • Charby the Vampirate has a variety of horse alternatives including horse-bears, riding dogs and manticores. One of the many horse alternatives are alpacas with a single spiral horn.
  • Doodze features a squirrel. (Not a giant squirrel. Doodzes are tiny.)
  • Drowtales: Many large clans use large and varying animals as mounts, for transport and battles. The Val'Sarghress breed and train horse-sized wolves, the Vel'Sharen ride elephant-sized flightless dragons and the Val'Sullisin'rune ride horse-sized tigers. Dawmere/Unicorn are horse-like animals that have cloven feet and short fat horns on their head; they are more akin to donkeys or mountain goats then horses. Real horses exist but are rarely if ever used by the titular Drow, as they are unsuited for underground conditions.
  • Erfworld is home to a broad variety of mounts, including spidews, dwagons, gwiffons, unipegataurs, megalogwiffs, tankeroos (kangaroo-formed cloth golems), elephant-formed cloth golems, and a glass golem which appears to actually be in the form of a horse.
  • First Contact has the deerlike Space Elves riding on giant centipedes.
  • In Girl Genius
  • Suss Birds in Harkovast fit this trope, as do the Bataks and Histoos.
  • Homestuck:
    • During [S] Make Her Pay, Tavros is seen riding a Horsaroni, a purple, eyeless horse-like animal with a mane of cable-like tentacles, into combat while armed with a lance.
    • During his childhood escape from Betty Crocker, Jade's Grandpa is seen riding the dog Halley as a steed.
  • Little Robot, Big Scary World: BIP uses a robotic beetle, named Go-Ship, as a steed.
  • Megatokyo gives us the Rent-A-Zilla whom Yuki Sonoda takes to riding once her Magical Girl abilities really start to kick in. Largo has made use of them in this way, too.
  • Being based on Dungeons & Dragons, The Order of the Stick likes this trope quite a bit. Belkar's wiener dog, Hinjo's dire wolf Argent, Xykon's zombie silver dragon, Lien's shark Razor, and Redcloak's summoned fiendish mammoth all get play during the Battle of Azure City alone. The demon roaches even lampshade it when riding a raccoon. The Dwarven Treeslayers, berzerker warriors who seek out the dwarves' greatest enemies (and as a side-effect provide lumber) ride giant beavers and woodpeckers.
  • In Seekers the winglings ride chickens.
  • The Denizens (Living Shadow minions) in Sequential Art tried to ride a platypus for fun.
  • Ten Earth Shattering Blows: There is a different type of mount for every country. Vezenians ride giant boars, people of the desert ride giant lizards.
  • Uncreation features the centitrains, which are giant centipedes that (unsurprisingly) function as trains. They even have the ability to separate like train carriages — by ripping themselves in half and then regenerating a new head out of the wound.
  • Unsounded: The primary riding animals in the Constructed World of Kasslyne are "saddlehounds", dogs that have been bred to be the size of horses. Horses and dog-sized dogs don't exist in the setting.
  • The Water Phoenix King has saddle-broken zebras and "bicorns", which are exactly what you'd expect — large ungulates with two straight horns on their heads. And a riding robot bug.

    Web Original 
  • Arachne, a giant spider in Void Domain, winds up acting as a school bus for a handful of students when they decide to live a fair distance from the school.
  • On Snaiad, orca runners, which vaguely resemble giant ostrich-puffins, have been domesticated and are used for riding and pulling carts.
  • Bosun's Journal:
    • The bird herders, a culture of Lilliputians who live in the ruins of an avian research lab, domesticate songbirds as mounts.
    • The very distant descendants of the bird herders, the riderfolk, live in symbiosis with another sapient posthuman species, the quadrupedal mountpeople, where the two serve as each other's legs and hands.

    Web Video 
  • Parodied in College Saga, where the hero rides a chocobo played by a man in a fursuit.
  • Critical Role: The Kryn Dynasty have tamed moorbounders, large panther-like cats with bulbous eyes and large curled tusks, for use in battle. They're notable for being faster than horses, but more difficult to control. The Mighty Nein purchase a trio of moorbounders during their time in Xhorhas.

    Western Animation 
  • In Aladdin: The Series, the genie-hunter Mukhtar rides on a creature called Saurus, which somewhat resembles a reptilian ostrich.
  • Ostrich-Horses in Avatar: The Last Airbender seem to be the transportation of choice in the Earth Kingdom.
  • The main characters in Highlander: The Animated Series ride a kind of large bipedal animal in many episodes.
  • The South Park episode "Go God Go XII" begins with sea otters and Cartman riding around on ostriches.
  • In Wander over Yonder, the eponymous character's mount Sylvia is a Zbornak, an alien with an earless, vaguely horse-shaped head and a body like a theropod dinosaur. She's also blue with a pink mane and tail tuft. Oh, and she's sapient too.
  • Adventure Time: Both ordinary horses and horses of a different color can be found in the land of Ooo, among them a yellow lemon camel ridden by the manic and over-reacting lemon person, Lemongrab.
    • The topper is an ordinary horse being ridden by a creature that is a cross between a rainbow and a unicorn. (Who is usually herself ridden.)
    • And then, of course, there's James Baxter.
  • Buggalo (giant ladybugs) in Futurama are the equivalent of cows.
  • One episode of The Powerpuff Girls (1998) had the girls invaded by giant broccoli aliens after they spiked the town's broccoli supply with Mind Control spores that left all the adults incapacitated, leaving the girls and the kids to confront the green threat. As part of their vegetable motif, the broccoli king rides a carrot-shaped mount.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Like in many other fantasy worlds, in ancient times Dragons were used as mounts before they were hunted to near extinction. In the Sequel Series The Legend of Korra, their numbers seem to be recovering, if Zuko's pet dragon Druk is anything to go by.
    • The Sky Bison are giant, intelligent six-legged oxen with beaver tails that could fly, and were used by the Air Nomads as flying mounts. The Fire nation hunted them into extinction alongside their masters, and now only one member of their species — Appa — is believed to be alive. As of the Sequel Series The Legend of Korra, however, a new colony of Sky Bison has been found, which gives hope that the species can be repopulated.
    • An episode had Azula and friends riding giant basilisk lizards, complete with a scene where they run across the surface of water.note 
    • Similarly, Sokka, Suki, and Toph ride an eel hound to get to the airship base in time.
    • The Fire Nation uses Komodo rhinos as heavy cavalry.
  • Snails are the main means of transport in Amphibia, although giant bugs are also used.
  • PJ Masks: In season 5, after the heroes vehicles are destroyed by new villains Carly and Cartoka, their spirit animals manifest in physical forms resembling a giant feline, owl and lizard, which the PJ's can ride.
  • The Legend of Korra there's Naga, Korra's Polar Bear-Dog, a beast the size of a polar bear with mostly the personality and appearance of a very large dog, who can carry three people at one with reasonable speed.
  • Craig of the Creek: Wildernessa uses her dog Cheesesticks as a mount. It should be mentioned that Cheesesticks is a Tibetan mastiff, one of the biggest breeds of dog in the world.
  • The Pirates of Dark Water was set on a world without wide-open spaces of dry land. Flying critters called Dagrons (small dragons, really) were the ride of choice. Turns out they had a secret.

    Real Life 
  • Camels, for both one-humped dromedaries and two-humped Bactrian species. Llamas have been ridden as well, although their foul temper makes them impractical as mounts.
    • Because they're a lot bigger and stronger than horses, camels were used as battle mounts in the Middle East for centuries, able to cross terrain that would kill a horse and to run in full barding. Some even carried small cannons on their backs to serve as the first highly-mobile artillery units. Additionally, camels' unfamiliar scent often disoriented horses, which made them useful against European cavalry.
    • Camel racing remains a popular sport in much of Asia and North Africa—which has led to the trope coming full circle with a Rider of a Different Color: Since a lighter rider increases a camel's chance of winning a race, many riders are enslaved children, and now that the UAE and Qatar have banned this practice, they are being replaced with small robots.
  • Cetaceans: Giving their trainers rides or pushing them through the water is a standard exercise for performing orcas and pilot whales. Bottle-nosed dolphins aren't strong enough to haul a full-sized human around the training-tank for more than a lap or two, but pairs of them working together can carry a clinging human a fair distance or even lunge out of the water with a trainer hanging between them.
  • Dogs: Dogs have been used to pull carts and sleds; several breeds exist for the purpose of hauling sleds.
  • Donkeys: Although notoriously less cooperative and a bit small for riding, donkeys and their half-horse offspring, mules and hinnies, are pretty much the only animals besides horses to be used extensively as mounts and haulers of vehicles worldwide, as opposed to in specific extreme environments or limited geographic regions.
  • Goats/Sheep: Too small for anyone but a very small child to ride on, goats and sheep have been used to pull carts.
  • Elephants: Asian elephants have been used as mounts for thousands of years, although more as beasts of burden than long-range transport. African elephants are far less manageable, although some individual animals will allow a familiar human keeper to ride them.
  • Elk: (Moose for North American tropers) can be tamed and ridden and there have been cavalry units based on elks rather than horses in European history.
  • Ostriches & Emus: Ostriches themselves tend to be pretty unhappy about people riding on their backs, making them impractical for any use other than recreation. They also have an unfortunate habit of losing their riders. Professional horse jockeys describe them as "like riding a giant football". Emus have been used as mounts in much the same manner, though their much smaller size makes them unsuited for carrying an average adult human.
  • Cattle & Oxen: Oxen are ridden occasionally. A girl rides a cow and showjumps with her after she was told she can't have a horse.
  • Pigs: Man in China rides a pig along a road.
  • Reindeer (Caribou for North American tropers) are the only deer that can be said to be domesticated. They can be ridden or trained to pull sleds or carriages.
  • Remoras are fishes that make a lifestyle out of riding on or under all sorts of larger marine animals, from sea turtles to sharks, by means of specialized adhesive pads on their heads.
  • Sika deer on Yakushima Island sometimes allow young snow monkeys to cling to their backs for brief rides. It's unknown why the deer tolerate being ridden, but they definitely benefit from stray leaves and nuts dropped from the treetops by the monkeys.
  • Yaks hold much importance in various Asian cultures. There are even sports with yak riding in mind, from yak racing to yak polo.
  • Wapiti: (Elk for North American tropers, also called "American Elk"; not to be confused with the "Elk/Moose" interchange): Here are some examples of mounted wapiti/American elk, along with other animals such as yaks, llamas and ostriches.
  • Zebras: People have tamed zebras and managed to ride them before, but it is more impractical than horses because of their temperament and because zebras have less speed and endurance than horses. Zorses (zebra-horse hybrids) are somewhat more practical as mounts.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Horse Of A Different Colour, Fictional Similar Animal, Fantastic Cavalry, Fantastic Mount


Adventurers v. Wolf Riders

"A Gathering of Adventurers". The army of adventurers gathered to defend Cow Girl's farm from a horde of goblins are alerted to an incoming unit of wolf-riders. Spearman takes charge and leads them to where they have prepared sets of crude pikes, which they raise just before the goblins reach them and bloodily break the charge.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / AThicketOfSpears

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