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Playing With / Born in the Saddle

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Basic Trope: A whole culture revolves around horse-riding.

  • Straight: The Equestrii are a nomadic tribe whose economy is based on lightning raids of neighbouring towns. They sleep on horseback and their children start learning to ride as soon as they can sit upright.
  • Exaggerated:
    • The Equestrii consider standing on the ground to be unlucky. Their gods are centaurs, and they treat their horses as Bond Creatures, paired at birth.
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    • The Equestrii are literally Born in the Saddle: it is considered good luck for their women to actually sit on a horse while babies are delivered.
  • Downplayed: The Equestrii use predominantly cavalry-based Hit-and-Run Tactics in battle, and hunt on horseback, but that's as far as it goes.
  • Justified:
    • Their homeland is a semi-arid steppe, and settling down anywhere is unfeasible. As a result they're constantly moving; driving sheep, hunting wild animals, and raiding others. Those who can't ride slow the tribe down, so they learn as soon as possible.
    • Their ancestor's homeland was a semi-arid steppe and settling down anywhere was unfeasible. They themselves have just conquered an empire and receive tribute from settled folk that allow them to maintain their princes in luxury. In the meantime they still always train their children to ride as part of the Good Old Ways.
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  • Inverted: The Agricoli had never seen horses until the Equestrii fell on their ancestors and decimated them. The events are Shrouded in Myth, but they remember the four-legged demon beasts their conquerors rode and kill them on sight.
  • Subverted: Alice has heard all the stories of the Equestrii, but when she's carried off in a raid she finds their civilian life isn't very horse-centric at all.
  • Double Subverted: ...until another branch of the tribe falls upon the weak, decadent Race Traitors who dare to live in mud huts and farm cows, puts their village to the torch and steals their horses.
  • Parodied: The Gym Khanate are a savage tribe of once-little girls whose Pony Club was lost in the wilderness. They've become wild and ruthless bandits, but boy do they love their ponies.
  • Zig Zagged: The Equestrii ride horses when it suits them, but they're perfectly willing to walk on two feet. They prefer to use Hit-and-Run Tactics and Horse Archery, but they know how to form a shield wall if they're pinned down. They're nomadic in winter, but tend to settle down over the milder months to grow crops and stock up for the winter.
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  • Averted: None of the Barbarian Tribes have a particularly close relationship with horses, short of riding them in battle and on long journeys.
  • Enforced: What's a Medieval European Fantasy without Hordes from the East swooping down on horseback?
  • Lampshaded: "Wow, you guys love horses, huh?
  • Invoked: The Equestrii aren't a particularly horsey people, but knowing how much the Agricoli are terrified of them the Khan orders his troops to stay on horseback at all times.
  • Exploited: The Khan wants the people of Agricola to think they're dealing with barbarous, bestial savages so that they'll underestimate his diplomats...
  • Defied: "You stupid farmers think we're joined to our horses at the hip, don't you? We just use them to move around quickly, we're not in love with the dumb beasts."
  • Discussed: "They say the Equestrii give birth to their children on horseback, you know. Some even say they have prophesied the coming of a centaur Messiah, and their priests lie with fillies to bring it about..."
  • Conversed: "Oh look, the Hordes from the East are yet another Mongol expy..."
  • Deconstructed:
  • Reconstructed:
    • The Equestrii we see are just their armies - they have a poor but civilised homeland where their civilians live lives of semi-nomadic subsistence farming, but never have to worry about warfare because their raiding parties have subdued the rival tribes for miles in every direction.
    • Anti-cavalry tactics work only until the Equestrii learn how to avoid/counter it. From then on, they utterly destroy any force they face in battle. As being mounted gives then superior speed, range, manuverability and other advantages that just can't be matched by foot soldiers.

Trot on back to Born in the Saddle.

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