The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Species
Equus caballus1
Meaning
A very ancient word, thought to derive ultimately from an archaic root meaning 'run'

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  • Updated 29 January 2009
  • Updates planned: 1

Horses

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

Famous Horses of Arda

Arod A horse of Rohan, originally ridden by one of Éomer's éored. After his rider was lost in battle with the Orcs, Éomer gave the horse to Legolas, who rode it with his friend Gimli.
Arroch The steed of Húrin of Dor-lómin, on which he rode away to the Nirnaeth Arnoediad. The name Arroch means simply 'noble horse'.
Asfaloth The horse ridden by Glorfindel of Rivendell, at least in the closing years of the Third Age. It was on Asfaloth that Frodo Baggins made his desperate escape across the Ford of Bruinen.
Felaróf In origin a wild horse of the northern Vales of Anduin. When Léod of the Éothéod tried to tame this horse, Felaróf threw him and caused his death. Léod's son Eorl demanded that Felaróf submit to him in payment for this deed, and the horse was loyal to his new master throughout their lives.
Firefoot A horse of the Rohirrim, ridden by Éomer during the War of the Ring. During the journey from Edoras to Helm's Deep, Gimli the Dwarf also travelled on Firefoot's back.
Hasufel Originally ridden by Gárulf of Rohan, Hasufel's master was lost in battle with the Orcs. After that, the horse was lent by Éomer to Aragorn, and he carried his new rider across the fields of Rohan to Edoras, and then on to battle at Helm's Deep.
Lightfoot The sire of Snowmane, the horse of King Théoden of Rohan. Lightfoot's history is unknown apart from a passing reference inscribed on Snowmane's Howe.
Nahar The steed of Oromë the Huntsman of the Valar, on which he travelled the wide lands of Arda in the ages before the first rising of the Sun. It was upon one of his journeys through Middle-earth on Nahar that Oromë discovered the newly awakened Elves.
Rochallor The warhorse of High King Fingolfin, on which he rode to his final combat with Morgoth the Dark Lord. Legend said that Rochallor was attacked by Wolves after his master's death. He outran them, but after he reached safety in Hithlum he fell down and died of sorrow and exhaustion.
Roheryn The horse of Aragorn, brought to him by his fellow Rangers during the War of the Ring. It was said to have been a gift from Arwen, hence the name Roheryn, which meant 'gift of the lady'.
Shadowfax One of the Mearas, the most majestic of the horses of the Rohirrim. Shadowfax consented to be the steed of Gandalf during the War of the Ring, and in reward for his aid he was taken across the Sea into the West after the War was won.
Snowmane The horse of King Théoden of Rohan, on which he rode out of Edoras. Snowmane carried the King throughout the War of the Ring, but would ultimately cause his death. Struck down by the Haradrim in the Battle of the Pelennor, Snowmane fell on his master, wounding him mortally.
Windfola The horse on which Éowyn (in disguise as 'Dernhelm') rode with Meriadoc Brandybuck to the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.

Notes

1

Horses in Middle-earth seem to have been directly comparable with those alive today, to the extent that many of the same general types and colours found in modern horses already existed in Middle-earth. A significant exception, though, is found in the magnificent horses known as the mearas, a strong and highly intelligent race, at least some of which could understand human speech. The mearas seem to have bred true over many generations, and possibly represent a unique and separate species of horse that is no longer known today.

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