One thing I’ve been recently thinking of doing with the whole Black Mask & Pale Rider world, is make their world a place of lost things. Things that no longer exist on Earth, but thanks to this mirror image world populated by elves, those things continue to live on. One of those things happens to be the main mode of transportation in this world; the horse.
Right off, I know people are saying “but a horse still exists in today’s world, they aren’t gone”. Which is correct. But to anyone who recognizes the above picture, this kind of horse died out around 5 million years ago. For a time it was believed to be the direct ancestor of the modern horse (but has recently been proven not to be the case). This member of equus happens to be called Pliohippus. With similar features to modern horses, plus just slightly smaller (Pliohippus was 1.24 meters tall, whereas modern horses average 1.6 meters tall) it makes it the perfect steed for the smaller elven people (who’s average height happens to be 5 to 5 and a half feet tall… not counting Nordicians… more on them in a bit).
Pliohippus lived in the Pliocene Epoch, and was similar to Equus but had two long extra toes on both sides of the hoof. Externally, these were barely visible as calloused stubs. Pliohippus had long, slender limbs, which meant it was built for speed and build to be able climb steep areas where it foraged for food.
These horses would be perfect for the smaller sized elves like Shani and Pania, and domesticating them wouldn’t be hard either. Stories from both old Celtic legend and Iroquois say the elves were nature spirits and helped to keep evil creatures at bay (along with being playful tricksters). With such a connection to nature, it wouldn’t be hard to have them begin breeding this breed of Equus as riding mounts at all. For horse drawn carriages, most likely they’d use oxen.
I did make mention of the Nordicians having a different kind of horse. That makes sense, considering these elves are based off of legends from Norse myth. The Nordicians are tall, powerfully built, and enjoy a good fight along with a good drink. They revel in stories of combat and victory and are rarely quiet. Their horses would match, which is why they’d most likely ride Dinohippus. Dinohippus was a horse that lived 10 million years ago, and live on Earth for about 6 to 7 million years. Three specimens of Dinohippus revealed that they weigh a lot; two specimens weighed around 1200 pounds, while a third weighed closer to 500 or 600 (this could have been a very young colt or foal). Based on bone structure, the Dinohippus was also a tall horse, measuring about 2 meters tall (about the size of a Percheron), which would have again been perfect for the taller Nordicians. Nordicians stand about 6 and a half to 7 feet tall. Yes, very tall elves. The other elves call them giants. It stands to reason, really, because the Percheron or Clydesdale would have been the horse of choice when going into battle. Not a smaller horse like an Arabian or Mustang.
The reason why I focused more on two extinct breeds of horse is that it adds a bit more to this world and makes it slightly different, yet very similar, to Earth.