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The Riders of Rohan by TurnerMohan The Riders of Rohan by TurnerMohan
"Their horses were of great stature, strong and clean-limbed; their grey coats glistened, their long tails flowed in the wind, their manes were braided on their proud necks. The Men that rode them matched them well: tall and long-limbed; their hair, flaxen-pale, flowed under their light helms, and streamed in long braids behind them; their faces were stern and keen. In their hands were tall spears of ash, painted shields were slung at their backs, long swords were at their belts, their burnished skirts of mail hung down upon their knees."

---The Two Towers, chapter 2

My image of the moment when Aragorn Legolas and Gimli find themselves encircled by the Riders of Rohan has stuck in my head, more or less unchanged, since I first read TTT, I'd always wanted to see it rendered as a painting. What I'd hoped to capture here (and only partially succeeded, in my estimation) was a feel for both the land and people of Rohan, and for the moment itself; the tension between the rushing horses and the stable trio, like the calm eye in a spiraling storm, the power and motion of that foremost horse, the endless flat plain and vast, vaulted sky of the riddermark.
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:iconcompressorman:
compressorman Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2016
Nice! My favorite part in all the books.
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:icondgarauz:
Dgarauz Featured By Owner May 10, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Great work.
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:iconzwartekraai:
zwartekraai Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2015
In my mind I always saw the riders of rohan a bit more like huns or mongolians. I mean I like the viking look but viking's weapons and shields were designed for sea raids and infantry fights, not for chavelry.
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2015  Professional General Artist
They are described pretty point blank in the book as being "vikingish" or more accurately anglo saxon, with their chainmail hauberks, longswords and all. There are many references throughout the two towers and the return of the king to the anglosaxon nature of their culture; not only the physical description of meduseld but the way inwhich galdalf aragorn legolas and gilmi approach it is borrowed heavily from beowulf's arrival at heorot, the rohirrim even speak anglo saxon. Tolkien envisioned them as a fictional version of his anglosaxon forebears, one which, though the use of horses, might have successfully resisted the norman invasion of 1066. He even remarked in one of his notes that the norman soldiers (whose dress and armament was largely similar to that of the anglosaxons they defeated) as depicted on the bayeux tapestry, was how he saw the rohirrim. I think he intended a more hunnic/mongoloid look to the "sallow skinned" easterlings with their scimitars, and the few times i have depicted them i try to go for a more mongol look, both for the easterlings themselves and for their clothing/armor.
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:iconzwartekraai:
zwartekraai Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2015
Yes but I bellieve the anglosaxons used teardop shaped shields when on horseback right? Or am i mistaken here? Anyway thank you very much for telling me this its facinating.
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2015  Professional General Artist
The normans used teardrop shaped shields for the most part, those are better suited to cavalry (although plenty of peoples throughout history have used rounded shields on horseback) i dont honestly remember for sure if tolkien refers to the rohirrim as using rounded shields, though I think he did; he's often very sketchy on descriptions, with everything that we might know about the shields of the rohirrim hanging on a single word like "long" or "round". I usually depict their shields as round because that seems better in keeping with the anglo saxon archetype, even though that archetype is usually one of foot soldiers, and in general the long teardropped shaped norman shield (and the crusader shields which followed and came from them) tend to start looking a little too medieval, i try to keep the rohirrim dark age, aesthetically.
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:iconzwartekraai:
zwartekraai Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2015
fair enough keep up the good work. I like how your artstyle really puts me in the idea of faery.
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:icontotczechowicz:
TotCzechowicz Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
this painting is amazing! It has such an energy in it! Great job
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:icondanielpillaart:
DanielPillaArt Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Great art!
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:icondulliros:
Dulliros Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I like the dynamic picture design.
Also, we get the impression of Rohan as the vast grassland, Tolkien describes.
:+fav:
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2015  Professional General Artist
yes, i'm big on riddermarks that look like they wouldnt cripple horses with a thousand volcanic rocks underfoot :)

thanks!
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:icondulliros:
Dulliros Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're welcome!
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:iconoznerol-1516:
Oznerol-1516 Featured By Owner Edited Dec 23, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love the perspective here, you made a right decision placing the ride in the foreground and the Three Hunters in the middle. The cloak of the foremost rider is wonderfully shaped, the drapery is great there! The glittering mail and the stout scabbard are wonderful and I also love the hilt's design, something you could expect to find in a British burrow. It's great to see how energetic and nimble his horse is, captured in the middle of its intense galloping.

But maybe the strong point of the artwork are the Hunters, who you painted without detail, insinuated, but still instantly recognizable. Like the dark, stern and tall Strider/Aragorn or the stout and brave Gimli.

The grass caressed by the wind and the fast riders in the background are masterworks on their own. Like the cloudy sky, which reminds me to those painted by Velázquez and the Baroque artists (even if that was purely practical, cloudy skies meant less blue used, and blue was the most expensive color. Forgive my rant here) and creates a nice atmosphear.

However I'm so contaminated by ASOIAF and G.R.R. Martin, because I miss the wavering silken, green, standard of the galloping white horse of the House of Eórl. I'm a bit obsessed with heraldry because it isn't mentioned in the book that they ride under such banner.

This reminds me to Alan Lee.
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2015  Professional General Artist
thank you my friend (somehow i missed this one).

this was one of my favorite parts of the two towers, especially the wait; i love that the trio (thanks to legolas) can see their overtakers from an hour's ride off, but cant really do anything to get out of their way on foot, so they just have to wait there and find out if they'll be well recieved or not. It's a great, calm but anticipatory moment, like something you'd see in a kurosawa movie, and gives aragorn the opportunity to monologue about the rohirrim, and we havent really seen yet how he, being this wise but also proud and confident king in exile, would interact with his fellow men (except the breelanders, which is a very different story) I'd considered doing the trio seated in the waving grass, fairly closeup as if from a vantage point sitting beside them, but for a dramatic composition this moment was the clear winner. i'm glad you like the way i did the trio, i myself was prticularly happy with how they came out, and glad the decision to put them relatively out of focus in the middle ground paid off; aragorn seems to be looking at the rider in the foreground, tall and formidable girt with his sword ofcourse (as he later demonstrates for eomer) but with his hands at his sides, gimli's a little more on the defensive about these men and their horses, and legolas the immortal has his face turned away (atleast from our vantage point) not really relateable to the men of rohan, less so even than his companions.

as for the rohirrim themselves tolkien once described them as looking like the horsemen figures on the bayeux tapestry (even though those were actually normans, as tolkien must have been well aware, norman and anglo saxon dress and armament in the 11th century were all but indistinguishable for our modern purposes, especially represented as basically as on that tapestry) and i liked how this angle afforded this sort of tapestry like side-scrolling view of the eorlings riding in cohort, and then we get that one in closeup, more an archetype than an individual character, i'd hoped in the ready pose, the swiftness of that strong horse, the maille and sword, and that viking-helmeted head with blond beard and streaming hair, to capture the essence of the people of rohan; that is a silhouette against the vast prairie sky that you would see unchanged at any time in their history.
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:iconwisdom-thumbs:
Wisdom-Thumbs Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You have redefined that scene for me, and there truly is a great deal of motion+power in that horse. It's the foggy-day colors that stick right in me headbox, though.
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Edited Feb 9, 2015  Professional General Artist
well they stuck in my head since my first time reading TTT (especially curious since the day is clearly described as bright and cloudless :P )

glad you like it, and the horse especially, those are hard i find, so i'm glad this one's doing it for you.
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:iconmatushyzny:
MatusHyzny Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Great composition! I really like this piece.
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:iconliasid:
liasid Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
beautiful :)
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:iconthegreymoon:
thegreymoon Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2014
Love it! :heart:
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:iconnordiclynx:
NordicLynx Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow, great work :) Very dramatic and well made
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:iconpeet:
peet Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Stunning compositionally - thats  what speaks to me most here. It would have been nice to see something more artistic and interesting, perspective-wise, with this scene in the film. Something similar to this, of course. I was just watching TT again. I don't know why I bother torturing myself. Anyway, as ever a wonderful piece. It is poetic.
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:iconteb1013:
teb1013 Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2014
This is a unique perspective on this iconic moment. The riders in the back have a stylized look, almost like the Bayeux Tapestry. The one in the front (Eomer?) is very dramatic. I like how you have portrayed our 3 heroes isolated in the middle. Good work.
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:iconsanctuaryfthebeast:
sanctuaryfthebeast Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2014
I love your artworks! Love You are really awesome!
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:iconwoutart:
woutart Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2014  Professional General Artist
Now THESE are the Rohirrim as the are supposed to be. Awesome depiction!
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:iconsilamir:
silamir Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2014   General Artist
Wow, beautiful! I love the atmosphere
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014
Really nice work on this sky here! Your painting course is sure paying off!
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014  Professional General Artist
thanks man, the sky was what i was most pleased with, and actually it didn't even really show up very well here (this is a pretty poor quality photo of the piece, I'm gonna replace it with a scanned copy hopefully by the end of the day ;) ) That course is great, I'm learning alot in it, mostly about working with big washes (which as a pencil drawer doesnt come naturally to me) I think you'll like the next one I've got cooking :)

as always, good to hear from you bro.
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014
Sure Turner, you know that I appreciate your stuff alot. And you always manage to make it better little by little and I admire this too.
I can really use a bigger rez here for sure! Do it when you have the time!
A tease! Of course you are cooking something exciting as always! I'm looking forward to see news in your gallery!
I did some new stuff too, if you feel like, drop by and take a look, there is some more dwarven mask stuff this time :D
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thanks man. there's the scan. I'm glad to get some of the detail back, but i could sure do without that streak down the sky :P (fuckin' copiers, what are you gonna do?)

my next two paintings (both currently under production) will both feature horses as well. one's from the children of hurin; speaking of which, I saw your new work, it's excellent.
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:iconartigas:
Artigas Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014

So good to see it in better detail! The streak is a party pooper but never mind, the art is so great here and it is a pleasure to see it high rez.

I am really looking forward to put my eyes upon those new pieces! I love the COH book so it will be a great pleasure to see your depiction of a scene from it!

Thanks for the compliment in my last piece man, you know how much it is appreciated!

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:iconsuemart:
SueMArt Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Fantastic work. Love it.
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:iconw1lly101:
w1lly101 Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2014
This is brilliant, I love it.
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:iconbenjaminossoff:
BenjaminOssoff Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Marvelous work! The clouds are wonderful.
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:iconzeonista:
Zeonista Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2014
Excellent depiction of this scene, our introduction to the Riders of the Mark. There is wariness between them and the Three Hunters, but still no surprise, just a desire to see what needs to be done further before returning home. You have some good color sense in an action scene here. Only niggle is that you didn't include at least one horse-archer, but that's a small thing compared to the overall effect.
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:iconjacob-cross:
Jacob-Cross Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2014
Cool
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:iconsaeleth:
Saeleth Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2014
Amazing job, full of phatos!
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:iconoosulimeoo:
oOSulimeOo Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2014
Amazing. Great angle!
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2014
 Particularly magnificent work Master Mohan; I'd say that you have definitely captured the 'Big Sky' quality of Theoden's Kingdom, as well as the co-ordinated yet wild movements of this Riding Eored, not drilled and yet perfectly co-ordinated. I'm also very impressed by the strong impression your rendering of that Rider in the foreground makes upon the eye of the beholder (and the economy with which you have used this one rider to stand for the others, allowing the reader to get a good look at the Rohirrrim which allows them to fill in the details as their eye pans over the rest of this Eored without yourself being obliged to depict them in tedious detail).

 I would also like to say that I like the cool-headed quality you lend the three hunters who act as the other focus of this painting  as the calm eye at the heart of this equestrian cascade; they're quite clearly prepared for trouble but not looking to pick a fight (although Master Gimli does rather look as if he's bracing himself to take not a single hint of cheek from these Horsemen … or their mounts!).  
 

 As a closing statement, it may amuse you to learn that (being detail-oriented and easily-diverted) I myself have actually conducted a small degree of research into disparate horse breeds to try and work out what the most appropriate physical model for the Horses of the Rohirrim should be … I never quite pinned the question down with a firm answer, although I do recall rather gravitating towards something Hungarian (given the parallels between the Hungarian plain and the Riddermark).

 It's amazing what a meticulous imagination will do to even the most sensible mind … :D (Big Grin) 
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:icongabbanoche:
Gabbanoche Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
But Hungarian horses are typically small and has a lean and thin body.
So unless Tolkien imagen the Rohirrim to ride 19th-20th century horses, the line "Their horses were of great stature" is way off.

However the Percheron fits the description quite well, and it's and old breed used by knights. Obviously they were smaller in medieval times then they are now, but they were known as a "great horse". Oh and u also have the Friesian horse.
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2014
 I admit that I fastened upon Hungarian horses in part due to the parallels between the physical landscape of Hungary and that of Rohan (although I admit that recollections of the Lipizzaner breed also played some part in my absent-mindedly fixing upon these parallels).

My reasons for doing so should be evident after perusing this particular image!

 Now having looked at images of the two breeds you have mentioned I must say that while the Percheron strikes me as a bit too burly for my mental image of the great horses for Rohan (although it DOES indeed have 'great stature'), for I tend to see them as beasts bred for speed and for grace and for endurance rather than for raw power, that other suggestion of yours the Friesian horse looks PERFECT - the breed appears to have magnificent presence and conformation without looking more like the equine equivalent of a bodybuilder, rather than an olympic decathlete. 

 Really, save for the colour THIS is what one of the Mearas ought to look like.

 
 I still haven't quite decided on the perfect MIX of influences (I have noted previously that my mental images tend to be a mosaic more often than a photograph), but the Friesian certainly adds a new piece to an old puzzle.:) (Smile)  

  
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:icongabbanoche:
Gabbanoche Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well horses from grasslands tends to be small and slim looking. The great horses often comes from the old wild forest horses.

I would like to point out that both the Percheron and Friesian horse would not have looked the same in medieval times as it does now. I know for a fact that the Percheron has been turned into a horse more suited for pulling heavy carts and wagons then as a riding horse. So this bodybuilder horse as you called it is the modern Percheron. The Friesian horse would have to be smaller in medieval times.

It's hard tracking horses down to the medieval times since they did not look at horses as breeds, but rather as types. Here's a few medieval types, Palfrey,Retinue,Rouncey and the more famous war horses, the Courser and the Destrier.
The Courser were light, fast and strong. The Destrier was the finest and strongest of horses, only used for battle of jousting. But they have more or less the average height only that their stronger and more muscular.

Now i suggest you have in mind that perhaps Tolkien didn't know that much about horse breeds and horse types, and only wrote what he thought to be a majestic and noble description of a knights horse.
And wouldn't it be highly possible that when he wrote about them he reminisces about the horses, he surely must have seen, used by the British cavalry during WW I? i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/0…
Not sure that's a British cavalryman or not, but the 20th century war horse quite fits the description "great stature, strong and clean-limbed" don't you think? Sure the mane and all that aren't there but still.
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2014
 Thank you very kindly Gabbanoche for reassuring me that not only am I amongst Tolkien fans, I am not quite so far out into the lunatic fringes of that Fandom as I had previously feared! (I admit that spending valuable time contemplating the PERFECT model for the Great Horses of Rohan or the landscape of Numenor does rather push one over the fine line between 'casual fan' and 'NERD' at supersonic speed, with all the corresponding risk of brain damage).:D (Big Grin) 

 I must say I rather like your suggestion of using a 20th Century warhorse as a model for the mounts of the everyday Rohirrim (a thought that continuously reoccurs to me when contemplating the mounts that make the Eorlingas what they are is that they ought to look hard-worked but very well-treated, as working animals rather than show-ponies).

 I will also say that it's perfectly plausible that the Horses of Rohan would descend from Forest Breeds - given that Eorl himself brought his people and their herds south from the very eaves of Mirkwood.

 Please allow me to conclude by thanking you very kindly Gabbanoche for taking an interest in my own ramblings and also to thank you Master Mohan for not taking me to task for having the cheek to pad out your thread with such rumination!   
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:icongabbanoche:
Gabbanoche Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well actually i've barely read Tolkien, i'm dyslexic and Tolkien are some hard stuff, but i sure do like Tolkien. He's on my "to read before i die" list!
Mostly i commented because it's an interesting conundrum and the fact that the Hungarian horse didn't fit the description. Plus i'm always up for a nice discussion :)

Well if the men of Rohan have somehow manage to create 20th century horses in the medieval Middle Earth, well then surely they would be quite superior! Much like the Polish cavalry of the 16-17th century, because they too had great, tall and fast horses.
The 20th century war horse is however warm blooded i believe and most forest horse offsprings are cold blooded, i think. Now i'm no expert on horses so that might not be a obstacle.
But no matter what breed, a war horse must be fast, agile and strong. 
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2014  Professional General Artist
I tend to agree that tolkien probably didnt have any real breed of horses in mind when writing about the great, strong, clean-limbed horses of the rohirrim. Though all the horses in this painting were drawn from my head, i did alot of studies in preparation for this piece by sketching the carriage horses in central park here in NYC. no two were of the same breed from the looks of them and none perfectly fitted the rather idealized, strong, wild "great horses" of tolkien's description, but between them i was able to get a sense for the look and feel of what the horses of rohan should be. tolkien's very romantic in his descriptions of the rohirrim (they are largely intended as an anglo-saxon people, so he's putting one down for the home team) and it's easy to get a picture of both the people and their horses as these tall, handsome, strong, not entirely settled or civilized creatures, still in the more rugged, unrefined stages of cultural development, so i didn't want the horses to look too "bred" like alot of those super specific horsebreeds you see today. Something like the medieval freisians feels about right. Actually the percherons, which are bigger and more "bred" looking, i tend to see as fitting horses for gondor's scant cavalry, that's a more advanced, settled culture, further along in their cultural development, and they're not really horse people like the rohirrim are, the main forces of their armies seem to be infantry. i like the idea of their comparatively small cavalry force being made of of these huge, powerful pedigreed horses of black and grey coats in heavy armor, that feels right for them.

My next piece (currently under development) features a really big warhorse, i've been doing alot of research into the medieval destriers and their contemporary descendants.
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:icongabbanoche:
Gabbanoche Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I just want to point out once more that the Percheron wasn't a draft horse from the beginning, and probably were much slimmer back in the day.

I too thin the Frisian fits the description best, with its impressive mane and muscular body.

And yes, Rohan is definitely a "fuck you" to the Normans ^^
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2014
 True, although I don't believe any horse breed is actually cold-blooded (except in metaphor) being mammals and self-heating by design.

 I should also like to note that if you think Tolkien is heavy-going, you really might want to avoid 'WAR AND PEACE' which makes it look rather like light reading by comparison! (or A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE of which the same might be said).:D (Big Grin) 
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:icongabbanoche:
Gabbanoche Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Cold and warm blooded are two different classes of horses. Or was that some classic dry british humor ;)?

Ah Tolstoy... Would love and read that one! Or at least all the battle scenes. Yeah i've started reading ASOIAF but i had already started to watch the series so it felt too much like repeat so i binned it. 
So far i would say Robert E Howard is my favorite writer and i also like Michael Arnold just read a little of his Civil war series, but they seem very interesting.
Actually i read very little except big dry history books :)
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:iconmeisiluosi:
Meisiluosi Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Very cinematic. Love it.
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:iconmanorasflame:
ManorasFlame Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow!  This is just amazing!  The contrast between the movement of the riders and the stillness of the three is perfect!  I absolutely love your work...one of my favorite artists indeed!
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:icongabbanoche:
Gabbanoche Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I think your really captured the "oh fuck what do we do" feeling from Legolas, Gimli and Aragorn. And a very exciting perspective i might add!!
I just want to point out that the sword is on the wrong side of the rider, in most cases the sword would be hung on ones left thigh.

Speaking of swords and Rohirrim, the worst blooper in the whole of TTT movie is when Eomér drops his sword :( www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7yUDI… If you haven't realised that yet i'm sorry for ruining the scene for you.
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