About the breed

5 min read

Deviation Actions

Zlesdin's avatar
The Zlesdin is a breed of horses from the flatlands of Lettfell where they have roamed for more than 2,000 years. As such, they are as much a product of evolution than of cultured breeding; characterized by both their impressive vitality and their refined beauty.
These horses are purpose-built to command a harsh steppe environment of burning summers, freezing winters and, at times, meagre rations. Their home in the Fellish flatlands vary in landscape type from sand-stone-desert to endless grass steppes and high plateaus - distances are great and so is the Zlesdin's endurance. Temperatures in this setting can vary greatly, not only between seasons but also from day to night - night-time temperatures can drop to freezing or below due to the great radiation loss under the clear skies of the steppes.
The Zlesdin breed is a national emblem in its homeland. These horses were the mounts of the infamous Kizathi raiders and a local saying has it that ''A Kizath loves his horse more than he loves his wife". Female or unmarried Kizaths of course have their own version of this saying.

Zlesdins are medium-sized horses, usually standing between 160-175 cm in height.
The ideal Zlesdin is tall, long-legged and lean, while still possessing great vitality and power. These horses have a fine head with a straight or convex profile and fairly long, slim ears - the ears are notably 'pointed' which is a breed characteristic. The head is carried high on a long well-shaped neck set high on the shoulders. Swan necks are fairly common, but ewe necks are considered a fault.
The body is tube-shaped with (typically) a long back and a sloping shoulder. The chest tends to be narrow, but deep.
The most important part of a Zlesdin is its legs - they should be long, clean and dense; knees flat. Hooves are small and hard. Weak legs in this breed are not only rare, but a huge fault.
The manes and tails of Zlesdins are silky. The tail is carried like a streamer and the mane is often cropped short, but occasionally only the top half (behind the ears and halfway down the neck) is cropped. This practice is usually seen in horses who are not ridden but merely shown. Tails are often grown rather long.
A typical feature in the breed is the large amount of 'white' in the eye, giving the horse a permanent expression of alertness.
The most commonly seen colours in the breed are chestnut, bay, buckskin and black; of which the chestnut (often with a copper sheen) is considered the most prized. Less common colours include cremello, perlino, palomino, grey, duns and roans. Leg stripes from dun gene and/or counter-striping are common. The sabino, rabicano and silver genes are occasionally seen. Pearls and champagnes are very rare, but not unheard of.
Colours never found in the breed are: splash, tobiano, overo and tovero.

Note that while Zlesdins are not 'bred for colour'; copper chestnuts remain the most valuable and prized horses. Adversely, colours with pink-skinned bases (such as cremello, perlino, dominant white etc) and horses who show excessively loud white markings due to sabino have traditionally been deemed less desirable (but accepted), as such horses don't handle the harsh steppe sun as well and are prone to sunburns. Today this matters less, as sunscreen has proven effective against burns.

Like their people, Zlesdin horses are thought to be both stubborn and hardy. Used for centuries as cavalry horses they have the high-spirit, fearlessness and alertness needed in a horse used for raiding and war. It is not a horse prone to 'spooking' at objects; indeed Zlesdins have a reputation for being fearless - often their first response to a danger is not to flee, but rather to defend itself and its human.
Zlesdins are typically outspoken individuals with wills of their own - work deals are made on their terms. They usually form tight bonds with only one person, and thus, they tend to be wary and reserved around strangers. Earning their trust and affection takes a great deal of dedication and time (and treats!). Once achieved, however, a Zlesdin is a fiercely loyal companion.
Zlesdins are very smart, and they are not suited for nervous or insecure humans. With these horses obedience cannot be achieved with force. Subtle gestures, glances and soft vocal commands are sufficient. Even still, they can be rather obstinate and generally cannot be said to have an easy temper. Due to their high intelligence, they are very likely to obtain bad habits if they find themselves bored. Of course, some horses are more high-strung than others.

The natural athleticism of the Zlesdin makes it a versatile horse well-suited for many different disciplines. They are especially proficient in endurance, dressage, show jumping and eventing due to their versatility, but some are also succesful in other disciplines - it all depends on the horse, its temper and its training. Due to their build and long, sloping shoulder, they are not suitable for pulling heavy loads or ploughs, however. Nor are these horses typically suitable for the race tracks, as they are not 'sprinters'.
Zlesdins are furthermore gaited - their lateral ambling gait, skeggas, is pleasant, like a slow trot in speed and can be maintained for long periods of time - this is the gait the Zlesdin resorts to when covering great distances.The gait in itself is not 'flashy', although dedicated training can teach the horse to move in a more extravagant way. Some Zlesdins master 'speed racking'.
© 2014 - 2023 Zlesdin
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In
GottaGoRideMahGoat's avatar

What happens if I cross a Zlesdin with another gaited horse, or other horses in general?