Breed Spotlight: New Forest Pony

Breed Spotlight: New Forest Pony

New Forest Pony

Another quasi-feral breed (it’s complicated), the New Forest Pony is far more regulated than its prior two contemporaries. Only purebloods can be added to the registry anymore, so Astranar is quite lucky to be able to start their own breed book. As a pony, the New Forest pony is one of the options for a pony-mount the player will need to complete the game and will be given a quest line for funds. Unfortunately, that isn’t in the same district as this pony resides. Maybe you can arrange your play-order of districts to help you pick it for your own pony friend?

This pony dates all the way back to the Ice Age! It is indigenous to the New Forest in southern England, where it continues to thrive to this day. They are amusingly enough described as being workman-like in their composition by the registry. They have a sloping shoulder, powerful hindquarters, and straight legs that end in rounded hooves. Their gates can be described as “free,” without being too over-exaggerated, so no dramatics here. They are usually intelligent, agile workers known for their sure-footed steps and speed.

New Forest 1

Despite being quite beloved in their home region for work and agility work, including gymkhana, show jumping, dressage, and other eventing, the New Forest Pony has been labeled a minority breed. Steps were taken to improve the quality of foals, and then in 1960, the New Forest Pony Breeding and Cattle Society began to publish their stud book. The pony found itself being exported throughout the world, and other countries began their own studbooks and registries that have helped the breed. Being from England, the moors and craggy shorelines of Citrine must feel like home, and they have their own studbook there.

New Forest 2

Breed Characteristics:
New Forest ponies are most commonly found in chestnut (red coat and mane for Mystic Rider purposes), bay, or grey. Other solid colors are possible, though blue eyes and excessive white markings (i.e. paints) are not allowed. Lighter coats palomino and sorrel (red coat with blonde mane, again for our purposes, see above) are only allowed in mares and geldings.

Starting Stats: *
Speed:                    1                                              Discipline:        3
Endurance:         2                                               Agility:             6
Strength:             3

* Note, these numbers aren’t set in stone. They are Becca’s way of trying to reduce her knowledge/research of breeds and their particular skills and traits into numbers so when animators and programmers have to look at these horses, they can go, “Oh, this horse can’t turn worth beans but this one can on a dime, noted!”

Breed Spotlight: Camargue Horse

Breed Spotlight: Camargue Horse

Camargue Horse

In contrast to our last breed spotlight, the Camargue horse is an ancient breed indigenous to the south of France. The breed book managed in Astranar is what is referred to as Camargue hors berceau because they are born outside of that region. It is an optional horse, so you will have to pay real-world funds for it.

For thousands of years, the Camargue horse has inhabited the marshes of southern France in their namesake region. They live in semi-feral family groups referred to as manade. It is a compact horse, with a short neck and deep chest. The mane and tail are noted as being very full, with the tail set low. Its limbs are strong, long, and in proportion, ending in solid and wide hooves that have developed due to their marsh living conditions. Their heads are frequently compared to Barbs, being heavy, square, with wide, expressive eyes, in contrast to their short ears. Pictures of them galloping through water are considered very romantic and are a popular image in posters.

Camargue 1

Because of their ancient association to the south of France, they can be tied to many other breeds, including Iberians, the Spanish jaca, the Chilean horse, the Criollo, Barbs, Arabians, and Thoroughbreds. The French government began setting breed books to protect the breed in 1976, especially as they continued to be cared for and used by the gardians, the Camargue version of cowboys who manage the black bulls for the bull fighting present in Southern France. With their calm temperament, intelligence, and hardy nature, they are valued for dressage, games unique to the gardians, and endurance riding, which helps explain why the Citrine district is eager to keep the breed book.

Camargue 2

Breed Characteristics:
Camargue horses are only available for purchase in grey/white. While foals are born dark brown or black, when they shed their fuzzy baby coats, they turn full white by maturity (and of adequate age to be sold).

Starting Stats: *
Speed:                   3                                              Discipline:        3
Endurance:         5                                               Agility:             3
Strength:             2

* Note, these numbers aren’t set in stone. They are Becca’s way of trying to reduce her knowledge/research of breeds and their particular skills and traits into numbers so when animators and programmers have to look at these horses, they can go, “Oh, this horse can’t turn worth beans but this one can on a dime, noted!”

Skip Over to Citrine District

Skip Over to Citrine District

We keep mentioning our wonderful districts, so now we’re going to start introducing them. Astranar has eight districts, each with their own individual flare, and they can be quite competitive with each other. In Astranar, the districts are named after gemstones. This week, we’ll be discussing Citrine (the gemstone, not citrus fruits), where Fire magic sparks the imaginations.

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Continuing the hill country with a few plains mixed in instead of forests and gorges, Citrine is on the southeast side of the country with coastline, and sharing a border with the Diamond, Ruby, and Sapphire districts. The point of inspiration from Ginny was Scotland. Not just the moors, but also the lochs and woods rather than full forests. While water isn’t as plentiful here as it was in Ruby, there are a few stand-alone lakes and streams. The grasslands of the moors seem to stretch on and on at times, with hidden hills creating surprises around corners. There is some hard pebble type beach shores, but a good portion of the coastline is also jagged rocks and steep cliffs.

With the sweeping plains of grass, most of the “farming” that happens is that of animal husbandry, though some grow grains or nightshade variants like potatoes and eggplant. A wildcat sanctuary is kept among the hills, where a wide variety of big and small species of wild cats have a safe place to live and education on conservation can occur. They even have a traveling group that rarely has orphaned kittens they could use some help raising. The coast is home to plenty of fisherman who scour the sea for bountiful seafood, while the vineyard does its best to compete with the other districts.

The local nobility is small, with their presence not being felt much. A count, a baron, and a few lords and a knight, they could use a reminder on how to socialize with each other and with the populace. Perhaps because of having lots of space, perhaps because Citrine is so close to Diamond District, but no matter the reason, Citrine has plenty of flourishing dance studios and other types of training that performers dream of. It fits with the creativity and passion that is used to combat the sameness of the view and weather. The fashion reflects this, with some hip-hop inspired styling that somehow manages to make it work with the gothic aesthetic.

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Sweep hills of grass are great for not only cattle, but horses. Specifically flat-style racing, which is all about speed and endurance. The horses that are collected here reflect the more tumbling sides of speed. The Brumby, the Camargue horse, and the New Forest pony all make their homes here (or rather, their breeders do), and they are sure-footed to help if you need a new horse for speeding through the flats. Please note, the expectation is that the game will provide you funds for two extra horses in addition to your initial horse, one of which includes a pony. This is not the district that supplies you the credits for purchasing one.

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Fire magic resonates with Mi on the solfege scale. It’s all about the creative energy and passion for life. Fire-inclined people are energetic, brave, and vivacious, with personality just oozing out of them. They can’t help but show their creative personalities, being very assertive and strong in themselves. On the small scale, Fire magic can light a candle or a campfire, making a matchbox or tinder a theoretical exercise. On the large scale, it can be a purifying force, as well as provide inspiration depending on the spell. The downside is that an irresponsible or out of control spell can lead to a raging forest or grassland fire faster than you can sneeze.

If you following Ginny’s twitter blog, you’ll know that all of the districts, including Citrine, have their own little specialties and symbols. I won’t bore you with all of them, and I want you to get to enjoy finding them out on your own! (The name is one giant clue to one of them, fyi.) I will mention that the Citrine mentors depend on which side you choose. If you go with the Light, you will look to Vivienne Streetbeats (profile pending), and if you go with the Shadow, you have options: Vivian Streetbeats (profile pending) and Veronica Highflute (profile pending).

Want those profiles to come sooner? Consider buying us a ko-fi.