The battlesteed is a type of horse specially bred and trained by the Shin'a'in clans for as long as they have lived on the Dhorisha Plains. Bred primarily for intelligence, agility, strength and endurance were also highly prized characteristics.
The mare was laying all about her with iron-shod hooves and enormous yellow teeth; neither animal nor man was likely to escape her once she'd targeted him. She had an uncanny sense for anyone trying to get to her rider by disabling her; once she twisted and bucked like a cat on hot metal to simultaneously crush the bandit in front of her while kicking in the teeth of the one that had thought to hamstring her from the rear. She accounted for at least as many of the bandits as Tarma did.(Oathbound, Oathblood)
"They had thick necks and huge, ugly heads with broad foreheads. They looked like unpolished statues of rough granite, and were nearly as tough. They could live very handily on forage even a mule would reject; they could travel sunrise to sunset at a ground-devouring lope that was something like a wolf's tireless tracking-pace. They could be trusted with an infant, but would kill on signal or on a perceived threat. They were more intelligent... than a mule, even. In their ability to obey and to reason they more resembled a highly trained dog than a horse, for they could actually work out a simple problem on their own." (Oathbound)The high level of intelligence and skill in a battlesteed is much of the reason the Dhorisha Plains have never been conquered. However, the mares do not breed frequently, making the breed somewhat rare. For that reason, no battlesteed has ever left the clans. They cannot be purchased at any price, and the horses themselves are too intelligent and well-trained to allow themselves to be stolen.
No stallions are ever allowed to leave the Plains for any reason. Only the mares go out with adventuring clansmen.
Breeding program Edit
Amberdrake, who knew full well what had gone into the breeding program, noted that Kaled'a'in healers and mages had worked together to create the final product. The changes were more subtle than those of the bondbirds, but in his mind, more impressive.
"Bone density had been increased, hoof strength increased, in some cases extra muscles had been created that simply didn't exist in a 'normal' horse. The digestion had been changed; the warhorses could forage where few other horses could feed...[they] were no longer herd beasts. They were pack animals. Their behavior was no longer that of a horse, but like a dog." (The Black Gryphon, Chapter Eight)