Horse Physiology (sage ability)
Horse Physiology is an authority-status sage ability in the study of Horseback Riding that encompasses practices that ensure the health, happiness and readiness of horses as loyal companions and symbols of prestige — as well as the backbone of the game world's society, as horses serve a vital importance with regards to transportation, labour and warfare.
With regards to these skills, the presence of a barn is a fundamental necessity, not just as a place to store grain and hay, but also as a vital shelter to protect the horse from harsh and unpredictable weather. While much of the ability can be used to care for horses in the outdoors, occasionally a horse must be given rest in a strong, warm, dry place, else it slowly weakens until it must be put down.
What follows are a set of horse-related practices with which the character is very familiar and can employ without failure.
This provides expert care and attention to a horse's recovery of lost hit points (h.p.) through adjustments to nutritional needs, poultices, massage and other forms of therapy. Normally, a horse heals at a rate of 1 h.p. per day; through use of this ability, the character can increase this to a pace equal to the animal's hit dice (HD) — so that a horse with 2 HD would heal at a rate of 2 h.p. per day. Further, if the horse is sheltered in a barn, this benefit is further increased by +2 additional hit points each day, until the horse has fully regained it's vitality.
Those possessed of horse physiology can provide care of this manner for one horse per 12 points of knowledge possessed. Thus, a character with 37 points could aid the rest of three horses.
Similar to the sage ability described for human combatants, this skill allows for the character to stauch the flow of blood resulting from a wound, the sort that might be gotten in battle or an accident. This is something that cannot be done effectively by an unskilled character, so that in battle most horses who are wounded ultimately die. However, characters with this sage ability can succeed in binding a horse's wound in 3 combat rounds, ending the loss of hit points as soon as the binding begins.
Limbering a Horse
This describes a series of activities and movements designed to warm up the horse's muscles, joints and tendons, ensuring that the horse is physically and mentally ready for the demands of riding or work. In general, a certain amount of limbering can be provided by any horseback rider with 10 points of knowledge, but with respect to any special work that a horse might be expected to do, such are horseracing or jousting, the status of knowledge provided by this sage ability is necessary. Exercises include lunging, circling and bending, stretching exercises and the ability to mentally engage the horse.
Diagnose & Treat Horse-borne Disease
The character is able to expertly diagnose horse ailments through keen observation and a deep understanding of equine behaviours, discerning symptoms, irregularities and physical signs of diseases or injuries. This includes the administration of herbal concoctions, soothing poultices and age-old remedies to nurse the horse back to health.
Injuries may be healed in a similar manner to that described by aid rest above, but only so long as the horse was sheltered in a barn. Healing of injuries cannot be accomplished in the outdoors. Whereas for humans, 10 h.p. of healing can restore 1 point of injury, these are much more serious for a horse — thus double the amount of healing, or 20 h.p. per point of injury, is necessary.
Disease is another matter entirely. Most diseases last weeks or months, and this is no different for horses. At the time of writing this page, insufficient rules exist for the resolving of diseases, and so further comment here must wait until those rules have been corrected and updated.
The abilities here apply only to horses and not to other animals, which each have separate needs. Nor do these abilities provide any benefit in the treatment and care of humanoids, though arguably they would be of use with regards to various horse-derived beasts, including centaurs, hippocampi, hippogriffs and pegasi. So long as the horse-parts of these have been either hurt, injured or diseased, then it's understood that these horse physiology skills can be applied.