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Discussing: Shadowfax

Shadowfax

I'm beginning to walk into a quagmire with the fic this question will lead me to... Anyways.... Does anyone know (a) Shadowfax's sire and dam (b) How old the horse is (c) How the Rohirrim maintain their horse herds.... do they have wild horses running around on the Riddermark until they need to round them up to select the ones they want to break?

 

 

Re: Shadowfax

Greetings, Gypsum~ Here, lemme give you a hand out of that muck! The simple thing is, I am almost completely certain that Tolkien never specified any of that. So you are completely free to make it up as you please. Invent names for Shadowfax's parants and invent an age, as pleases you. The only thing per age I would offer is that Shadowfax is most likely a mature horse over 5 years in age or even over 7. The reason I say this is he is described as being all silver or grey, and since grey horses are born dark, lightening with age, I would say Shadowfax is most certainly a mature stallion. As for husbanding their herds ... I suspect the horses were kept on "open range" in open country, but I would think they were managed, watched over regularly. I doubt they were fenced, but I'd imagine that herders kept close watch on them, rode out to check on them every day, perhaps even stayed out with them day and night, rather like sheep herders. Young boys might be given that task before they are old enough to become warriors, rather like the American Indian horse tribes did. There is mention in LOTR of herders moving their animals across the river to safety, which suggests the sort of scenario I am imagining, here. Certainly herders keeping watch over the Rohirrim horses would cut down on chances of theft by enemies, attacks by predators, or animals simply going astray. I believe most horse cultures kept such watch on their animals. Anywho, that's just my thought, which of course you are free to ignore, since as I said, Tolkien never specified any of it. Hope this helps! Cheers ~ Erin

 

 

Re: Shadowfax

The only thing per age I would offer is that Shadowfax is most likely a mature horse over 5 years in age or even over 7. The reason I say this is he is described as being all silver or grey, and since grey horses are born dark, lightening with age, I would say Shadowfax is most certainly a mature stallion. what an excellent opening for me to SSP my greyhorse article Rohirrim Grey It explains how their color changes as they age and provides links to photos of the horses being discussed. you didn't ask about his color since he is clearly described in the text, but Erin is correct that is a strong indication that he is fully mature

 

 

Re: Shadowfax

I can't quite believe I'm butting in on a horse question (but more on a canon issue really!) but in Appendix A it says: "It was upon Felaróf that Eorl rode to the Field of Celebrant; for that horse proved as long lived as Men, and so were his descendants. These were the mearas, who would bear no one but the King of the Mark or his sons, until the time of Shadowfax. Men said of them that Béma (whom the Eldar call Oromë) must have brought their sire from West over Sea." (My emphasis) Is it possible the mearas, being longer lived, matured (and therefore changed colour) more slowly than a normal horse would? (Or have you already taken that into account?) Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: Shadowfax

Quickie post 'cause I am on my way to the barn, incidentally (you know it's finals when posts get shorter and tack doesn't get clean). The above quote in Appendix A is why I asked.... I figured he was a mature stallion And then there was a quote in FOTR about him being foaled in "the morning of the world," whatever that means, and a fic on this website somewhere that had the stallion around at the same time Aragorn served under Thengel. And the horse was a mature breeding stallion. Obviously the fic wasn't canon, but it was a good fic and I figured the author had some basis for portraying Shadowfax as a fully mature stallion fifty or so years before the events of LOTR. Haven't time to look up either, right now, but I know they are there. If he was a normal horse, I'd choose some arbitrary number between 9 and 12-ish ( young enough to be sound, but old enough to not be stupid).

 

 

Re: Shadowfax

...there was a quote in FOTR about him being foaled in "the morning of the world," ...
Almost, but not quite. The quote comes from The Council of Elrond in book Two of FotR. It is introduced by Boromir's rebuttal of the suggestion that the Rohirrim paid tribute of horses to Sauron:
'...They love their horses next to their kin. And not without reason, for the horses of the Riddermark come from the fields of the North, far from the Shadow. and their race, as that of their masters, is descended from the free days of old.' 'True indeed!' said Gandalf. 'And there is one among them that might have been foaled in the morning of the world.[emphasis mine] The horses of the Nine cannot vie with him; tireless, swift as the flowing wind. Shadowfax they called him. By day his coat glistens like silver; and by night it is like a shade, and he passes unseen. Light is his footfall! Never before had any man mounted him, but I took him and I tamed him...
The quote that has already been cited re: the life expectancy of Felaróf and his descendants doesn't tell us how old Shadowfax is, but if he is chief of the mearas I would assume that his predecessor is deceased. I wonder if the mearas fought for supremacy like the wild stallions do, or if they were more "civilized," inheriting the leadership much as a king ascends to the throne upon his father's death. I think I lean toward the latter, and if that is the case, I would take that to mean that Shadowfax is a very mature stallion, perhaps as old as fifty or so (average life expectancy of the Rohirrim was around eighty according to UT: The Battles of the Fords of Isen: "...the Rohirrim commonly lived till near or beyond their eightieth year.").
...I figured the author had some basis for portraying Shadowfax as a fully mature stallion fifty or so years before the events of LOTR.
It sounds to me as though the author of that fic had done some research. ~Nessime

 

 

Re: Shadowfax

Hello again Gypsum ~ Ah, Nessime beat me to the quote. Well, given that this makes Shadowfax's age even more ambiguous, I guess you can make him any age you like! As I noted before, Tolkien specified neither Shadowfax's age, his sire and dam, nor how the Rohirrim husbanded their herds, which means you remain free to ignore invent as you will! (And also ignore my earlier ramblings, LOL!) Cheers ~ Erin

 

 

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