In Jackie Morse Kessler’s Riders of the Apocalypse series, teens are transformed into the four horsemen of the apocalypse. As Riders, they’ve got many things to learn—including how to care for the horses they’re given. If you happen to find yourself a newly-minted equestrian of the end times, here’s some advice. . . .
By Melissa Miller (a.k.a. "War")
So you got yourself a warhorse! First, congratulate yourself, because I guarantee no one else on the block has one.
Next, invest in a good pair of leather gloves. Preferably, ones that horses can’t bite through.
Okay, so consider yourself lucky that you don’t have to deal with mortal warhorses. No worries about things like stabling, or brushing, or feeding your new friend. Bonus, right? Of course, your horse still needs things from its Apocalyptic rider.
1. Introduce yourself to your steed. What, you think that your warhorse is going to just make nice to you because you’re its new rider? Please. This is a warhorse. It’s got attitude to spare. (Which is good; if you want something that’s going to just roll over and let you rub its tummy, get a dog.) Walk around it in a slow circle, giving it a very wide berth (especially by those hind legs). Slowly make the circle tighter until you’re finally arm’s length away from its muzzle. And then show it who’s boss and make it bow its head. (Note: it’s very helpful to wield the Sword of War for this purpose.)
2. Name your steed. Hey, would you like to be called "Horse"? Doubtful. So pick a good name, one that reflects your horse’s personality. I’ve heard that calling it after a god might inflate your horse’s ego, but that never really was a problem for me. Your mileage may vary.
3. Take your steed for a ride. The best way to bond with your warhorse is to go riding. Just don’t fall off; the fall to earth could be a doozy. (Note: Apocalyptic warhorses fly. Very high. And very fast. Those reins are there for a reason; I suggest holding on. Very tightly.)