Horse Training Tools—Spurs

Horse Training Tools—Spurs

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Jennifer specializes in articles about horse training, care, and purchasing.

Why Are Spurs Used?

Spurs are used for two purposes. The first is to back up the use of the leg. This means that if a lazy or desensitized horse does not respond to the leg, then the spur is employed. Many English riders prefer to use a crop instead of spurs for this purpose.

The other reason spurs are used is to give extremely precise leg aids, particularly in high level reining or dressage.

A good rider, however, rarely uses spurs and many English riders never even wear them.

A Spur-Trained Horse

One of the annoying things you might come across, especially in the western world, is a horse that has been 'spur trained.' Fixing this is possible, but takes time.

A spur-trained horse has been ridden by somebody who always uses the spur to cue the horse, rather than correctly making use of the leg. This is most often seen in barrel racing and rodeo, but it's possible to run across it in the hunter-jumper world too.

Even worse is the spur stop, where the horse is trained to stop when both spurs are applied. My answer to this is always 'if leg means stop, what means go?'

Abuse of the Spur

Spurs can easily be abused, and the following should always be kept in mind:

  1. Inexperienced riders should not be allowed to wear spurs. Only when the rider has an independent seat and good control of their leg should spurs be introduced, and then only if needed. Any rider who starts overly relying on spurs should have them confiscated.
  2. The spur should never, ever, under any circumstances break the horse's skin. Injuries right behind the girth area, or white spots in this area that aren't part of a pattern, indicate current or past spur abuse and may indicate spur training.
  3. The spur should never be the aid of first resort. A truly good rider should rarely need spurs.

Rowelled Spurs

Rowelled spurs are seen exclusively in western riding. The spur has a flat, movable disk with points on it.

To the layman, rowelled spurs look like a torture device, and there has been some backlash against them. Some horsemen believe they are inherently cruel and should never be used.

Correctly, a rowelled spur is 'rolled' along the horse's side and never jabbed into it. It's a light 'prick prick prick' or an annoying tickling that motivates the horse to move.

However, when abused, rowelled spurs tend to cause more spectacular injuries than other kinds. Also, they come in varying levels of harshness. I have never seen a good cowboy use a particularly harsh set of spurs. Look at the length and number of the rowels. A long, sharp rowel is harsher than a short, flat one. There are certainly rowelled spur designs out there I consider too harsh for anyone other than an abuser to use.

Hunting Spurs

The standard English spur is generally called a hunting spur. English spurs have just a short 'prod' that comes off the heel.

Spurs vary in length and sharpness. Hunting spurs are used to motivate a lazy horse, with a very light tap or jab, but never hard enough to cause damage. They are used primarily in hunting primarily because most hunters carry a hooked cane or a hunting whip that is not designed to be used on the horse. Some show jumpers also prefer to jump with hunting spurs either instead of or in addition to a whip. Personally, I think you should never use both, but that's me.

Dressage Spurs

Dressage spurs tend to be longer than hunting spurs, so that the leg is not turned in as much. In England, the most common design is called a 'Prince of Wales' spur. In continental Europe, small rowels are commonly seen on dressage spurs. These are sometimes called 'German dressage spurs.'

Dressage spurs are used to increase the precision of the leg aid at higher levels where, for example, the aid for a canter half pass and that for a flying change can be extremely similar. They are not intended to motivate the horse, but rather to make the instructions clear.

Dummy Spurs

Spurs are required for Grand Prix dressage. They are also expected in the show ring. However, some people don't believe in using spurs at all.

As a result, it is possible to buy 'dummy' spurs. Dummy spurs may have no actual 'spur' attachment at all, being just a metal loop that runs around the heel of the boot. Or they may have a very short spur attachment, which often points outward. That is to say, they are called 'dummy' spurs because they are completely useless as a training aid. Dummy spurs are used solely for appearance—to complete the look of the turnout or to satisfy competition rules without wearing real spurs.

However, 'dummy spur' is also, confusingly, used by some people to refer to any spur without a rowel on it and some western 'dummy spurs' are ones with fake rowels that are too short to have any effect. The true meaning, though, is a useless spur worn only for the sake of looking like you're wearing spurs.

© 2012 jenniferrpovey

Miniature horses are now used in a variety of environments. One of the largest providers of miniature therapy horses is Gentle Carousel, whose horses have helped more than 45,000 people in hospitals, hospices and assisted living facilities. This is volunteer run organization that has helped survivors of the Sandy Hook shooting as well as many natural disasters. Gentle Carousel is one of the organizations that we looked up to when founding Rocking C Ranch.

Increasingly, miniature horses are used as therapy animals to help those coping with tragedies or fighting illness.

Miniature horses can also provide valuable assistance to the blind. The Guide Horse Foundation specializes in training miniature horses for this purpose. These animals are small enough to live indoors with people, while also being helpful for guiding visually impaired people outdoors. Miniature horses, like guide dogs, help to give blind people more mobility. They do, however, have some advantages over dogs. They have a lifespan of 25 to 35 years, which is considerably longer than dogs. This makes it possible for miniature horses to be long-term companions for the blind. They’re also a good alternative for people who are allergic to dogs or who simply prefer horses.

Miniature horses have a calming effect on people of all ages. They’ve been used to comfort sick children as well as elderly nursing home residents who may not get many visitors. They can also help to calm ordinary people in stressful situations. This was proven when Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport began using miniature horses to reduce tension at security lines.


Linda and Pat Parelli have created a horsemanship program unlike any other I have seen. It really teaches you how to get fascinated by horses instead of frustrated because the answer is always in the program and is usually pretty simple and very effective.

The Parelli program has taken me to places with horses that I had only dreamed of and my horses are all happy to see me everyday because they are as excited to learn something new, as I am. Whatever you need the Parelli program has it!

Joshua Burke

Parelli Level 4 Graduate, Austria

In 2005 I decided to try Natural Horsemanship. I chose Parelli because I really liked the way Linda and Pat rode and handled their horses. Wow, did I make the right choice!

It has impacted every part of my life with people, and even the dogs and cats in my veterinary clinic. Most importantly my horses have bloomed into super horses. They excel in every situation I present to them. I have more confidence in my riding and abilities to solve problems, and I can communicate more clearly to get the results I want, from simple requests to liberty, flying lead changes and bridle less riding. It’s a wonderful program!

Parelli is my life and has been for 18 years. I follow the philosophy and psychology in everything I do – in work, play, and both human and horse relationships.

Parelli has made me a better leader and person, the philosophy, psychology, and principles flow over into lifestyles, family dynamics, and even my marriage!

My Parelli horses are my friends, my therapy, my partners in life and in competitions. They better my soul.

Animals & Animal Gear

The animals, mounts, and related gear in this section can be found in most large cities. Based on its location, a settlement might not have all of these animals or related gear available at a given time (as the GM deems fit).

Animal Price Weight Source
Badger 15 gp 20 lbs. PZO1123
Bat 5 gp 1 lb. PZO9410
Bat, dire, riding 300 gp 400 lbs. PZO1123
Bat, dire, riding (combat trained) 450 gp 450 lbs. PZO1123
Bat, shadow 50 gp 2 lbs. PZO9410
Camel 150 gp 1,000 lbs. PZO1123
Camel, riding 150 gp 1,500 lbs PZO1123
Capybara 1 gp 50 lbs. PZO9410
Cat 3 cp 8 lbs. PZO9410
Cat, hunting 100 gp 100 lbs. PZO1123
Cattle 10-50 gp 1,500 lbs. PZO1123
Dog, guard 25 gp 90 lbs. PZO9410
Dog, riding 150 gp 120 lbs. PZO9410
Dog, lap 15 gp 5 lbs. PZO1123
Donkey or mule 8 gp 600–800 lbs. PZO1123
Elephant 1,000 gp 5 tons PZO1110
Fox 8 gp 12 lbs. PZO1123
Goat 1-6 gp 50 lbs. PZO1123
Hedgehog 5 gp 3 lbs. PZO1123
Horse, heavy 200 gp 1,000 lbs. PZO1110/PZO9410
Horse, heavy (combat-trained) 300 gp 1,200 lbs. PZO1110/PZO9410
Horse, light 75 gp 600 lbs. PZO1110/PZO9410
Horse, light (combat-trained) 110 gp 900 lbs. PZO1110/PZO9410
Mastodon 2,000 gp 8 tons PZO1123
Monkey PZO9410
Otter 20 gp 10 lbs. PZO1123
Pack Animal 24 gp varies but 1-2 tons is common PZO9410
Pig 3-10 gp 100–300 lbs. PZO1123
Pony 30 gp — PZO1110/PZO9410
Pony (combat-trained) 45 gp — PZO1110/PZO9410
Rabbit 2 gp 3 lbs. PZO1123
Raccoon 5 gp 7 lbs. PZO1123
Rat 1 cp 1 lb. PZO1123
Rat, Blue 1 gp 1 lb. PZO1110
Rat, dire 5 gp 50 lbs. PZO1123
Sheep 2-20 gp 150 lbs. PZO1123
Skunk 10 gp 10 lbs. PZO1123
Squirrel, common 1 gp 2 lbs. PZO1123
Squirrel, flying 20 gp 1 lb. PZO1123
Weasel 2 gp 8 oz. PZO1123
Woolly mammoth 3,000 gp 6 tons PPC:Orcs
Woolly mammoth (combat-trained) 4,500 gp 6 tons PPC:Orcs
Woolly rhinoceros 2,000 gp 3 tons PPC:Orcs
Woolly rhinoceros (combat-trained) 3,000 gp 3 tons PPC:Orcs
Animal Price Weight Source
Axe beak 1,500 gp 500 lbs. PZO1123
Axe beak (combat trained) 1,500 gp 500 lbs. PZO1123
Axe beak egg 1,000 gp 10 lbs. PZO1123
Canary 4 cp 9 oz. PZO9410
Chicken 1 gp 6 lbs. PZO1123
Duck 2 gp 3 lbs. PZO1123
Falcon 40 gp 2 lbs. PZO9410
Hawk 18 gp 2 lbs. PRG:UE
Owl 20 gp 1–3 lbs. PZO1123
Owl, ruffled 20 gp 1 lb. PZO9410
Parrot 50 gp 4 lbs. PZO1123
Raven 2 gp 3 lbs. PZO9410
Thrush 1 sp 7 oz. PZO1123
Reptiles and Amphibians
Animal Price Weight Source
Gecko 12 gp 4 oz. PZO9410
Gecko, riding 300 gp 1,200 lbs. PZO1123
Gecko, riding (combat trained) 400 gp 1,500 lbs. PZO1123
Lizard 5 cp 2 oz. PZO9410
Snake, constrictor 5 gp 60 lbs. PZO1123
Snake, viper 5 gp 10 oz. PZO1123
Toad 2 cp 7 oz. PZO1123
Toad, Vision 10 gp 5 oz. PZO9410
Turtle 3 gp 4 lbs. PZO1123
Insects, Crustaceans and Mollusks
Animal Price Weight Source
Centipede, house 1 cp 3 oz. PZO1123
Crab 20 gp 5–7 lbs. PZO1123
Octopus 25 gp 2 lbs. PZO1123
Scorpion, greensting 15 gp 9 oz. PZO1123
Spider 25 gp 8 oz. PZO1123
Magical Beasts and Special Creatures
Special Creature Price Weight Source
Griffon (combat trained) 8,000 gp 500 lbs. PZO1123
Griffon egg 3,500 gp 10 lbs. PZO1123
Hippogriff (combat trained) 5,000 gp 500 lbs. PZO1123
Hippogriff egg 200 gp 10 lbs. PZO1123
Pseudodragon 200 gp 7 lbs. PZO9410
Stirge 20 gp 1 lb. PZO9410
Equipment and Supplies for Animals and other Creatures
Item Price Weight Source
Aquarium Ball 80 gp 20 lbs. PPC:FF
Bag, Bear 2 gp 3 lbs. PZO1121
Barding, common (Medium creature) Г—2 2 Г—1 2 PZO1110
Barding, common (Large creature) Г—4 2 Г—2 2 PZO1110
Barding, Hellknight see text see text PZO1138
Barding stitches 50 gp 1 lb. PPZO9410
Barding, thorny breastplate DDR
Bit and bridle 2 gp 1 lb. PZO1110
Brush, dandy 2 sp 2 lbs. PPZO9410
Brush, mastodon 20 gp 5 lbs. PPZO9410
Cage, Diminutive or Fine creature 10 gp 2 lbs. PZO1123
Cage, Tiny creature 2 gp 5 lbs. PZO1123
Cage, Small or Medium creature 15 gp 60 lbs. PZO1123
Cage, Large creature 30 gp 240 lbs. PZO1123
Cage, Huge creature 60 gp 960 lbs. PZO1123
Falconry gauntlet 10 gp 1 lb. PZO1123
Animal feed (per day) 5 cp 10 lbs. PZO1123
Animal feed, bird (per day) 5 cp 1/2 lb. PPZO9410
Animal feed, carnivore (per day) 5 cp 5 lbs. PPZO9410
Harness 2 gp 2 lbs. PZO9410
Howdah 500 gp 250 lbs. PPC:Orcs
Incubation stove 750 gp 250 lbs. DDR
Owlbear blinders 10 gp — DDR
Poison caps 25 gp 1/2 lb. PPZO9410
Quieting needles 25 gp — AP29
Saddle, military 20 gp 30 lbs. PZO1123
Saddle, pack 5 gp 15 lbs. PZO1123
Saddle, riding 10 gp 25 lbs. PZO1123
Saddle, exotic military 60 gp 40 lbs. PZO1123
Saddle, exotic pack 15 gp 20 lbs. PZO1123
Saddle, exotic riding 30 gp 30 lbs. PZO1123
Saddlebags 4 gp 8 lbs. PZO1123
Stabling for animal (per day) 5 sp — PZO1123
Training harness (human) 10 gp 10 lbs. PZO1121
Training kit (beast) 15 gp 26 lbs. Ana
Training kit (bird) 17 gp 8 lbs. PPZO9410
Training sleeve 100 gp 5 lbs. PPZO9410
Training whip (human) 5 gp 2 lbs. PZO1121
Tusk blades 50 gp 10 lbs. PPC:Orcs
Whet bone 1 sp 2 lbs. PPZO9410
Whip, enraging 10 gp 2 lbs. DDR

Riding Animals

When reared from birth, the following animals can easily be ridden by Small or Medium humanoids, depending on the riding animal’s size. In addition, most of these animals can be purchased already trained for combat. The animals are listed here for convenience when referencing the Ride skill, but are also listed on the Goods & Services Animals and Gear page.

Animal Price Price if Combat Trained
Aurochs 300 gp 450 gp
Bison 50 gp 75 gp
Boar 100 gp 150 gp
Elk 100 gp 150 gp
Giant chameleon 225 gp 350 gp
Giant frilled lizard 375 gp 550 gp
Giant gecko 100 gp 150 gp
Giant owl 6,000 gp 9,000 gp
Giant vulture 750 gp 1,125 gp
Goblin dog 35 gp 50 gp
Lion 200 gp 300 gp
Ram 25 gp 50 gp
Rhinoceros 1,000 gp 1,500 gp
Roc 7,200 gp 10,800 gp
Tiger 325 gp 500 gp
Woolly mammoth 3,000 gp 4,500 gp
Woolly rhinoceros 2,000 gp 3,000 gp

Dinosaurs and Megafauna

The following animals are classified as either dinosaurs or megafauna, and garner a significantly higher price than most animals on the open market. The prices listed are for dinosaurs and megafauna that have been reared from birth in order to serve as pets or mounts. Combat-trained dinosaurs and megafauna are incredibly rare and have similarly extravagant costs (if one can even find a seller). Though not normally readily available, combat-trained dinosaurs and megafauna typically cost an amount equal to 1-1/2 Г— the price of the standard animal.

Animal Price
Allosaurus 3,850 gp
Ankylosaurus 3,000 gp
Archelon 1,750 gp
Arsinoitherium 3,150 gp
Baluchitherium 4,800 gp
Basilosaurus 10,200 gp
Brachiosaurus 9,000 gp
Compsognathus 25 gp
Deinonychus 600 gp
Dimetrodon 600 gp
Elasmosaurus 3,500 gp
Glyptodon 2,700 gp
Iguanodon 2,700 gp
Megalania 3,500 gp
Megaloceros 800 gp
Megatherium 1,750 gp
Pachycephalosaurus 1,000 gp
Parasaurolophus 1,200 gp
Pteranodon 750 gp
Spinosaurus 11,000 gp
Stegosaurus 4,200 gp
Triceratops 5,600 gp
Tylosaurus 4,000 gp
Tyrannosaurus 8,100 gp

Aquatic Animals

Many of the following aquatic animals can be bought at seaside markets or from fisherfolk merchants out at sea. Pirates often make use of sharks, eels, and other nasty sea denizens when interrogating captured prisoners, searching for underwater traps, or retrieving sunken treasure. Some of the larger or rarer creatures, such as whales, are obviously much more difficult to find on the open market, and may only be available in seedy underground bazaars. Most aquatic animals can be trained as normal, though they are rarely sold already trained.

Animal Price
Blue whale 12,500 gp
Crimson whale 8,000 gp
Crocodile 55 gp
Dolphin 105 gp
Dwarf caiman 7 gp
Electric eel 125 gp
Gar 90 gp
Giant frog 75 gp
Giant gar 1,200 gp
Giant moray eel 1,000 gp
Giant octopus 1,800 gp
Giant squid 2,500 gp
Giant toad 150 gp
Great white whale 12,600 gp
Manta ray 25 gp
Marine iguana 6 gp
Narwhal 350 gp
Orca 1,350 gp
Sea krait 5 gp
Seal 45 gp
Shark 325 gp
Squid 25 gp
Stingray 18 gp
Whale 10,000 gp

Dire Animals

These feral beasts are all but untamable, and are typically only sought out by violent brawlers or cruel lords, either for brutish protection or to pit against equally vicious creatures in violent animal fights. At the GM’s discretion, PCs who acquire dire animals may be required to attempt wild empathy or Handle Animal checks every day to keep their pets from running away or attacking them and their allies. Dire animals are not generally suitable as mounts, though the GM may make exceptions at her discretion.

Animal Price
Dire ape 450 gp
Dire badger 125 gp
Dire bat 220 gp
Dire bear 1,750 gp
Dire boar 370 gp
Dire crocodile 2,700 gp
Dire hyena 250 gp
Dire lion 1,000 gp
Dire shark 3,375 gp
Dire tiger 1,055 gp
Dire wolf 380 gp
Dire wolverine 500 gp

Other Animals

The following reared animals don’t fit into one of the aforementioned categories, but can still be purchased by sellers who have access to them. Some may be purchased already combat-trained at the GM’s discretion, and typically cost an amount equal to 1-1/2 Г— the price of the standard animal.

Animal Price
Antelope 45 gp
Baboon 15 gp
Behemoth hippopotamus 7,900 gp
Cheetah 160 gp
Constrictor snake 90 gp
Dodo 5 gp
Eagle 40 gp
Emperor cobra 1,600 gp
Giant anaconda 6,300 gp
Giant porcupine 135 gp
Giant skunk 190 gp
Giant snapping turtle 5,200 gp
Gorilla 175 gp
Great horned owl 22 gp
Grizzly bear 740 gp
Hippopotamus 1,050 gp
Hyena 80 gp
Kangaroo 30 gp
Leopard 100 gp
Mongoose 4 gp
Monitor lizard 150 gp
Osprey 45 gp
Poison frog 60 gp
Porcupine 5 gp
Snail kite 18 gp
Snapping turtle 5 gp
Thylacine 18 gp
Toucan 40 gp
Vulture 30 gp
Wolf 100 gp
Wolverine 125 gp



Price 15 gp Weight 20 lbs.

These fierce, burrowing creatures are only rarely kept as pets.

Bats are Diminutive nocturnal rodent fliers that eat insects and fruit. They rely primarily on sound to navigate rather than sight.

Bat, Dire Riding

Considered to be the fastest non-magical transport in cavernous underground realms, dire bats are domesticated in captivity to serve as riding animals. Stables that accommodate these massive creatures are only commonly found in cities built in larger underground caverns, owing to the greater space required for training and exercise, though the outriders of some subterranean races fly them almost to the surface. These creatures require exotic saddles to ride.

Dire Bat, Riding (combat trained): These animals are used by scouts and military for war.

Bat, Shadow

Shadow bats are noted for their matte black fur and large size.


Price 150 gp Weight 1,500 lbs.

Due to their incredible endurance, these Large animals are the preferred mounts of desert-dwelling people. They tend to be ill-tempered beasts.

Capybara (a.k.a. Donkey Rat)

Price 1 gp Weight 50 lbs.

Capybaras (or donkey rats) are brown or snowy white rodents the size of small dogs, with long legs and short, furry tails that are sometimes used as pets. They are also sometimes referred to as “donkey rats” due to their size.

Cat (Common)

These Tiny animals are often kept as pets or familiars. Though small, they are excellent hunters grain farmers usually keep cats as pest control in crop storage areas. Stray cats occupy most cities—finding a free cat should pose little challenge.

Cat, Hunting

Price 100 gp Weight 100 lbs.

Rarely, Medium cats such as cheetahs and leopards are trained to hunt for humanoid masters.


Price 50 gp Weight 1,500 lbs.

Cattle are kept for milk and meat, and used as beasts of burden. A bull is used primarily for mating. Other males are castrated and become oxen, which are used to carry loads and plow fields.

Most dogs fall into one of the following categories.

Guard Dog: This Small, combat-trained dog is bred for battle breeders favor strength, a thick body, and a low center of gravity. Guard dogs are sold in most large cities and some cultures use them for sport fighting or in some armies’ special infantry.

Lap Dog: These tiny dogs are commonly kept as pets. They cannot be combat trained, but can serve as noisy-but-skittish watch creatures. Lap dogs have the same statistics as foxes.

Riding Dog: This Medium dog is bred for carrying Small riders, and is combat trained. Breeders select dogs with strong backs, endurance, and loyal dispositions and train them for riding and combat before sale. Reputable breeders can be found in major cities.

Donkey or Mule

Price 8 gp Weight 600–800 lbs.

Donkeys and mules are stolid in the face of danger, hardy, surefooted, and capable of carrying heavy loads over vast distances. Unlike a horse, a donkey or mule is willing (though not eager) to enter dungeons and other strange or threatening places. Donkeys and mules have the same statistics as ponies.


These Huge animals are exceptionally strong and are quick learners. They are most commonly trained for labor but occasionally also for battle. Most known elephants come from the jungle. Their upkeep is exorbitant, so only the richest citizens can afford to house one.

Price 8 gp Weight 12 lbs.

These quick and wily carnivores can be difficult to train, but often make excellent familiars. Many humanoid communities see these canines as a menace to their farming fowl, and some use dogs to track them during recreational hunts.

Price 6 gp Weight 50 lbs.

As an agricultural animal, goats provide milk, meat, hair, and hide, and they are sometimes used to clear fields of weeds and shrubbery. Some spellcasters bond with them as familiars.


Price 5 gp Weight 3 lbs.

These spiny mammals roll into a ball when threatened. They are sometimes kept as pets and are favored by some wizards as familiars.

Horse or Pony

Type Price Weight
Heavy 200 gp 2,000 lbs.
Heavy, combat trained 300 gp 3,000 lbs.
Light 75 gp 900 lbs
Light, combat trained 110 gp 1,200 lbs.
Pony 30 gp 800 lbs.
Pony, combat trained 45 gp 900 lbs.

This Large quadruped is used as a mount and pack animal. Horses can be trained for war but otherwise are skittish around battle. Many cultures support breeding programs and often consider their horse the best at whatever task they breed it to perform.

Heavy Horse: These horses are often used as portage animals, pulling significant loads across great distances.

Heavy Horse (Combat Trained): Heavy warhorses are bred and trained for war. They are often are outfitted with heavy barding, but fight just as fiercely even without the armor.

Light Horse: These horses can be ridden, but often serve as porters or carriage horses.

Light Horse (Combat Trained): These light warhorses are bred for war and are favored by fast and light cavalry, scouts, and daredevil knights.

Pony: These creatures are typically used for carting goods along narrow mountain trails or as steeds for young or Small riders.

Pony (Combat Trained): Ponies can be trained for war just as effectively as their larger, more mature brethren. Such steeds often serve Small riders that expect to face battle.

See the Handle Animal skill for a list of tricks known by horses and ponies with war-training.


Price 2,000 gp Weight 8 tons

These cousins to elephants are larger and more powerfully built. There is a nearly hairless version that dwells in southern climates and a woolly variety adapted to cold. More temperamental than elephants, they are used primarily as mounts.


These tiny animals are herbivorous and can most often be found in warm forests and jungles. Monkeys can grasp and carry objects that weigh under a pound. Trained “familiar capuchins” can sometimes be purchased.


Price 20 gp Weight 10 lbs.

These playful water mammals are either used as familiars or trained to perform tricks as pets. They are surprisingly intelligent, and have been known to use rocks as simple tools, such as for opening the shells of mollusks.

Pack Animal

Working animals, such as elephants, oxen, and yaks, are universal, but the specific kind of animal used for labor varies according to local availability. Elephants carry goods in jungles while yaks pull loads in mountainous regions. In many other parts of the world, donkeys, mules, and oxen pull carts or plows.

  • Yak: These shaggy-haired relatives to cows are more at home in mountainous terrain where they are frequently used as pack animals and to pull plows. Yaks have the same statistics as bison. Price 24 gp Weight 1,000 lbs.

Price 10 gp Weight 100–300 lbs.

Domesticated pigs are the descendants of wild boars, and are raised for their meat and hide, being among the most versatile and common farm animals.


Price 2 gp Weight 3 lbs.

Rabbits are often raised or hunted for their meat and skins, though some people keep the skittish mammals as pets. Though they are often confused with hares, rabbits are distinctly different in that they make their homes in burrows beneath the ground, and they are usually smaller than hares. Rabbits have the same statistics as rats.


Price 5 gp Weight 7 lbs.

These nocturnal hunter-scavengers are found primarily in forested terrains, and are noted for their domino mask-like visages, highly dexterous forepaws (which they rely on for their hyper-sensitive sense of touch), and the strangely anthropomorphic tendency to “wash” their food in water before eating it. Raccoons are sometimes kept as pets and used by some spellcasters as familiars.

These tiny rodents live everywhere and eat nearly anything. Despite having a reputation as disease-ridden scavengers, domesticated rats are clean, loyal creatures that make excellent familiars.

Rat, Blue

Blue rats are prized for their odd appearance.

Rat, Dire

Dire rats are vicious scavengers in the wild. However, dire rats raised in captivity can be trained as loyal pets and protectors. Diverse omnivores, they are found anywhere the surrounding habitat allows them to live, including dungeons and underground. Pet dire rats do not have filth fever.


Price 20 gp Weight 150 lbs.

These livestock animals are kept for their fur, meat, and hide, and can be found in virtually any civilized settlement. They are especially prized in colder environs, where their wool and hide can be used to make durable and highly insulated clothing. Sheep have the same statistics as goats .


Price 10 gp Weight 10 lbs.

These creatures are infamous for the overwhelmingly foul odor they produce to ward off predators. Skunks are sometimes kept as pets, though usually only after their scent glands have been removed. More information on skunks can be found in Bestiary 3.


These tiny rodents are as common in the wild as rats are in cities. They typically eat nuts, seeds, and vegetation. Squirrels have the same statistics as rats.

Flying squirrel: These Tiny squirrels use a membrane of skin between their front and hind legs to glide. They sometimes serve spellcasters as familiars.


Price 2 gp Weight 8 oz.

These Tiny animals eat smaller animals and can be found in nearly any environment. They are clever and curious, traits that are magnified when they are kept as familiars. Many varieties of weasel exude a strong musky odor. This description also applies to similar animals, such as ferrets, minks, polecats, and stoats.

Woolly Mammoth

These hairy pachyderms are sometimes used as mounts and living siege engines. As if these mounts weren’t intimidating enough, they are sometimes outfitted with spiked metal barding and tusk blades.

Woolly Rhinoceros

These hairy pachyderms are sometimes used as mounts and living siege engines. As if these mounts weren’t intimidating enough, they are sometimes outfitted with spiked metal barding and tusk blades.


Axe Beak (Combat Trained)

Price 1,500 gp Weight 500 lbs.

These Large avian predators are sometimes used as hunting animals but are prized as mounts.

Axe Beak Egg

Price 1,000 gp Weight 10 lbs.

Axe beaks raised from eggs are easily trained as mounts or used as livestock.


These Diminutive birds usually have bright feathers and sing pleasantly. More pragmatically, they are also used in mines to detect bad air, as their small bodies are more sensitive to such things the warning they provide gives humanoids a chance to escape before succumbing to the danger.


Price 1 gp Weight 6 lbs.

These domesticated birds are not capable of long distance flights, and are raised for their eggs and meat. Male chickens are kept for mating and occasionally blood sport.

Price 2 gp Weight 3 lbs.

Farm ducks are used for eggs, meat, and down, while wild ducks are hunted for meat. Ducks have the same statistics as ravens.


This Tiny, long-winged hawk is a popular hunting bird for nobility. Falcons are technically a subset of hawks but are considered more “noble.” Ownership is denied to commoners in many nations with hierarchical monarchies.

If you purchase a falcon you’ll probably also want a falconry gauntlet.

Price 18 gp Weight 2 lbs.

This Tiny, short-winged raptor is a popular hunting bird, but is utilized more often by lower nobility than by commoners without titles. Hawks are known for their sharp eyesight and powerful aerial dives.

If you purchase a hawk you’ll probably also want a falconry gauntlet.

Price 10 gp Weight 1–3 lbs.

These Tiny birds of prey are mainly nocturnal and are known for their keen eyes and near-silent flight. Owls eat small animals and insects, and can be found in nearly any environment. Some farmers create owl homes near fields and barns to control rodent populations. The smartest owls make excellent familiars.

Owl, Ruffled

These owls have a distinct “ruffled feather” look on their heads, making them look like sleepy professors in the daytime.

If you purchase an owl you’ll probably also want a falconry gauntlet.


Price 50 gp Weight 4 lbs.

These colorful and intelligent birds can be trained to mimic humanoid voices. They are often kept as pets by the wealthy and those who live in the tropical climates they favor. Parrots have the same statistics as ravens.


Price 2 gp Weight 3 lbs.

These Tiny birds are known for their intelligence, and even play games with each other in the wild. They eat insects and can be found in surprisingly varied habitats.


Price 1 sp Weight 7 oz.

These small plump birds are sometimes kept as pets, but are more often used as familiars for spellcasters. They are known for their beautiful song and their potential for actual speech.

Reptiles and Amphibians


Price 5 cp Weight 2 oz.

These Tiny cold-blooded animals can be found in all warm regions and are often quite colorful. They eat insects and have the ability to walk up walls and hang upside down. Varieties of more intelligent lizards are often selected by wizards as familiars.

Gecko, Riding

Larger than even what is commonly referred to as a giant gecko, these mammoth lizards have been specifically bred to be used as mounts for the drow. Prized for their ability to run along cave ceilings and sheer walls, these creatures require exotic saddles to ride. Use the statistics for a giant gecko with the giant template.


Price 5 cp Weight 2 oz.

These Tiny cold-blooded animals can be found in all warm regions and are often quite colorful. They eat insects and have the ability to walk up walls and hang upside down. Varieties of more intelligent lizards are often selected by wizards as familiars.

Snake, Constrictor

Price 5 gp Weight 60 lbs.

These Medium reptiles are found chiefly in warm climates. Somewhat aggressive, constrictors squeeze their prey to death before consuming it. Due to their size, these snakes are less popular for traveling spellcasters, but they can be quite helpful in a laboratory.

Snake, Viper

Price 5 gp Weight 10 oz.

This tiny reptile eats small animals and can be found in most temperate and warm environments. The bite is painful but not especially dangerous to the average adventurer.

Toad (Common)

This Diminutive amphibian is primarily kept as a familiar. Toads live in most temperate and warm environments, and eat insects.

Toad, Vision

These animals have a psychoactive skin venom which acts as a mild hallucinogen if the toad’s skin is licked.


Price 3 gp Weight 4 lbs.

These reptiles have bony shells that they can retreat into. They are sometimes kept as pets and used as familiars, and in some places their flesh is eaten or used as an ingredient in medicines.

Insects, Crustaceans and Mollusks

Centipede, House

Price 1 cp Weight 3 oz.

These creatures come in many forms, from the lighter-colored 20-legged variety to the darker 300-legged variety. Typically, these arthropods are what pass for pets in the slums, but the young and eccentric often search for the best specimens to serve as familiars. Centipedes employed as familiars have an Intelligence score and lose the mindless trait.

Price 20 gp Weight 5–7 lbs.

Aquatic spellcasters often find large ocean crabs to be agreeable familiars. Without the bond of a familiar, however, these crustacean’s lack of intelligence makes them dull pets.


Price 25 gp Weight 2 lbs.

These cunning animals can be employed as familiars by aquatic spellcasters. If they are kept is pets, they must be kept in water, as they cannot survive out of it.

Scorpion, Greensting

Price 15 gp Weight 9 oz.

Typically found in forested areas, these Tiny scorpions sport pincers too small to be dangerous to anything larger than an insect, but they still possess a poisonous stinger. Sometimes they are kept as pets or serve as familiars. Greensting scorpions employed as familiars have an Intelligence score and lose the mindless trait.


Price 25 gp Weight 8 oz.

These Tiny spiders have red bodies and black legs. They are hunting spiders, so they do not cast webs, though they are poisonous.

Special Creatures


This large, brown, horse-like creature has a hawk’s wings, talons, and hooked beak. Hippogriffs measure 11 feet long and weigh upward of 1,500 pounds. A fully trained hippogriff mount can command prices of up to 5,000 gp or more. A hippogriff can carry 198 pounds as a light load, 399 pounds as a medium load, and 600 pounds as a heavy load.

Cost 500 gp (young, untrained) up to 5,000 gp (adult fully trained)

Hippogriff (Combat Trained)

Price 5,000 gp Weight 500 lbs.

Less intelligent and easier to train than griffons, hippogriffs make reliable winged mounts.

Hippogriff Egg

Price 200 gp Weight 10 lbs.

While it is easier to train a full-grown hippogriff than a griffon, the eggs of these creatures are still prized by breeders.

Griffon (Combat Trained)

Price 8,000 gp Weight 500 lbs.

These deadly but majestic fliers are the favored aerial cavalry of many kingdoms. While griffons can be trained, some good deities consider doing so akin to enacting slavery, insisting that a griffon must come to its rider on its own free will. The price listed is for a trained griffon free will is bought with different currency (determined by the GM).

Griffon Egg

Price 3,500 gp Weight 10 lbs.

Unscrupulous adventurers and the desperate sometimes steal eggs from griffon nests, as trainers find it easier to raise a griffon from a hatchling than trying to train a spirited adult.


Price 200 gp Weight 7 lbs.

Found primarily in temperate forests, pseudodragons are intelligent enough that some consider their sale slavery. A handful of pseudodragons offer themselves for hire to adventurers, typically for half their listed price per week of work.


Price 20 gp Weight 1 lb.

These Tiny beasts are allegedly sold for indoor defense to rich clients, but often wind up in exotic blood sports. Despite the popular misconception that stirges are untameable vermin, such creatures are trainable, but they must be fed fresh blood daily to dissuade them from turning on their handlers.


Found in temperate forests, pseudodragons are intelligent enough that some consider their sale slavery. A handful of pseudodragons offer themselves for hire to adventurers.


These tiny beasts are allegedly sold for indoor defense to rich clients but more often wind up in exotic bloodsports. Despite popular conception, stirges are trainable, but they must be fed fresh blood daily or they turn on their handlers.

Misc. Supplies for Animals and other Creatures

Aquarium Ball

Price 80 gp Weight 20 lbs.

This clear, 1-inch-thick glass orb is the size of a large melon and hangs from a thick chain. It can hold up to 2 gallons of freshwater or saltwater, allowing it to house aquatic creatures such as fish or frogs. The cap near the top of the ball can be unscrewed for access. One Tiny creature or two Diminutive creatures can fit comfortably into an aquarium ball. The water within the orb must be changed daily in order to keep the creatures within alive. Otherwise, the inhabitants begin to slowly suffocate.

Bag, Bear

These sacks each include a 20-foot-long rope, from which they may be easily suspended from a tree limb or similar anchor point. Placing foodstuffs or fragile materials in hanging sacks is often considered a basic precaution when camping in the wild, to prevent bears and other predators from rooting through the sack’s contents.


Barding is a type of armor that covers the head, neck, chest, body, and possibly legs of a horse or other mount. Barding made of medium or heavy armor provides better protection than light barding, but at the expense of speed. Barding can be made of any of the armor types found on Table: Armor and Shields.

Armor for a horse (a Large non-humanoid creature) costs four times as much as human armor (a Medium humanoid creature) and also weighs twice as much (see Table: Armor for Unusual Creatures). If the barding is for a pony or other Medium mount, the cost is only double, and the weight is the same as for Medium armor worn by a humanoid. Medium or heavy barding slows a mount that wears it, as shown on the table below.

Flying mounts can’t fly in medium or heavy barding.

Removing and fitting barding takes five times as long as the figures given on Table: Donning Armor. A barded animal cannot be used to carry any load other than a rider and normal saddlebags.

Barding Movement Modifier
(40 ft) (50 ft.) (60 ft.)
Medium 30 ft. 35 ft. 40 ft.
Heavy 30 ft.* 35 ft.* 40 ft.*

Barding, Hellknight

Price varies Weight varies

Hellknights often equip their steeds with armor similar to their own. Typical barding for Hellknight steeds features ornamental spikes (these spikes deal no damage). Such barding is usually designed to look similar to the armor of the horse’s rider, or to look skeletal, fiendish, or similar to a nightmare. Hellknight barding can be made from Hellknight leather, Hellknight half-plate, or Hellknight plate it costs four times as much and weighs twice as much. Hellknight half-plate barding or Hellknight plate barding slows a mount’s speed from 40 feet to 30 feet, from 50 feet to 35 feet, or from 60 feet to 40 feet. A mount wearing such armor moves at only triple its normal speed when running instead of quadruple.

Barding, Thorny Breastplate

This barding is covered in thick metal spikes and is designed to protect the owlbear’s chest, shoulders, and neck, while leaving the limbs mostly free for moving and attacking. It provides a +5 armor bonus to AC, reduces the owlbear’s speed to 20 feet, and adds +1d8 piercing damage to its grapple attacks.

Barding Stitches

Price 50 gp Weight 1 lb.

This thin, specially treated wire can be used to attach barding to creatures whose body types cannot normally accommodate armor, such as piscine, serpentine, and verminous animals, by delicately and thoroughly sewing the equipment directly to the creature’s flesh. Equipping a creature with barding using barding stitches takes 10 times as long as normal barding, and a successful DC 25 Heal check is required to attach or remove the stitches. The creature must be helpless or willing to be equipped with barding stitches, and must have at least a +1 natural armor bonus to AC. An armored creature with barding stitches takes a -2 penalty on Strength– and Dexterity-based skill checks (in addition to any penalties from the barding itself), Fortitude and Reflex saves, and saves against effects with the pain descriptor (these penalties stack). These penalties persist for as long as the creature is equipped with barding stitches.

Bit and Bridle

Price 2 gp Weight 1 lb.

A bridle is a piece of equipment used to direct a horse. The bridle includes both the headstall that holds a bit that goes in the mouth of a horse, and the reins that are attached to the bit.

Brush, Dandy

Price 2 sp Weight 2 lbs.

This hard-bristled tool has a handle that slips over the wearer’s hand, and is used by animal breeders, owners, and grooms to brush the animals in their care, loosening dirt and detritus from the creatures’ coats and stimulating the skin so it produces the natural oils that keep them healthy and clean.

Brush, Mastodon

Price 20 gp Weight 5 lbs.

Tribespeople in lands where megafauna and other large mammals are an important source of food and transportation craft these large, two-handed grooming tools to keep their enormous mounts and pack animals healthy and clean.

Price varies Weight varies

This secure, portable enclosure is used to hold creatures—generally animals, but a large enough cage can hold anything. Cages are made from iron, wood, or bamboo, depending on local customs and available materials. One cage holds one animal of that size, or five animals of a smaller size. The weight of the creature adds to the weight of the cage. Cages come in the following sizes: Diminutive or Fine, Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, and Huge. Cages for aquatic creatures cost twice as much, and weigh four times the normal weight when filled with water.

Falconry Gauntlet

Price 10 gp Weight 1 lb.

This gauntlet, made from layers of thick leather, is worn on the falconer’s off hand to give a falcon a place to stand before and after a hunt. The gauntlet also has a tassel and a ring attached to the falcon’s tether.

Feed, Animal

Price 5 cp/day Weight 10 lbs.

Horses, donkeys, mules, and ponies can graze to sustain themselves, but providing feed for them is better. If you have a riding dog, you have to feed it meat.

Feed, Bird

Price 5 cp/day Weight 1/2 lb.

This mixture of seed and dead insects is suitable food for small birds such as ravens, crows, and chickens. Birds of prey such as falcons, hawks, and owls can also sustain themselves on bird feed, though they typically require at least two servings per day. Larger avian creatures such as axe beaks and griffons require larger portions of meat, and cannot survive on bird feed alone.

Feed, Carnivore

Price 5 cp/day Weight 5 lbs.

Consisting of various kinds of raw meat that have been jerked, smoked, or salted for preservation, a day’s worth of carnivore feed is adequate food for any Small or Medium meat-eating animal such as a tiger, bear, or dog. Larger carnivores might require up to 2 to 4 days’ worth of carnivore feed per day.


Price 2 gp Weight 2 lbs.

This leather or hemp harness allows a holder to restrain and control a domesticated animal. A harness is standard equipment for anyone trying to teach an animal tricks with the Handle Animal skill. Ready-made harnesses are available in most markets for common domesticated animals such as cats, dogs, horses, and oxen, but harnesses can be made for nearly any creature.

  • Training Harness: This specialized harness must be tailored to a specific type of animal. A training harness provides a +2 bonus on Handle Animal checks made with an animal wearing it.


This wooden platform is tied like a saddle to a Huge creature’s back. The platform is 10 feet square and enclosed by a low wall and sometimes a roof. The howdah has room for four Medium creatures (usually armed with bows or longspears), or two Medium creatures and a light ballista or light catapult. Occupants of the howdah have cover against attackers from below and are considered mounted for the purposes of making attacks.

Incubation Stove

Designed by dwarves, this iron pot-bellied stove is about the size of a halfling. It burns wood, coal, dung, or fungus stalks, and has a large moveable compartment on the outside to hold maturing owlbear eggs. The stoves need constant attention to maintain the right temperature, else the eggs get cooked rather than incubated. Some variations have a spring- or crank-turned device that turns the eggs.

Owlbear Blinders

Used in siege warfare, these blinders restrict the owlbear’s vision to directly where its head is pointing, helping to stop the owlbear from getting distracted and allowing the rider to focus its attention. This gives the rider a +2 equipment bonus to Ride checks made to control the owlbear, but gives the owlbear a –2 penalty to Perception checks.

Poison Caps

Price 25 gp Weight 1/2 lb.

These small rubber cones attach to a creature’s fangs and allow it to potentially poison those it bites. Poison caps must be filled with an injury poison, and must be attached to a creature’s teeth prior to use. A creature equipped with poison caps deals bite damage as a creature one size smaller than usual, but the next time the creature makes a successful bite attack, it also injects the poison from the caps into its target. The price and weight listed above are for a pair of poison caps both must be used simultaneously in order to be effective. A pair of poison caps can only be used once they are effectively destroyed after a successful bite attack. The cost of the poison is not included in the cost of the poison caps.


Price varies Weight varies

Saddles are used to support a rider or supplies on a mount.

  • Military: A military-style saddle braces the rider, providing a +2 circumstance bonus on Ride checks related to staying in the saddle. If the rider is knocked unconscious while in a military saddle, he has a 75% chance to stay in the saddle.
  • Pack: A pack saddle holds gear and supplies, but not a rider. It holds as much gear as the mount can carry.
  • Riding: Riding saddles are the most pervasive type of riding equipment. If the rider is knocked unconscious while in a riding saddle, he has a 50% chance to stay in the saddle.
  • Exotic: Exotic saddles are custom-made for unusual mounts. Exotic saddles also come in military, pack, and riding styles, just as normal saddles do, and have the same traits.


These sturdy, weatherproof bags are draped over a saddle to add extra carrying capacity. Each side of a saddlebag can typically carry 20 pounds of items that can fit in the bags. Saddlebags do not increase the amount of weight a mount can carry they merely give riders a place to stow their equipment.

Empty Weight: 8 lbs. Capacity: 20 lbs.


Price 5 sp/day Weight —

This is the amount it costs to stable a single creature that is Large or smaller for one day, at a typical stable or hostler. Particularly fancy stables may cost more, and larger or more exotic creatures cost double.

Training Kit, Beast

Price 15 gp Weight 26 lbs.

This kit includes a dandy brush, training harness, training whip, whet bone, and 2 days’ worth of carnivore feed. The weight of this kit can be reduced by 10 pounds by forgoing the carnivore feed.

Training Kit, Bird

Price 17 gp Weight 8 lbs.

This kit includes a falconry gauntlet, Tiny cage, training whip, and 2 days’ worth of bird feed.

Training Sleeve

Price 100 gp Weight 5 lbs.

This thick, heavily padded sleeve fits over the wearer’s arm and serves as a target for animals being trained to attack. When used in conjunction with the Handle Animal skill to train an animal for a general purpose, this item grants the user a +5 competence bonus on her Handle Animal check to successfully combat train an animal.

Training Whip

Tusk Blades

These metal caps must be specially fitted to a creature’s horns or tusks a blade reminiscent of a sword or axe head projects from each cap. If the creature makes a gore attack (including as part of a powerful charge), the attack deals both piercing and slashing damage, and has a critical threat range of 19–20 (this range can be increased by other effects). Tusk blades can be enhanced as melee weapons the enhancement is applied to the creature’s gore attack.

Whip, Enraging

This whip has small caltrops or metal barbs woven into its length and a quartet of metal whistles attached to the fall when snapped, the whistle sounds like screaming owlbear young. An owlbear’s rider uses this noise to enrage the monster, prodding it to attack the nearest creature. Anyone who attacks an owlbear with such a whip draws its attack in preference to all other targets.

Whet Bone

Price 1 sp Weight 2 lbs.

This hardened mixture of animal marrow and minerals is shaped into a long bone. When chewed upon by a creature for no fewer than 15 minutes, a whet bone grants the creature a +1 bonus on its next damage roll the first time it hits with a bite attack. This only works on non-magical bite attacks.

Horse Racing

Behind the romanticized façade of Thoroughbred horse racing is a world of injuries, drug abuse, gruesome breakdowns, and slaughter. While spectators show off their fancy outfits and sip mint juleps, horses are running for their lives.

Forced to Race

Horses used for racing are forced to sprint—often under the threat of whips and even illegal electric-shocking devices—at speeds so fast that they frequently sustain injuries and even hemorrhage from the lungs.

Whip use is standard practice in the U.S., with little more than lip service handed out to extreme violators in most states. At a 2008 race, the horse named Appeal to the City hemorrhaged around her eye when jockey Jeremy Rose “engaged in extreme misuse of the whip.” During his Kentucky Derby win, American Pharoah was struck with a whip at least 32 times by jockey Victor Espinoza.

In 2013, PETA documented that top trainers and jockeys admitted to having used illegal electro-shock devices on horses. Months later, jockey Roman Chapa—who was previously suspended for using a nail on a horse—was charged with a felony for race-fixing after using a shocking device during a race.

Pushed beyond their limits, most horses are subjected to cocktails of legal and illegal drugs intended to mask injuries and artificially enhance performance. Many horses—fittingly called “bleeders” by the racing industry—will bleed from their lungs, a condition known as exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage. In an attempt to decrease the bleeding, many horses are given a drug called Lasix or Salix, a diuretic with performance-enhancing qualities.

Not surprisingly, every week, an average of 24 horses experience fatal breakdownsat racetracks across the country, and this number doesn’t even take into account the horses who are discarded by the racing industry when they’re no longer considered profitable. In 2015, in New York alone, more than 250 Thoroughbreds endured injuries or fatal breakdowns during races.

Treated Like Commodities

As most owners and trainers have little more than a short-term financial interest in horses, there is little continuity and accountability over Thoroughbreds’ lifetimes, leaving them to suffer terribly.

Ownership turnover is rampant, and most Thoroughbreds are bought or “claimed” multiple times during their careers. Some races, called claiming races, allow for horses to be purchased and taken away by a new owner immediately after the race, giving previous owners little control over where horses end up. In a two-month period in 2011, over 2,000 horses were callously sold through claiming races. A horse named Who’s Bluffing was claimed 12 times in his career—including three times by the same owner.

Because no one individual is committed to a horse throughout his or her lifetime, each day brings new uncertainty for these animals. An estimated 10,000 “unprofitable” or simply unwanted Thoroughbreds from the U.S. are trucked to Canada and Mexico and slaughtered each year. And despite these staggering numbers, the racing industry continues to churn out nearly 20,000 Thoroughbred foals annually.

PETA is working hard to tackle horse-racing cruelty. When celebrated filly Eight Belles was euthanized on the track after breaking both front ankles during the 2008 Kentucky Derby, PETA called for Congressional hearings into abuse in the horse-racing industry.

After PETA supporters called on the Jockey Club to implement our Thoroughbred 360 Lifecycle Fund to help fund retirement programs and prevent the slaughter of Thoroughbreds, the club launched the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance to raise funds for retirement.

In 2009, following persistent pressure from PETA, several prominent tracks replaced hard leather whips with softer air-cushioned whips. And in 2015, the California Horse Racing Board implemented the strictest regulation in the country governing the use of whips.

PETA exposed the use of illegal shocking devices by top trainers and jockeys, prompting Churchill Downs to increase measures to detect the devices.

After a PETA investigation exposed that leading Thoroughbred horse trainer Steve Asmussen drugged sore, injured horses in order to mask pain and make them run faster, the New York State Gaming Commission fined Asmussen $10,000 and proposed sweeping new regulations to protect horses. Also as a result of our investigation, the Jockey Club, which keeps the Thoroughbred registry, joined with members of Congress to introduce new legislation mandating stricter medication oversight.

Growing awareness of the dark side of racing has fueled these improvements and promises to continue putting pressure on the industry. In a 2011 report commissioned by the Jockey Club, researchers revealed, “Racing is experiencing a shrinking share of wallet from a shrinking fan base,” and admitted that the industry was rapidly losing fans, revenue, race days, and entries.

Want to learn more? Read about industry cruelty, including overbreeding and slaughter, injuries and breakdowns, and drug use.

And check out PETA’s groundbreaking investigations into abusive training practices for young horses, drug use, the transport of horses to slaughter, and the fate of countless American horses in foreign slaughterhouses.

Watch the video: Clinton Anderson: Working With Hot and Busy-Minded Horses - Downunder Horsemanship