The Noldor used horses effectively during the Siege of Angbad. They also had famous steeds descending from Valinor. Nienor, Morwen and their escorts got horses from Thingol, as they went to Nargothrond, and Eöl also had some.

But it seems that the majority of the Sindar of Beleriand were woodland or seafaring people, and the naugrim, who taught them weapon-crafting and war, also preferred infantry combat.

Did the Grey-Elves of Beleriand tame and breed horses, and did they use them to travel and for war, before the coming of the Noldor and the rising of the Sun?

If the answer is yes, how broadly; if no, were there even wild horses? (Since the ecosystem of Middle-earth worked on savings flame, and many living beings slept the Sleep of Yavanna, the diversity of the species was probably limited.)

  • 1
    Neigh. Or nay...
    – Verdan
    Jan 17, 2017 at 16:39

2 Answers 2



I've gone through the History of Middle-earth series with a fine-toothed comb, and can find no reference to Sindarin horses predating the arrival of the Noldor.

They were evidently aware of horses, since Oromë was known to ride around on Nahar, and they had words that meant "horse", as Tolkien mentions in Letter 211:

Elrohir might be translated 'Elf-knight'; rohir being a later form (III 391) of rochir 'horse-lord' from roch 'horse'+hir 'master': Prim. Elvish rokkō and khēr or kherū: High-elven rocco, hēr (hěru).

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien 211: To Rhona Beare. October 1958

Note that the Sindarin roch is derived from Primitive Elvish, a language that existed before the Elves went to Valinor; so evidently knowledge of horses persisted among the Sindar though, again, it's not known if they were tamed by them.

That being said, it wouldn't surprise me if they did use them; quite apart from their usage in battle, horses are good things to have while hunting. If Oromë is willing to go galloping through the woods on his hunting trips, I wouldn't expect the Elves to shy away from doing so.

  • fine-toothed comb: ctrl-f, horse, f3, f3, f3, f3... alt-f4, double-click, ctrl-f, horse, f3, f3, f3...
    – isanae
    Jan 16, 2017 at 22:13
  • Can the horses of Eöl viewed as information supporting that they did, since he hated the Golodhrim, and it is unlikely that he learned anything or received gifts from them?
    – b.Lorenz
    Jan 17, 2017 at 11:21

From few their horses had increased swiftly, and the grass of Ard-galen was rich and green. Of these horses many of the sires came from Valinor, and they were given to Fingolfin by Maedhros in atonement of his losses, for they had been carried by ship to Losgar. —J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Beleriand and its Realms"

"Many of the sires came from Valinor" implies but not all. See Horses. It is not stated that the Sindar used horses but being especially good with all beasts it would not be out of character.

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