When I was growing up, like many girls, I loved horses. And there was one series of books that fueled that love — Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion. We had a small bookmobile that came from our main county Library and stopped by my neighborhood. They almost always carried a book from this series, and if they didn’t, I could put in book requests to get more.
I devoured these books as a child, fell in love with the Arabian horse, and the art on this book cover in particular was my measuring stick for all horse artwork I drew:
I probably still have a box set of these books somewhere in my closet. And if I don’t, I might just take it upon myself to go and collect the series with this particular cover art just to keep for myself.
Anyhow, what does that have to do with video games? Well, a few weeks back in Second Life, I stumbled upon the Water Horse Riding Horse… which isn’t really a horse but a fantastic, realistic bento add-on to your SL avatar. The Posse has been getting a lot of mileage out of our horses as we explore some really awesome places on the grid.
That little spark of Arabian horse love still burns in me, so I knew when I saw the Arabian Horse Mod for the Water Horse weeks ago that I’d be making that a project of mine. Over the weekend, I did just that.
While I think that my original Warmblood bento horse is very lovely, I have to say that the Arabian mod has transformed it to something above and beyond.
A lot of work from talented creators went into this horse. I wanted to take a look at how all that comes together and give them my props for wonderful creations that bring me joy!
It Started With a Skin
I’m a huge fan of Hap’s work at Painted Pony. There’s a lot of great content out there for these horses, but her skins and content keep pulling me back in. She develops a lot of work for the Arabian mod in particular.
When I saw the new specular silver coat in her Highlights section, and noticed it could be used with the Arabian, I was struck by it immediately. I can’t really explain how this coat catches and reflects the light, but it’s amazing in person. I can just sit here and look at the way light plays off of my stallion… Beautiful work!
So, this prompted me to head to the Jinx store (another creator I really love) to pick up her Arabian mod. This was the most expensive part of the modding process, and also the most tricky.
This is a full body replacement for the Water Horse. This means when you add this to your avatar, you essentially have two horse bodies. You make the original horse body and tack transparent, and somehow this mod meshes beautifully to show instead.
It uses the Animation Override within the original Water Horse tack, so it moves and controls exactly like the original. Here’s a video of this horse in action (Note: lightly dressed female avatar warning):
If I had to nit pick about anything in this mod, it’s the tail portion. I’m not sure what it is about the tail, but the textures in the originals just don’t render right for me. Especially the white tail.
But that’s easily fixed with a texture replacement from Painted Pony. I picked up the Arabian Tail Fat Pack 1 and the Happy Tail add-on (which makes the tail swish from time to time like a real horse).
And the final cosmetic piece was, again, from Painted Pony. I already had this from making my Miss Daisy setup — a lovely Tropicana Blue eye.
Syn and Amoon like to tease me that the eyes make my Arabian look spooky, so I’m almost tempted to name him Specter. XD
Anyhow, I needed one final touch to really make this all come together. If you watched the video above, you’ll see the custom Arabian animations created by Mythril in action. Great stuff!
So, I learned how to mod the tack AO to replace the standard animations with these. They included a very regal idle standing pose, a floating trot, and a lovely canter replacement. I also picked up a new gallop animation that I really liked.
What’s even better about this animation set is that it includes sidesaddle animations, which I was looking into picking up to fit a medieval dress that I bought. So a medieval warmblood project might be my next focus — we do have the Fantasy Faire coming up this week in Second Life!
And finally, the tack. I chose the new Sultan tack by Jinx. This is currently exclusive to the March Fantasy Collective, so I have no idea how much longer it’ll be there, or if Jinx will sell it in shop after the event is done.
Much of the Arabian tack available is quite ornate, so I liked that this was less flashy and didn’t take away from the horse. These are cosmetic add-ons, and not a replacement for the AO tack. They look great and come with a HUD that allows for color change and minor modifications.
In the end, I’m very pleased with the overall results of the mod. What do you think?