The name Thorne is well-known within the Riverlands, by even the most noble of houses. The family, you see, produce arguably the finest destriers and coursers for use in tourneying and warfare, as well as the more standard palfreys and drays for purposes outside of the martial. In every holding, there is at least one animal of Thorne stock and the commonborn merchants do well for themselves by reputation alone.
Or they have done, til now.
The patriarch, Jon, is quite honestly past the age for gallavanting about on horseback - his gout plagues him rather horribly nowadays and his strength lies more in his silver tongue than his athleticism. He's of a mind to purchase the Peaceful Rest Inn at Kingsgrove, where his family has always resided, staunchly loyal to the ruling family, even in the hardest of times. Nice little retirement project and a steady supply of ale and hot food, though? Bliss.
For that to be a successful venture, however, the family needs to maintain a steady income, until the tavern finds its feet. With the loss of the only son, Marc, this past year as he moved to Stonebridge with his new bride, the only remaining family member capable of keeping up the ostlery trade is Poppy. In fairness, she always had the greater skill in the saddle than her brother. He never really cared for horses at all, in fact. But it can certainly make things difficult when trying to close a deal with knights and noblemen - being shown up by a mere girl.
Having ridden since she was only four and worked in the trade almost as long, she's skilled in training the destriers in the traits required, either for showmanship or genuine combat. They can kick or bite on command. Trample fallen enemies underfoot. Rear with a little pressure from the rider's knees or back up with a careful touch of the calves. The quality of the beasts has never been in question, nor that of their education. The concern lies in whether a nineteen year old female can bring the best price for them, when it comes down to it. Nevermind that she spends her days astride horses easily 20 hands high, or flying across the countryside at a gallop. Standing firm in the intimidating shadow of a warrior is no mean feat.
Poppy's little sister, Briar, is only 14 and seems better suited to serving in the tavern or helping in the kitchens than the hard life of travel on the road. A stark contrast to the elder, who seems sometimes to thrive on risk and danger.
With upcoming tourneys, and many mounts having been lost in recent battles, it's an ideal time to seek out both existing and prospective clients. Obviously the very best are kept at Kingsgrove. But Poppy and her father's few other stablehands are set to depart soon for the other holdings of the Riverlands with a trooping selection of their wares. In the meantime, she's often to be found either exercising or training the animals, or occasionally helping out at the inn.
Embarr: The prized destrier who has sired some of the Thornes greatest. On the brink of retirement from stud, Embarr is now used to 'showoff' the outstanding qualities of the breeding line. Beautifully trained and formidable at 20 hands high.
Bayard: The youngster who will replace Embarr. Famed for his pitch-black coat and powerful build, he's been a popular choice for those looking to breed a tourney champion. For now, he remains at Kingsgrove, being rather green for constant travel.