I only can't agree that horses are more dumbs than general animals. But agreeing... Ill give you viable mounts but fact is, none of them are so good has the horse. Still they are viable and would be used if there wasnt for the equines.
I maintain that despite what actual cognitive abilities they have, horses are generally dumb as doorknobs; wheter the excuse as to why they jump into burning stables is viable or not doesn't apply in this regard. All animals are slaves to their instinct, but horses are the retards of the animal kingdom.
And as for a number of viable mounts, from a realistic point of view, hit me. Because I'm still stumped.
What happens with the use of horses I think, and I agree is also comportamental, is that they are herbivory. Just like the elephants, that can be used veeery weel and is also passible even being big.
I really don't want to be mean, but I just have no idea what you tried to say there.
I'm pretty sure, if someone take a giraffe, and invent a way to direct it, its also mountable when tammed. Thing is, they don't have humans in their diet. That bear idea really wouldn't work. Carnivore animals aren't passive has Herbovory has they need to atack and be agreesive always.
First of all, the problem is "invent a way to direct it", and even with that, I think you'd win some kind of nobel price if you managed to domesticate and mount a giraffe. Contrary to popular belief, giraffes aren't just horses with a long neck.
Cattle can be easily rideable. Like I said in my post earlier, just happens that Horses are the perfect thing, not surprising HOW MANY centuries they have been using it. Incredible agile animal too, unlike cattle and any other. There is also Llama and Camels (Camels have even be used for war) but they are just incomparable to a Horse.
Alright, I'll give you cattle, as in cows. That's cattle, as in cows. Bulls are still pretty much out of the question. You'd still be pretty hard pressed to actually mount and ride it. You wouldn't as much ride it as.. sit there.
On horses being superior to camels, however, you're completely wrong. It's entirely based on the geography. Despite what Hollywood may tell you, horses are near-useless in the loose sand of a desert enviroment, and can't take long travels without considerable support, wheras a camel can easily endure and travel where the horses will falter and fail.
There isn't much meaning to be trying anything else, if you got something that is cleary better. There are a lot of rideable mounts in our world, but one will be indentified has better and surpass the others for the job, that is the horse. So thats what every population will be producing and creating the enviroment for it since centuries.
You're not going to be riding a cow anywhere, in any organized form. That somewhat leaves the Horses, the Camels; both which are pretty even, since their usage are so wide and distinct from eachother (in a geographical context). Add elephants to that, and you have a list of all (more or less) viable mounts. I wouldn't call that "a lot of ridable mounts in our world", nor would the horse "surpass the others for the job", since their jobs are so different.
You won't be seeing a horse lifting piles of wood any day soon.
About the bear, let me say that, just because you can manage to go up in the back of it, doesn't mean its a mount lol. But yea Horses eat grass, and for being a herbivore, nature resources can naturaly support it in big numbers. A big number of bears wont be sustainable, then its hard to tamme and worse to thrust and not agile or fast. Its just not possible to be a produced mount.
It's about internal realism and suspension of disbelief in a fantasy context. Bending the nature of the bear in context doesn't mean that there's suddently going to be Spanish leprachauns popping out of space-rifts and painting chess-board patterns across a psychadelic rainbow, smoking an indian peacepipe. Having bear mounts could 'make sense' and be 'realistic' from the viewpoint of internal realism, just like the fact that 'Magic works like this'.
I think that George Lucas described it reasonably well (before his laxative acid trip that is Eps.1-3) when he said that there has to be a certain number of ground rules when you create a fantasy, or in that case sci-fi universe. For example, in Star Wars, there is sound in space. Logically, this doesn't make any sense. But it's about the suspension of disbelief and internal realism. It's something that isn't far off, or way out there. It's a minor discrepancy our minds are willing to accept, just like dragons, the existance of magic.
The "this is fantasy lol there's trolls lol why not ridable bears lol?"-argument doesn't hold up, due to the necessity of internal realism. Fantasy should never be an excuse to not make sense. Ridable bears, for example, is completely logical - if we accept it as such, in this reality.
"Mooses came to mind, but there's actually been attempts to domesticate elks, and they went south pretty quick" lol
I somewhat messed that up, when I edited it. It's supposed to be mooses all the way. There were attempts to domesticate them for war usage by a Swedish king (can't remember which one). It ended. Badly.