The story I’m currently writing, is in a fantasy desert setting. It’s gonna be focused on world and city building so obviously the army is gonna play a big role. The technology of the world is based on that of the 13th century, so still largely melee based armies with cavalry, infantry, archers, slingers etc.
However my issue is coming up with a good mount idea for the cavalry, as horses don’t have the ability to survive in such extreme desert conditions like camels do. Their hooves are also very poorly suited for sand as opposed to camels, but obviously camels won’t work either because they lack the speed and maneuverability of horses.
I have gone through some polls for desert mounts used mainly for traveling, but I don’t think lizards (which is the most commonly suggested would work). My reasoning is that they, at least in the suggestions I read and ideas I thought of, would be built like regular lizards. Which means they run with that side to side shake, making a charge with momentum like cavalry soldiers do, less effective. They also wouldn’t have the same blunt force effect of a cavalry horse as it smashed into enemy soldiers, which is why I ruled out the idea of lizards.
So some suggestions on good cavalry mounts for such a desert setting would be appreciated. To have the utility and maneuverability of horses but be able to function in a desert climate as well and if you think of a way some type of lizard could overcome these issues, feel free to comment as well.