The Riders are descended from Dara Happan nobles in the city of Nivorah who learned the secrets of horseback riding from Hyalor, then later followed him into exile rather than remain under the Ice Dome. Their chief deities are Elmal, the God of the Sun, and Nyalda, the Goddess of the Earth. They also worship Hyalor and Gamari, the Horse Goddess. They also associate with Shamans, whose magic allows them to call upon the aid of spirits. Because Hyalor emphasized the importance of changing when necessary, the Riders hold less strictly to Nivoran custom than their Wheel cousins. Aside from their adoption of shamanic magic, they are also notably more egalatarian than their ancestors.
Each Rider clan is divided into seven families, each of which consists of nobles, commoners, and elders who arbitrate disputes. Married women join their husbands' families. Ideally, each family holds one seat on the Clan Circle. Rider law is based largely around property rights. If a dispute can't be resolved by three elders from uninvolved families, it's up to the circle to resolve it.
Most Rider clans raise horses, cows, and goats, and farm barley. A few clans follow “True Horse” practices and refuse to raise animals other than horses, forcing them to rely on slaves to tend their crops. Apart from Pure Horse clans, no Rider clan practices slavery, but some are willing to sell captives taken in war to cultures that do.
In war, the Riders field an exclusively cavalry force. Ordinary warriors, called Bows, fight as light cavalry, armed only with bows and spears. Elite warriors, called Swords, fight as heavy cavalry, armed with bronze weapons and armor. When not at war, a Rider clan may attempt to intimidate another by whooping at them - sending a troop of cavalry to gallop around the other clan’s settlement shouting war cries. The traditional response is for the targeted clan to attempt to show their strength by stoically ignoring the whoops.
Riders are forbidden from marriage or intercourse with Rams under any circumstances. This law ultimately stems from a belief that all children of a Ram and a Rider are destined to become evil sorcerers.