The biggest holdback in NW's cavalry realism, and thus the main field of improvement for Holdfast's, is the question of free horses left after their rider's been killed. The matter being complete randomness and irrevelance of what they do.
We're on Napoleonic battlefield. My comrade had his horse killed, but fortunately enough, I found him some other, roaming free. Perfect! Go get him, John! Oh, wait, there's an enemy who also lost his mount, also running towards this horse. Let me see... I'm sorry John, the enemy has shorter running distance towards this poor beast, I'm afraid I'm gonna have to slash it dead! It's just standing there, you see... it's not like I can just grab the reins and bring it over to you, even though I got to it before anybody else. Forgive me, poney! <slash> <stab> <rivers of blood>
That's NW. The amount of absurd situations involving stray horses is very high and most got used to their plain stupidity. Not to mention dismount-and-kill duel procedure.
How to improve:
- Allow players to take limited control over stray horses without mounting them. Could work same way the cannon-artillery horse in NW does: "connect" the supplimentary horse to your own (could restrain the fighting possibilities while on).
- Add "dispatch horse" option, so that when you decide to dismount and get rid of the horse, you can use it instead of murdering it. With such option activated, the horse should run to the edge of the map and once there, disappear, unless caught and "limbered' by another player on the way.
- Some natural behaviour: avoiding player characters around them, having their random movements while uncontrolled always in receding direction, so we don't get a random horse suddenly running through a infantry line and then stopping right beside them, as they shoot their muskets, acting all "hey, who's your regimental pet?! I really like that shooting noise, let me stand here and listen!" <stands by and listens, until stabbed dead with bayonets>