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For Mules, see Mules.

Horse is a staple animal species and the most reliable form of transportation in the Red Dead series.

Red Dead Revolver

Horses occasionally appear throughout Red Dead Revolver, often in background. Horseback riding features prominently in the mission "End of the Line", during which the player, as Red Harlow, must chase down a train commanded by antagonist Javier Diego on horseback; the player must jump back and forth between their mount and the moving train.

Red Dead Redemption


Horses are fast, adaptable, carry equipment, and allow the rider to utilize weapons while riding. Horses can also jump over obstacles such as fences, and will jump automatically if going fast enough. In-game horses come in a vast variety of breeds, appearances and colors; several of which have different pattern variations. Each breed has a different level of stamina, health, and speed.

Horses in Red Dead Redemption are very realistic in their movement and behavior, reacting to their environment and exhibiting self-preservation instincts. For example, a horse will generally refuse to jump off a cliff despite attempts by the player to guide it over. In addition, they will become panicked when riding too close to the edge of steep drops.

Horses may wander if they have not been tied and shy away from gunfire and animals, especially snakes, and will also get spooked by any potentially dangerous animals in the vicinity. Horses which have wandered away can be recalled to the player using the game's whistle function, which will prompt the horse to come to the player. If the horse has died, players should continue on foot until finding another horse, or whistle after a time and a randomly selected horse will come up to them; if the player has a horse deed, they can use it to get the breed they want and avoid delay. In multiplayer, the same breed of horse will come.

The player can lasso enemies from horseback and either hogtie or drag them (which eventually results in death), gun down foes from horseback, or even trample them with the mount. Horses, just like the characters, will each have unique personalities, temperaments and performance characteristics. Horses can be killed in combat, by animals, by the player, and from falls. If the player is stranded in the wilderness without a horse, they are presented with a situation to attain one.

John Marston chasing wild horses.

All horses in the game have a certain level of stamina, represented by the blue bar to the left of the mini-map. Players must keep an eye on the stamina level - if it gets too low due to constant spurring, the horse will slow down, and when it becomes exhausted, it will buck the player off. There are items which can be purchased from shops which refill a horse's stamina, namely apples and - to a greater extent - Horse Pills.

The strength of the bond between Marston and his horse is another mechanic in Redemption. At first, Marston is not so well-bonded with his mount, so the horse will have lower stamina and is more likely to buck Marston off. However, after some time, the horse will learn to trust its rider. Apples are a particularly good way to build trust. A loyal horse is much less likely to buck or rear, and whistling for it when it is stolen will cause it to buck the thief off and return to the player. The way in which players treat their horse will also play a role in their loyalty. Spurring a horse beyond its physical capabilities will likely result in it bucking the player off. As a result, the player should treat their horse well so that they can bond with it and thus have a better steed.

The player's steed, established as Marston's own horse either by hitching it or by using a horse deed, has a brown saddle with small saddlebags and a blanket roll across the back. All other saddles in the game are black and lack the accessories. When a wild horse is broken, it will be shown without a bridle or saddle - only reins. However, once the horse is hitched, the horse will have Marston's brown saddle, but only after the game is saved. All stolen or borrowed horses will have a black saddle until hitched. After hitching, black-saddled or saddleless horses will remain so until they respawn, usually after the player gets far away from them or after a cutscene.

Horse Power

Horses also provide the physical power for stagecoaches, wagons and carts. Between one to four horses pull the weight of vehicles of various weights, and at various speeds; these horses seem to be randomly assigned, and the horses present do not seem to affect the speed of the vehicle; regardless, it is impossible to change the horses hitched to a vehicle manually. The player can drive these horses by occupying the driver's seat of the trailers. Horses can break free if the vehicle is damaged.

Domesticated vs. Wild

Wild horses react differently than domesticated horses, often gathering in small herds in the wilderness and running away from the player when approached. Some missions require the taming or breaking of a wild horse in order to domesticate them. The hunting statistics maintained in the game make a distinction between domesticated and wild horses, with the latter being required for the Unnatural Selection achievement/trophy while killing the former is counted as a crime.


Horses, or rather the ability to spawn a particular breed of horse, can be purchased from ranchers/stores, in the form of deeds. One star horse deeds cost $100 ($50 with high honor, or low honor at Thieves' Landing), two star horse deeds cost $500 (with a reduced price of $250 with high honor, or low honor at Thieves' Landing), and three star horse deeds for $1,500 ($750 with high honor, or low honor at Thieves' Landing). To use a horse deed, open the Satchel, select the deed, then whistle, and the horse will run to the player.

The player should note that, although horse deeds are listed in the "Consumables" section of the satchel, a horse deed is never "consumed", and may be used over and over again. Players aren't buying one horse so much as an unlimited supply of them.

Using the horse deed causes the game to autosave, even if the horse is still alive. This is an easy way to save without having to search for a place to camp. If the player is riding a horse already, using the deed will cause the old horse to run away as soon as the player dismounts it; if they have a loyal horse nearby that they are not riding, it will run away when the deed is used.

Horses can also be stolen from hitching posts, or by killing - or forcibly dismounting - the rider. The horse can then be ridden by the player. To make a stolen horse the player's own steed, it must be tied to a hitching post.

An easy way for players to obtain a horse is to find a horse being ridden by an NPC, then simply push the horse (making sure their gun is put away) until the rider falls off. Players can then mount the horse without any trouble. However, they should make sure that the rider is not a lawman, because then they will get a bounty.

Another easy way is to find a hitched horse and push the horse until it becomes unhitched. Again, it can be mounted without any trouble. Sometimes, NPCs will get bucked off, or horses will be left standing after gunfights. The horses from these situations can be taken. Cart horses can also sometimes be found alive and taken after the cart is destroyed, although players should note that they are very slow.

Wild horses can be captured and tamed. As with stolen horses, they must subsequently be hitched before becoming the player's trusty steed. Some settlements also offer the player the opportunity to tame horses as an activity.

The easiest way to get a horse in many towns is to find the horse corral, if there is one, and take a horse. In places like MacFarlane's Ranch, there are horses with bridles but not saddles, like wild horses that the player has just broken. These can be taken without a bounty. Other places include Thieves' Landing, Warthington Ranch, and several others.


Wild horses can be hunted, but killing domesticated horses counts as a crime. When either kind of horse is killed, they can be skinned, and their meat and hide can be sold for cash.


Although horses are strong in Red Dead Redemption, there are certain animals that players need to be aware of. Grizzly bears and cougars can kill the player's horse if they get too close. The majority of horses (with a few exceptions) will die in a single hit from cougars and bears, so if players are in Great Plains or Tall Trees, they are advised to watch out for them. Wolf packs and boars can also kill the player's horse, so players should avoid getting too close to them. Coyotes and other smaller animals will not attack the player while on horseback, so they pose no danger.

Differentiation in performance

The different breeds of horses in the game are categorized by stars. One star horses are the worst, and are usually jaded or sick, while two star horses perform averagely and are the most common to encounter in the world. One and two star horse deeds can be bought at any time. Each major region has a 3-star horse breed: the American Standardbred in West Elizabeth, the Kentucky Saddler in New Austin, and the Hungarian Half-bred in Nuevo Paraíso. Each of these three horses must be broken before their deeds can be purchased.


In multiplayer, horses are unlocked by the player by reaching certain multiplayer ranks. Five horses can be unlocked:

  • Lusitano Nag (Level 4)
  • Turkmen (Level 8)
  • Cleveland Bay (Level 22*)
  • Hungarian Half-bred (Level 33*)
  • American Standardbred (Level 40*)
* After reaching Legend, the three noted breeds are unlocked at lower ranks. See the Multiplayer page for details.

Once unlocked, the horse can be set as the player's chosen mount in the Outfitter. This is equivalent to hitching a horse in single player. Horses that have not been unlocked can be stolen from other players or NPCs, but can not be made the player's "trusty steed" as in single player (whistling will always bring the mount chosen in the Outfitter).

Undead Nightmare

Horses are broadly similar to how they are in Red Dead Redemption; however, when the player's horse is killed and the player whistles for another very soon afterwards, an undead horse will appear. The undead horse cannot be killed without explosions, headshots, fire bottles or holy water.

Undead horses have unlimited stamina, but will not obey Marston until he is undead. When Marston becomes undead, all uninfected horses will do the same as undead horses did before Marston's infection, and will not obey him. They are also one of the very few undead animals that do not attack living creatures.

Undead horses can be found and obtained the same way their living counterparts were in Red Dead Redemption.

Red Dead Redemption 2


Horses continue to be gamified in Red Dead Redemption 2, and their impact on the game and players has been expanded. The more players ride, groom, and feed their horse, the stronger their bond becomes and the more abilities the horse gains, such as quick cornering and dressage.[1] This is critical for the horse becoming more comfortable in precarious situations, such as shootouts and encountering predators. If the bond is weak, the horse may throw players off its back and flee from the threat, taking supplies and weapons with it. If a horse dies, the whole process needs to be started over again with another horse. Killing a horse will always result in a loss of honor. Players should thus be careful when shooting at mounted enemies.

There are 19 breeds of horse, from Appaloosas and Arabians, to Shires to Mustangs, each of which handles differently with its own defined characteristics. Horses can be captured and broken out in the wild, purchased from stables, or acquired by more underhanded means. With 59 different styles of coat, and a huge range of customizable tack, including saddles, horns, stirrups, and spurs, players can create a horse that is truly their own. Tonics can also provide horses with temporary stamina boosts. While standing idle, horses will snap at flies, moves their ears around if they're hearing something, and defecate. If it is a male, his testicles will tighten and drop according to temperature.


The type of horse in Red Dead Redemption 2 will have an affect on the horses stats. These stats are represented by white bars, with seven being the natural maximum without any stat-boosting items, like stirrups.

  • Health – Determines the amount of damage the horse can take.
  • Stamina – Determines how long the horse can gallop at full speed, jump or swim.
  • Speed – Determines a horse's top speed.
  • Acceleration – Determines how fast the horse can gain speed.
Type Level Stats Affected Level Stats Affected
Draft Average Health, Stamina, Speed, Acceleration
Race High Speed and Acceleration Low Health and Stamina
Riding Below Average Health, Stamina, Speed, Acceleration
Superior High Health, Stamina, Speed, Acceleration
War High Health and Stamina Low Speed and Acceleration
Work High Stamina Low Acceleration

Horse Breeds

Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead Redemption 2


Red Dead Redemption

  • A horse can be put over a dead animal that has yet to be skinned to skip the cutscene, instead of watching the animation. If the horse is positioned correctly over the animal while skinning, the animation won't play and the animal's properties will appear. This also works with looting from a dead person, but not with herbs or chests.
  • It is possible to carefully drop from a ledge of a certain height (e.g. the roof of a building) and land mounted on the saddle of the horse, a stunt performed in many westerns. Despite many rumors and skeptics calling this a myth, it is confirmed as possible to do in-game. The player can either jump or fall off a ledge naturally and land on their horse. This can easily be done by jumping over the balcony of the Armadillo saloon directly above a hitched horse (only works in single player).
  • Players can use the side track near railroads to travel faster the same way as using roads, though if the player comes too close to tracks, it;s considered as "off-road", and the speed of the horse will drop rapidly.
  • It is possible to make the horse's stamina last indefinitely while riding top speed by pressing the sprint button once every 3 gallops. Additionally, the pressing of the sprint button 2 times every 4 gallops decreases stamina very slowly.
  • The horses of RDR, despite being called different breeds, actually all appear to be of the same breed. They are different only in color, being of the same size and shape. Their straight head profile and thick manes and tails give the impression of Spanish-type horses, as most horses of the American west were; the conquistadors' horses were the first here, and their escapees were the ancestors of the modern mustang. Their natural knack for ranch work was also a prime factor.

Red Dead Redemption 2

  • Statistically, the best horses in the Single-player game are Arabians (Rose Grey Bay, Black, White in that order), but have a fragile temperament. This is followed by the Turkomans and Missouri Fox Trotters, with the former offering the better health, and the latter offering the better speed and marginally better stamina. Both have a hardier temperament than the Arabians.
  • Positioning a horse over a corpse or animal will skip the usual animation of looting/skinning it, giving it a quicker animation that resembles the one in RDR.
  • Just like in RDR, it is possible to fall or jump from a certain distance and land mounted on a horse. Unlike in RDR, this act has been properly animated.
  • Thoroughbreds offer maximum speed early on and on a budget, but suffer from low health and stamina.
  • Saddles offer significant bonuses to your horses, with the three highest bonuses belonging to the Gerden Trail Improved for best Stamina drain bonus, Gerden Vaquero Improved for best bonus balance, and Stenger Roping Improved for best Health drain bonus.


  • Sometimes, mainly in Mexico, a tame horse will just randomly appear in the wild.
  • Sometimes in horse herds, there may be horses with saddles, carts and even NPC's on them; while the former two could simply be excused as horses which have had their owners killed, the latter shows this to be a spawning bug. The player can lasso them normally. But when the player mounts up on them everything will disappear. It's impossible to ride the cart and the player will just walk through it as if it wasn't there. The NPCs don't talk nor respond to the player. Shooting at them will have no effect other than spooking the horse, though killing the horse will just make the NPC stand up and walk away.
  • When standing under a ledge, for example under a large cliff, if the player whistles for the horse, it is possible for the horse to proceed to the player, and fall off the cliff dying instantly on impact, depending on the height of the cliff. The player must then find another horse, or use a horse deed, because the horse will be permanently lost for the player.
  • When near a railroad track, it is possible for the player to whistle for their horse and have it run over by an oncoming train. This will cause the horse to explode in an unrealistic manner, causing the player to permanently lose their horse. A new horse must be found, or a horse deed can solve this problem.
  • In Red Dead Redemption, if a player whistles for their horse near a water source, the horse may run into the water and promptly disappear unrealistically (if gone past "drowning" point). Attempting to whistle for the horse again causes the game to inform you that your horse is lost.
  • Sometimes if the player feeds their horse multiple servings of Horse Pills, it may buck the player off then run away. Whistling for it will not cause it to return. Instead, it will trot away from the player and will later die.
  • Sometimes, while at MacFarlane's Ranch, a glitch may occur in which a horse will fly and then disappear.
  • Sometimes, if the player hitches a horse while in front of it, the player will rapidly move back and forth inside the horse. This can easily be fixed just by aiming and moving.
  • Occasionally, some horses may turn invisible.
  • XboxLogo.png - If a player starts a multiplayer free roam session in Blackwater and whistles for their horse, there is significant chance that their currently saved single player horse will respond instead of their multiplayer unlocked horse. For example, a level 30 player could whistle for their Cleveland Bay, but instead the Kentucky Saddler they last used in single player will come. This glitch even extends to the War Horse. The bug seems to occur predominantly in Private Free Roam rather than Public, but once summoned the horse can sometimes transfer if the player changes between the two modes.
  • PS3Logo.png - Occasionally, the Kentucky Saddler gained from Bonnie MacFarlane will change color and appear to be a different horse (Painted Standardbred is common). However, the "new" horse retains the muscle tone and performance of the Saddler so can be ignored. This most commonly occurs when presented with a horse on a mission (such as in Must a Saviour Die?) even if the player whistles for his own horse. (Unknown whether this occurs with other horses but suspected).
  • In Red Dead Redemption 2, if the horse is on uneven terrain, it may sometimes stand in unrealistic manners.


Red Dead Redemption

  • The horses in Red Dead Redemption utilize the Euphoria engine to create realistic procedural animation, an engine also utilized by GTA IV and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.
  • Leave a horse on the railroad while a train is coming and the horse will be violently killed. It will blow up in an unrealistic manner, similar to that of the Dastardly achievement/trophy.
  • If your horse is nearby while you're riding shotgun on a wagon, it may follow the wagon from behind until you reach your destination.
  • You can shoot your horse in the head while riding. This will of course kill it, but can result in some amusing ragdoll physics of the character as they fall off.
  • If you bring your horse up to sprinting speed and enter dead eye, it can survive infinite shots to the head.
  • The one-star horses are the ones with their ribs showing and no muscles can be seen. The two-star horses have slightly more muscle, and the three-star horses will have well-developed muscles and will look very healthy.
  • Horses will, on very rare occasions, die instantly due to geometry bugs; the horse will simply drop down dead for no obvious reason.
  • Marston will sometimes stroke the horse or adjust his saddle whilst standing still.
  • John takes a great liking to horses, preferring them over the automobile as a means of transport.
  • John and Jack Marston both have an aversion to killing horses. After shooting a horse, John says "I can only blame my childhood for so long." While skinning a horse, Jack says "Is this what I've become... a horse-killer?"
  • Shooting a horse's eye will not kill it, but rather the bullet will go through the eye of the horse.
  • Several random encounters involve horses, including NPCs stealing the player's horse ("In Need of a Ride") or other NPC's horses ("Grand Theft Stallion").
  • Many of the noises that the horses make are common film stock sound effects.
  • NPCs may sometimes call their horses a name, such as "Abraham," "Annabelle," "Justice," or " Bessy."
  • NPC's can sometimes be heard shouting at their horse "Woah, Annabelle, woah!" or "Giddyup, Annabelle."
  • The player killing their own horse will result in an honor decrease, unless they are wearing the bandana.
  • Although every horse saddle in the game comes with a holster for repeaters, they do not function as anything other than aesthetic decoration, and there is not a single occasion where anyone actually uses them.
  • The only horses that can survive more than one attack from a cougar or bear (in the original game) are the Warhorse and Hungarian Half-Bred.
  • The three-star horses may occasionally appear outside of their confirmed area, such as a Hungarian Half-Bred in West Elizabeth.
  • Strangely, there is a clear audible difference between the hoof impacts against paths/dirt (when trotting or walking) of the PS3 and X360 versions of the game. Whilst the PS3 is quite quiet and not very distinct in its representation of this, the X360 has deeper, louder and punchier sound effects which are clearly heard. This, and the differing shades of fire used on War in the Undead Nightmare expansion (as well as more grass present in the wilderness of the X360 version) are the only differences between the two console versions of the game. These differences also carry over to their respective successors (PS Now and Xbox One/One X).

Red Dead Redemption 2

  • The testicles of horses change size based on the temperature.
  • Unlike its predecessor, the different breeds have different body types: many wagon horses are of light draft type, commonly with feathering; Arabians have finer features and the classic dished head; and the Ardennais towers over the others.
  • Horses have different "bond levels" that can be raised by petting, bathing, brushing, or simply riding them. Low-level bond horses will only come when called at a close distance, will flee from gunfire, and may kick out at you when approached from behind; high-level bond horses will stoically stand through a gunfight, never kick, and can be called from a longer range.
  • You can own multiple horses and "stable" them when not in use. This can be useful, as some horses are better at certain things than others: you can get into a gunfight with the war horse, and switch him out for a thoroughbred for hunting fleet-footed prey such as deer.
  • Gold nuggets worth 25$ can often be found in horses' saddle bags.
  • If the horse is not laying dead on its side, both sides of the saddle bags can be searched, though a startled horse will kick the player if they get too close.
  • The Player can lasso their horse to get it out of a water body or other terrain that is difficult for a horse to manoeuvre.
  • In Red Dead Online, the player can't saddle or store wild and stolen horses, therefore they can't be bonded with. Only horses purchased from a stable can be stored.



Red Dead Redemption

The taming and riding or killing of horses are included in the completion of the following five available achievements/trophies:

10 gamerscoregamerscore
Bronze bronzebronze

10 gamerscoregamerscore
Bronze bronzebronze
Get from Blackwater to Escalera before sundown in a public Free Roam session.

20 gamerscoregamerscore
Bronze bronzebronze
Kill every animal species in the game in any game mode.
  • Requires the player to kill a wild horse.

Spurred to Victory.jpg
10 gamerscoregamerscore
Bronze bronzebronze
Complete 20 story missions without switching to a new horse at a hitching post.

5 gamerscoregamerscore
Bronze bronzebronze
Evade the U.S. Marshals while riding the Hungarian Half-bred in singleplayer.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Taming and bonding with a horse or more, or studying them, can net you these trophies/achievements:

10 gamerscoregamerscore
Bronze bronzebronze
Reach max bonding level with a horse

20 gamerscoregamerscore
Bronze bronzebronze
Study every animal across all states in Story Mode

20 gamerscoregamerscore
Bronze bronzebronze
Red Dead Online: Concurrently own 5 horses