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Epona

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Majora's Mask Artwork
"Oh, yeah, I have to introduce you to my friend, fairy boy! She's this horse. Her name is Epona. Isn't she cute?"
Malon

Epona (エポナ Epona?) is a recurring character in the Legend of Zelda series. She is a silver bay horse who acts as Link's steed in several games. In most of her appearances, Epona can be called if Link plays "Epona's Song" in one capacity or another. In every incarnation thus far, Epona is virtually indestructible and will be able to take the brunt of enemy attack.

Appearances

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

"Oh, Epona! She's grown quite fond of you, fairy boy!"
Malon
Epona (Ocarina of Time)
Lon Lon Ranch Escape

Link and Epona escaping from Lon Lon Ranch

Epona is first encountered at Lon Lon Ranch when she is only a young filly. Epona initially acts wild and untamed towards Link, shying away from him when he approaches her. Only Malon is able to get close to Epona. After Malon teaches Link "Epona's Song" on his Fairy Ocarina, Epona develops a fondness for Link and stops acting wildly around him.

When Link returns to Lon Lon Ranch as an adult, Epona has become a fully-grown mare. Unfortunately, Ingo, the ranch's caretaker, has been given control of the ranch by Ganondorf, the King of Evil. Link plays "Epona's Song" to tame Epona and challenges the unknowing Ingo to a horse race. After beating him two consecutive times, Link is given the horse, whom Ingo suddenly recognizes as Epona, whom he thought was untamable and was supposed to give to Ganondorf as a gift. Ingo keeps his promise and gives Link the horse; however, he locks the two inside Lon Lon Ranch. Link and Epona then escape the ranch by jumping over the fence out into Hyrule Field.

After this, Link can call Epona to him by playing "Epona's Song" and ride her. Epona can jump over short fences and, at one point, jump over the ravine in Gerudo Valley. However, if Link plays "Epona's Song" while in a location he cannot access while riding her, such as inside a town or dungeon, Epona will not appear.

Ocarina of Time 3D Artwork Adult Link riding Epona (Official Artwork)

Obtaining Epona in Ocarina of Time is completely optional (as the Longshot can be used to reach the other side of Gerudo Valley), but certain mini-games, such as the Horseback Archery Range, require Epona to complete and she is useful in traveling across Hyrule Field as an Adult.

She is also required to catch Big Poe for the Ghost Shop side quest that provides Link with an Empty Bottle. After wining her from Ingo, Link can return to Lon Lon Ranch to race Epona through Malon's obstacle course. If he manages to beat Malon's record time, she will give him a special prize, which she delivers to Link's House as it is too big for Link to carry.

While riding on Epona, Link is invulnerable to enemy attacks though his usable items are limited to just the Fairy Bow. He can also trample them simply by running past them.

Epona possesses an extraordinary jumping ability, as she is capable of jumping across the ravine in Gerudo Valley.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

"What is wrong with that stupid horse of yours?! It doesn't listen to a single word you say to it!"
Skull Kid
Link and Epona (Majora's Mask)

Link is seen riding Epona in the Lost Woods at the outset of the game. The two are ambushed by Skull Kid, a mischievous being wearing a strange mask known as Majora's Mask, and his two fairy companions, Tatl and Tael. After Link regains consciousness, Skull Kid steals Epona, but Link tries to hang on to her. However, he is unable to hang on for very long, and falls off. He chases them into a hollow tree, and falls into a portal.

Link finds himself in the land of Termina. The Skull Kid appears again, telling Link that he has disposed of Epona before turning him into a Deku Scrub. Link later finds her at Romani Ranch, where Romani and Cremia have taken good care of her. After blowing up the rock blocking the way to the ranch with a Powder Keg, Link tries out for the role of assistant to Romani, and after Link successfully passes a test, Epona is his once more. Romani also teaches him "Epona's Song". Link utilizes Epona's skills to cross a fence that blocks the way to the Great Bay. He also needs to use Epona's skills to gain access to Ikana Canyon.

Like in Ocarina of Time, Link is invulnerable to enemy attacks while riding on Epona, and can trample foes simply by running into them. Epona cannot be mounted when Link is a Deku Scrub, Goron, or Zora, as these forms are respectively too small, too heavy, and too tall for Link to ride the horse safely or effectively.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons

Link appears riding a horse that looks similar to Epona in the opening sequence of both games. The name of the horse is not stated in-game, although the manga names the horse Puini.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

In the game's prologue Link can be seen riding a horse that looks similar to Epona. The prologue is widely thought to cover the events of Ocarina of Time meaning the horse depicted there could be the same horse from Ocarina of Time.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures

Epona (Four Swords Adventures)

If a Link acquires a carrot and throws it on the ground, each of the four Links will be able to ride Epona for a short period of time, which can be extended by running over additional carrots. While on Epona, Link cannot be damaged by enemies and can knock Force Gems out of other characters. Link only gains Epona once, in the stage called The Field, during Hylian Adventure. However, Epona is a valuable addition to the Shadow Battle mode.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

Epona (The Minish Cap)

Epona appears together with Malon near the North Gate of Hyrule Town, after Link has found the key to Lon Lon Ranch. This horse is attached to a cart that holds the bottles of Lon Lon Milk that Malon sells in town. When Link is in his Minish form and fuses Kinstones with the horse, its name is given as Epona.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

"Why don't you let Epona take the day off too, Link?"
Colin
Link and Epona (Twilight Princess)

Link can ride Epona from the game's beginning. However, unlike in the other games, Epona's name can be selected, just like Link's name. Also, this is the only game in which Link can use his Sword and several other items like the Hero's Bow while riding her, whereas formerly he could use only the Bow on horseback. Additionally, Epona can cause damage to enemies by rearing back, then crushing anything in front of her. Another first for the series is that Link is not completely invulnerable to enemy attacks while riding on Epona. He can take damage, be knocked off balance temporarily, can be knocked off Epona entirely, or even die on Epona. Also, if Epona is mounted from behind, she will dash forward immediately. This is especially useful in combat, as it allows Link to get back on Epona quickly. Link can also backflip off Epona as a quick way to dismount, which is useful if Link wishes to battle enemies on foot.

At the beginning of the game, Link and Epona work at Ordon Ranch, rounding up the grazing Ordon Goats. After work has ended, Link's friend Ilia, a horse-loving girl living in Ordon Village, takes her to the nearby Ordon Spring, to clean her. The next day is Epona and Link's day off; however, unforeseen circumstances force Link and Epona to travel into Faron Woods and find the children, Talo, Malo, and Beth, who have run into the woods after a monkey that had been troubling the village.

After some horse training on the third day, Ilia sees that Epona has been injured. Angered at Link's apparent carelessness, she takes Epona to Ordon Spring to heal her injury. However, on this day, Link is supposed to deliver a gift from Ordon Village to Hyrule Castle. He cannot get there on time without Epona, so he runs after her with Colin, one of the village children. However, the road to Ordon Spring is blocked by Talo and Malo. Link gives them his Wooden Sword to pass by them. After traveling further into the woods, he discovers that the path to Ordon Spring has been blocked by a gate but sneaks his way by it by crawling through a tunnel to the Spirit's Spring.

Link finds Epona and Ilia at Ordon Spring. He is forgiven by Ilia after Colin explains that the injury occurred while rescuing the Children of Ordon and not by carelessly jumping fences as Ilia had suspected. However they are interrupted by evil creatures known as Bulblins, riding huge mounts called Bullbos, appear delivering a blow to Link's head, rendering him unconscious. Meanwhile, the Bulblins kidnap Ilia, Colin, and Epona. The distressed Link meets Epona in Kakariko Village; however, she has been agitated by the evil creatures and has gone wild. After some struggle, Link is able to mount her and calm her down. When Link rides back to Ordon Village with the good news that the children have been saved. Upon returning to Kakariko Village, Colin is taken by Bulblins again; however, Link is able to battle them on horseback and save the boy. In two of the battles against King Bulblin, as well as the final battle against Ganondorf, Link must ride on Epona to fight. In the final battle, Zelda rides on Epona with Link. She was later shown carrying Link as he goes away from Ordon Village.

Epona (Twilight Princess)

Epona can be summoned if Link uses a special kind of grass called Horse Grass to play "Epona's Song". Also, later in the game, Link receives the Horse Call from Ilia, which he can use to call Epona from anywhere besides the Snowpeak and Gerudo Desert areas, as well as dungeons and other selected areas, such as the Sacred Grove.

Notably, if Link speaks to Epona in wolf form, Epona will recognize him as Link. Epona will then tell Link that he should return to his proper form if he wishes to ride her.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

LinkandEponaU

Epona returns as Link's steed. Unlike in previous incarnations, she will automatically avoid running into obstacles allowing Link to concentrate on more actions while riding her. He can also vault off Epona to perform unique actions, including shooting his bow in slow motion. Her tail is darker and her fur is noticeable brighter than her previous incarnations.

Spoiler warning: Spoilers end here.

Non-canonical appearances

Non-canon warning: This article or section contains non-canonical information that is not considered to be an official part of the Legend of Zelda series and should not be considered part of the overall storyline.

Link's Crossbow Training

The Horseback Target Practice stage involves shooting targets while riding Epona.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Epona and Link are featured on a sticker. The sticker gives a +9 bonus to arm and leg attacks and can be applied only to Link, Toon Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf.

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS

"Epona is a gorgeous, spirited sorrel who allows only two people to ride her: Malon, daughter of the owner of Lon Lon Ranch, and Link. To win Epona's favor, Link must play the song Malon teaches him. Forever after, this lovely song will carry across the wind and summon Epona."
— Trophy Description

Epona from Ocarina of Time 3D appears as a Trophy.

Hyrule Warriors/Legends

Link Epona (Hyrule Warriors)
"Link's beloved steed and most faithful companion. When the gauge is full, charge ahead with a Strong Attack. You can also charge by holding Y at the end of a Combo Attack."
— In-game description of Link's Horse moveset

Epona appears during certain cutscenes and also appears as the Horse weapon for Link in the DLC Master Quest pack. In the game Epona has 3 designs which represent the Horse weapon level. The Hyrule Warriors design known simply as "Epona" is level one, the Twilight Princess design known as "Twilight Epona" is level two, and the Ocarina Of Time design known as "Epona of Time" is level three. There is also a "Dark Epona" which appears when the Epona weapon is used by Link in his Dark Link costume. The Hyrule Warriors Epona features some light armor giving her design a war horse feel, which fits with Hyrule Warriors focus on battlefield combat. Like in past Zelda titles, Epona can trample and damage enemies just by running into them, of course she can also kick with her hooves during certain combos and attacks, while Link can attack from atop Epona using his Bow or Knight's Sword during certain combos. Outside of Epona's weapon moveset Link can also use any additional items from atop Epona, like Bombs, Boomerang, or Hookshot as he would normally.

Non-canon warning: Non-canonical information ends here.

Pronunciation

Since the Zelda series has text based dialogue, there is no official pronunciation of the name "Epona". The most common is eh-PONE-uh.

Etymology

Epona is named after Epona, the Celtic goddess of horses, whose name and worship spread throughout the Celtic and Roman worlds.

Theory

Theory warning: This section contains theoretical information based on the research of one or several other users. It has not been officially verified by Nintendo and its factual accuracy is disputed.

Crimson Loftwing

Given their similar coloration and bond with Link, it is possible that Epona is the reincarnation of the spirit of the Crimson Loftwing from Skyward Sword. This may explain her extraordinary jumping ability (possibly a vestige of her past life as a Loftwing that soared through the sky).

Theory warning: Theories end here.

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