- "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. With the exception of her Breath of the Wild incarnation, in most games Epona is virtually indestructible and able to take the brunt of enemy attack.
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.
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 winning 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.
- "What's with that stupid horse of yours?! It doesn't listen to a word that's said to it..."
- — Skull Kid
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, Goron, or Zora Masks, as these forms are respectively too small, too heavy, and too tall for Link to ride the horse safely or effectively. Also unlike Ocarina of Time, Young Link rides Epona bareback (without a Saddle) presumably due to Epona being too young to be saddled.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- "Link...even though you change shape, I still understand you..."
- — Epona
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 first 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 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. 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.
- "OK, please enter a name for your hors- ...Wait a minute! Isn't this Epona, the horse of legend? What are you thinking?! You can't rename a horse of legend! Pretty sure there's a law against that. So Epona it is?"
- — A stable manager
In early art and gameplay it was seen and believed that Epona was to return as Link's steed, but unlike previous incarnations her tail was darker and fur noticeably brighter. This horse was eventually revealed not to be Link's faithful travel companion but instead one of many in-game wild horses which posses differing stats and coloring. However this horse is presumably based on Link's unnamed horse from before the Great Calamity that appears in three Recovered Memories and is equipped with a Traveler's Bridle and Saddle during these said memories though this horse's fate during the Great Calamity is unknown. Unlike previous titles, Link can tame and ride various wild horses, then register them at a stable, name them, purchase equipment for them (only applies to the Monster Bridle, Monster Saddle, Stable Bridle, Stable Saddle, and Special Unique Horse equipment received upon registration of special horses including Epona herself), and customize their mane style. Link can also feed them Carrots and Apples to increase his bond with them and Endura Carrots give extra stamina to Horses increasing their number of Spurs by three temporarily. Horses are not invulnerable and can be killed, but registered horses can be revived by visiting the Horse God Malanya in Malanya Spring in Faron Grasslands though his power must first be restored with an offering of Rupees though after the first free revival, Malanya requires an Endura Carrot as payment (they grow on the cliffs overlooking his spring and near all Great Fairy Fountains).
Epona herself can be summoned via the amiibo Rune and the Link amiibo of the Super Smash Bros. series the first time the amiibo is used and once per save file. An accessible area and a free space at a stable are required to summon her otherwise the amiibo will produce a chest containing a random item and miscellaneous ingredients, though as long as Epona is not summoned she will appear when it is first used and all criteria for her to be summoned are meet. It is best to summon her near a Stable. As with all horses, Link must pay 20 Rupees to register her. Epona is a special horse with her traditional color and markings. She has four stars in strength, speed, stamina and has a gentle temperament. She is also automatically tame and has a max bond with Link who can simply approach her and mount her without any resistance. Nevertheless, like any horse, Epona is no longer invulnerable, can be killed by enemies, but can be revived thanks to Malanya. If she is killed before a registration, she has a chance of randomly appearing when the amiibo is used again though its possible to reload a previous save when she was alive or before she was summoned allowing the amiibo to summon her again as the data of its use must be saved as Epona will continue to spawn as long as the data of her being summoned does not exist such as a previous save file before it was used. When first summoned and unregistered, Link will ride Epona bareback using her mane to control her like he does when riding unregistered wild horses and is the second time Link can ride her bareback since Young Epona in Majora's Mask. It is the first game in which Link can ride Epona both bareback and saddled. If summoned far away from a stable, Link must ride her to a stable in order to register her, though if summoned near a Stable Link must simply talk to the stable clerk. She will remain of Link saves as any tamed horses data is uploaded from a previous save if saved after Link mounted it successfully. Thus her being killed while unregistered is not as problematic as it seems as their are several solutions to resolve said scenario. However it is generally a good idea to register her as soon as possible and then save. Afterwards if she is registered she can be revivied like any other registered horse.
Link can registered Epona to a stable and equip her with a special and unique saddle and bridle. The front strap of her special saddle features a shield-like Triforce emblem and the saddle itself features triforce marks on both sides. Upon registering, a stable manager will ask Link to name the horse as usual but stops when he recognizes her as Epona, the "Horse of Legend". He cannot bring himself to rename the legendary horse and refuses to allow Link to change it. Furthermore, any stable hand will refuse to change her mane, bridle or saddle from the unique set she receives. The stable hand will state that Epona is different than any horse they have ever seen, finding her so lovely and graceful. They are pretty sure that Epona would absolutely hate a change of her mane or equipment indicating that despite her Gentle nature and automatic bond with Link she is apparently fussy about her appearance and presumably her unique Bridle and Saddle were specially designed to fit the Horse of Legend's tastes as she is apparently a famous celebrity horse as all Stable Managers recognize her. She is one of the best horses in the game as she has balanced stats, though the White Stallion obtained during "The Royal White Stallion" side quest has one more Spur than Epona as it has 5 Stars Stamina though is not as strong as Epona in terms of Speed as it only has 3 Stars Speed and is equal to Epona in terms of Strength as they both have 4 Stars Stamina. After being registered, Link can board or pick up Epona at any Stable and can summon her via whistling provided she is not currently boarded at a stable, nearby, and able to reach his location.
Like other horses, Link can feed Epona carrots and Apples, though feeding her Swift Carrots and Apples serves no purpose as she automatically has a max bond with Link. However like other Horses, eating an Endura Carrot will give her three temporary yellow Spurs of stamina which allows Epona to gallop three more times after her four normal spurs are used up, though these yellow spurs disappear after they are used. As a result, Epona's maximum number of spurs after eating an Endura Carrot is seven. Thanks to her gentle nature, Epona will not throw Link off if he tries to make her gallop when all her spurs are used up and is out of stamina to gallop. Like other horses Link can make Epona side step by holding the target button and moving the control stick, which allows Epona to strafe and grants Link greater control over her allowing him to move her around obstructions more easily. Unfortunately as her mane and saddle cannot be changed she cannot be equipped with the Ancient Bridle and Ancient Saddle thus cannot utilize their special bonuses. However Link doesn't have to tame her and she's the only Gentle horse with great stats as generally horses with the best stats are of the Wild temperament, even the White Horse thus Epona is the most faithful and obedient horse with the best unenhanced stats Link can ride.
The Horseback Target Practice stage involves shooting targets while riding Epona.
- "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.
- "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.
Since the Zelda series has text based dialogue, there is no official pronunciation of the name "Epona". The most common is eh-PONE-uh.
Epona is named after Epona, the Celtic goddess of horses, whose name and worship spread throughout the Celtic and Roman worlds.
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.
|Link (x4) · Princess Zelda · Six Maidens · Vaati|
—Full list of characters
|Phantom Ganon · Helmaroc King · Stone Arrghus · Jalhalla · Dagtail · Frostare · Big Dodongo · Vaati · Ganon|
| Whereabouts of the Wind · Eastern Hyrule · Death Mountain · Near the Fields · The Dark World · The Desert of Doubt · Frozen Hyrule · Realm of the Heavens|
—Full list of locations
|Bomb · Bombos Medallion · Boomerang · Bow · Fire Rod · Four Sword · Lantern · Magic Hammer · Quake Medallion · Shield · Slingshot|
|Blue Bracelet · Carrot · Force Gem · Force Fairy · Heart · Heart Container · Moon Pearl · Pegasus Boots · Power Bracelet · Roc's Feather · Shovel · Small Key|
|Knight Mark · Letter · Magic Book · Royal Jewels · Vaati Barrier|
|Gerudo · Goron · Hylian · Zuna|
| Ezlo · King Daltus · Link · Princess Zelda · Smith · Vaati|
—Full list of characters
|Big Green ChuChu · Gleerok · Mazaal · Big Octorok · Gyorg Pair · Vaati Reborn · Vaati Transfigured · Vaati's Wrath|
| Castor Wilds · Cloud Tops · Eastern Hills · Hyrule Town · Lake Hylia · Lon Lon Ranch · Minish Woods · Mount Crenel · Mt. Crenel's Base · North Hyrule Field · Royal Valley · South Hyrule Field · Trilby Highlands · Veil Falls · Western Wood · Wind Ruins|
|Deepwood Shrine · Cave of Flames · Fortress of Winds · Temple of Droplets · Royal Crypt · Palace of Winds · Dark Hyrule Castle|
|Smith's Sword · White Sword · Four Sword · Small Shield · Mirror Shield · Bombs · Boomerang · Bow · Cane of Pacci · Gust Jar|
|Bottle · Flame Lantern · Flippers · Grip Ring · Mole Mitts · Ocarina of Wind · Power Bracelets · Roc's Cape|
|Elements · Kinstones · Tiger Scrolls|
|Deku · Fairy · Goron · Human · Hylian · Minish · Wind Tribe|