- "...we could not keep them safe from the monsters on the road without a horse and cart..."
- — Renado
Horses are a recurring race in the The Legend of Zelda series. They are often ridden and utilized in other ways by other races.
Rebonack, the boss of Island Palace, utilizes what appears to be a mechanical horse to charge Link during the first phase of the battle. After enough damage is dealt the horse will flee leaving Link to fight Rebonack like an ordinary Iron Knuckle. Although technically not an actual horse, the boss of Parapa Palace, Horsehead, does possess a head resembling that of a horse.
Horses are found predominantly at Lon Lon Ranch. Most of the horses are dun to chestnut in color with black masks and legs. When Link goes there as a child he can see the filly Epona and learn "Epona's Song" from Malon. When he is an adult he can pay Ingo to ride either Epona or an unnamed horse. Any horse besides Epona will not be capable of defeating Ingo. Link must play Epona's Song to coax Epona into letting him ride her.
Ingo will offer to race Link when he rides Epona a second time. Should Link beat him twice, Ingo will grudgingly let Link keep Epona, but will lock the gates of Lon Lon Ranch to prevent Link and Epona from leaving. Link must then ride Epona and leap over the outer barriers of the ranch to keep her. Afterwards, Ingo will apologise and Malon will let Link ride Epona in an obstacle course. There is also a horse presumably owned by a Gerudo at the Horseback Archery Range.
Epona again serves as Link's faithful mount, though she is a young filly as opposed to the adult horse seen in other games. The Gorman Brothers, owners of a horse training center, are also seen riding two grey speckled horses, at one point while wearing Garo's Masks. They also run a horse racing mini-game featuring obstacles such as mud, fences and trees. Link can race the Gorman Brothers on Epona, and will win a Garo's Mask of his own if he can beat them. Also, if Link helps Romani repel Them on the First Night, Cremia can be seen riding in a carriage pulled by an unnamed beige horse or mule on the Second Day.
Link appears riding an unnamed horse that looks similar to Epona in the opening sequence of both games.
The Hero of Time can be seen riding Epona in the game's Prologue. It is unknown if any horses survived the Great Flood, however since none are encountered in The Wind Waker or Spirit Tracks it is possible that the species may have gone extinct.
Epona is once again Link's horse. In this game, another name can be selected for Epona, even though Epona remains the default name. She is seen hauling wood in the opening scenes. She appears to be of heavier stock than horses seen in earlier games. Another horse is seen pulling the cart containing the ill Prince Ralis, Ilia, and Telma on the way to Kakariko Village. Horse riding in Twilight Princess features several new mechanics, including the ability to attack with a sword whilst mounted. Epona can also damage enemies by rearing back and stomping on unfortunate enemies.
- "These can most often be found on plains. Their usefulness as transportation has made them valuable since ancient times. That said, wild horses do tend to get spooked and run off when approached, so if you're looking to snag one, it's best to sneak up on it."
- — In-game description
In Breath of the Wild, Link can encounter tamed horses ridden by a traveler or at the one of the fifteen Stables throughout Hyrule. There are also numerous wild horses of varying stats and coat colors found in the overworld, but most commonly in the Faron Grasslands and Hyrule Field regions. Link can try to mount any wild horses, tame then register them at a Stable. When riding horses, they can follow a set course and will automatically avoid running into obstacles allowing Link to concentrate on more actions while riding. This gives him more freedom on horseback, such as vaulting off the horse to aim his bow in slow motion and fire arrows more accurately. Link can also strafe while riding atop horses which grants him greater control over their movements, making it easier to move in enclosed spaces or around obstacles. Some horses are special and can only be encountered or obtained via certain methods such as side quests or the amiibo Rune. Special horses include the White Stallion, the Giant Horse, Epona and Stalhorses. Link can register them after the quest is completed. Though horses are mainly used as transportation, they are also required to play certain mini-games such as Horseback Archery at the Mounted Archery Camp or Horse riding obstacle course at the Highland Stable. Additionally Link can occasionally find Koroks by jumping his horse over several fences in certain locations.
Each horse has different arrays of coat colors with sometimes distinctive markings, stats and temperaments. Generally horses with a unique coat color, have better stats but are more difficult to tame, while Horses with spots or different coat colors are easier to tame but generally have lower stats. The temperament determines how easy a horse can be tamed and bonded. Horses' stamina determines how many spurs they have while speed refers to their basic movement speed, strength determines how much damage the horse causes when trampling or kicking enemies. Link can give horses three extra yellow spurs by feeding them Endura Carrots, which acts much like Link's extra yellow Stamina Wheel parts. They can only be used once all normal spurs are spent then disappear.
To tame a horse, Link must approach it silently from behind and mount them. Link can increase his chance by wearing clothing and using items increasing stealth ability. After mounting them, Link must soothe them while avoiding being thrown off. This will occur when his stamina wheel is empty. Once a horse has been properly soothed Link can ride it though depending on its temperament the horse may disobey Link's commands. Link can make it more obedient by bonding with it. The "Soothe" command can be used to train a more temperamental horses to properly follow Link's commands while soothing it. When soothed successfully, a cloud of pink partials will appear over the horses head.
Link can also give it certain foods like Apples and carrots by holding those items in his hands near the horse's head, which increases Link's bond with it. Pink partials appear over its head in this is done as well. Once the affinity bond reaches 100, the horse will follow Link's commands unconditionally and it will be fully tamed. Along with horses, Link can also tame and ride other large animals like deer and bears, however these cannot be registered at stables.
Bokoblins are also known to tame and mount horses. Link can knock these Bokoblins then mount their horses. They are automatically tamed, do not require any soothing, are registrable at stables. However most of them have basic stats.
Link can tame a wild horse, then register and name it at a stable. He can register up to five horses at stables and can choose to release a horse back into the wild if he obtains a better steed. He can only free up space when his tries to register a horse whereas five horses are registered or one died. He can also board horses at stables when he is not using them, and they can be selected from any stable. Registered horses that have been taken out of a stable are represented by a horse icon on the Sheikah Slate map. Link can call any registered horses to him by Whistling provided it is not boarded in a stable, nearby, and can reach Link's location as it only calls them to Link. If the horse is too far away or cannot reach Link, he will receive a message informing him of why it cannot be called.
Vulnerability and reviving
Horses can be killed by enemies or by Link when he involuntary performs destructive actions such as blowing a Remote Bomb, firing Bomb Arrows too close to them, or attacking them either intentionally or accidentally. However any registered horses can be revived by the Horse Goddess Malanya at her spring, located in the Faron Grasslands, southwest of the Highland Stable by crossing the Horse God Bridge. If a registered horse dies, it will no longer appear at the stable and must be revived by Malanya if wished. It can be then boarded at any stable. Link can also kill horses ridden by Bokoblins to prevent them from remounting them, though prevents Link from mounting them as well.
Epona can also be attained exclusively by using the amiibo Rune and scanning the Link amiibo from the Super Smash Bros. or the The Legend of Zelda 30th Anniversary series. Upon registering, her name will default to Epona, and no other name can be entered. In addition, any stable hand will refuse to change her Mane, Bridle, or Saddle from the unique set she receives. She only appears the first time the amiibo is used and only once per save file, and must be summoned in accessible areas. Unlike past games, Epona is not invulnerable and can be killed, though she can be revived by Malanya if she is registered.
The Giant Horse is a special horse that appears in the Taobab Grasslands as part of the Hunt for the Giant Horse where Link must tame it and bring it to Straia. Link can register this horse before or after he brings it to Straia. The Giant Horse has 5 Star strength but has zero Stamina and thus no Spurs and is unable to gallop. Its size and temperament prevent Link from having its mane, bridal, or saddle changed. However unlike Epona it can be named upon being registered. Due to its size, strength, coloration (red mane & dark coat), and the fact it is found in Taobab Grasslands near the Gerudo Highlands which is part of Gerudo Desert, the Giant Horse may be a reference to Ganondorf's Steed from Ocarina of Time.
The White Stallion is a special pure white Stallion that appears on Safula Hill near the Sanidin Park Ruins as part of the quest "The Royal White Stallion". Toffa's grandfather told him of a pure white horse once owned by Princess Zelda. He fled to the hill after the fall of Hyrule Castle during the Great Calamity. Toffa believes that the pure white horse seen on the hill is a descendant of the Princess' horse. He asks Link to find and tame it.
The horse lives away from the other wild horses and is warier forcing Link to be as stealthy as possible. It requires at least two stamina wheels to tame. After taming and bringing it back to him, Toffa requires Link to register it, then present Link with the Royal Bridle and Royal Saddle inherited from his grandfather. Toffa states to be certain that this horse is the grandchild of Princess Zelda's White Stallion. It has 5 stars stamina and thus 5 spurs allowing it to gallop even more than Epona and any known horses.
The White Stallion is likely a reference to the unnamed White Horse used by Impa and Princess Zelda to escape Ganondorf in Ocarina of Time. Princess Zelda can be seen riding an nearly identical horse equipping with the royal saddle and bridle in Link's recovered memories, indicating that Toffa's theory may be true. Zelda herself is seen riding a White Stallion during the game's ending, which is either her original horse or the white stallion obtained from the side quest (which Link either gave to Zelda following Ganon's defeat or Zelda had tamed it herself were Link had not done so during the side quest).
In Breath of the Wild, there is an undead species called a Stalhorse or sometimes Bone Horses. They appear ridden by a Stalkoblins at night. Link can dismount the Stalkoblin and ride Stalhorses. They cannot be registered at a stable, as the clerks consider Stalhorses to be monsters and fear that they will eat the other horses if they board them. Other characters will act fearful (if unarmed) or hostile towards the Stalhorse as well. They cannot be revived by Malanya but all Stalhorse will be revived after a Blood Moon. Stalhorses are automatically tame and come already equipped with their own bridle and saddle. Interestingly, despite their lack of internal organs, Stalhorses can eat carrots and apples like a living horse.
Several stages involve shooting targets while riding Epona.
Epona appears in Link's Hylian Sword and Master Sword Movesets' entrance and victory cutscenes. Ganondorf's Steed appears in Ganondorf's battle intro cutscene.
In the Master Quest DLC Pack, Horse is a new Light Element weapon moveset for Link using various incarnations of Epona.
Link owns a horse named Catherine. Zelda has her own horse.
Many horses appear in the comics, including Princess Zelda's horse, Storm.
|Dark Link · Ganon · Link · Princess Zelda|
—Full list of characters
|Horsehead · Helmethead · Rebonack · Carock · Gooma · Barba · Thunderbird · Dark Link|
|Western Hyrule · Eastern Hyrule · Lesser Hyrule · Maze Island|
—Full list of locations
|Parapa Palace · Midoro Palace · Island Palace · Maze Island Palace · Ocean Palace · Hidden Palace · Great Palace|
|P Bag · 1-up Doll · Magical Sword · Magical Shield · Candle · Flute · Handy Glove · Hammer · Raft · Boots · Magical Key · Cross|
|Fairy Spell · Fire Spell · Jump Spell · Life Spell · Reflect Spell · Shield Spell · Spell Spell · Thunder Spell|
|Trophy · Water of Life · Kidnapped Child · Six Crystals · Triforce of Courage|
|Fairy · Hylian|
|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|