- "...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.
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."
- — Hyrule Compendium
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 Horse, 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. Link can take picture of wild, tamed, registered horses, and Epona to add Horse to the Hyrule Compendium which appears as entry number 001 in the Compendium's Creatures section. In addition to the Horse entry, there are also entries for the Giant Horse (entry 002), White Horse (entry 003), and Stalhorse (005). Like Bullbos from Twilight Princess, Horses are not the only creatures Link can mount, tame, and ride as Link can tame Mountain Bucks, Mountain Doe, Bears, and the guardian spirit of Satori Mountain, the Lord of the Mountain Satori, though none of these creatures can be registered at stables as they are not horses. Additionally Stalhorses cannot be registered as they are considered monsters despite technically being horses (as they are an undead breed of horse).
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 creatures like deer, bears, and Lord of the Mountain, however these cannot be registered at stables and will occasionally attempt to throw Link off, forcing him to soothe them again to bring them under control and will flee when he dismounts.
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 registerable at stables. However most of them have basic stats. Epona is the only registerable horse that does not require Link to tame her as she is automatically tame and fully bonded with Link. Some Stalkoblins ride Stalhorses which are also automatically tame though cannot be registered.
Horse gaits & riding
- "As your horse's speed increases—between walk, trot, canter, and gallop—their gait changes as well. Use Yah! to increase your speed, and use Whoa... to decrease it."
- — Horse Gaits Loading Screen tip
In Breath of the Wild, Horses can move forward at different speeds based on their gait which is based on how real world horses move either naturally or through training. Walk is the basic speed a horse can move and unlike other gaits, Horses can walk backwards as well as forward and can be initiated by simply moving forward while mounted or pressing the dash button once. Walking is slow and allows Link better control than other gaits due to the ability to walk backwards which involves holding the Whoa... command after. From a walk, Link can increase the horse's gait speed to a trot which is slightly faster than a walk and allows Link to move forward and steer the horse from side to side change direction or to turn it around, though it is slower than a canter. Canter is faster and allows for faster movement while still being able to steer the horse and Link can start a canter from either a walk or trot. Canter is the fastest that a horse can move without using any of its stamina which is represented by spurs. Spurs are required for a horse to gallop which allows the horse to temporarily run forward full gallop briefly before returning to moving at canter speed. Gallop only allows the horse to move forward the ability to steer the is more limited. Horses cannot gallop if all their spurs are used up or they have no spurs such as the Giant Horse which is unable to gallop due to its lack of stamina. In addition to gaits, Link can also horse step which allows Link's horse to sidestep, which can be performed in much the same manner Link can side step, though the horse must be standing still to horse step. Horse step allows Link far better control and can be useful in moving Link's horse around obstacles or move them through difficult terrain, however Link must be careful as horses can be killed by fall damage. If a horse falls in deep water while Link is horse stepping, Link will float off his horse, though horses in Breath of the Wild can swim and will instinctively swim towards dry land they can walk on if it is present.
Though Horses can travel to most places in Hyrule including villages, some areas are inaccessible to them such as the Great Plateau, Gerudo Desert, Death Mountain, and volcanic areas of Eldin Canyon including Goron City. Though horses can through across the bridges connecting the three islands in Lake Totori to the main island where Rito Village sits, it refuses to travel up the steps leading into Rito Village. Though horses can travel through Kakariko Village, Hateno Village, and Tarrey Town, horses will refuse to canter or gallop while traveling through Kakariko or Hateno Village though will still walk, trot, and horse step.
Horseback Combat in Breath of the Wild functions similar to horseback combat in Twilight Princess as Link can use swords, boomerangs, and bows while riding a horse. Additionally, Link can wield any melee weapon from atop a horse, though generally Spears and two-handed weapons are better as they have greater range. Unlike Twilight Princess, Link is unable to perform a spin attack from atop a horse. Holding down the button will instead cause Link to hold up his weapon ready for attack which is delivered once the button is released. Link can also throw weapons from horseback. Additionally for the first time in the series, Link can fire Sword Beams while riding a horse by throwing the Master Sword (which causes the sword to unleash a sword beam), however like the normal sword beam can only be fired when Link is at full health. Horseback Archery functions much like it did in past games, though Link can wield various bows and arrows. Bokoblins can wield both melee weapons and bows while riding horses as well. Unlike past games, horses can be damaged and killed during combat. Link can also slay or steal horses ridden by Bokoblins.
Like in the Breath of the Wild E3 trailer, Link can also vault off the back of his horse, in order to dismount quickly. As this puts him in the air, Link can use the Paraglider or draw his bow in the air which causes time to slowdown as long as Link has stamina and as long as he remains in the air. Though Link can engage Guardian Stalkers like he did in the trailer, a Guardian laser can easily kill a horse if it hits, thus it is generally a good idea to dismount a horse before engaging them. Like in past games, Horses can kill minor enemies and wildlife by trampling them, though unlike past games, horses can also defend themselves by kicking allowing them to attack enemies if Link is knocked off, though its also allows wild horses to attack Link if they sense his approach. Link can also hunt wild game from horseback, using melee weapons and arrows. Hunting from horseback gives Link an advantage as the horse allows him to rundown wild game if it flees or he can vault off a horse to fire his bow in the air which allows him to hit animals with arrows before they can flee. However Link must dismount to collect any items.
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 when walking, trotting, cantering, 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.
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.
Mane and Gear
Before a horse is registered, Link rides it bareback and holds its mane to control it instead of reigns. Once a horse is registered, the horse receives a Bridle and Saddle. Generally the Stable Bridle and Stable Saddle are equipped to Link's horse upon registration. Link can however acquire other Bridles and Saddles which are key items that can be obtained through several means. The Knight's Bridle, Knight's Saddle, Extravagant Bridle, and Extravagant Saddle can be obtained as rewards in various horse related mini-games that test Link's riding skills. Additionally Link can also purchase the Monster Bridle and Monster Saddle from Kilton at the Fang and Bone after freeing two Divine Beasts. The Traveler's Bridle and Traveler's Saddle can be obtained separately from treasure chests dropped by using the Link (Rider) amiibo from the Breath of the Wild series with the amiibo Rune. Finally the Royal Bridle and Royal Saddle can be obtained from Toffa as a reward for finding and registering the White Horse during the "The Royal White Stallion" Side Quest. The Royal Bridle and Royal Saddle is equipped to the White Horse after specking to Toffa, though Link can equip it to other horses and equip different Bridals and Saddles to the White Horse.
While most horses receive the default Stable Bridle and Stable Saddle, Epona and the Giant Horse receive special Bridle and Saddle sets unique to them which cannot be changed. Unlike Armor worn by Link, Bridles and Saddles are purely cosmetic and changing them is completely optional. To change a horse's gear, Link must first bond with his horse completely, either by soothing it when it follows his commands. However if he wishes to increase its bond more quickly he can simply feed it carrots (Swift Carrots and Endura Carrots) and Apples until it is fully bonded. While bonding makes the horse more obedient, it also impresses the Stable hands who will only agree to change a horse's gear once it has bonded completely with its owner. It addition to changing gear, the Stable hands will also style the horse's mane into various different styles or change its color. Styling its mane is purely cosmetic, but can be a helpful way for Link to alter his horse's appearance to make it stand out better and make it easier to tell it apart from other horses with similar or identical natural appearance. These Stable hands are all female and can only be found at certain stables, though this service is completely free. However the Stable hands will refuse to change manes or gear if it hasn't fully bonded with Link. They can only change a horse's gear once Link has acquired at least one saddle and/or one bridle other than the default set received from Stables. The Stable Bridle and Stable Saddle only appear when changing gear and do not appear in Link's key item inventory. Epona and the Giant Horse's unique gear do not appear as items as they are equipped to them by default. Additionally, stable hands refuse to change the gear and manes of either Epona or the Giant Horse. In Epona's case it is due to her personality and uniqueness. In the Giant Horse's case, its size prevents them from changing its gear as it wears a special gear set that is large enough to fit it and its wild temperament prevents its mane from being changed. However the White Horse's gear and mane can be changed, despite being a special horse. As Stalhorse cannot be registered they cannot have their Bridal, Saddle, or mane changed, though the Stalhorse comes with its own unique saddle as they have been domesticated by Stalkoblin, however it lacks a mane due to its undead state (though has a fake tail attached to its tail bone).
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. Horses can also be burned by fire, froze by ice attacks, and shocked by electric attacks and lightning. It is possible to freeze and shock horses without killing them, thus Link can use this to his advantage to aid him in mounting them, though he must be careful as he can kill them if he does it too much. However any registered horses can be revived by the God of Horses Malanya at his 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. Stalhorses will automatically die at sunrise as they cannot maintain their bone structure in the daytime.
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. She is well known to all the stable clerks in Hyrule as the legendary horse, Epona indicating she has acquired legendary status in Hyrule (or her legendary status in known among the Stable clerks), much like the various incarnations of Link. It is her legendary status that prevents Link from changing her name. While she is not recognized by the stable hands, they consider her as a lovely and graceful little lady who would absolutely hate it if he changed her mane or gear.
- "This giant horse is the last of its kind. Its physical capabilities completely overshadow those of regular horses, but its temperament is extremely wild. Only a truly skilled rider can train, or even catch, this beast of a mount."
- — Hyrule Compendium
The giant horse is a special animal, appearing in the Taobab Grassland as part of the quest "Hunt for the Giant Horse", where Link must tame it and bring it to Straia. Once tamed this horse can be registered at any point before or after the quest completion. It has 5-star strength but zero stamina, resulting in no spur and an inability to gallop. Due to its temperament and large size Link cannot alter its mane, bridal, or saddle, however unlike Epona its name can be chosen upon registration. The Hyrule Compendium states that the giant horse is the last of its kind. Its size, strength and coloration (red mane and dark coat), and its location in the Gerudo Highlands possibly indicate a connection to Ganondorf's Steed from Ocarina of Time. This is further indicated by the presence of the White Stallion, a horse speculated to be a descendant of Zelda's personal steed seen in cutscenes.
- "The Hyrulean royal family that perished 100 years ago would sometimes ride atop white horses as a display of their divine right. This white horse may be a descendant of one once ridden by royalty."
- — Hyrule Compendium
The White Horse 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 Horse and the White Horse's Hyrule Compendium entry also suggests the possibly that it may be a descendant of one ridden by Hyrulean royalty as a display of their divine right (a reference to the Princesses of Hyrule possessing the blood of the Goddess Hylia which is mentioned by both Impa and Kass in their retellings of the defeat of Calamity Ganon 10,000 year ago). It has 5 stars stamina and thus 5 spurs allowing it to gallop even more than Epona.
The White Horse 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 and the Hyrule Compendium'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).
- "This skeletal horse is ridden by monsters. It was once a regular horse, but Ganon's power revived it from death. It cannot maintain its bone structure in the daytime."
- — Hyrule Compendium
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. According to their Compendium entry, they were once regular horses that had died, though, where later revived from death by Ganon's power, though despite confirmation that Ganon was involved in their reanimation, they are classified in the Compendium's Creatures section instead of the Monsters section. They cannot be revived by Malanya, but all Stalhorse will be revived after a Blood Moon as their undead state is a result of Ganon's power which reaches its peak at midnight during 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|