There are few companions that are going to accompany you for the entirety of Red Dead Redemption 2, but one that will be at your side for the majority of the journey is your horse. However, like any relationship worth having, you're going to need to put in some effort. Your horse isn't just going to be your buddy from the get-go; you are going to have to earn its trust. Having your horse on your good side will make Arthur Morgan's journey much easier, though.
Here's everything you need to know about horses, and bonding with them, in Red Dead Redemption 2:
So you've got your horse, and it turns out that it doesn't like you very much yet. Don't worry, it happens. And it turns out that there are plenty of super-easy ways to win your new horse over.
One way to do so is by brushing your horse.
You get hold of a horse brush pretty early on in the game, and it's a little bit dual-purpose. Throughout your travels, your horse is going to get pretty dirty (just like you). The dirtier your horse, the quicker the horse's cores are going to drain. Brushing your horse cleans it, as does running it through a body of water. The brush also gains you some kudos from your horse, who deeply appreciates being brushed.
Most likely, your travels in Red Dead Redemption 2 are not going to be peaceful little getaways. You're going to run into many dangerous situations as you make your way through the game, and your horse is going to notice them; each and every one. From straying a little too close for comfort to a predator, to getting into a gunfight, or any number of other risky situations you get into, your horse is going to get uncomfortable pretty often.
Thankfully, calming your horse is as easy as pushing a couple of buttons.
Holding L2 or LT, depending on your system, and clicking in the left joystick will prod Arthur into giving your horse a reassuring pat on the head/neck, which keeps your horse reasonable and gains a little bit more of your horse's trust.
This one is sort of a no-brainer. Adventuring is a hungry endeavor, and before long, you'll be hearing your horse's stomach growling, and might notice them sizing you up a little bit.
Okay, maybe not, but your horse is going to get hungry. And just like Arthur, the hungrier your horse gets, the lower its cores are going to stoop. You can feed your horse a lot of different things that Arthur could eat himself, but not quite everything. Some of the best and most easily obtainable stuff to give your horse seems to be carrots and apples. They rejuvenate your horse much more than they rejuvenate Arthur, and what way better is there to gain a new companion than sharing a snack with them?
As the saying goes, "there's plenty of fish in the sea." The same can more or less be said of Red Dead Redemption 2: there are plenty of horses in the Old West. You've got a lot of different options when it comes to who you choose to be your traveling companion, and whatever horse you choose, they'll be sure to appreciate the gesture. The more you use the same horse, doing just about anything, the more your horse is going to trust you. And in the same vein, the more you use the same horse, the more you may grow to trust the horse.
Okay, so you've bonded with your horse. What exactly does that get you? Well, it turns out there are quite a few different benefits to having a horse in your corner. There are some gradual bonuses; the more you've bonded with your horse, the further your horse will be willing to gallop on its own when it hears you whistle. It's certainly not going to run across the map when you call, but the range definitely does improve. And, the more you bond with your horse, the less likely it is to get stolen. Apparently those talks about “Stranger Danger” paid off. Your horse will also be willing to wade into deeper waters with you, and generally be fine with going into sketchier terrain.
There are a few different maneuvers you can do with your horse as you get to know each other, too.
Level Two – At level two, you can hold R1 or RB and press Square or X, depending on your system, to rear your horse.
Level Three – At level three, you can do a skid turn or a skid stop, by holding either R1+X or RB+A, and using your left joystick. To just stop instead of skid, skip the joystick.
Level Four – Lastly, you can perform a piaffe/drift, by holding Square or X and using the left joystick.
1. DIFFERENT HORSES
Not every horse in Red Dead Redemption 2 is the same. Rockstar has put an incredible amount of work into establishing variance in just about every aspect of the game, and they did not hold back when designing the nineteen different breeds of horses. Each horse has their own set of coats possible, and there are quite a few different “tiers” of horses available. There doesn't seem to be any horse breed that's necessarily best, but there are some that excel at certain specific things. Some horses have different temperaments as well, though I'm not entirely sure that's linked to the breed.
You can find a horse out in the wild and tame them, or you can buy a new horse at a stable. Either way, be sure to study your new horse and learn what you can about them. And remember that, whatever horse you choose, they're embarking on this new journey with you. They're putting their trust in you. You're becoming their new best friend.
Don't let them down.