Red Dead Redemption 2 horse guide: taming, bonding, feeding and saddling

Awaken your inner horse whisperer and become the best stable-hand in the West.

Red Dead Redemption 2’s rugged world is absolutely massive and traversing it by foot would be a huge undertaking, but luckily Arthur has the ability to tame even the wildest of horses. Having a four-legged companion not only speeds up exploration, it also acts as a hub where you can store and equip various items and weapons. This guide will explain how you can make the most of your trusty steed and help keep them healthy and happy.

How to tame wild horses?

Arthur Morgan could easily make a living as an expert horse tamer. In fact, he can befriend any horse he sees in the wild. However, taming a horse in Red Dead Redemption 2 requires you to do more than just simply stare at them. To tame a wild horse you need to slowly approach it with nothing equipped in your hands. To do this, target the animal with L2/LT, then choose the option to calm it. Sometimes the horse will get nervous and agitated by your presence, so be ready to stop walking and wait for the option to calm it again. Once it’s relaxed begin to slowly approach the horse until the option to pat it pops up. Continue to hold L2/LT to keep the interaction interface active and be ready to mount it as soon as the prompt appears on screen. Recently broken horses still have their wild sides and tend to be less responsive, but this can be changed with a little bonding.

How to bond with your horse?

Arthur riding a horse. Horse Guide for Red Dead Redemption 2
© Rockstar Games

Increasing the bond between you and your horse will unlock new abilities. Bonding with your new-found friend comes naturally as you embark on adventures together, but the process can be sped up if you show it a little TLC. Ways to increase your bond with your horse include:

  • Providing food to your horse when it’s hungry.
  • Calming your animal down after something spooks it.
  • Brushing your horse when it’s dirty.
  • Riding your horse and leading it when it isn’t too exhausted.

There are a total of four bonding levels in Red Dead Redemption 2 and once you’ve increased the bond between you and your horse, you’ll unlock the following bonuses:

  • Bonding 2: R1/RB + Square/X to rear while stationary.
  • Bonding 3: R1/RB + X/A to skid turn or skid stop while moving.
  • Bonding 4: Hold Square/X to perform a piaffe. While doing this press L3/Left Stick right or left to drift.

Other notable bonding benefits include:

  • Increased horse stamina and health.
  • Horses become harder to steal.
  • Being able to call your horse from further distances.
  • Your horse will be able to travel through rougher terrain and deeper water.

How to feed and care for your horse?

Arthur Morgan requires a little brush up every now and then, especially when he’s been involved in a particularly tense mission or side quest. The same goes for his trusty companion. After all, a happy horse is a healthy horse. Thankfully, cleaning and feeding your four-legged friend is very easy to do. You can clean your horse once you complete Exit Pursued by a Bruised Ego mission where you’re given a brush. Simply approach your horse and press L2/LT, then choose the option to brush it. It’s that easy and the benefits are well worth the seconds it takes.

Feeding your horse requires a little more input and while knowing when and what to feed it can be a little tricky at first, it’s important you learn to get into the habit. You only need to press L2/LT (L1 if mounted) to feed your horse the food from the Horse menu. However, if you overfeed your horse it will gain weight and underfeeding it will negatively impact both its stamina and health. Always try to feed your horse hay, oat cakes and apples where you can, but a few treats here and there won’t hurt.

Two men ride through a forest. Horse Guide for Red Dead Redemption 2
© Rockstar Games

How to call your horse?

You can call your horse to your location by pressing up on the directional pad. However, your horse will initially have a very short distance that it can be called from, but this can be increased as you gradually build up your bond with one another.

How to hitch your horse?

Most buildings in Red Dead Redemption 2 have a hitching post outside. You can hitch your horse by approaching the post while mounted or unmounted, so the choice is ultimately up to you. Hitching can also be done out in the wilderness if you need to setup up a temporary camp. Get into a habit of hitching your horse whenever it’s not in use to avoid it being stolen.

How do stables work?

For those looking to create their own equine army, you’re in luck. After all, why would you settle for just one horse when you can have many? Having horses of all shapes, sizes, speeds, and health pools is a great way to deal with the various missions and challenges that you’ll face in Red Dead Redemption 2. Thankfully, stables allow you to store plenty of horses, purchase provisions, buy and upgrade your saddles, saddlebags, blankets, sell tamed horses, and even customize your companion’s looks and name. Did we mention that you can buy more horses as well? Red Dead Redemption 2 would certainly make a good horse sim.

How do saddles work?

While Arthur Morgan can tame and own multiple horses, he can only have one horse saddled at a time. However, you can remove and place this saddle on any horse by approaching it and pressing L2/LT, then pressing up on the directional pad. Red Dead Redemption 2’s world is rough and sometimes no matter how hard you try, your trusty steed will fall in combat. When this happens try to find your way back to camp and rest. Once you wake up, your saddle should be in camp. Now you’ll be ready to track down another horse and saddle up again.

How to revive your horse?

Death can be prevented with the right equipment. If you’re absolutely terrified of losing your favourite companion, then you may want to consider bringing some Horse Reviver along on your travels. You can purchase these lifesaving tonics from the general store, so stock up on them before embarking on a particularly bloody mission. Once you’ve administered the Horse Reviver, make sure you head back to camp to completely restore your companion’s health.

How to store weapons on your horse?

There will be times when you need to change your weapon loadout to deal with certain threats and animals, but Morgan Arthur can’t carry everything. However, he can get his horse to safely carry his deadly arsenal. You can change your loadout by bringing up the Weapon Wheel when you’re near or riding your horse. From here, you’ll be able to select Longarm weapons and equip them. However, if you’re too far away from your horse, then you will only get to choose between the firearms Arthur is currently carrying. If you increase your bond then this distance will increase.


James is a journalist who has written for the likes of PC Gamer, Games Radar, Kotaku, LoL Esports, and many more. If you’d like to get in touch with James you can contact him via email at or by following him on Twitter

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