BoWlog #3: all the pretty horses!

With so many ways to travel, you may be wondering if a horse is just a cool way to experience the beautiful scenery. Is the humble horse redundant in a game where you can RIDE YOUR FREAKING SHIELD or PARAGLIDE THROUGH THE AIR? Let’s talk manes and mares…

zelda breath of the wild princess horse

When the developers said they were interested in breaking the conventions of the Zelda series, they weren’t kidding! Beyond the obvious differences from previous installments, there are all kinds of new elements – environmental features like the weather and temperature which affect Link, new abilities like climbing and shield surfing, and the hunting of wild animals. There are also everyday aspects of “living in the wild” such as foraging for fruits and roots, and cooking! (One feature notably missing here is Link needing to relieve himself – silently, obviously. It does make one wonder what Link’s farts would sound like – would they be silent yet expressive like everything else Link does? These are the questions that keep me up at night…). Anyway, the topic of this post is wild horse taming and riding. As just one very small part of the tapestry that is Breath of the Wild, you might expect this aspect of the game to be half-baked. Thankfully, horse taming, riding and the customisation of your horses is a diverting enterprise in its own right.

During my time with Breath of the Wild, I’ve learned there are two main ways to explore Hyrule: take the paths marked on the map where NPCs wander, or go off the path and make use of Link’s climbing and paragliding abilities to explore. Both are important in terms of discovering new landmarks and just general exploring. When you’re taking paths, horses are a great mode of travel. They move at speed and stick to the paths automatically. When encountering enemies, they can add an extra dimension – you can literally run them over, or use your bow and arrow to great effect. Link gets to be a cowboy in this role-playing sim.

Along paths, you come across various stables. These provide a place to rest, cook and board your horses. They are also important sources of rumours and information, and a welcome break from the mostly unpopulated plains and mountains. At some stables, you can customise your horses gear, hair colour and hair style as long as your horse likes you enough. Pro-tip: feed your horse a few apples, she’ll love you in no time!

zelda breath of the wild horse running

A horse’s coat is the way to determine her stats – stamina, speed, strength. Spotted horses and those with mixed colours are easier to catch and tame, but they are weaker and slower. The horses that are one colour are much more difficult to catch and have better stats. When I say they’re difficult to catch though…wow, they’re very nervy mares, and when they’re in a herd, they can set each other off quite easily. Pro-tip: paraglide onto your desired pony! It’s much quicker and more effective than sneaking up on them.

Here are two of my fave horses – please note the French braid on Barbie and the flowers in Princess’ hair:

zelda breath of the wild horse statue 2

Introducing, Barbie.

zelda breath of the wild horse flowers 2

Introducing, Princess.

(There is a pure-pink mare I’m looking for, but she is proving to be elusive – if I do catch her I’ll name her Candy…)

So now to reveal the secret ulterior motive behind this post: game-begging. I need Zelda’s Equestrian Training in my life, Nintendo. I need to experience a serious love story between Princess Zelda and a farmboy called Link. Something like this, maybe…?

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9 comments

  1. Athena | AmbiGaming

    I’m overdosing on BotW posts (my own fault, I know)… Haven’t picked up a Switch yet, and still floundering over getting a Wii U. But I love the horses you’ve found (and the tips!). And I think if they could make “Link’s Crossbow Training” a game, they could make “Zelda’s Equestrian Training” a game, too!!

    • veryverygaming

      Seriously, why not?! If archery can get its own game why not dressage?

      As for Zelda woes, well, can’t blame you there. If it hadn’t been for a certain surprise birthday present in the form of a Wii U, I would be in the exact same boat as you now. Wii U still fetches a pretty penny at retail and online (at least here in the UK we’re talking minimum £100 for a second hand console). That means if you want to play Zelda you either have to take the plunge in with a brand new, just released “warts ‘n’ all” console & handheld at a premium price, or go for the only slightly cheaper, legacy TV-restricted hardware with a decent back catalogue of games. If I were in your shoes, I don’t know what I’d do to be honest.

      • Athena | AmbiGaming

        Yeah, fun times 🙂 I don’t know what I’m going to do, either, honestly. But by the time I save up my pennies for another console (still recovering from PS4), we’ll see what prices and game lineups are looking like. In the meantime, enjoy Zelda!!

  2. moresleepneeded

    This game seems more complex to play than other games in the series, with the need for foraging and hunting. I usually find that leaving the designated path and exploring the locations needed to find secrets and hidden items in most Legend of Zelda games.
    I cannot think of another Legend of Zelda game that is large enough for there to be room for stables and herds of horses, so the environment must be very large and open.
    Are there many horses in the game? Are horses still useful when there are other ways to travel? Do you need to look after the horse as well as ride it?

    • veryverygaming

      There are a great many horses in the game… I’ve not seen the entire game world at this point, and it is absolutely enormous, but I would estimate there around 100, with a few of those being special horses (like our all-white Princess horse, which has a quest dedicated to finding it). Horses are useful, yes, although not at all essential. Any horse you catch you have to tame, which you do by petting to calm it, feeding it and so on. I find they’re useful for exploring a new area that has a road. Like I said in the post, roads generally lead you to villages, stables and other populated places, so horses are handy for finding those. The downside is that there are places your horse can’t go – mountains, rocky areas, sand, snow.

  3. LightningEllen

    You can feed them apples?! Here I was looking for carrots, haha. I have a spotted horse, but my Link has been kicked in the face several times by the solid coloured ones. I may have to try this paragliding technique!

    • veryverygaming

      Apples are the secret ingredient in this game – did you know if you see a row of statues with a little basket in front of them (there’s a set in the middle of Kakariko village for instance) you can fill them with apples for a Korok seed? Crazy thing with this game is there’s probably all kinds of things you can teach me that I had no idea about too!

      • LightningEllen

        *takes down notes* Thank you! I’m actually pretty lost, but having fun roaming around (and making very little progress, haha). I think I’m heading toward the Zora place now. 🙂

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