You’ll ride to mission objectives by horse, shoot enemies on horseback, and probably even run into some trees with your buddy. This is done after completing the Exit Pursued by a Bruised Ego mission in chapter two.
As you progress throughout RDR2, it’s a good idea to visit stables often to ensure your horse is well-kept. Though many of them don’t have extraordinary sale prices, it’s easy enough to round them up and make a few extra bucks.
Throughout your adventure, you’ll come across four different types of horses, graded by handling. Race horses sound cool, but we think they are the worst class in the game due to their extremely specialized stats.
Heavy handling: The types of horses that you’ll see pulling stagecoaches and caravans. Heavy horses are naturally bulkier, move slower, but can take more damage.
They have robust stamina and health meters, making them both speedy and strong. Each horse has speed and acceleration ratings that can be upgraded to a certain point, as well as health and stamina that goes up as you bond.
From there, we recommend sticking with your pal until you can get a quality upgrade, i.e. an elite steed. And if you have made a habit out of being dastardly, you may want to look into race horses for quick getaways.
Your best bet for finding a great horse is to visit the nearest stable. You can find stables in nearly every town, represented on the map with a horseshoe icon.
That means industrial cities like Saint-Denis routinely have better horses than, say, Rhodes or Valentine. It’s important to note that while you’re going to find a few to handful of horses for purchase at a stable, the stock rotates after a couple of in-game days.
Elite handling horses cost $1,000 or more on average, but before long that won’t seem like a ton of cash in RDR2. Instead of forking over 1,000 bucks or more, you could get lucky and find an elite handling horse.
As we mentioned earlier, bonding between Arthur and his horse is a real thing that makes a tangible difference in gameplay. Even if you see a real beauty, buying a new horse when you’re deep into a game may not be in your best interest.
A quick note: you will need to actually bring your horse to the stables with you, otherwise this technique does not work. Choose the “Improved” option when purchasing saddles for the best stat boosts.
Saddlebags: Increased storage for your character’s outfit, hat, and mask. If your horse has grayed out marks in their stat meter, you can increase your speed by upgrading to better stirrups.
Keep in mind that horns, blankets, and bedrolls are purely cosmetic, but it is fun to change the types and colors of items you used to outfit your horse. Horses are extremely important in both RDR2's story mode and Red Dead Online, not only for transportation, but also in combat and in a variety of other situations.
While there are a lot of viable types, only a few of them can be considered the absolute best to obtain in the story mode. Horses in RDR2 are divided into six different categories, which determine their starting stats and how much they can be improved.
While there are differences between standard, race, elite and heavy, they are not so big as to pose any problem while riding. Draft horses have average health, stamina, speed, and acceleration.
Race horses have high speed and acceleration but low health and stamina. These horses are wonderful when you're trying to get away from the law as quickly as possible, but the low health and stamina will eventually force you to use horse medicine when in the heat of battle, as they have a hard time surviving intense shooting and chase sequences.
Using a riding horse is best avoided at all times except for the very beginning of the story mode when money is low and there aren't many other options available. Superior horses are, as the name implies, the best horses in Red Dead Redemption 2.
They are not the best for escaping from enemies, but they can take a hit like no other horse type can, so they are extremely reliable for most story missions where you must fight your way through on horseback. Work horses are far from being the best horses, with high stamina but average health and speed, and low acceleration.
There are three different variants of this horse type: Black, Rose Grey Bay, and White. The Black Arabian comes with health, stamina, speed and acceleration stats at 6, and it can be purchased for $1,050.
The Rose Grey Bay has slightly better health and stamina, both at 7, than the Black Arabian, but it costs a bit more, $1,250. If you really like the White Arabian, but don't want to spend so much money to get it, you can capture a wild one near Lake Isabella, which is located to the west of the “A” in Marino on the map.
Both the Amber Champagne and the Silver Dapple Pinto come with the same stats: 5 health, 6 stamina, 7 speed and 5 acceleration. The low health makes the Missouri Fox Trotter a very bad choice for combat situations, so you may want to look at another horse if you're aiming to fight on horseback a lot.
The Turbofan has considerably better health than the Missouri Fox Trotter, 7 instead of 5, slightly lower speed, 6 instead of 7, and identical stamina and acceleration, 5. The Turbofan can be a good choice for horse races as well, and it can be acquired much more easily, as the Dark Bay Coat is unlocked at rank 56.
Both types are available for a low price, $125, and they come with some above average stats: 7 in health, 5 in stamina, 3 in speed and acceleration, making them a bad choice for races but a more than solid one for Free Roam. Once you have made enough money, you can purchase a second stable stall to claim the remaining horse.
Story mode also features some additional saddles that can be purchased from any trapper, given the player has specific items in his or her possession. For Red Dead Online, you need to reach the required rank before being able to purchase any of the horse upgrades.
Saddles are the best way to upgrade horses, as they provide the best stats improvements. These improvements, however, come at a cost, as both health and stamina cores will drain faster than usual.
They can only be purchased by owning the correct perfect skin or pelt, and they bring no performance change beyond that of the upgraded variant of each saddle. Bear Dakota Saddlebag Mother Hubbard SaddleBeaver Roping SaddleCougar McClelland SaddlePanther Trail SaddleRattlesnake Vaquero Saddle Stirrups provide improvements to the speed and acceleration stats at the cost of faster core drain.
The overall rating for each horse is calculated from an average of all their stats (Health, Stamina, Speed, Acceleration and Handling). Clicking on each horse brings you to their detailed information and Statistics, with everything about their performance and the location where to find them.
While the question of which horse is the absolute best comes down to preference, there are a few breeds that can be classified as some top candidates. You should be good for the White-Maned Arabian breed, but be careful when looking at the details below if you want to steer clear of potential story bits.
Speaking on the different types: the Arabian, Turbofan, and Missouri Fox Trotter breeds stand out as the most well-rounded and top-tier. There are three coat types in total, each with their own unique statistics: White, Black, and Rose Grey Bay.
SpeedAccelerationHandlingType66EliteSuperior Turbofan breed horses make up their lacking acceleration with solid speed, average handling, and a high Health pool. As a cross between War and Racing breeds, they're well worth owning for riders who want a trusty steed who can withstand damage without sacrificing speed.
SpeedAccelerationHandlingType65StandardRace / War Gold Turbofan: Sold at the Saint-Denis Stable during Chapter 4. The Missouri Fox Trotter balances the best base speed of all the horse breeds with solid Health and high Stamina.
As a mix between the Race and Work breeds, the Missouri Fox Trotter comes highly recommended for those who want all the perks and benefits of a fast riding horse with resilient Stamina. Like the Turbofan breed, all the Missouri Fox Trotter coats have the same exact stats, which are reflected below along with a brief breakdown of where you can purchase them and when.