All horses are a type of draft horse which are native to Skyrim. Though horses can be obtained in five colors. Horses can be rented from stables outside of each major city. "Rented" means only that the horses live in the stable from which they were purchased. The horse belongs to the Dragonborn after its purchase. Special horses are available by completing quests.
All horses have the ability to rear and jump. Of the quest-obtained horses, Shadowmere possesses higher health than a non-unique horse, Arvak (Dawnguard) possesses several unique traits as a summoned creature, and Frost possesses higher stamina than a non-unique horse. Patch 1.6 introduced mounted combat.
With the exception of the three unique horses Shadowmere, Arvak (Dawnguard), and Frost, horses are available for purchase at any of the stables listed below for 1000 regardless of one's Speech skill. All non-unique horses differ in appearance only, and are otherwise identical in performance. Only one of the non-unique horses has a name prior to purchase, which is Queen Alfsigr or Allie for short (spelling is speculative) in Whiterun.
Once purchased, a horse is considered owned and can be identified by the "Player's horse" label on the HUD. One can own multiple types of horses and multiple horses of the same type. The horse last ridden or fast traveled with is the one that accompanies the Dragonborn. Any other owned horses return to the stable where they were purchased.
Stables can be built for manors in Skyrim's Hearthfire DLC. A horse can then be purchased from the chosen Steward.
Types of horses
|Horse type||Hold name||Location of purchase||Price|
|Dapple Grey||The Rift||Riften Stables||1000|
|Piebald||The Reach||Markarth Stables||1000|
|Palomino||Haafingar||Katla's Farm (Solitude)||1000|
|Frost||The Rift||Special: Quest: "Promises to Keep"||N/A|
|Shadowmere||Falkreath||Special: Dark Brotherhood questline||N/A|
Only available through the use of console commands.
|Arvak||Soul Cairn||Special: Dawnguard questline||N/A|
Shadowmere, who makes a reappearance in the game during the Dark Brotherhood questline, is a unique horse. Shadowmere has a breastcollar and fancier saddle than the other horses, as well as a different bridle. It appears to be the same speed and build as the other horses, but is extremely tough and can hold its own against Skyrim's hardiest foes, though it is worth noting that Shadowmere can be killed in extreme cases of combat or during falls. Even with Shadowmere being able to die like any other horse in Skyrim, Shadowmere will respawn after 10 days in game at the location of death or at the pool where he was first acquired.
Another unique horse is a palomino stallion called Frost, obtained during the Riften quest Promises to Keep, if the Dragonborn is able to pass the Speech check. Frost can gallop for the same length of time as Shadowmere, but lacks Shadowmere's strength, having the same stats as other palominos.
Arvak is added with The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard. Arvak can be summoned with the Summon Arvak spell unlocked after completing the quest Find Arvak's Skull. Arvak is an undead horse, with purple flames as the tail and mane. If killed, Arvak will simply return to the Soul Cairn, and can be resummoned.
Borrowing and stealing
Stealing horses is considered theft and is a crime against the owner. Mounting a horse that is labeled "Steal horse" is a crime and generates a bounty. Common places to find horses to steal include military camps (both Stormcloak and Imperial), or forts, as well as being located within war encounters. Each time a stolen horse is mounted, 50 gold is added to the Dragonborn's bounty, making horse theft an expensive crime. However, it is possible to mount a stolen horse and not incur a bounty if not witnessed by anyone, including the horse, as in previous games. Even if ridden away right in front of the stable/camp guards, there will be no bounty.
Occasionally, the opportunity to borrow a horse is given. A horse that is available to borrow is indicated in the HUD by the simultaneous lack of the "Steal horse" label and the "Player's horse" label. Arguably, the easiest horse to borrow is from the Riften Stables. After completing the quest for the stable hand Shadr, or defeating Hofgrir Horse-Crusher in a brawl, he will allow a horse to be borrowed from the stables. However, this horse will walk away after dismounting, as stolen horses do.
Bandits dressed as a faction may be encountered. They say that this is none of the Dragonborn's business and will attack. Once they are dead one will find a horse that can be ridden. This does not count as stolen but it will leave when dismounted as stolen horses do.
During the Civil war quests the Dragonborn has the opportunity to attack a broken down cart with weapons and gold. After the guards are dispatched, the horse that would have been attached to the cart can be ridden. It has no saddle so it will be ridden bareback, and once dismounted it will wander off. Fast traveling puts the horse back at the Dragonborn's position and then it can be remounted.
Riding and mounting
While riding, a horse can walk (by toggling run off), canter, run, and gallop (sprint), at the Dragonborn's unmounted walk, run and sprint speeds. While mounted, the Dragonborn will possess greater stamina and strength, which allows for greater load capacity and sprint time. This increased load capacity while mounted allows for fast traveling while overburdened. In addition to their increased strength and stamina, horses can also charge through and leap over obstacles with similar restrictions as the unmounted Dragonborn.
As with unmounted navigation, larger obstacles will pose similar problems. If the jump button is pressed while the horse is walking or standing still, the horse will rear and neigh. This has no effect except to slide the horse backward a little. Horses can also swim, although they are slightly slower than the Dragonborn. Horses can easily die from fall damage, so care should be exercised when riding in mountainous terrain.
Horses cannot be ridden inside houses, tombs, or other marked locations that require going through a door. They can be ridden into Orc Strongholds. When approaching the gate, simply pressing the button will open the door, though no prompt will appear, and the gate will open for the horse. When fast traveling into a city, the horse will be found at the stable outside the city. For cities without stables, the Dragonborn will remain on the horse and will be able to ride it around the area.
Horses are usually non-aggressive and will often flee when dismounted in combat situations. However, horses sometimes attack aggressors or even defend the Dragonborn which can lead to their death. Horses often pursue targets and are sometimes hard to find after doing so. It is not advised to let a horse go anywhere near a Dragon as even the weakest Dragon will be able to kill the strongest horse in one breath.
- This is not true with Shadowmere and Frost, but care should be taken nonetheless.
Followers cannot ride horseback and will quickly fall behind the mounted Dragonborn. To compensate for this discrepancy in traveling speed, the Dragonborn should "wait" for the follower(s) to catch up.
As of patch 1.6, mounted combat is available. When wielding a melee weapon the Dragonborn can swing on either side of the horse using either the primary or secondary attack buttons. Note that since the attack buttons are used to decide the direction the swing is unleashed, it is impossible to block or attack with a secondary weapon, although power attacks are still possible. Some two-handed weapons (e.g. Warhammer) can be wielded with one hand.
The Dragonborn may also use a ranged weapon when mounted, however, as the camera is locked to 3rd person perspective whilst riding, it may be difficult to hit a target accurately. It helps if the Dragonborn has the Archery perks Eagle Eye and Steady Hand.
Spells and shouts (e.g. Aura Whisper) cannot be initiated from horseback, but it is possible to dismount, cast the spell, then remount, and the effect will be sustained for its normal duration. Similarly, spells that normally can be toggled on or off (e.g. Night-Eye) cannot be used while mounted.
Purchasing a new horse after it dies
Some horses in Skyrim will spawn at a Hold's stable after waiting some time at a different location. It will usually take 1 to 2 days for a horse to spawn and be available for purchase after the one of the horses at the stable dies. The time for a new horse to spawn for purchase depends on the actions at the stable, for example, if the player returns to the stable at which the old horse was bought, and steals an unsaddled horse before waiting a day and killing it, it will take at least one extra day waiting in game for a new horse to spawn for purchase. The original horse will re-spawn in about 10 days waiting in-game, making 1 or more horses available for purchase at a Hold's stable. It is also possible, after the previous horse dies, for a new saddled horse to spawn at a stable. Allowing it to be purchased for 1,000 gold, and still making it so the old horse will re-spawn without having to repurchase it. This will make it so that 1 or more horses can be owned at a stable at once.
Horses that re-spawn after they die
Horses that will be able for purchase after the previous one dies are at
- Markarth Stables – Wait one day in game, then return to the stables. At least one horse should be available to be purchased by the Dragonborn. Old horse will re-spawn.
- Whiterun Stables – Wait one day in game, then return to the stables. At least one horse should be available to be purchased by the Dragonborn. Old horse will re-spawn.
- Windhelm Stables – Wait one day in game, then return to the stables. At least one horse should be available to be purchased by the Dragonborn. Old horse will re-spawn.
- Riften Stables – Wait one day in game, then return to the stables. At least one horse should be available to be purchased by the Dragonborn. Old horse will re-spawn. Old horse will not re-spawn.
- Katla's Farm – Wait one day in game, then return to the stables. At least one horse should be available to be purchased by the Dragonborn. Old horse will re-spawn. New horse will not spawn for purchase, however the Dragoborn's old horse should re-spawn after waiting 10 days in game at a different location.
Other smaller holds
- Winterhold (Capital: Winterhold)
- Falkreath Hold (Capital: Falkreath)
- The Pale (Capital: Dawnstar)
- Hjaalmarch (Capital: Morthal)
These are all the smaller Holds, which do not have their own horse stables. A carriage can be ridden to their capitals, but because one is not stationed there, the Dragonborn can not travel back out via a carriage.
Besides the saddled horses there is also unsaddled horses not for sale in most of the stables. As most things in Skyrim, they will also take 10 days to re-spawn. Here are the locations they re-spawn
- Katla's Farm
- Windhelm Stables
- There is a horse outside of Riverwood near the bridge that is not stealing but as the Dragonborn does not own it, it will return to Riverwood as it is dismounted. This horse is from the Skyrim Demo which still exists in the game's files and will (intentionally or unintentionally) be activated by mods. The horse will re-spawn in 10 days but a new horse will not spawn to replace it like in stables.
- The Horses of Skyrim are modeled after the real-life Clydesdale horse but have markings of that of a Shire/Gypsy Vanner.
Possible Bugs With Respawning Horses
- Katla's Farm – Just outside of Solitude, even after waiting 10 days, the horse may not respawn for purchase, however the speech option will still be available to buy a horse for 1,000 gold, but it will not make a horse appear. Try reloading an old save, and it may fix the problem.
- The horse in Riverwood may start following the Dragonborn like an owned horse, instead of going back to Riverwood like it should.
- The old horse when it re-spawns in Markarth will not be stealing.
This section contains bugs related to Horse (Skyrim). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
|Click to see the full list of bugs|
- The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- The Elder Scrolls Online
|Creatures and Enemies (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)|
|Animals||Ants • Bear • Cave Bear • Chicken • Cow • Deer • Dog • Elk • Fox • Goat • Hawk • Horker • Horse|
Ice Wolf • Mammoth • Mudcrab • Rabbit • Sabre Cat • Salmon • Skeever • Slaughterfish • Snow Bear • Snow Fox • Wolf
|Creatures||Chaurus • Frostbite Spider • Frost Troll • Giant • Hagraven • Ice Wraith • Spriggan • Troll|
|Daedra||Dremora • Flame Atronach • Frost Atronach • Storm Atronach|
|Undead||Corrupted Shade • Dragon Priest • Draugr • Ghost • Magic Anomaly • Skeleton|
Subjugated Ghost • Wisp • Wispmother • Vampire
|Animunculi||Dwarven Centurion • Dwarven Sphere • Dwarven Spider|
|Dragons||Dragon • Blood Dragon • Frost Dragon • Elder Dragon • Ancient Dragon • Skeletal Dragon|