What would we do without horses in video games? They get saddled with all our spare stuff and they get dragged on dangerous adventures they’d probably rather not go on, but they never hold it against us even when we accidentally gallop them off a mountain and have to reload a save.
It’s the Grand National this weekend, so we’ve been getting in the mood by taking a look back at some of the greatest horses in video games who maybe don’t get their due. And looking back at all they’ve done for us, we’re filled with unbridled pride in these fabulous beasts.
1. Epona in Legend of Zelda series
Did you know that good old Epona is named after the Celtic god of horses? She’s definitely one of the most recognisable horses in gaming, and Link certainly wouldn’t have got very far without her. She’s such a star that her appearance in Majora’s Mask came about only because her many fans begged for her to be included.
From the moment we first summoned her with our poor grasp of ocarina-playing in Ocarina of Time, Epona galloped straight into our hearts, and she’s set to stay there forevermore.
Got your ocarina? Good. All together now: doo-doo-doooo…
2. Rapidash in Pokémon
Okay, so Rapidash are technically Pokémon and not real horses, but that doesn’t mean we can’t include them on our list.
You only have to look at this Pokémon to see why Rapidash are so wonderful. For one thing, they’re permanently on fire but they’re also totally fine with that. They can also run at 150mph, reaching top speed in just ten steps – but they have to work hard to get to that point. Baby Ponyta can hardly walk at all, but they get up and they follow their parents around anyway until they can walk and run better than we could ever hope to. Great job, Rapidash.
3. Roach in The Witcher games
Since all of Geralt of Rivia’s horses get given the same name, we’re including every single Roach all in one here. Named after the fish rather than the insect, every single Roach has been a stalwart companion for Geralt, despite being faced with some pretty terrifying monsters along the way.
And there’s a special place in our hearts for the Roach of The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine, because we get an opportunity to talk to her. Better yet, she talks back, and she’s just as amazing as you’d expect a witcher’s horse to be.
4. Every horse in Skyrim
Skyrim’s horses are really something. They’re not especially fast, but they’re not afraid to take on wolves and bandits (or even bears and dragons) even when we’re hightailing it in the opposite direction. They’re also extremely athletic in ways that the Dragonborn can never hope to be, since they can walk up sheer mountainsides as easily as Spider-Man can walk up a building. Oh, and they can handle carrying us and the fruits of our hoarder tendencies at top speed even when we’re so overburdened we can hardly walk.
So thank you Skyrim horses, and we’re sorry about that time we used you as bait for that dragon…
5. Agro in Shadow of the Colossus
Although it’s a tough call, we think this might be one of the prettiest horses on this list. Agro is also super loyal to Wander, and the two have obviously been together through thick and thin for a very long time.
And let’s not forget how brave Agro is, either. How many horses do you know that wouldn’t flinch when faced with multiple rampaging Colossi? And then there’s that scene where Agro helps Wander cross that particular bridge (you know exactly which one we mean). Such a brave horse.
6. Your horse in Stardew Valley
Horses in Stardew Valley may not require food, water, medical assistance, or even affection, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t love them with all your heart. Even if you heartlessly abandon your horse in the wild, it knows where home is and it’ll head back there safely no matter what.
Think of everything they do for you and how little you do for them, and go and buy a hat for your horse immediately, you monster.
7. D-Horse in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
D-Horse is the first Buddy we made in Metal Gear Solid V, and there’s a reason he remained one of our best buddies throughout the game.
This glorious horse survived a major fall into a deep river from a lightning-struck bridge, so we knew to expect great things. Then we befriended him to the point that we could get him to poop on command, which turned out to be an amazingly effective way of sending enemy light vehicles in pursuit spinning wildly out of control. Which still makes us giggle every time. Thank you, D-Horse.
Want to give these video game horses the care and attention they deserve? Hoof it on over to GAME and pick up a copy of Stardew Valley for Switch!