"Red Dead Redemption 2" Horseman Challenges
The Best, and well . . . practically only, way to travel
Your trusty steed, the cowboy’s main ally, the idiot that bucks you off (even with max Bonding) when a Cougar so much as growls . . . Your horse is your main mode of transport and your best friend in the wilderness. These Challenges will help you grow your Bond level, if you haven’t already, but mainly they’re here to test your riding medal.
Using the Stable, in any town, you can store up to four horses (hell that's ominous . . .) that you either buy or find in the wild. For these Challenges I recommend taming the white Arabian that you can find up by Lake Isabella. It might not be the best horse in the game (seriously everyone seems to have opinions on that with no actual info), but it's the best for early in the game.
Finding The White Arabian:
Lake Isabella is a semi frozen body of water up in the West Grizzlies of Ambarino. You rode through here on a few occasions during Chapter 1. You can come back up here at the beginning of Chapter 2, but I advise you to wait until you have unlocked the Stables after the mission "Exit Pursued By A Bruised Ego." As far as I know the horse probably doesn't unlock until after that mission anyhow. Ride up to the location in the screenshot below, this is where I've seen it spawn every time I have gone to collect it. This so far seems like twice per playthrough, it’s fast but fragile.
Lasso the horse and constantly press X/Square to Calm it as you approach. Once you get to either side of it, mount up and keep control with the Left Stick. To make the breaking go faster keep pressing X/Square to calm the horse. In order to make it yours ride it down to the Livery in Strawberry or Valentine.
(Note: The White Arabian also fails to spawn if the Legendary White Bison is in the area. This also happens with the Tiger Stripe Bay Mustang/Legendary Pronghorn spawn around Rio Del Lobo Rock. Either one or the other will be here. Either kill the Legendary Animal or scare it off (so that it comes back later) in order to get the unique horse to spawn.)
Table of Contents:
- Horsemen Challenge #1 (Kill Five Rabbits)
- Horsemen Challenge #2 (Jump Three Objects)
- Horsemen Challenge #3 (Valentine To Rhodes Time Trail)
- Horsemen Challenge #4 ("Why Can't I Drag This Person!?")
- Horsemen Challenge #5 (Trample Five Animals)
- Horsemen Challenge #6 (Strawberry to Saint Denis Time Trial)
- Horsemen Challenge #7 (Kill Seven Guys On Horseback)
- Horsemen Challenge #8 (Kill Nine Predators From Horseback)
- Getting To New Austin Early (PATCHED as of Update 1.06)
- Horsemen Challenge #9 (Van Horn Trading Post to Blackwater Time Trial)
- Horsemen Challenge #10 (Breaking All Horsebreeds)
Horseman Challenge #1: Kill 5 Rabbits from Horseback
When You Can Do It: At The Beginning of Chapter 2, best if you bought a Varmint Rifle at the Gun Shop in Valentine first.
A man has to eat, and one of the top ways to do that in the wilderness is through rabbit meat. Chances are you shot a couple of these already to grab the pelt and/or cook it at a Campfire. Selling pelts is a good way to make some money early in the game, the price is based on quality, more on that in the Master Hunter Challenges guide. You can easily kill five rabbits while mounted as you go from point A to point B in your travels. Most small animals will be alerted to your presence along the road and you can just shoot them as you ride by. Trampling them by “accident” also counts, not as sportsman like though.
Horseman Challenge #2: Jump over 3 obstacles in 15 seconds
When You Can Do It: Chapter 2, after Challenge #1
This one I did by accident while trying to escape the law during one of the stupid Bandit Challenges. In Valentine ride through the sheep pens in the south side of town hopping the wooden fences. Three wooden fences and the Challenge is complete! You can also do it at Emerald Ranch by galloping through the pens there. You can also do this with rocks around the Dakota River but there is an almost 70% chance your horse will mistakenly flip over and send Arthur flying. Results may vary . . .
Horseman Challenge #3: Ride from Valentine to Rhodes in less than five minutes
When You Can Do It: Wait until Chapter 3
This is probably the easiest time trial (in general) that you won't need a fast horse for. Once you get to Chapter 3 (just so that you're not grinding) take a train to Valentine. Get on your horse, set a Way-point for Rhodes, and ride like hell along the highlighted path. Start from the small Saloon just to be safe that you start "in Valentine." You might want to buy a couple Horse Stimulants which will allow you to keep tapping that A/X button, but they're not necessary. Five minutes is plenty of time, so you can slow to a gallop to recharge Stamina, but overall don't dilly-dally.
Also, if for whatever reason you fall off/crash your horse, you WILL have to restart the Challenge. It's not likely here, but there will be times that could happen in later time trial Challenges (like Challenge #6 and #9).
Horseman Challenge #4: While mounted, drag a victim for 3,300 feet using a Lasso
When You Can Do It: After Challenge #3
How else are we supposed to drag someone? The best place to do this is up in Big Valley West Elizabeth (see screenshot). There is a lot of flat land up here that will help with this Challenge. Keep in mind that whoever you lasso doesn't need to survive the drag (and believe me they won't), but if the body gets hung up on a tree or some rocks you'll have to start over.
The only hard part here is finding someone to grab with the Lasso. If you don't want to lose an Honor point you can grab one of the O'Driscolls/Laromey's from Hanging Dog Range. If you don't want to get shot at a lone traveler will be good enough for this Challenge.
Horseman Challenge #5: Trample 5 animals while on horseback
When You Can Do It: After Challenge #4
Nobody really ever means to run over a little squirrel or bird, but it does happen while you're galloping hard across the frontier. A rabbit here, maybe a sparrow that couldn't fly out of the way fast enough. If you kill it with your horse it's a "trample", and yes that includes that annoying Pronghorn that thought trying to outrun you was the best strategy for "getting out of the way."
You don't need to aim for the animals, you can do this Challenge unsuspectingly while just playing through the story. Though if you're trying to get it done, and have it out of the way (unlike the little idiots that cross the trail as you're riding through), then try riding along the Dakota River. Fish, ducks, and those zealously aggressive muskrats all count toward this Challenge.
Horseman Challenge #6: Ride from Strawberry to Saint Denis, in under 9 minutes without touching any water
When You Can Do It: Chapter 3 after the mission "Preaching Forgiveness As He Went"
Chances are you've been to Saint Denis by now, but if you haven't yet take a train there to get it visible on your map. Doing the above mentioned mission will also uncover the surrounding area on the map. Take a Stagecoach to Strawberry and make sure you have that white Arabian horse handy, she's going to be very useful for this Challenge. Also while at the Stable go into Tack and Services, then Services, and buy a Horse Care Package. This will give your steed gold Health and Stamina Cores for the next 48 minutes (real time). More so than Challenge #3 a couple of Horse Stimulants is a good idea to have. Start at the Butcher which is about as far out of Strawberry you can get while still being "in Strawberry." As you ride press in on the Left Stick/L3 to calm your horse every other minute or so. Doing this will not only calm your horse but also give it a little boost of Stamina.
As you can see in the description just placing a Way-point on Saint Denis won't count since you have to cross a couple rivers to get there, but not many like that Joe Cocker song. Luckily there IS a workaround to this; the railroad tracks, but not just any track. One of the two train bridges that go to Saint Denis somewhat touches water, but still sometimes counts toward this Challenge. To save yourself a headache take the train bridge in the second and third screenshots.
As before crashing and/or falling off your horse abolishes the time trial, and you WILL have to annoyingly restart. So ride hard, but carefully.
Horseman Challenge #7: Kill 7 enemies from horseback without dismounting
When You Can Do It: There are a few examples but a GREAT chance for this is the Chapter 3 mission "An Honest Mistake"
I'm not going to argue what you prefer in weapons as much as I won't riff you for your taste in sports teams (though I probably would in the latter case). Everyone has their preference for dispatching enemies, but whatever yours is make sure you kill seven of them with it while you're riding. The above mentioned mission is a great time for this since there is a sequence where you're escaping a platoon of enemy riders. Well if you hang back with a rifle you can easily do this Challenge without breaking a sweat. In fact it's also a good mission for Weapons Expert Challenge #5.
You MUST shoot seven enemies CONSECUTIVELY while on horseback. If you dismount to engage in ground combat you will reset this Challenge.
Horseman Challenge #8: Kill 9 predators from horseback
When You Can Do It: After Challenge #7
The best way to do this is ride around the swamps of Leymone. You know how there are Alligators just everywhere down here? Well they count as predators for this Challenge. I know, I know, it's almost unfair for the gators, even when you're on foot, but it's the quickest way to finish this Challenge.
Now if you're not in a hurry; which you shouldn't be because grinding ANY of the game's Challenges isn't advised in my opinion, you can kill Grizzly Bears, Wolves, and Cougars for this. All of whom are more of a self defense situation anyway, but Alligators just kind of mind their own damn business if you give them wide birth. Your horse might disagree but let's be real here, your horse gets skittish if you so much as ride past a snake . . . Ah! That reminds me! Snakes are "predators" too for this Challenge. Yeah I know right?
Getting to New Austin early (PATCHED as of Update 1.06)
Horseman Challenge #9: Ride from Van Horn to Blackwater in under 17 minutes without touching any water
When You Can Do It: After Epilogue Part 1 Mission "Motherhood" (<legitimate) Chapter 4 Mission "Angelo Bronte, A Man Of Honor" (patched as of update 1.06, but might be "unpatched" later)
Like Challenge #6 you need to AVOID water. Which this time means a little more than "just keep following the train tracks." Because of the canon of Red Dead Redemption there is no train bridge that connects north and south West Elizabeth. In fact most of the bridges are unfinished (and no don't try to jump them) except for crossing Owanjila Dam (see fourth screenshot).
Like with Challenge #6 go to the Stables in Van Horn Trading Post and get the gold core Horse Care Package. There's no General Store nearby so you should buy or have a few Horse Stimulants before you get here. Keep in mind you can also craft Potent Horse Stimulants from the Campfire behind the Van Horn Saloon. Remember to press in on the Left Stick/L3 to calm your horse which will give it a little boost to the Stamina meter. Only every 30 seconds, or minute will that work though. As for what horse to use it could vary. If you're playing this during the Epilogue than Rachel is a good enough horse for this Challenge. If the glitch in the above video still works you have some more options for horses by the time you get to Chapter 4. The White Arabian is still viable, but the Black Arabian has slightly more stamina, and the Gold Turkoman is just as good too. The only difference with those latter two horses is the expense. (If you're short on money in the game you could always do the Explorer Challenges.)
Start near the lighthouse so that it counts as "in Van Horn Trading Post." Like with Challenge #6 you'll have a couple rivers too cross, but from Van Horn Trading Post it's not a problem. Plus you have 17 minutes so there's no need to stress if you just keep riding hard. Be mindful that if at any time you crash and/or fall off your horse you WILL need to start over. Try not to ride cross country for this very reason, just stick to the roads and railroad tracks listed below in the screenshots.
Horseman Challenge #9 as Arthur Morgan (recorded BEFORE Patch 1.06)
Horseman Challenge #10: Break every wild horse breed
When You Can Do It: After Challenge #9. Surprisingly going to New Austin isn't really required to finish this Challenge
When they say EVERY horse breed they actually mean nine of the 12 available breeds, but let's not get caught up in semantics. This is an easier Challenge than you think, it just takes time. Speaking of which setting up camp and sleeping until Morning is the smart thing to do. Herds of wild horses seem to be more plentiful in the early hours of the day, at least in my experience with the game. However certain horses only show up in certain areas (more on that in a second).
Just like with hunting use Eagle Eye (push in on both Sticks/L3+R3) to help track a desired wild horse that has escaped your view. Make sure you have plenty of Stamina. Once you lasso a horse, and approach it to mount, you'll burn through your Stamina meter. If it depletes the horse will break away and you'll have to chase it down again. Also remember to keep pressing X/Square to Calm the horse as you approach it to mount, and during the breaking process.
- Morgan/Tennessee Walker/Kentucky Saddler: These three breeds are about as common as a wook at a protest. They come in different coats, but it's the name of the breed you want to look for. They're not too fast so you won't have a huge chase.
- Mustang/American Paint: These are only semi common. You have the chance of coming across at least one, if you're lucky, in each herd of Morgans, Kentucky Saddler, etc. As for Mustangs if you have access to New Austin (either in the Epilogue or through the glitch in the above video) why not go for the BEST Mustang? I'm talking about the Tiger Stripe Bay variant at Rio Del Lobo Rock (although this horse is so awesome it should be spelled "Bae"). Chasing it down can be a little disorienting, as you can see in the video below, but she's worth the chase. In my opinion this is the second best horse in the game besides "Buell."
- Hungarian Halfbred: You can find this horse around the "O" of "New Hanover," or at least that's where I always find it. Unlike the first Red Dead Redemption it won't always be a pale white coat. In my experience it's more of a burgundy or brownish color. It's semi rare-ish (or I just don't know another place to search for one). You can find it east of Emerald Ranch or in the mountains north near the border of Ambarino.
- Appaloosa: Not as rare as other horses, actually you could say it's semi-common since you can find it in a couple places across the map. For me directly under the "R" of "Ambarino" is a great place to find one, but it takes a little perseverance. Ride west along the road toward the spot in the first screenshot. You should see a couple horses grazing to the left on the hill (or would this be a "knoll"?) Equip your Binoculars to see if you can spot, and tag, an Appaloosa. The one that hangs out here has a spotted behind which in some cases would be pretty bad medically, but with this horse it's a good visible cue. If you don't see one immediately there are three more horses grazing in the trees to the right of the hillock/knoll. Unfortunately Morgans and Kentucky Saddlers will be about as plentiful as peanuts in mixed nuts cans. To find the metaphorical “cashew” ride back up the road, the way you came a little ways, and ride back to respawn the horses. Keep doing this until you get an Appaloosa; actually, and I can't say for certain, but you might be able to use this spot for the other breeds using this technique!
- American Standardbred: Ride up near Hanging Dog Ranch in Big Valley, east of the ranch is where a herd of horses are among the trees. I always find at least one American Standardbred around here. It might not have that badass black coat like the one in Red Dead Redemption, but don't get picky. If you're feeling nostalgic you can keep hunting for it, or you can settle for the tan-ish one to keep this Challenge going.
- Nakota: These horses pop up in a few places down in New Austin, BUT you can find one on the west shore of Flat Iron Lake. On the piece of land around the Upper Montana River from Blackwater (see second screenshot and third video). The tough part about this one is it will try to escape into the lake, and you can't drag a live wild horse out of the water with the lasso (trust me I tried). If this, and it will, happens just ride away a little and wait at a distance. Eventually the Nakota's Stamina drains and will return to shore (or "shure" as Arthur would pronounce it). Afterwards you can break it without much of a fight. Although that's kind of sad if you think about it . . . So don't!
Tiger Stripe Mustang
Other "Red Dead Redemption 2" Challenge Guides
Questions & Answers
© 2018 Eric Seidel