Jessica has been playing Minecraft since 2012. She enjoys building, farming, and breeding animals. She especially enjoys magic modpacks!
How Do Horses Work in Minecraft?
Horses are a mob added to Minecraft 1.6.1 that can be tamed, rode, and bred with other horses. Before the update, horses were only available in Minecraft through the Mo’Creatures mod; John Olarte (DrZhark), the creator of the mod, assisted in the creation of horses so that they would look and function similarly.
Horses spawn naturally in the Minecraft world, just like pigs, cows, and sheep. Each horse is randomly spawned in with different color patterns, running speeds, and jump power.
Types of Horses in the Game
There are currently five main types of horses available in Minecraft with varying color patterns and sizes. Taming a horse does not change its color (like ocelots) but gives players the option of equipping it with saddles and specially made horse armor. The five different types of horses in Minecraft are:
- Normal: Have similar builds but different base colors: white, buckskin, dark bay, bay, black, dapple gray, and flaxen chestnut. Can have no markings, or stockings and blaze, snowflake appaloosa, pinto and sooty.
- Donkeys: Smaller than normal horses with longer ears. Are gray-brown with darker ankles, ears, manes, and tails. It can have a chest equipped.
- Mules: Spawn of horses and donkeys. Have similar ears, coats, and manes to donkeys. Have darker, reddish-brown coats. It can have a chest equipped.
- Skeleton: A literal skeleton of a horse. Not implemented into normal gameplay but available for developers and mapmakers.
- Undead: Zombified horses with green skin and black eyes. Not implemented into normal gameplay but available for developers and mapmakers.
Normal horses and donkeys will spawn in herds in plains biomes, but mules, skeletons horses, and undead horses do not spawn naturally. Mules can be obtained by breeding a normal horse with a donkey. Herds can consist of as few as four horses or donkeys and are usually the same color type and pattern.
Leading vs. Taming
Horses are constantly roaming, so players can bring a horse home with a lead; a horse does not have to be tamed to be led by a leash. However, only tamed horses can be ridden and bred.
How to Tame a Horse
Only adult normal horses, donkeys, and mules can be tamed by players in Minecraft—foals, skeleton horses, and undead horses are untamable. Once a horse is tamed, it can be saddled, ridden, fitted with horse armor, and bred with other horses. The act of taming a horse is not particularly difficult nor time-consuming. In most cases, a horse becomes tame after only a few attempts.
To tame your very own horse, do the following:
- Secure the Wild Horse
- Right-Click on the Wild Horse
- Equip the Horse With a Saddle
- Equip the Horse With Armor
1. Secure the Wild Horse
Once you’ve found a horse you like, secure it in place so you don’t lose it. You can attach the horse to a fence post with a lead or build an enclosure around it to prevent escape. A horse cannot get out of a lead, but the lead can be broken by left-clicking the fence post where it is attached. While this step isn’t required, it ensures that you don’t lose your favorite wild horse.
2. Right-Click on the Wild Horse
To tame a wild horse, simply approach it and right-click to hop on! The horse will walk around for a couple of seconds before bucking and throwing you off of its back. Keep getting back on the horse until it stops throwing you off; taming a horse this way should only take a few attempts. If you are still having trouble taming your horse, you can try feeding it horse-friendly food such as sugar, apples, and bread. These foods will increase the probability of taming the horse, as well as speed the growth of young foals.
Horse-Friendly Food Types and Effects
|Food||Heals||Speeds Growth||Increases Taming|
3. Equip the Horse With a Saddle
Once you’ve tamed your horse, it’s time to saddle up! Without a saddle, you will be unable to control your horse’s movement. Players can saddle a horse with the same saddle used on pigs; keep in mind, however, that saddles can only be found in dungeons and cannot be crafted. Your horse will have it’s own inventory menu, much like yours. In the spot where your armor slots are, the horse has a slot for a saddle, and another for horse armor.
4. Equip the Horse With Armor
Aside from saddles, horses can also be equipped with horse armor to beef up their health and prepare them for battle! Like saddles, horse armor cannot be crafted; it can be found in dungeons, Nether fortress chests, Desert Temple chests and abandoned mineshaft chests. To equip horse armor, go into your horse’s inventory and place it in the appropriate slot. Horse armor has infinite durability and comes in three types—iron, gold, and diamond.
How to Breed Horses
Once you’ve tamed two horses, you are ready to start breeding! Breeding horses can give you a larger supply of horses with more color and pattern variations. However, breeding new horses can also potentially produce a horse with better health, speed, or jump strength. If your current horses don’t have the best stats, try breeding until you’ve found the perfect horse! As with other animals in Minecraft, you will need horse-friendly food to initiate breeding. To activate love mode in your horses, you can feed them on of two things:
- golden apples
- golden carrots
You only need to feed each horse one golden apple or golden carrot to activate love mode. Golden carrots are crafted by surrounding the vegetable with gold nuggets in a crafting table. Golden apples are made by surrounding an apple with gold ingots, however. Feeding your horses any other food will not make them breed. The color and patterns of the newborn foal are dependent on the parents. As in the real world, mules cannot breed to create more mules; the only way to obtain a mule is to breed a normal horse and a donkey.
The Growth Process: Foal to Horse
Once born, a foal will take twenty minutes to mature into an adult horse. Until it is an adult, the foal cannot be tamed or ridden. The growing process can be sped up by feeding the foal horse-friendly foods (as shown in the previous table). Foals are more gangly than horses, with longer legs and a smaller, thinner body. Accidentally hitting a foal or horse will not make it aggressive toward you, and tamed horses will remain tame.
How to Ride a Horse
While you are mounted on a tamed, saddled horse, you can control the movement of your horse with the WASD directional keys. All horses are fast runners, though some are quicker than others. When galloping, your horse will start out slow and get faster as it keeps running. To make your horse jump, you’ll need to charge up its jump power by holding down the spacebar. Different horses have varying maximum jump heights, so test the limits of your horses!
When you are mounted on your horse, you can use any item. You can use potions, go through doors, open chests, use a crafting table and more. You can wield a sword, use a bow and fight mobs on horseback. You can even place blocks. You can sit on a tamed horse infinitely, as it will not throw you off. Never take your horse near water, however—horses do not like water, and you will be forcefully dismounted if submerged in water deeper than two blocks.
Questions & Answers
Question: What do you do if you can’t get onto your horse after feeding it in Minecraft?
Answer: Is it tamed and you still can't ride it? Make sure you aren't holding anything when you try to ride it.
Question: Can horses survive explosions in Minecraft?
Answer: They might not die after one explosion, but they will definitely take damage.
Question: What would happen if I tried to breed a horse and a mule together?
Answer: Mules cannot breed, so nothing would happen.
Question: Do I have to tame the horses that I breed after they have matured or will they already be tamed?
Answer: You have to tame newly bred horses once they mature - they are not automatically tame.
© 2013 Jessica Peri
Tulip on November 17, 2019:
Love this site.
Jessica Peri (author) from United States on February 21, 2017:
@Jackson Darman I write this for Minecraft PC edition - I don't currently own Pocket Edition.
Jackson Darman on February 20, 2017:
I don't get it is it in Minecraft pc or pe
Jessica Peri (author) from United States on August 18, 2016:
@Horses Thank you very much!
Horses on August 17, 2016:
You just answered my question!!! You rock! I'm totally going to spread newsstands about you thanks
Jessica Peri (author) from United States on June 03, 2016:
@Purple flowers You're welcome! Glad I could help.
Purple flowers on May 31, 2016:
@Dreamhowl, thank u so much I tame them and after that I did feed them, now it shows love mode, thank u for ur help love this game.
Jessica Peri (author) from United States on May 31, 2016:
@Purple flowers You should be able to feed (and breed) them in Peaceful mode! But keep in mind that while you can breed horses with donkeys to make mules, mules cannot be bred with anything.
Purple flowers on May 30, 2016:
I wanna know if I can feed my mules, donkeys and horses in pacific mode, I playing the game on PS3 but I feed them with golden apples or wheat or golden carrots but only says feed but I keep person but I can't feed them
Jessica Peri (author) from United States on May 01, 2016:
@Steve You're welcome. Glad I could help!
Steve on May 01, 2016:
Thanks, I was so confused on how to tame one. (:
Jessica Peri (author) from United States on December 20, 2014:
@Abhinav4192: Thanks for reading! It is so much easier to get around on a horse in Minecraft, or attach a chest to a mule and take it mining with you.
Abhinav Garg from Bangalore on December 20, 2014:
I have not tried this new patch, but after reading this article i am surely going to download the patch and go horse riding. Breeding part looks fun and attaching chests is cool. Thanks for sharing this guide.
Jessica Peri (author) from United States on September 28, 2014:
Leads do have a recipe now; they are crafted with a slimeball and string. In the crafting table:
1st row = string, string, empty / 2nd row = string, slimeball, empty / 3rd row = empty, empty, string.
Jackie on September 28, 2014:
How do you make the leads?
Jessica Peri (author) from United States on August 12, 2014:
That's why I love the PC version - it is constantly updated, and has the ability for mods. And it has horses!
Weng Qin Lim on August 12, 2014:
i wish my minecraft game have a horse
Jessica Peri (author) from United States on June 24, 2014:
Oops! I must have mixed it up - golden carrots need nuggets, not golden apples. It would be a lot cheaper if they were made with ingots, though! Thanks for the heads up, and thank you for reading. :)
Alexander H Titus from New York, USA on June 24, 2014:
Actually, you need gold ingots to make a golden apple, not nuggets, which is what you said in the taming section. Nice article though! :D
Jessica Peri (author) from United States on July 02, 2013:
No problem! I read that they were originally going to have a separate horse saddle recipe for crafting, but sadly got rid of it before release. But saddles make all the difference in this update.
John Roberts from South Yorkshire, England on July 02, 2013:
I missed that last part about being able to saddle up with them and control them, so my excitement has been restored fully. It's a shame you couldn't tame and ride most other animals (and I have no use for them in Creative mode anyway), but these will be nice to try out at least once. Thanks for replying too ^^
Jessica Peri (author) from United States on July 02, 2013:
Thank you! The only real downside I see is that you can't craft a saddle, so you need to dig down and find one first. But Minecraft is all about mining so it isn't terrible.
John Roberts from South Yorkshire, England on July 01, 2013:
I've not been too bothered about this latest patch so I've not bothered with it, but I'm surprised you've made it sound great and managed to talk in great detail about it. For the help and advice you've given in an easy to understand tutorial I'll definitely be downloading it now. I'll also vote up, give you an Interesting, a Useful and an Awesome ^^