Red Dead Redemption 2 - How to Change Horses and Quickly Increase Bond Level

Red Dead Redemption 2 - How to Change Horses and Quickly Increase Bond Level

Posted in rdr2

Horses play a major part in Red Dead Redemption 2, primarily because they're sometimes the only form of transportation in a huge wilderness. In this guide I'm going to explain how to tame and change horses but also cover the mechanics behind horse bond levels and their purpose.

How to get new horses

Just like cars in GTA, horses have their own looks and statistics in RDR2. Some horses will be faster, have better stamina and just look better. As you progress through the story, you'll be hunted by stronger enemies and will pursue ever greater bounties. Having a reliable, strong and speedy horse makes the world of difference.

The three primary ways to get a new horse in RDR2 are:

Train or "break" wild horses to gain their trust, so you can saddle and ride them
By feeding and constantly riding a wild horse you can eventually gain their trust, to a point where your saddle can be applied. The benefit of this investment is of course a free horse.

Buy them from a stable
The quick and easy way to get a horse comes at a cost. If you have the money and don't have the time or strength to take on a gang, then buying a horse is the safest option.

Steal horses from other gangs
If you're feeling brave then stealing a horse is a great way to get a good horse. The risk is that you'll be attacked by the gang so make sure you're suitably armed and have an escape route planned. Note, you cannot take a horse from Dutch's gang though.

Using the saddle

Horses saddle

Whilst players can ride a horse temporarily, you must put on a saddle to make it yours permanently. A player can only have ONE permanent horse at a time and must remove a saddle before placing it on another.

To saddle a horse simply approach with saddle in hand and press up on the controller D-Pad. To remove a saddle, approach horse and "lock on" using L2. Then press up on the D-Pad to remove the saddle. If the horse is dead there's no need for "lock on", simply press up on D-Pad.

Remember to protect your own horse by hitching it to a hitching post to prevent it being stolen.

Horse bond levels

Horse in stable

Bond levels are an important part in upgrading your horse. As Bond levels increase, the horse becomes more reliable, stronger and a better all round partner.

As you spend time with your horse you'll develop a bond of trust and understanding with it.

Why increase Bond levels

As Bonding increases the following benefits are earned:

  • Your horses health and stamina will increase
  • You'll be able to call your horse from a greater distance and from combat
  • Your horse will cross deeper water and navigate more challenging ground
  • Your horse will become more difficult to steal

How to increase Bonding level

There are several ways to increase your horses bonding. All of them involve taking care of your horse:

  • Calming your horse when it's agitated
  • Feeding your horse when it's hungry
  • Grooming your horse when it's dirty
  • Riding, leading and swimming with your horse (when it's not tired)

Bond level bonus abilities

Horse rear ability

There are four levels of Bonding and at certain bond levels you can perform complex maneuvers:

  • Bonding Level 2: when horse is stationary press R1 and square to Rear the horse.
  • Bonding Level 3: while riding press R1 and X to Skid Slide or Skid Stop
  • Bonding Level 4: while riding press square to perform a piaffe, then use stick to Drift left or right

Feeding your horse

A tired or dirty horse will tire faster and withstand less damage. An on-screen warning appears when your horse is hungry. Open the menu and navigate to the horses section and select food to feed your horse.

Nutritious food such as oat cakes, apples and hay are best for improving your horse's hunger and bonding. Plants and herbs can also be fed to your horse but "treat" food items such as Sugar Cubes and Peppermints will increase bonding slightly but offer no nutritional benefit.

Keeping your horse in shape is important - feeding your horse too much will cause it to go overweight whilst underfeeding a horse results in a thin horse. Both of these are detrimental effects that directly impact your horses speed, stamina and health.