Horses are your everything in Red Dead Redemption 2. Just like the old saying that we spend most of our lives in bed, so it’s worth treating yourself, you’re going to spend most of your time in Red Dead Redemption 2 on your horse, so it’s definitely worth taking good care of it and bond with your horse.
More pragmatically, there are benefits to reap as well from being kind to your your loyal steed as well. So let’s dive into everything you need to know.
How to Raise Horse’s Bond Level in Red Dead Redemption 2
- Riding and leading your horse
- Petting your horse when it gets spooked (and generally from time to time)
- Brushing your horse
- Feeding your horse
- Keeping your horse tied to a post
Your horse’s bond in Red Dead Redemption 2 with you will slowly increase over time naturally, provided you aren’t constantly beating it, shooting at it, or crashing it into trees. It’s pretty hard to have it not hit the max eventually by just keeping it alive at least. However, you can make the bond increase way faster if you take the right steps.
First, try to avoid putting your horse in any kind of stressful situations. This includes gun fights (especially while it’s hitched and helpless), riding it near predators like wolves and bears, and letting it take direct damage. Some of that is inevitable, so it’s okay that it happens every once in a while, just take good care of it afterwards.
Anytime your ride is freaking out, you can calm it down by pressing and holding L3 while riding on it. This is particularly effective when riding by predators.
If that doesn’t do the trick, you might need to get off of it and calm it down from there. Interact with it by pressing and holding L2/LT, and choose the calm option if it appears (it won’t if it’s perfectly fine).
Afterwards, you can give it a good pat from the same interaction menu, which will also increase your bond. Spamming it in our experience doesn’t work.
You should also regularly feed your horse to make sure that its cores are consistently in tip top shape. Horses will eat, and like food such as oatcakes and vegetables like carrots and apples. You can pick them up from the general store found in the various towns and cities around Red Dead Redemption 2.
Finally, your horse likes being hitched oddly enough. Try not to just leave it anywhere. If you have the opportunity to hitch it whether it’s in the camp or at town, do so. Bring it close to a hitching post and then hold triangle/Y when the prompt appears.
Red Dead Redemption 2 Horse Bonding Rewards
Bonding and taking care of your horse in Red Dead Redemption 2 has its perks like we mentioned. The cores will go up slowly over time to their max levels (dependent on its class), provided you don’t let your horse get killed (see below if you do).
As your bond with it goes up you’ll get a few tricks. You’ll eventually be able to do drift turns by holding R1/RB and pulling the analog stick in the direction you want go in. This is great for pulling off tight turns in stressful situations.
You can also get some equestrian like moves that are activated by holding square/X and moving the analog stick in the direction you want. This allows your horse to side step essentially, allowing it to navigate tight spots better and do some quick dodging.
Finally, the higher your bond, the further away you’ll be able to call for your horse to come pick you up.
Looking for how to upgrade saddle bags and get better saddles? We’ve got you covered there, too.
That’s everything you need to know about bonding with your horse and taking good care of it in Red Dead Redemption 2. Be sure to check out our general guide wiki for all things horse-related here, and our wiki guide for more tips and tricks.