Horses are everything in Red Dead Online - if you play a lot of it, you'll know that you spend most of your time travelling on horseback, dodging costly fast travel posts to save your cowboy cash.
If you're trying to make the most of the time you spend with your controller down, looking at the cinematic camera, then you'll need to find and purchase the best horses in Red Dead Online.
In this guide, we're going to run through our picks for the best horses in Red Dead Online, weighing up their statistics and their price tag to show you which ride is the best option when you get your first influx of Red Dead dollars, as well as giving you a general explanation of how horses work and where to get them, too.
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If you're just starting our, our Red Dead Online tips can give both new and returning gunslingers some pointers of what to prioritise first.
Horses in Red Dead Online explained
Horses play an important role in Red Dead Online as they ferry your cowboy around the map and protect them when they inevitably get ambushed by internet outlaws, allowing for a swift escape.
Much like the main game, you'll upgrade your bond with your horse as you ride and subsequently increase their maximum statistics. Yet unlike the main game, you can't just put a saddle on a wild horse. You have to purchase horses in Red Dead Online with in-game currency such as RDO$ or Gold Bars.
The good news is that your Red Dead Online horse cannot die. If killed, you can use a Horse Reviver to bring it back, or you'll get a Scrawny Nag to use until it's recovered. You can buy Horse Insurance so that your horse will quickly come back after a critical injury, but it's not really worth the money.
In Red Dead Online, Horses can don special equipment like upgraded saddlebags or lanterns that will help you with the gameplay loop tied to certain multiplayer roles.
Where to buy and get horses in Red Dead Online
You should get your first mount as part of a horse-stealing mission in the prologue of Red Dead Online, but if you want to upgrade your current horse or purchase a new one, you'll need to head to a stable. Stables are denoted by the horseshoe marker on the map, and there are plenty to choose from, with many in close proximity to the game's major towns. Once you make it to a stable, ride your horse inside of it to open up the shop.
You can manage the horses that you own at the stable, purchase provisions and buy a Horse Care Package that gives your horse 'Gold Cores' that take longer to drain. You'll also be able to alter the appearance of your horse and purchase or upgrade saddles that will make your horse even more efficient.
Here's where you can also purchase new horses, provided that you have a free stall available in the stable. If you don't, you can purchase a new one in the Manage Owned Horses screen, or send one to the glue factory to make room - hold Square/X to discard. Once that's done, you can pick from the various sections and coats, taking note of each mount's statistics.
Many horses are gated for purchase by your in-game rank, and some special horses will only be unlocked if you have purchased and progressed within a corresponding role.
The best horse for beginners in Red Dead Online
Given it takes a little while to get up and running in Red Dead Online, it's worth getting a good starter horse to tide you over until you can afford the very best ones.
Arabian Red Chestnut
A lot of the early game horses in Red Dead Online aren't worth the effort - there's not really any point in having multiple horses either, so you may as well be patient and save up for the best of the best. If you simply can't wait though, I'd suggest buying the Arabian Red Chestnut.
The Arabian Red Chestnut is a Superior breed of horse with great handling, speed and acceleration stats. It will serve as a meaningful stopgap between the horse you start out on and one of the best horses in the game, which you'll hopefully be saving up for.
The best overall horse in Red Dead Online
The best horses overall, meanwhile, combine a variety of factors from handling to stamina and speed.
Unlocked at Level 66, the Arabian is the ultimate all-rounder in Red Dead Online. This Superior class mount has best-in-class Elite handling, which you can't get on any other horse, and the difference in control is glaring.
The Arabian also has excellent parallel Speed and Acceleration statistics and great Stamina and Health cores to boot. Slap a top saddle on it and don't look this gift horse in the mouth - it's in a league of its own.
Μissouri Fox Trotter
Unlocked at Rank 58, the Missouri Fox Trotter technically has better stats than the Arabian. It has a higher Stamina pool and better Speed, but its handling is only Standard.
This means it won't be as nimble when turning or making sharp movements - and you can really feel that debuff when you're riding. However, the main complaint lobbied at the Arabian is that it is too skittish and will throw you from the horse when you're close to predators, so if that bothers you, consider the MFT as a secondary option.
Splashed Gypsy Cob
If you don't care about speed and you'd prefer to ride a walking tank that will keep you alive in the most intense firefights, then look no further than the Gypsy Cob.
You'll have to purchase the Naturalist role and achieve Role Level 20 to unlock the finest 'Splashed' coats with Role Tokens. But once you jump through those hoops you'll be able to purchase the most powerful horse in the game. With a gigantic health and stamina pool, the Gypsy Cob can take plenty of bullets and will keep you alive through hell *and* high water.
If you don't want to compromise on pace whatsoever, then you need to get the Norfolk Roadster, specifically the Spotted Tricolor or Dappled Buckskin variant.
These are unlocked by purchasing the Moonshiner role and achieving Role Level 20 within that vocation. Then you can purchase the top coats with Role Tokens. The high-level Roadsters are the quickest mounts in the game, with incredible Stamina, Speed and Acceleration stats. If you can look past the low health bar, it's the best choice for speed demons.