Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

For other uses, see Horse.

Horses are mammals that ease the burden of travel in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.


"The horses of Skyrim are hardy and strong, and make up for in endurance what they lack in speed."
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All horses are a type of draft horse which are native to Skyrim. Though horses can be obtained in five colors. Horses can be rented from stables outside of each major city. "Rented" means only that the horses live in the stable from which they were purchased. The horse belongs to the Dragonborn after its purchase. Special horses are available by completing quests.


All horses have the ability to rear and jump. Of the quest-obtained horses, Shadowmere possesses higher health than a non-unique horse, Arvak (Dawnguard) possesses several unique traits as a summoned creature, and Frost possesses higher stamina than a non-unique horse. Patch 1.6 introduced mounted combat.


With the exception of the three unique horses Shadowmere, Arvak (Dawnguard), and Frost, horses are available for purchase at any of the stables listed below for 1000 Gold regardless of one's Speech skill. All non-unique horses differ in appearance only, and are otherwise identical in performance. Only one of the non-unique horses has a name prior to purchase, which is Queen Alfsigr or Allie for short (spelling is speculative) in Whiterun.

Once purchased, a horse is considered owned and can be identified by the "Player's horse" label on the HUD. One can own multiple types of horses and multiple horses of the same type. The horse last ridden or fast traveled with is the one that accompanies the Dragonborn. Any other owned horses return to the stable where they were purchased.

Stables can be built for manors in the Hearthfire DLC. A horse can then be purchased from the chosen Steward.

Types of horses

Horse type Hold name Location of purchase Price Gold
Black Whiterun Whiterun Stables 1000
Bay Eastmarch Windhelm Stables 1000
Dapple Grey The Rift Riften Stables 1000
Piebald The Reach Markarth Stables 1000
Palomino Haafingar Katla's Farm (Solitude) 1000
Frost The Rift Special: Quest: "Promises to Keep" N/A
Shadowmere Falkreath Special: Dark Brotherhood questline N/A
Karinda Whiterun Only available through the use of console commands. N/A
Arvak Soul Cairn Special: Dawnguard questline N/A


Shadowmere, who makes a reappearance in the game during the Dark Brotherhood questline, is a unique horse. Shadowmere has a breastcollar and fancier saddle than the other horses, as well as a different bridle. It appears to be the same speed and build as the other horses, but is extremely tough and can hold its own against Skyrim's hardiest foes, though it is worth noting that Shadowmere can be killed in extreme cases of combat or during falls. Even with Shadowmere being able to die like any other horse in Skyrim, Shadowmere will respawn after 10 days in-game at the location of death or at the pool where he was first acquired.


Another unique horse is a palomino stallion called Frost, obtained during the Riften quest Promises to Keep, if the Dragonborn is able to pass the Speech check. Frost can gallop for the same length of time as Shadowmere, but lacks Shadowmere's strength, having the same stats as other palominos.


Arvak is added with The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard. Arvak can be summoned with the Summon Arvak spell unlocked after completing the quest Find Arvak's Skull. Arvak is an undead horse, with purple flames as the tail and mane. If killed, Arvak will simply return to the Soul Cairn, and can be resummoned.

Borrowing and stealing

A black horse.

Stealing horses is considered theft and is a crime against the owner. Mounting a horse that is labeled "Steal horse" is a crime and generates a bounty. Common places to find horses to steal include military camps (both Stormcloak and Imperial), or forts, as well as being located within war encounters. Each time a stolen horse is mounted, 50 gold is added to the Dragonborn's bounty, making horse theft an expensive crime. However, it is possible to mount a stolen horse and not incur a bounty if not witnessed by anyone, including the horse, as in previous games. Even if ridden away right in front of the stable/camp guards, there will be no bounty.

Occasionally, the opportunity to borrow a horse is given. A horse that is available to borrow is indicated in the HUD by the simultaneous lack of the "Steal horse" label and the "Player's horse" label. Arguably, the easiest horse to borrow is from the Katla's Farm. After selling a single piece of produce to Katla, you will be allowed to borrow either horse from the stables. However, this horse will walk away after dismounting, as stolen horses do.

Bandits dressed as a faction may be encountered. They say that this is none of the Dragonborn's business and will attack. Once they are dead one will find a horse that can be ridden. This does not count as stolen but it will leave when dismounted as stolen horses do.

During the Civil war quests the Dragonborn has the opportunity to attack a broken down cart with weapons and gold. After the guards are dispatched, the horse that would have been attached to the cart can be ridden. It has no saddle so it will be ridden bareback, and once dismounted it will wander off. Fast traveling puts the horse back at the Dragonborn's position and then it can be remounted.

Riding and mounting

A rearing horse

While riding, a horse can walk (by toggling run off), canter, run, and gallop (sprint), at the Dragonborn's unmounted walk, run and sprint speeds. While mounted, the Dragonborn will possess greater stamina and strength, which allows for greater load capacity and sprint time. This increased load capacity while mounted allows for fast traveling while overburdened. In addition to their increased strength and stamina, horses can also charge through and leap over obstacles with similar restrictions as the unmounted Dragonborn.

As with unmounted navigation, larger obstacles will pose similar problems. If the jump button is pressed while the horse is walking or standing still, the horse will rear and neigh. This has no effect except to slide the horse backward a little. Horses can also swim, although they are slightly slower than the Dragonborn. Horses can easily die from fall damage, so care should be exercised when riding in mountainous terrain.

Horses cannot be ridden inside houses, tombs, or other marked locations that require going through a door. They can be ridden into Orc Strongholds. When approaching the gate, simply pressing the button will open the door, though no prompt will appear, and the gate will open for the horse. When fast traveling into a city, the horse will be found at the stable outside the city. For cities without stables, the Dragonborn will remain on the horse and will be able to ride it around the area.

Horses are usually non-aggressive and will often flee when dismounted in combat situations. However, horses sometimes attack aggressors or even defend the Dragonborn which can lead to their death. Horses often pursue targets and are sometimes hard to find after doing so. It is not advised to let a horse go anywhere near a Dragon as even the weakest Dragon will be able to kill the strongest horse in one breath.

  • This is not true with Shadowmere and Frost, but care should be taken nonetheless.

Followers cannot ride horseback and will quickly fall behind the mounted Dragonborn. To compensate for this discrepancy in traveling speed, the Dragonborn should "wait" for the follower(s) to catch up.

Mounted combat

The Dragonborn mounted with a crossbow, as seen in the Dawnguard trailer.

As of patch 1.6, mounted combat is available. When wielding a melee weapon the Dragonborn can swing on either side of the horse using either the primary or secondary attack buttons. Note that since the attack buttons are used to decide the direction the swing is unleashed, it is impossible to block or attack with a secondary weapon, although power attacks are still possible. Some two-handed weapons (e.g. Warhammer) can be wielded with one hand.

Shooting a giant spider

The Dragonborn may also use a ranged weapon when mounted, however, as the camera is locked to 3rd person perspective whilst riding, it may be difficult to hit a target accurately. It helps if the Dragonborn has the Archery perks Eagle Eye and Steady Hand.

Spells and shouts (e.g. Aura Whisper) cannot be initiated from horseback, but it is possible to dismount, cast the spell, then remount, and the effect will be sustained for its normal duration. Similarly, spells that normally can be toggled on or off (e.g. Night-Eye) cannot be used while mounted.

Purchasing a new horse after it dies

Some horses in Skyrim will spawn at a Hold's stable after waiting some time at a different location. It will usually take 1–2 days for a horse to spawn and be available for purchase after the one of the horses at the stable dies. The time for a new horse to spawn for purchase depends on the actions at the stable, for example, if the player returns to the stable at which the old horse was bought, and steals an unsaddled horse before waiting a day and killing it, it will take at least one extra day waiting in-game for a new horse to spawn for purchase. The original horse will re-spawn in about 10 days waiting in-game, making 1 or more horses available for purchase at a Hold's stable. It is also possible, after the previous horse dies, for a new saddled horse to spawn at a stable. Allowing it to be purchased for 1,000 Gold, and still making it so the old horse will re-spawn without having to repurchase it. This will make it so that 1 or more horses can be owned at a stable at once.

Horses that re-spawn after they die

Horses that will be able for purchase after the previous one dies are at

  • Markarth Stables – Wait one day in-game, then return to the stables. At least one horse should be available to be purchased by the Dragonborn. Old horse will re-spawn.
  • Whiterun Stables – Wait one day in-game, then return to the stables. At least one horse should be available to be purchased by the Dragonborn. Old horse will re-spawn.
  • Windhelm Stables – Wait one day in-game, then return to the stables. At least one horse should be available to be purchased by the Dragonborn. Old horse will re-spawn.
  • Riften Stables – Wait one day in-game, then return to the stables. At least one horse should be available to be purchased by the Dragonborn. Old horse will re-spawn. Old horse will not re-spawn.
  • Katla's Farm – Wait one day in-game, then return to the stables. At least one horse should be available to be purchased by the Dragonborn. Old horse will re-spawn. New horse will not spawn for purchase, however the Dragoborn's old horse should re-spawn after waiting 10 days in-game at a different location.

Other smaller holds

These are all the smaller Holds, which do not have their own horse stables. A carriage can be ridden to their capitals, but because one is not stationed there, the Dragonborn can not travel back out via a carriage.

Unsaddled horses

Besides the saddled horses there are also unsaddled horses not for sale in most of the stables. As most things in Skyrim, they will also take 10 days to re-spawn. Here are the locations they re-spawn

  • Katla's Farm
  • Windhelm Stables



  • There is a horse outside of Riverwood near the bridge that is not stealing but as the Dragonborn does not own it, it will return to Riverwood as it is dismounted. This horse is from the Skyrim Demo which still exists in the game's files and will (intentionally or unintentionally) be activated by mods. The horse will re-spawn in 10 days but a new horse will not spawn to replace it like in stables.
  • The Horses of Skyrim are modeled after the real-life Clydesdale horse but have markings of that of a Shire/Gypsy Vanner.
  • Occasionally, the Dragonborn may find horses on top of a dragon, getting thrown through the air in the event of a sharp turn or dive.
    • The Dragonborn can do this atop a horse of their own by simply approaching the Mount Anthor dragon from behind.


This section contains bugs related to Horse (Skyrim). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  /  XB1  ,  PS3  /  PS4  ,  PC  /  MAC  ,  NX  /  PS5  ,  XS  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
Click to see the full list of bugs
  • Possible bugs with respawning horses:
    • Katla's Farm – Just outside of Solitude, even after waiting 10 days, the horse may not respawn for purchase, however the speech option will still be available to buy a horse for 1,000 gold, but it will not make a horse appear. Try reloading an old save, and it may fix the problem.
    • The horse in Riverwood may start following the Dragonborn like an owned horse, instead of going back to Riverwood like it should.
    • The old horse when it re-spawns in Markarth will not be stealing.
  •  PC   360   PS3   Very rarely when dismounting a horse, the horse flies a mile away, although neither the Dragonborn nor the horse gets hurt. This bug is very common on the PC version and an update has fixed this bug on every platform.
  •  PC   A horse may slide a long way back while rearing. This will usually put the horse about seven or eight strides behind where the horse originally reared, and happens most often in rough or hilly terrain.
  •  360   After mounting the horse, the Dragonborn will float in the air in the sitting position while still controlling the horse, giving the impression of becoming the horse being ridden. The rider will also move and rock back and forth while floating in the air. The Dragonborn reappears when the horse is dismounted.
  •  PC   360   PS3   If one rides a horse to the water it will start to swim, but if dismounted and then remounted, the horse will start walking as if on solid ground and will be able to canter and gallop as long as it stays on the water. However, once it leaves the water and re-enters, the process will have to be repeated. This is very useful when travelling a long distance over water.
  •  360   PS3   A horse might slide away from the Dragonborn when dismounting, regardless of terrain. It can slide up mountain sides, but will float on air if the ground slopes beneath it. The camera will also follow the horse until it stops sliding. The Dragonborn can also be attacked and killed while the horse is moving, and will be unable to respond or perform any actions until the glitch stops.
  •  360   Horses may briefly turn invisible when hit by an Ice Spike.
  •  360   When fast travelling to the College of Winterhold on horseback, the horse normally appears at the beginning of the path, in Winterhold. The horse may accompany the Dragonborn who arrives on horseback in the usual spot as if not on horseback. It is very dangerous, as the horse, basically being a rectangle of graphics, will clip above the walls of the walkway, causing it to run off of the path onto the rocks/water below along with the rider.
  •  PC   Sometimes when mounting the horse, instead of sitting the Dragonborn appears as standing on the horse's back. Occasionally this corrects itself as the Dragonborn walks around and then sits as normal.
  •  PC  There is a rare glitch that happens when the Dragonborn falls from a high place while mounted on a horse. The horse will not die and will remain alive until the Dragonborn dismount it. The Dragonborn can die too after dismounting.
  • If the Dragonborn is a vampire during the day, and out of stamina, the horse they ride will not be able to sprint.confirmation needed