If there’s one friend you can rely on out in the stony waste that is Red Dead Online, it isn’t chatterbox NPCs, and it certainly isn’t other players — no, that distinction belongs to your horse. Well, perhaps that’s not entirely truthful. Often, your horse is a buggy, skittish, temperamental mess. But if you play your cards right and invest in the Red Dead Online best horse for your character, you’re guaranteed a trusty steed.

Today, we’ll be discussing the best horse in Red Dead Redemption 2 Online, and we’ll be going over ways to get the most out of your equine partner in crime. Let’s saddle up and ride on. 

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The Best Horse for Early Game

Rowan With Tempest - Red Dead Online Best Horse
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG

When it comes to the best first horse, it’s just fine to go with your personal preference. My first horse was a moody Kentucky Saddler named Tempest; he served me faithfully, and he served me well.

No accounting for incredible speed or fancy tricks, but when things turned sideways, that boy carried me off like it was nobody’s business. Boy howdy, there’s something to be said for that.  

The Best Horse for the Money

Cloudy - Red Dead Online Best Horse
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG

The Red Dead Online best horse for the money (and lots of it) has to be the Missouri Fox Trotter.

The fine specimen belonging to my character, Rowan “Mama Bear” McGill — moonshiner, bounty hunter, and bonafide entrepreneur — is a dapple grey named Cloudy, and a more splendid and reliable horse you would struggle to find.

In addition to eliciting a nigh-constant stream of compliments from NPCs, Cloudy is fast, maneuverable, and just short of indefatigable. Other horses may get the better of him for bravery or handling (warhorses and Arabians, respectively), but the MFT is renowned among the Red Dead community as one of the very best horses in the game for good reason. 

The Best Free Horse

The best you’ll be able to do for free horses will cost real-world money one way or another. The most obvious contender is the Black Chestnut Thoroughbred you’re afforded when you pick up the ultimate edition of Red Dead Redemption II

However, there’s also a dark horse made of shadows and deceit galloping around the internet: old articles reporting that you get a choice between a thoroughbred and an Arabian. Redditor DMThis1sPam responded to a query on r/reddeadredemption2, saying that this choice was only active during the first week of Red Dead Online’s launch, specifically for PS4. 

Existing deals for the ultimate edition on both Rockstar’s site and on Steam only list the Black Chestnut Thoroughbred among the online bonuses, confirming that the Arabian is no longer a choice you can get for “free.” I suppose gold microtransactions are also an option.   

The Best Horse for Traders

Chestnut Turkoman
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG

I decided to open two fronts in terms of helping out Traders. From my own experience with Rowan as a Trader, I’d say that any good horse with some meat on its bones (say, the MFT) will be great for transporting pelts.

But later down the line, it’s worth saving up not for horses alone, but for horses and wagons. That’s because the best horses for making money draw vehicles, such as larger trading wagons to increase profits per transaction and increase efficiency, or the hunting wagon, which will allow you to store more pelts and carcasses and animal parts than any horse alone could manage.

I also consulted fellow Red Dead Online trader Ellis, who attested to the ample pelt-carrying and fall-tanking capabilities of Chestnut Turkomans. Clearly important both for transporting raw materials over to Cripps and for recovering said materials after those seemingly inevitable (and usually hilarious) spills from horseback. 

The Best Race Horse

White Arabian
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG

Elite handling and excellent speed make the Arabian the top pick for races.

Speed is critical, to be sure, but knowledge of the terrain and the ability to execute swift, accurate maneuvers and get back up to speed is crucial in any race (or chase, for that matter). The White Arabian is the best bang for your buck in my book, though you will be waiting a good while to attain a sufficient rank to purchase it. 

Horseplay Tips and Tricks

Sometimes getting the most out of your horse isn’t about which horse is best to buy or which thoroughbred horse is best. Sometimes it’s about stocking up on provisions, investing in a horsebrush, or simply getting into the routine of caring for your equine companion.

Getting in the habit of both feeding them and buying them supplies is an excellent way to keep your horse operating at full capacity, and it’s honestly a relaxing way to play if shooting galleries start to get tiresome.

One more nifty trick that’s made more than one trip easier (and honestly more fun) for me: use Horse Stimulant to burn through to the end of long, time-sensitive chases.

Or just do it for the hell of it. Games can be fun too. 

Horse Insurance

If you’ve read any articles about the Red Dead Online best horse companions, you may have seen folks discussing horse insurance and found a particular discrepancy. Some people claim that a lack of horse insurance will get your steed killed permanently, while others say it only speeds up recovery and removes the need to use horse revivers.

Let’s clear the air: your horse will never die permanently, period (unless you count the inevitable death of the servers and everyone who made or played the game and the erasure of all memory of said things, but let’s not worry about that just yet). If your horse is killed in-game without insurance, you just need to go to the stable and pay a fee. Insurance handles the process freely and quickly. That’s all she wrote. 

Wild, Wild Horses

Cloudy Leaping - Red Dead Online Best Horse
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG

Fans of singleplayer may be wondering what the best wild horse is for you to tame in Red Dead Online.

Sadly — and as I learned early in my online journey attempting to tame a pure white horse amid a thunderstorm, a vision of lighting itself — you cannot tame wild horses. Rockstar wants you hurting for cash, and circumventing equine economics just won’t do, it seems. 

Conclusion: Ride Into the Sunset

Thanks for reading our article on the best horses in Red Dead Online and tips and tricks for all equine endeavors! If you found this guide helpful and/or interesting, please feel free to share it and subscribe to our email list for even more guides like this one.

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