To tame a horse, approach it with nothing in your hand and right click on it. You will now be riding the horse&emdashfor a second or two, until it throws you off. Try again, and again, until finally you see some red hearts and the horse lets you stay on.
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It usually takes 3–5 attempts, but you may be luckier or unluckier than that. You can make the process quicker by feeding the horse first.
Different horses have different health, jump strength and speed. You can see a horse’s health once you tame it, as you can ride it and count its hearts on your screen.
There is no way to tell a horse’s speed and jump strength at a glance, you’ll just have to have a go.
Most horses can jump over obstacles that are 3 blocks high, but some are worse at jumping than that and a few are even better, with the very best horses able to jump high fences.
The speed horses can run at is very variable; most horses go about 10 blocks per second, but they can be as slow as 5 blocks per second, or as fast as 14 blocks per second.
Faster isn’t always better though: a very fast horse is hard to control, and if your computer isn’t quite powerful enough to keep up, it can be hard to see where you’re going.
Horses have between 7.5 and 15 hearts.
Horse Inventory Screen
Once a horse has been tamed, you can hold down SHIFT and right click to open the horse’s inventory screen. There are two equipment slots; one for a saddle, and one for armour.
To ride your horse, you will need a Saddle; these can be found in treasure chests in dungeons, mine shafts, desert temples or fortresses. Place the saddle in the correct slot of its inventory, and then you can ride!
In survival mode (but not creative) you can see the horse’s health next to your own.
Hold down space to build up power, then release to jump. (You will see the power build up in the little bar above your tool bar.) You can jump over fences and even 2-block-high walls.
This too can be found in treasure chests. Place the armour in its slot in the horse’s inventory and your steed will be looking mighty fine!
Horse armour comes in Iron, Gold and Diamond varieties.
Horses eat sugar, wheat, apples (normal of golden), bread or hay bales. Right click on the horse to feed it.
Feeding a horse will restore its health. It will also make wild horses easier to tame, and will cause horses to grow if they are not already adult.
Only tamed horses can be bred. To make horses breed, feed them golden apples. They will go into “love mode” and make a baby.
Baby horses normally take 20 minutes to grow into adults, but you can speed up the process by feeding them. It looks pretty funny.
What will the horses you breed be like?
Horses usually get their colour and markings from one of their parents, although sometimes a foal will look quite different.
Speed, Health and Jumping
These statistics are related to those of the parents in a complicated way: the new horse will be like the average of its parents, but with a small random element.
The random element will usually, but not always, make the baby horse more “Average”.
For example, if you breed two fast horses together, most of their babies will not quite fast, but not as fast as the parents. If you try often enough you might get one that’s even faster, however.
Two slow horses will mostly have babies that are a little faster than they are.
Donkeys and Mules
Donkeys and mules are special horses that can’t wear armour, but can carry stuff for you.
Donkeys can be found in plains biomes just like regular horses.
Mules can be bred by getting a donkey and a horse to breed with each other.
Using Donkeys and Mules to carry your stuff
Once you have tamed a donkey or mule, right click on it whilst holding a chest and it will sprout some uncomfortable-looking saddlebags.
Now when you look at its inventory screen, you will see that the big blank area in the inventory screen has turned into item slots you can load your stuff into.
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Leads and Name Tags
Don’t forget that you can use Name Tags to give your horse a name, or a Lead to tie it to a fence-post.
You can also ride one horse while using leads to pull some others along after you. Just like having a train of pack mules!