Increasing your horse bonding level is an important part of Red Dead Redemption 2. There are 4 bonding levels per horse. Having a better bond with your horse gains you various benefits with each level:
- Your Horse’s Health and Stamina will increase.
- You’ll be able to call your Horse from a greater distance, and during combat.
- Your Horse will cross deeper water and navigate more challenging grounds.
- Your Horse will become more difficult to steal.
To increase the horse bonding level you need to:
- Ride, lead, swim with your horse (without draining its stamina core). You can cheat this a bit by placing a waypoint marker anywhere and using automatic horse travel (autopilot) to ride up and down the map.
- Feed your horse (horse food can be bought from stables and selected in the weapon wheel, you can do this while sitting on your horse and standing still to feed it. Overfeeding can lead to negative status effects).
- Calm your horse when it’s agitated by predators or enemies (press Left Stick or L3 when sitting on the horse).
- Grooming your horse when it’s dirty (this only works when the horse is dirty. Dismount, approach the horse, press L2/LT to look at it and to brush it).
You can see your current bonding level and the XP progress to next level in the Pause Menu – Player – Horse – Bonding.
Increasing the horse bonding level also unlocks new maneuvers!:
- Bonding Level 2: hold and tap when stationary to Rear.
- Bonding Level 3: hold and while moving to Skd Turn or Skid Stop.
- Bonding Level 4: hold to perform a Piaffe. While doing this, push the right or left while moving to Drift.
Reaching level 4 horse bonding is also required for 100% game completion (with one horse only). It takes a while but if you feed it, brush it, calm it, and don’t let the stamina core drain out you will get this done through natural gameplay in a few hours. Just stick with the same horse as you play through the story and you’ll get this done along the way.
For more guides check out our full Red Dead Redemption 2 Wiki & Strategy Guide.