Skyrim Horses: Locations and How to Buy, Steal, or Find One

Skyrim! A land of vicious dragons, stately elk, imposing architecture, proud people, and...

Shaggy wee horses! Stocky, hardy, and able to scale impossibly steep mountain sides, horses in Skyrim are the best means of transportation and no good adventure should be without one. You can't engage in combat from a horse's back, but when dismounted they will fight alongside you and offer the option of a hasty retreat. So, how do you acquire one? The game gives you several options, the easiest of which is to buy one from the various stables in Skyrim.

Buying a Horse in Skyrim

Your first opportunity to buy a horse will likely be in Whiterun, which is North of both Riverwood and the starting city of Helgen. The stables are marked on your map and radar by a horseshoe. There you will find a man willing to sell you a mare for 1000 gold. That may or may not be feasible depending on how much you've played and looted since starting the game, but will not take you too long to accrue.

I will add other stable locations and prices as I find them below.

Horses Sold
Solid Bay
Dapple Grey

Stealing a Horse in Skyrim

Paying money? For an animal? Are you serious? We're like, all one man. Who says we have a right to own any of these spirited, furry beasts? Spare your wallet and, um, liberate, your very own horse today. Stealing can be risky, and getting caught will add 50 gold to the bounty on your head. But, it's not particularly difficult. Simply wait until you are alone with the horse, then crouch down behind it like so:

Note that the horse itself can report you for stealing it, so stay out of its vision range as well. If your cursor is an eye, it means someone can see you and you need to move further out of sight. Once you're in the clear, hit the activation button and ride away victorious! A couple of things to note:

  • Dismounting a stolen horse will cause it to walk back toward its home stable
  • Attempting to mount a horse you've stolen previously is still considered stealing

How to Find a Horse in Skyrim

Sometimes you will come across horses with dead riders, wandering the land aimlessly. These horses are fair game (but make sure it doesn't say 'steal' before you mount!) For example, not too far from Whiterun I ran into this little fellow:

You may also find 'free' horses in camps, where they haven't been assigned an owner. For example, the Stormcloak camp South of the Ritual Stone near Whiterun had two draft horses that could be ridden, not stolen (This appears to only be true for the PC version.) I purloined a dapple grey and took off without a care.

There has been some confusion on this so I should note that horses you simply find and ride away with will not be your horse. They fast travel with you, fight alongside you, and you will not be punished for riding them. However, they will not show you any particular loyalty and if left to their own devices will begin walking back to where they came from.

So, that's about all there is to horses in Skyrim. They grow on you after a while, with their silly drunken weaving and fat, shaggy butts. Are horses an essential part of your adventure? No, but they make the long roads between towns much more enjoyable.

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Comments 28 comments

DanielJAndrews profile image

DanielJAndrews 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Nice article. I always enjoyed using horses on Oblivions, and am looking forward to trying them out in Skyrim.

AndyG 5 years ago

Ok, while searching a mountain hoping to run into a dragon, I actually came along a dead bandit with a horse by his body. I walked up and thought "free horse yay", and it did not say stealing when I got on. But it seems that every time I get off he begins wandering off.

At first I thought maybe I have to ride him a while for him to like.. get used to it? idk. So I fast traveled to a couple towns on him, rid him a while, and got into a couple of fights with him, but he still aggros to me instantly if he gets in the hit range for my spells or if any stray hit contacts him(which I hear is not supposed to happen, like followers they should not aggro unless you wail out on them for a bit.) So is he always going to try to leave to go back to the dead guy, or is there a way to perm a horse to you?

Gofygure profile image

Gofygure 5 years ago from Kutztown, PA Author

Once the horse is fast traveling with you, the game considers it 'yours.' The wandering is normal and every horse will ramble a bit if you let it go.

As for the horse attacking you over the slightest provocation? I'm not sure. It may be that the funky way you procured him led to a glitch, or maybe you're just hitting the thing too hard. It's such a new game that there's just not a lot of info out there. Hopefully other people with your problem will speak up soon. Until then, I'd just buy or find another horse and see if the problem resolves itself.

Gofygure profile image

Gofygure 5 years ago from Kutztown, PA Author

Actually, I just fast traveled with a horse I found to a location near where I found it, and indeed it seems to be making its way back to its original location. I'm guessing finding a horse and buying one lead to different behaviors? I note that my bought horse is labeled 'Igzura's Horse,' and the found one is just 'Horse.' So you may not be penalized by riding it, but you won't have the perks of real ownership.

skyrim006 5 years ago

Where is stormcloak? I've been looking for it for hours.

Gofygure profile image

Gofygure 5 years ago from Kutztown, PA Author

The leader of the Stormcloaks is in Windhelm, which is at the far East of your map. The camp I mention where you can pick up a free horse is East of Whiterun. Follow the road until you see a marker for a Stormcloak camp (a bear claw,) and then head to it. The horses are to the left.

will 5 years ago

both horses were owned when i found them at this camp (xbox36)

Gofygure profile image

Gofygure 5 years ago from Kutztown, PA Author

Well, I'm playing on the PC, so there may be differences. I'll take it into account and mention it in the article.

Jeremy 5 years ago

How long will it take the horse to not walk back to the place i found it

Gofygure profile image

Gofygure 5 years ago from Kutztown, PA Author

Did you find it or steal it? Stolen horses always return to their original place...It appears found horses do the same, only you will not be penalized for taking them. They still fast travel with you, though, so you can always recover it.

SamYukkyFace 5 years ago

so it seems that you can never really own the dead bandits' horse?

Lovedizzy2 5 years ago

Yes that is true.

Me 4 years ago

Where would be the best place to find a free horse on the xbox360 version?

The dude 4 years ago

Why do u need a free horse when there so inexpensive. Go to the mill in marthal with a wood cutters axe and chop would then sell it to the guy without a hat that works at the mill you can make 1000dollars in less than one day in skyrim

robert 4 years ago

is there any way of calling your horse? ie if you have walked away from it

Gofygure profile image

Gofygure 4 years ago from Kutztown, PA Author

No. That was one of my favorite features of Red Dead Redemption, though.

You can just fast travel to the nearest location to get your horse back.

no namer 4 years ago

i am playing on ps3 and i purchase a horse and it still says i stole it.... is it a bug because i use my horse a lot to travel...... another situation i had a white horse from riften that i had bought and it said it was mine for a while then i helped the a stable person (that works at the stables in Riften) and it allowed me to use both the horses but now my horse tries to return to the stables any ideas????

ecosimon profile image

ecosimon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

My horses like committing suicide by leaping off the top of mountains with me on them. Rolling down the side of cliff edge like a rag doll is a sight to behold though. LOL

Jacob 4 years ago

I had shadowmere, but then I decided to ride a horse near a dead body. Then shadowmere disappeared. Any suggestions?

Gofygure profile image

Gofygure 4 years ago from Kutztown, PA Author

Check all the cities and then check the pool where she first appeared. If you're on the PC you can respawn her.

Dontask 4 years ago

Shadowmere is a male....

MrHammerClash 4 years ago

Pls Can you give me Whiterun's black horse id code

horsedude 4 years ago

shadowmere and frost are my horse and they just stopped traveling with me what do i do?

Eirik 4 years ago

@horsedude, did you ride another horse? Only the last one you rode will fast travel with you. In that case, go to Riften and frost should be there. Shadowmere should be at the sanctuary pool thing. If you can't find them. They dead :D

5ilver 2 years ago

Horses are such a hassle since wild animals always attack them.

SimilarSam profile image

SimilarSam 2 years ago from Australia

Nothing quite like riding through Skyrim by horseback, although at least I can say I never stole anyone's horse!

Lilly714 22 months ago

If I leave my horse outside the city im in for to long, will it walk away?

ryan 21 months ago

the most werids thing happened a dragon was not fighting me at all but helping me fight spiders and a bear

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