Horses are tamable mobs that have five in-game variants: horses, donkeys, mules, zombie horses, and skeleton horses. The variants can appear in one of several different coat colors that exhibit different markings.
Horses and donkeys only spawn in plains and savannas in herds of 2–6. 10% of herds will be donkeys. For horses, all combinations of color and markings are equally likely. All members of the herd will have the same color, but markings may vary. 20% of the individual horses or donkeys will spawn as babies.
Mules do not spawn naturally, and can only be spawned in survival mode by cross-breeding a horse with a donkey. Skeletal horses can spawn as skeleton traps from natural lightning strikes, but do not otherwise spawn naturally. Zombie horses do not spawn naturally, but may be created by the
/summon command or with their spawn egg.
Each of the 5 types of horses – horses, donkeys, mules, skeleton horses and zombie horses – has its respective spawn egg.
Each horse variant has unique features and markings, and a foal (baby) version. Adult horses are 1.4 blocks wide and long, and 1.6 blocks high. Foals start at half the size of adults and get progressively bigger as they age. Unlike wolves and ocelots, the appearances of horses do not change once they have been tamed, though tame horses may be differentiated by giving them equipment.
- Horses feature a stocky build. They can have 1 of 7 base colors: white, buckskin, dark bay, bay, black, dapple gray, and flaxen chestnut; and 1 of 5 marking patterns: no markings, stockings and blaze, snowflake appaloosa, paint and sooty. In total, there are 35 possible horse coat combinations.
- Donkeys are smaller all around than the normal horses and sport long, erect ears. Their manes do not protrude, but rather are drawn directly on the back of their heads and necks. All donkeys have gray-brown coats with darker ankles, ears, manes, and tails. Donkeys cannot be equipped with horse armor, but can be equipped with chests to store up to 15 stacks of items.
- Mules are the offspring of horses and donkeys, and are closer to (but not quite) the size of a normal Horse. Their ears, coats, and manes are like those of a donkey, though mules’ coats are darker and reddish-brown. Like donkeys, mules cannot be equipped with armor, but can be equipped with chests. Mules cannot have foals, much like the mule in real life.
- Zombie Horses appear to be the horse counterpart of zombies. Like zombies, zombie horses are green-skinned, and their eyes are completely black.
- Skeleton Horses appear to be the horse counterpart of skeletons. Like skeletons, their bodies are only bones. They are also the slowest naturally spawning horse.
Horses, donkeys, and mules drop:
- 0–2 Leather
The skeleton horse drop:
- 0-2 Bone
- Rarely an End Crystal[Legacy Console Edition only]
The zombie horse drop:
- 0-2 Rotten Flesh
All horses also drop 1–3 experience when killed by a player or tamed wolf. If armored, chested, or saddled, they will drop anything equipped.
Using a weapon enchanted with Looting increases the maximum amount of drops by 1 per level of Looting, up to a maximum of 5 at Looting III.
Tamed and saddled horses can be used as one of the fastest means of transportation in the game, though they are unable to fit through single block-wide openings. They can also be used to climb hills, as some horses can jump high enough to clear up to five block heights, versus the player's maximum of about one (without a potion). Donkeys and mules can be equipped with chests and used as pack animals.
Tamed horses can be equipped with saddles (all species) , horse armor (normal horses only), or chests (donkeys or mules only). Foals cannot be equipped with anything.
Equipment can be placed on a horse by holding it and then right clicking on the horse, or by accessing its inventory. A horse’s inventory can be accessed by mounting the horse and opening the player inventory or by sneaking and then right-clicking on the horse. A normal horse’s inventory will only have 2 slots, 1 for a saddle and 1 for horse armor. A donkey or mule will only have a saddle slot originally, but if it is given a chest, it will acquire 15 more inventory slots that can hold anything the player wishes.
Chests can only be given to a donkey or a mule by right-clicking on the donkey or mule with the chest in hand, and afterwards the chest cannot be removed, except by killing the donkey or mule. Upon death, the donkey or mule will drop the attached chest and its contents.
Once a horse is tamed and saddled, the player can control it with standard directional controls, jump, and the mouse. The player dismounts using the dismount control.
When riding a horse, the hunger bar is replaced by the horse's health in survival or adventure mode. In the Legacy Console Edition, the horse health bar will still be visible on creative. It uses a slightly different heart texture than the player's health bar. The experience bar is replaced by the horse jump bar.
A player can use any item while riding a horse, including drinking or throwing potions; activating doors or redstone devices; using chests, crafting tables, and furnaces; breaking and placing blocks; and attacking with melee weapons or bows.
A ridden horse will automatically run up any one block high slope. The horse and rider can safely fit through a space as low as 2.75 blocks high. Lower clearance risks suffocating the rider if the rider's head enters a non-transparent block. The horse itself can enter gaps as low as 1.625 blocks high, but may itself take suffocation damage when clearance is less than 1.75 blocks. Horses cannot fit through a 1-block-wide gap.
The maximum speed of horses varies between 4.8375 blocks/second and 14.5125 blocks/second (compared to the player's walking speed, which is about 4.3 blocks/second). About 68% of horses are able to go faster than a minecart. A fast horse can be combined with speed potions and the Nether to make the horse easily the fastest practical way to travel in Minecraft (around 130 m/s Overworld-equivalent in the Nether). The speed of a horse has no relation to its outward appearance. Horses are very slow moving backwards, and about as fast as the player when moving sideways.
A ridden horse can be made to jump, and holding the control charges for a higher leap. Horses are not affected by jump boost beacons or potions. The standard dismount control dismounts from the horse, as does going in water deeper than two blocks. Like the player, horses take fall damage when falling from heights.
It is impossible for a player to use a Nether portal while on a horse. It is possible however, to enter the portal on the horse and then dismount, sending the horse through the portal on its own.
Horses in herds spawned by the game will usually all be the same color.
All horses will roam idly, occasionally stopping to rear, swish their tails, or lower their heads as though eating the grass. Unlike sheep, the eating animation does not actually cause any grass to be consumed. If a player comes near, the horses may turn to look at them. Any (non-undead) horse, even a wild one, will allow itself to be attached to a lead without protest. However, if the player attempts to saddle an untamed horse, it will rear and flail its front hooves. Horses remain passive, even when hit.
Horses will also open their mouths and make noises that depend on the particular horse’s variation. Normal horses make neighs and whinnies, while donkeys and mules, which use the same audio, emit brays.
Horses, like most mobs, can ride in a minecart. Unlike other passive mobs, horses will slowly regenerate health.
A group of skeleton horsemen spawned by a "skeleton trap" horse.
"Skeleton trap" horses spawn from a fraction of lightning strikes during thunderstorms (0.75–1.5% chance on Easy, 1.5–4% on Normal, and 2.8125–6.75% on Hard, depending on regional difficulty). They despawn after 15 minutes if not triggered.
When a player comes within 10 blocks, lightning will strike the horse. This lightning cannot start fires or damage nearby entities. When struck, the skeleton trap horse transforms into a skeleton horseman, a skeletonriding a skeleton horse. It will also spawn three additional skeleton horsemen in the vicinity. Each skeleton is equipped with an enchanted iron helmet and an enchanted bow, and have damage immunity for 3 seconds after spawning. Skeleton horsemen move extremely fast and maneuver exactly like skeletons, strafing when attacking and backing up when the player moves towards them.
- The skeleton will be wearing an iron helmet, unless it randomly spawned with some other headgear.
- The skeleton's bow and helmet will be enchanted as if on an enchantment table at level 5–22. The level is higher depending on regional difficulty; on Easy it will always be a level-5 enchantment.
- The skeleton trap horse will become fully grown if it was a baby, and the breeding cooldown will be reset.
- The original horse will be tamed when struck, and the additional three horses are spawned tamed.
- The skeletons will not despawn (
- A trap horse may spawn in areas that a regular horse may not, such as in the middle of an ocean.
- A trap horse will still trigger if the weather is clear; lightning will strike the trap horse and the four skeleton horsemen will spawn.
Taming[edit | edit source]
Adult horses, donkeys, and mules can be tamed, but not zombie horses or skeleton horses. With an empty hand mount the horse repeatedly; when it no longer bucks the player and shows hearts, it is tamed. It is necessary to tame a horse in order to breed it, give it equipment, or ride it for any length of time.
Taming depends on the horse's "temper". Horses begin with a temper of 0 out of 100. When a player is riding the horse, a random number 0–99 is chosen. The horse becomes tame if this number is less than the temper, otherwise the temper is increased by 5 and the player is bucked off. Temper can also be increased by feeding the horse.
While riding an untamed horse, you will hear (given a little time) a gallop sound, more or less rapid. This gives you a good general idea of the horse's speed. It is unknown whether there is any indication of jump height before taming.
Breeding[edit | edit source]
Feeding tamed horses golden apples or golden carrots will activate love mode.
The offspring will be more spindly than their adult versions and will grow progressively larger with time until they reach their full size. The offspring will not automatically belong to the player who owns its parents. Rather, it will be born as an untamed horse and will need to be tamed after it grows into an adult. The foal can be fed to make it mature faster.
Depending on the variations of the parent horses, the offspring can be one of several types.
- Horse: Breeding two horses produces a horse foal. Usually the new foal has the color of either of its parents. One out of nine times it will take on an random color (this color could still be the same as the parents', slightly reducing the probability of the new color being different). Markings work likewise.
- Donkey: Breeding two donkeys creates a donkey foal. Since all donkeys have the same texture, the offspring will look exactly like its parents when it is fully grown.
- Mules: Cannot be found in the wild, and cannot breed. Mules can only be spawned by breeding a horse with a donkey.
- Zombie and skeletal horses: Cannot be bred or produced from breeding.
Food[edit | edit source]
Feeding a horse food can alter its behavior, cause it to grow (if it is not yet an adult; foals normally take 20 minutes to fully mature if not fed), and/or restore its health. The table below lists the effects of the various foods horses will take. Zombie and skeletal horses cannot be fed, even if tame.
To feed a horse, hold a valid food item and right click on the horse. If the food is invalid, the player will simply mount the horse. Horses can only be fed when feeding would have an effect, similar to other animals.