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Horses in Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord are not only a personal means of transportation but also a workforce for carrying goods and a resource for upgrading cavalry units. You can view horses in the corresponding tab of the inventory.
Horses differ in a number of parameters:
- Minimum Riding skill for use,
- Type (e.g., “Mount”),
- Mount Tier (1-3),
- Charge Damage (damage on collision with enemies at speed),
- Maneuver (ability to quickly change direction),
- Hit points (horse’s survivability in battle),
- Mount Type (e.g., “War Mount”).
The influence of horses on inventory capacity and party speed
Some horses are well suited for combat and increasing party speed, while others are for carrying goods. Sumpter Horse, Pack Camel and Mule are considered as cargo animals. Each such animal in the squad increases its carrying capacity by 100 units.
Thoroughbred horses provide only 20 units of carrying capacity, but they have better combat characteristics and positively affect party speed.
- There should not be too many horses (both thoroughbred and cargo) in the party. When there is a surplus of horses in the party, it begins to be affected by the “Herd” modifier, which significantly slows down movement. The value can reach up to -3.09. However, the more units in the squad, the more horses you can carry with you without a penalty.
- Cavalry in the squad speeds up movement on the global map. Cavalry are considered to be any mounted units, including mounted archers. When they are present in the squad, the “Cavalry” modifier begins to apply.
- Footmen on horses speed up movement. If there are thoroughbred horses in the inventory and footmen in the squad, the “Footmen on horses” modifier begins to apply to the squad. Movement speed on the global map increases.
You can view all these modifiers in the “Party Speed” panel in the bottom right corner.
Upgrading Mounted Units
Horses are also needed to upgrade mounted units: 1 unit = 1 horse of a certain type (“Mount” or “War Mount“). For example, to upgrade Aserai Mamluke Cavalry to Aserai Mamluke Heavy Cavalry, you need 1 War Mount, which costs around 1500 denars and above.
To upgrade a unit, the corresponding horse must be in the player’s inventory.
Horse Control in Battle
The “War Mount” type horses are best suited for participation in battles. To fight on horseback, the horse should be placed in a special equipment slot in the inventory and also equipped with a harness.
The more armor the harness provides, the heavier it is, but the horse will take less damage in battle. However, the heavier the harness, the slower the horse will gallop.
The “Riding” skill and its perks also affect horse characteristics. For example, the “Nimble Steed” perk adds 10% to the player’s horse’s maneuverability.
You can attack on a horse with a spear in two ways: a regular thrusting lunge or a “knight’s strike”. To deliver a “knight’s strike”, you need a special spear marked “Couch Lance“.
If you speed up while holding such a spear in your hand and press the “X” key, your character will point the spear forward, as medieval knights did in tournaments, and inflict significant damage upon collision with an enemy.
Here are some useful controls that not everyone knows about:
- Double pressing “W” – spur the horse for the quickest acceleration from a standstill;
- Double pressing “S” – sharply stop the galloping horse;
- “Space” when standing still – the horse rears up.
How to Get Horses
Horses are sold in any city, as well as in most villages. But the cheapest way to buy them is in cities whose surrounding villages are engaged in horse production. One such city is Seonon, for instance, because its village Swenryn produces horses.
You can view production in the city’s villages from any distance on the map. Even visually, you can see clusters of horses near villages.
The village productions are also displayed in the trade menu if you hover over the special icon in the upper left corner.
Useful Horse Tips
- Cavalry units in Bannerlord are among the strongest. In particular, horse archers are very powerful, making the Khuzait faction extremely dangerous.
- The best way to get cavalry units is to liberate and recruit prisoners. If you defeat an enemy squad that has prisoners, any prisoners can be recruited to your squad. If you carry captive cavalry with you, occasionally units will express a desire to join your army, and they can be recruited for free. This is much faster than leveling up cavalry from scratch, although this method should not be neglected either – especially at the beginning of the game.
- Swinging attacks in mounted combat are more effective than thrusting. In the heat of battle, it is more convenient to wield long swords or axes, as they inflict more damage at low speeds and it’s easier to hit the opponent with them.
- Camels are taller than horses, so camel riders need longer weapons. Otherwise, they simply will not be able to reach infantry.
- Camels get a speed bonus in the desert. Although it’s slight.
- The best formation for cavalry is the “Skein”. The Skein allows you to break the enemy’s shield line. For example, if a “wall of shields” is advancing on your infantry, you can lead your cavalry in a Skein formation, disrupting their line, allowing your archers to quickly take them down. But beware of spears! It’s best to attack from the flank or from the rear.
- The most vulnerable unit for cavalry is the archers. If the enemy squad has little cavalry, take advantage of this to bypass the infantry with a squad of cavalry and easily take out the archers.
- Horses can be slaughtered. If you suddenly run out of food, you can select a horse in the inventory and slaughter it using the corresponding button.
If you have anything to add to this Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord horse guide, or if you’ve found an error in the article, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.