YOU WANNA PONY? I WANNA PONY! DADDY CAN WE GET A PONY? OMG OMG OMG! PONY PONY PONY! I’M GONNA CALL YOU TRIXIE-BELL-JANGLES AND WE’RE GOING TO BE THE FUCKING SCOURGE OF WEST ELIZABETH, SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
Horses are super important in Red Dead Redemption 2, because until you unlock fast travel, you’re going to need something else fast, reliable, totally pretty like a unicorn, and… fast. Mostly fast. And because the game’s somewhat disingenuously-named fast travel system sucks dynamically shrivelled equine testicles, you’re going to need it for the rest of the game anyway.
The Tennessee Walker you start out with is okay, I guess, but she’s slow and her mane is kind of gross and totally not pretty like a unicorn. You could buy a Dutch Warmblood in Valentine, but it’s $450 and that’s a lot of cash you could be spending on a cute new pair of boots instead.
So, get a pony for free. And not just any pony, but the BEST EVER PONY EVER, EVER. How? Like this.
You’ll need to get back to Lake Isabella in the Grizzlies West area of Ambarino – it’s close to where the game begins so dress warm to avoid freezing to death, without redemption or a free pony. As though summoned by glitter and pixie spells, a white Arabian pony wanders along the north-western shore. You can’t miss her.
Ooooor, maybe you did. Assuming you didn’t scare her off by defiling her sacred glade with your icky man musk, this is a glitch – to resolve it, save and reload your game until she appears, majestic and sparkly like a wish upon a star. That’s the easy part. Now, to tame her and make her yours forever.
Activate Eagle Eye mode to lock onto her track, and you should feel her heartbeat in the controller. Approach her, but cautiously because she is a magnificent wild creature of the clouds and you are but a mere mortal, unworthy and impudent. If she starts to spook, her heart rate will increase, so stop, and follow the on-screen prompt to reassure her.
When you’re close enough, mount up. She won’t like that, obviously, but she just needs some encouragement. As she moves, push the left analogue stick in the opposite direction – so if she moves forward, pull back, and if she moves back, push forwards. Once she has accepted your veneration and love and promises of sugar cubes, you can remove the saddle from your other pony, put it on her, and seal the pact of eternal ponyship. She’s yours forever. Unless she dies, but she’ll respawn in two or three days in the same location because she’s MAGICAL like that.