ESO Mounts Overview

eso mountsTo some, mounts are just a useful way to get from point A to point B in MMOs. To others, mounts are almost like a status symbol. At this stage of the game, Elder Scrolls Online does not have a large selection of mounts, nor are they very flashy.

What ESO does have, however, is a unique progression system for mounts, which allows the player to level up their mounts and customize them to suit their playstyle & different situations better. Think of it as a levelling system for mounts.

This guide focuses on mounts in ESO, and includes an overview of the available mounts in game. Which mounts are worth aiming for, which ones should you avoid?

ESO Mounts for Dummies

  • First of all, mounts have no level restrictions in ESO. You can get a horse at any level.
  • You can have multiple mounts in ESO. You have the ability to purchase more stable slots at a stablemaster.
  • You can only have one mount active at a time. The default keybind for mounting up and dismounting is ‘H’.
  • You can set other mounts active at a stablemaster: just right click on a mount and set it active. From then on, mounting up will summon your newly set active mount, and that mount’s attributes will take effect immediately.
  • Renaming your mount also happens at a stablemaster. Just click on the icon next to your mount’s name.

Mount Attributes in ESO

Each mount has three attributes:

  • Speed
  • Stamina
  • Carrying Capacity


Speed is self-explanatory. The greater the mount’s speed, the faster your horse will move in game. Getting from point A to point B quicker is naturally very useful and saves time. The value of speed increases if you need to travel big distances. An example of such situation would be exploration: hunting for skyshards, world bosses you may have missed and so on.

Speed is also a very valuable attribute in Cyrodiil, where distances are huge and you may be forced to spend lots of time travelling between outposts and keeps.


Mounts in ESO have their own Stamina bar. Sprinting with your mounts increases their run speed and drains the horse’s stamina. Currently there is a bug in game which renders Stamina nearly useless as a mount attribute. As long as you have any stamina left on your mount, holding down sprint allows you to move at the normal sprint speed, even when your mount’s stamina meter seems empty. The moment you release the sprint button, the game will register this and understand that your mount actually has no stamina left, and should not be able to sprint.

Stamina also affects how many hits your horse can take until you are forced to dismount. Currently this is the only good thing Stamina brings to the table, and it can be situationally useful.

So: Holding down sprint button allows you to sprint indefinitely on your mount, regardless of horse stamina. This is why Stamina is a pretty bad stat for mounts right now. Even if Zenimax were to fix this, I don’t really see why you would want to choose Stamina over Speed. Surely it is just better to travel faster overall than be able to sprint for a little bit longer?


For me, Carrying Capacity is the most interesting horse attribute in ESO because it directly affects your character. Your active mount’s carrying capacity is added to your character’s inventory, increasing your max bag space. Anyone who has played the game knows how valuable any extra inventory space is. Levelling your mount’s carrying capacity attribute allows you to get a lot more bag space, making carrying capacity s very appealing mount attribute.

Comparison of Mounts

At this stage of the game, there’s only a couple of mounts available – the list of mounts is pretty short. As far as I know, there are no special mount drops from bosses yet. Most of the mounts in ESO are obtained from the stablemaster for a price of gold. Anyone who owns the Imperial Edition of Elder Scrolls Online has access to the Imperial Horse for a namely gold fee of 1 gold. You can also buy the Palomino Horse from ESO Store for real money.

Mount Speed Stamina Carrying Cost Obtained from
Common Horse 15% 10 0 17,200 g Stablemaster
Draft Horse 15% 10 10 42,700 g Stablemaster
Gaited Horse 15% 20 0 42,700 g Stablemaster
Imperial Horse 15% 10 0 1 g (CE only) Stablemaster
Light Horse 25% 10 0 42,700 g Stablemaster
Palomino Horse 15% 10 0 $14.99 / €11.99 ESO Store

The good news is that neither the Imperial horse nor the Palomino Horse give an advantage over the more expensive horses. They will be beneficial in the early game simply for the sake of having a mount over not having one, but I would not waste my gold on feeding either of them. There are better options for Speed, Stamina and Capacity, and as such you can think of the imperial horse as a placeholder for the ‘real’ mounts.

If fed equally, the imperial horse will never be on the same level with the better mounts. There is a trade you have to make. You either settle for the imperial horse which is basically free, starting feeding it and end up with an inferior mount for end game. Or you decide early on that you will not feed your imperial horse, but save for a better horse and feed it instead. It does cost 42k gold on its own, but if you’re aiming for the best mounts, you will spend that 42k anyway. Once you do have your 42k gold mount, you’ll find that your imperial horse no longer has a use. This is why I think holding back on feeding the imperial horse is viable.

carrying capacity esoDiet – the Mount Levelling System in ESO

When you purchase your first mount, it will be level 1. You can level your horse all the way to level 50. How do you level your horse, you might ask? This is done with horse Diet: visiting any stablemaster will give you the option to feed your mounts.

  • You can only feed your horse every 20 hours, and feeding your horse costs 250 gold each time.
  • Feeding your horse immediately grants it a level, and increases the chosen attribute.
  • You have 49 attribute points to spend on your mount, meaning the total cost to get your mount to level 50 is 12,250 gold.
  • To get your horse to level 50 or max out its speed, carrying capacity or stamina, you’ll need to wait a minimum of 980 hours, which is a little less than 41 days. In reality it will probably take more than that.

Feed Types

Hay: Feeding your mount Hay will increase its stamina, allowing it to sprint longer and take more hits before becoming dismounted.

Apples: Feeding your mount Apples will increase its speed.

Oats: Feeding your mount Oats will increase its carrying capacity.

Diet affects Mount Appearance

Another cool feature of ESO’s mount system is that diet affects the appearance of your mounts. Whilst there’s no Horse Armor in game, feeding your horse different types of food will change how your horse looks.

Once you have fed your mount 20 times of the same feed type, its appearance will change depending on what it has been fed.

For example, feeding your mount Hay 20 times will give your mount horse armor, whilst feeding it enough Oats 20 times will give the horse saddlebags to further highlight it’s sturdiness and increased carrying capacity. 20 Apples makes your horse become thinner yet more muscular.

If the visuals are important to you, you can feed your mount just enough Oats and Hay to get both the saddlebags and horse armor.

What should you feed your mount, then?

This depends entirely on what you want but there are some general guidelines. To get the most out of your mounts, you should be aware of the differences between the mounts in ESO. The differences aren’t big by default, but they do mean that choosing a specific mount will always suit you better for some purposes.

As an example, the Draft Horse is your mount of choice if you want to increase your inventory size as much as possible because the Draft Horse starts out with 10 Carrying Capacity, which is more than any other mount in ESO right now. If you feed your Draft Horse nothing but Oats, it will always end up having at least 10 more Carrying Capacity than the other horses, meaning you can have the most bag slots available in game. You would never be able to have as many inventory slots with other horses.

A friendly word of warning: Mount Attribute choices are permanent. There is currently no way to reset your mount’s attributes. Choose wisely.

Many Mounts for Many Purposes

I don’t recommend you to buy the Common Horse for 17,200 gold, even if you don’t have the Imperial Edition and have no intention to use real money to buy the Palomino Horse. The Common Horse is simply bad, and in my opinion a waste of gold. You are better off saving for the 42,7k gold horses. Why would you want to waste 17,200 gold on a horse that will only be temporary? There’s not much point feeding it anything, because it will be inferior to all of the 42,700 gold mounts.

I’ve recently bought the Draft Horse, which starts out with +10 Carrying Capacity, and am feeding it Oats to maximize its carrying capacity and my inventory space. I’m using the Draft Horse for levelling, because bag space is pretty scarce right now and any extra inventory slots I can get is a big quality of life improvement.

Perhaps an equally good option would be the Light Horse for its +10% Speed comparing to the other mounts. Right now I don’t value Speed that highly because I’m spending most of my time in combat rather than travelling around. If I focused on Cyrodiil & PvP, this could be different. The distances in Cyrodiil are gigantic, and the extra +10% Speed is a pretty big deal.

In the end I’ll buy both of these mounts and only feed them one type of food. The Light Horse better like Apples, because that’s all she is going to get. Likewise the Draft Horse will only be getting Oats. This way I can have two great options for playing: the Draft Horse for general activity and questing, and the Light Horse for exploring & Cyrodiil.

  • I dont have any experience with horses extra inventory slots. My question is : How do you access it or does it simply stack with your characters inventory slots?

  • Acam

    Simply stakcs with character inventroy slots, each oats feed gets you + 1 slot

  • guest-it

    If you fill your bags on the draft horse will you still be able to use your light horse?

  • Thank you, traveler!

  • ONEone78

    Why does it seem like i will never afford a horse? Am i doing something wrong? I should probably find a trade guild to sell stuff, does that work pretty well?

  • One of the biggest gold sinks in game is repairing. Whilst levelling, instead of repairing my items, I simply swap them to ones I’ve got as loot or just craft new ones.

    Trading guilds will certainly help but you should be able to get enough gold for a mount quite comfortably without using guild stores.

  • berd

    i read that you can keep clicking shift and it’ll move faster until it runs out of stamina. it has different animation (you keep kicking the horse) (disable sticky shift key on windows)

  • I’m not quite sure if it’s faster that way than just holding down the sprint key. It could be just a placebo. Though that’s something I’m going to try.

    Currently horses have unlimited stamina. You can just keep the sprint key pressed down even though the horse’s stamina is depleted and it will still go fast. Though if you stop sprinting you have to wait tiny bit before you can do it again. I wonder if it is actually a bug or design choice. A bug like that should have been fixed loooong time a ago.

  • Acam

    Yes, you can have more than one horse, visit a stable to switch between them. Each horse can be leveled in different ways depending on your preferences

  • Acam

    Further to Halmur’s comments. I suggest selling items that arent relevant to your most active profession (such as cloth/leather if you are balcksmithing/enchanting) either to your guildmates, or via zone chat, or even vendor them for gradual money. Set pieces can sell for a couple of hundred a pop and everyone wants blues to extract (potentially) improvement items from them

  • Acam

    I suggest that you arent actually going any faster, and that you actually drain the stamina bar faster. Not that this matters with unlimited stamina bug as it is now. I have tried this on food (the tapping) it seems to drain stamina faster

  • I think what guest-it is asking is, if your bags are full whilst the draft horse is active (let’s say 110 slots), and you then switch to a light horse with 100 slots, what would happen.

    It should be an easy thing to test out – I haven’t tried it.

  • Exactly what I am doing. Who cares about the little boosts there are on them anyway. I cant even imagine I would pay like 750g everytime I am in town.

  • The Boris

    You forgot to mention that when your horse eats 20 of something will change the appearance of the horsey. I have draft horse and I’m going 20xOats and 29xApples, since I don’t want to bother switching horses and would like to see both fancy reins and bags on my horsey.

  • The Boris

    I got to 42,700g by doing this:
    a.) Selling All Smithing related gear(I’m using cloth/staff) and questing.

    b.)Even though grinding mobs is faster for leveling, you get much more gold from doing quests and side quests.

    c.)As mentioned earlier, repairing costs bite. My educated guess(derived from experience) would be that getting xp(surprise!), getting hit, dying and traveling(surprise!) deteriorates your gear, if you craft your own, replace it as fast as possible you’ll save some coin. Remember to extract/sell old pieces, because “Repair All” also repair stuff that’s in your bags.

    d.)Selling commodities. You got to next tier of crafting and don’t need Jute anymore? Sell it through general chat(I’m in very good trading guild, but as of right now, “auction” interface is so bad that nobody uses it. Got one of the motifs you don’t like/already have? sell it for 1.2k-2k(easier to sell for more in lower level zones).

    e.)You’ll notice that your crafting skills are probably more than sufficient for your current level if you deconstruct all relevant objects. For last 8k gold I started selling leather and cloth I’d normally extract to get horse faster and start feeding her earlier on.

    f.)Prioritize. These vamp/WW bites and 11-14 motifs are going to be around for a while. Market will satiate and the prices will start going down. Horse will cost 42.7k still, so probably it’s wiser to save all your gold for it and start feeding it as soon as possible to actually benefit from bonuses(I have Imperial Edition, but I didn’t feed my Imperial White Hose to save up gold as well as other things. Also note that you don’t really need higher than white gear in 1-50 range. It looks cool to have blues/purples, but it also is expensive and going to be replaced EXTREEMLY quickly.

    So yeah, save up like a boss and you’ll get it

    P.S. It’s not going to be fast, unless you are good/lucky with trading stuff. It took me 10 levels (31-41) to get enough gold for the horse(I was dumping my gold into motifs before that)

  • Good point! Any idea what Hay does to a horse’s appearance?

  • Bastegorn will not be able to get your less carrying capacity out of the stables. The statement that comes up is along the lines of “you need X more slots available”, which means you need to lessen your bag space to the point of the lesser carrying capacity horse to pull it out and use it.

  • ONEone78

    Thanks for the tips! I’ve been sinking gold into a couple bag/bank upgrades (just 2 each, thankfully they haven’t disappeared…). i never repair, i replace. but i do have a lot of crafting stacks i can unload.

  • The Boris

    People found that it was bugged and PTSers were not going Hay even in beta, so no=(

  • I do think this works as well. It’s obviously a very temporary speed boost, but it does drain your stamina quicker and your mount seems to go faster for the short duration.

  • Falcor

    Why is the Imperial horse so bad?
    I buy it for 1g.
    I buy Oats over 10 days (2,500g) and I have the same stats (15, 10, 10) as someone who bought the draft horse for 42,700g????

  • It’s bad because the Draft Horse will have 10 more inventory space after you’ve fed it over 10 days. Why settle for an inferior option and waste gold, when you can just save up for the Draft Horse instead?

    The imperial horse is a good starter horse, but in my opinion feeding it is a waste of gold.

  • datmuemue

    i do not see how the imperial horse is bad. you basically lose 10 inventory slots but save 42699 gold… so yeah… i mean, overall it is a BETTER deal, sure it isnt as superior, but for the price, it is really good.

  • I’m not saying don’t use the imperial horse. It would be really stupid not to use it, if you have access to it (which should also be taken in the equation – whilst the imperial horse does cost only 1 gold, you have paid for the Imperial Edition with real money).

    I’m saying that feeding the Imperial Horse is a waste of gold in the long run, if you want to have the superior mounts in game at some point (and I don’t see why anyone would not want to have that goal). 42,7k Gold may seem like a lot in the lower levels, but as you level up, you’ll get gold easier and easier as the value of items and quest rewards increases and you run out of gold sinks such as bag space / bank space upgrades.

    I was able to afford my second 42,7k gold horse at level 45, and instead of vendoring all the loot I get, I have been deconstructing it all to advance quicker in crafting – had I sold it, I would have been able to afford the second horse a lot earlier.

  • JesusSavesatTarget

    bad choice. get the light horse with 25 run speed and feed 50 apples for 75 run speed. it runs faster at that level by far than most horses galloping. I have it up to 39 run speed and it is already fast as hell. No one has been able to outrun me in Cyrodiil for 1v1 battles.

  • JesusSavesatTarget

    It’s bad because people should rightfully not be able to buy the best horse in the game by a pay to win system. The imperial horse sucks and I’m glad. The light horse with daily ftw if you are spending any time in Cyrodiil.

  • Alfredaugust

    I think it is by design.. I have noticed with the stamina full, the horse can take more dmg before I fall off. When it is drained, I get knocked off easier.

  • Yes, this is pretty much the only useful thing horse Stamina does, it prevents you from getting knocked down. If your mount’s stamina meter is empty, you will always get knocked down from a single hit.

  • Radu Spinean

    Question: At the “end” all the horses will have the attributes to 100 so they will be all the same?

  • A horse’s max level is 50, so you have limited attribute points available.

  • Knoxy_In_Oz

    I’m going to have to disagree with you also Halmur.

    You can pay 42,700g for a “better” horse; one whose stats are 15% speed and 20 stamina let’s say (Gaited). I can pay 1g for a horse with 15% speed and 0 stamina. Now I spend a few days trotting around and leveling up. During that time I invest 25g per day into stamina. I eventually end up with a 15% speed/20 stamina horse for a total investment of 5001g; that’s a saving of exactly 37699g. And the only disadvantage is I don’t have the “immediate” usage of this “better” horse. I’m sorry but no.

    Now if you had said something along the lines of “since all horses start at level 1 when you buy them, even the expensive ones” then it would start to make sense. Since you can only invest 50 “feeds” into each horse the allowable statistics on the higher priced mounts will be much higher in the long run.

  • Let’s assume you buy an Imperial Horse and feed it 50 Apples to get it up to 65% Speed. At the same time you also feed a Light horse and get it up to 75% Speed.

    Which mount would you use? That really is all it comes down to.

    The imperial horse is a nice placeholder whilst you’re saving up for a better horse, but I personally can’t justify feeding it. Not when there’s three better options out there.

    I’d only work on my imperial horse if I knew I was not going to have enough gold any time soon to upgrade to a better mount. The moment you switch from an imperial horse to another, all the gold you’ve spent on it is wasted.

  • Louis Spaniard

    if you have 101/110 used you can not switch. to switch your bag would have to be 100/110 max in order to switch.

  • Garth Van Vleck

    I have thought long and hard about this issue and I just feel like they need to lower the price of the 42k horses plain and simple. At the end of the day I could buy 2 Imperial horses for 1gold each, level one to 50 on Apples for 65% speed and one to 50 on Oats for carrying and it would still cost less than the 42k horses. Sure I run 10% slow and carry 10 items less, but for the amount of gold I save, the 42k horses are in NO way worth it. Sure if you want to ‘min-max’ hardcore….but 10% is not that big of deal, its nice, but its no game breaker. If I want to catch you in PvP that 10% speed boost is NOT going to stop me.

  • Garth Van Vleck

    The funny thing is how worthless leveling with Hay for Stamina is…it doesn’t hold a candle to straight up speed or carrying

  • hudgensons .

    Whoever said the Imperial Horse is bad had completely missed the point; you cannot be more wrong at that. You lose 10 points in whatever stat you choose and you save 42,7k. Those 10 points will cost you 250 gold, 2,5K total. You still save 40,2K and “lose” 10 points but at a max level horse the only 10 points that are noticable are if you invest them in inventory space. The Imperial Horse is hands down THE BEST horse available in the game.

  • Andrew Aleshire

    Why would someone spend 42k on the “better” horses when they can buy the cheaper one and invest only 2500 more for the same stats? Your suggestion that those horses are a waste is bad advice.

  • Marquis

    Geez I don’t understand what part of this do people not see. Imperial horse will NEVER be equal if it has been fed as many times as the better mounts. Feeding imperial horses is a waste of gold if you’re looking at it from end game point of view. Why would you ever use an imperial horse if you have a light horse or a draft horse? Of course 42k gold is the price you have to pay, but if and WHEN you do buy your ‘real’ mount, all the gold you’ve used on feeding your imperial horse is wasted, because there is no reason whatsoever to use it.

    Are you saying you would always settle for the imperial horse? Even if you found out later in the game that you could afford a stable full of other, better mounts?

    If you seriously think the imperial horse is the best horse in game just because it costs 1 gold (and the imperial edition fee) then I don’t know what to say. It only makes it a great first mount, because it’s free.

    With your logic having more speed is actually a bad thing. I raise my hands in the air and surrender.

  • “You lose 10 points in whatever stat”

    You said it yourself. That is exactly why the imperial mount is an inferior option. If you’re truly looking for “THE BEST” horse, it isn’t a question of gold anyway.

    Cheapest horse? Absolutely. Best? No.

  • jmrathbun

    Just for clarity, an increase from ’65’ to ’75’ is actually 15% faster, though it’s only 10 percentage points more. So I guess you could compare it to the light horse doing 75 on the Interstate where the Imperial speed limit is 65. Unclear, though, is whether a speed of 0% on this scale would actually be standing still. If what they really mean is 165% vs 175% of some (unknown to us) base speed, then all bets are off. The speed increase would only be 6% in that case. Perhaps somebody with a variety of horses could run some time trials over a closed course and report the results to us?

  • That’s an interesting way to approach it. I have nothing back this up of course, but my gut feel is that the horse speed is added on top of the standard 100% speed (which is your default run speed).

    A 15% Speed horse would be 115% on the paper and so on. We’re not really talking about percentages here as such, it’s just the way the info is presented in the game.

  • Greg O

    It comes down to preference, Yes the 42k horse is faster at the end of the day, Yes it can carry more if thats what you desire , But we want what we want now, speed up the old reliable Ford Imperial to 20 and then save for That Chevy Corvett, yes you blow some cash but you get some speed while your working thru levels. You only spent 5k and if thats gonna get your panties in a wand your you have some hording issues you need to deal with.

  • disqus_UtwTZkbUnh

    Because, ultimately, your idea of “bad” isn’t bad. Sure, I’ll be missing 10% speed, 10 Stamina, or 10 inventory slots, but in the long run, that’s 47 THOUSAND gold I don’t spend. That’s repairs, or mats, or gear from other players. Just because it’s not AS GOOD as the expensive horses maxed out, does not degrade it’s usefulness in any way, shape, or form. Because, honestly, that 47k gets you quite a few bank upgrades, which are worth a helluva lot more than 10 inventory slots.

  • On my first character I spend all my money on bank upgrades and imperial horse. However, I don’t have to spend all my money in bank upgrades on another alt but I do want the fastest horse available (and I don’t have much other use for the money either). It will make difference in the long run and money is not going to be an issue.

  • Revelation Knight

    You are correct Halmur.

  • Ranu

    A few updates :

    Zenimax stated here : that horses being able to sprint indefinitely isn’t a bug but an intended feature.

    They could, however, always change their minds.

    Stamina is still used for 2 things :
    – it prevents you from being dismounted when attacked
    – pressing the sprint key repeatedly gives you an additional burst sprint speed but consumes stamina faster

    Speed values :
    – the speed value of your horse is the bonus you get when running around on your horse at normal speed compared to your speed when running on foot. So a common horse you just bought with 15% speed runs around at 115% speed
    – sprinting adds an additional 30% speed
    – burst speed adds an additional 15%

    So a level 50 light horse fed with apples only will have :
    – normal speed : 174%
    – sprint speed : 204%
    – burst speed : 219%

    A similar level 50 common horse’s sprint speed would be 194% instead.

    All in all the level 50 light horse will only be 5.2% faster.

  • GusBus111

    Does feeding you horse 40 of something change its appearance again or does it change once for each stat? If i were to say give my horse 40 hay would it give armour at 20 and more at 40 or not change at 40?

  • I haven’t tried it with hay, but I have tried it with apples and oats and the answer is no, you only get the reins / armor / saddlebags after you’ve fed it 20 times. Doesn’t seem to make a difference at 40.

  • Naradan

    i wonder if backpacks from more than 1 horse is accumulated…if it is, then imperial horse is good for cheaper additional backpack horse.

  • Marquis

    Unfortunately only the bag space of your current active horse is added to your character’s inventory.

  • stevenpeven258

    I admit that the imperial horse is pretty bad compared to the high end horses, but I still feed mine cos I don’t intend on buying another horse any time soon. Mainly because I can’t afford the cost of what is basically 43k, and I feel my gold can be better used elsewhere at the moment. Bare in mind I’m only level 26 , so I don’t get too much gold from quests, etc.

  • Fenlin

    Thank you for this guide! Love this game ! 🙂

  • Allanon10101

    Look at it this way, with the Draft Horse, you are paying that 42.7k for an extra 10 slots that it is currently impossible to get in any other way. Call me crazy, but I can live with that cost for the benefit. it may not be worth it for the other ones, but the draft horse for me is definitely worth the investment