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A Need... For Steed
There comes a point in every character's life when the player grows weary of simply running from place to place, ferrying messages between lovelorn Hobbits or traveling in search of those rich ore nodes. That's when it's time to start traveling in style – astride your very own mount. Up until the Mines of Moria expansion, with its lantern-bearing mine goats, the only options were horses and ponies. This article guides you through the process of acquiring your first horse, as well as an overview of the different kinds available.
The process to obtaining your mount officially begins at level 35, though it's certainly a good idea to begin saving up beforehand! If you choose to purchase one of the initial mounts from Hengstacer Farm, that four legged bundle of speed is going to cost 4 gold, 220 silver. (The only option for a cheaper mount requires the completion of the Volume I Epic quest line, which isn't doable until a much higher level.)
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Learning How to Use Your Mount: A Ride-Through of the Horse Quests
Regardless of whether or not you choose to purchase a horse initially, you're going to need to acquire the passive trait 'Riding'. This is obtained by completing a series of four quests from Éogar, Son of Hadorgar, the horse master at Hengstacer Farms. The horse farms are located in Bree Land, north of the Festival Grounds.
The first three quests involve delivering mounts to different stable-masters in Eriador. The horses for these quests are located in the stable behind Éogar, and are mounted by right clicking on the horse. Make certain to pick the proper mount for your race – men and elves ride horses, while dwarves and hobbits use ponies. Each of the quests is timed, as indicated by the blue “mounted” bar at the bottom of the screen – if the bar runs out of time, you'll be dismounted and fail the quest. As well as finishing in a timely fashion, one must also make certain to avoid riding through any pools of water deep enough to swim in, as those will also dismount you from the steed. Clicking the mounted bar gives you the option of dismounting, but again, will also cancel the quest.
Quest 1: A Fresh Steed for Bree
Éogar asks you to take one of his Blonde Sorrel horses to the stable master in West Bree. This leg is fairly straightforward – simply ride down the hill west out of the stables, and then south down the road to Bree. Once you reach the stablemaster, the quest will automatically update, and send you back up to Éogar to turn in.
We'll continue with the quest line on the next page.
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The Horse Quests, continued
Quest 2: A Fresh Steed for Michel Delving
After turning in the Bree quest, Éogar wants you to ride one of the Chestnut steeds to the Stable Master in Michel Delving, which is located in the far southwestern corner of the Shire. While you can complete this quest within the time limit just by riding along the same path to Bree and then west along the road all the way through the Shire, it's certainly nice to shave off a little time where you can. If you decide to, simply cut across the Northern Bree Fields diagonally, until you reach the main road – just don't accidentally ride into one of the Everclear Lakes and lose your mount! Once you reach the stablemaster, again, the quest will update and send you back to Éogar – just swift travel to Bree, and head back up the road to the farm.
Quest 3: A Fresh Steed for Othrikar
This leg of the quest is the longest one. Éogar requests that you take a Bay mount up to the Dwarf mines of Othrikar, in the North Downs. Head north up the road past Trestlebridge, and then giddy-up all the way east towards Esteldin. If you're around level 35 when performing this leg, it is advisable to stick to the road once you hit the eastern portion of the North Downs. Mobs in this area are no longer trivial, and might actually attack, thus possibly dismounting you. Just before you reach Esteldin, there will be a path heading up north, where you'll find Othrikar, and your goal for this portion. From here, it is probably quickest to ride down to Esteldin and then swift travel to Bree, unless you happen to have a handy-dandy Captain waiting at Hengstacer Farms to summon you.
Quest 4: Proving Your Quality
This quest is definitely the most challenging of the four – Éogar asks you to prove your capability as a rider by running the marked track just south of the stables with one of his Bloodbays. This consists of riding around the racetrack, making sure to cross under each gate in order. Completion of the race in time might take several tries; just remember that you can use the space bar to jump over small obstacles and fences, and that you can ride through shallow water while still remaining mounted. You don't always have to follow the exact path of the track, as long as you make certain to pass through each gate. Once you finally complete the race, you'll be able to return to Éogar and finally obtain the coveted riding skill!
Conveniently, through the process of completing the horse quests, you'll have had the chance to see your character astride each of the different basic colored horses. This can help in choosing your first mount, though you can always wait to obtain one of the other mount skins if you like! (Or, in the manner of one player I know, you can always choose to carry an entire selection of every mount in your bags, though this is an option probably best reserved for the truly... dedicated few.)
On the next page, we'll delve briefly into the various mounts available in LotRO.
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Variety is the Spice of Life: Special Horses (... and Goats)
The initial horses purchased at the Farm aren't the only skins available – there's a decent variety of horses, depending on your tastes. As mentioned previously, there is one mount that is obtained for free – but it certainly does not come easily. The grey pony is given as a quest reward for completing the final quest in the Epic Volume 1, Book 15.
The Mahogany Bay Horse , also known as the PvMP mount, is purchasable from the Coldfells Quartermaster after reaching Rank 9 in the Ettenmoors.
The majority of the currently available mounts are acquired by gaining Kindred reputation with a certain faction, which then enables you to purchase the mount they offer for a bit more coin that their basic counterparts. Among the reputation mounts are the following:
- Dark Chestnut Horse – Requires Kindred with the Wardens of Annuminas and is purchased from Celegdes in Tinnundir.
- Grey Horse (Originally called the Tundra mount) – Requires Kindred with the Lossoth and is purchased from Rusu in Sûri-Kylä.
- Ashen Horse - Requires Kindred with the Council of the North and purchased in Gath Forthnir
- Galadhrim Horse - Requires Kindred with the Galadhrim, and is acquired using by bartering Gold Leaves and Silver Branches, instead of coin. It looks quite similar to the Grey mount from the Epic quest line, but with a differently colored blanket. .
There are a number of horses that are currently unavailable, though you never know when they might return. Most of these were available during the associated festivals (Springfest, Lithe, Harvestmath, and Yule), and were earned by winning the horse races at either the Shire Racetrack, or the Bree Party Fields.
The Bree Horse was a special gift to Founders (those who pre-ordered the LotRO:Shadows of Angmar game) It differs from the usual mounts in several ways. The mount is tied to the founder's account and available for free upon reaching the proper level of 25. You also do not need to complete the horse quest to be able to ride it. However, the Bree Horse is also significantly slower than the other horses, so most will still want to upgrade to one of the other mounts at some point. (Note: While only one version, horse or pony, is shown for any of the above screenshots, both versions are available for every type)
Last, but certainly not least, there is one more special mount. Due to the steep and often precarious passages through the massive mines of Moria, horses are not actually able to be used within the area. Instead, swift travel is made utilizing sturdy goats, complete with saddlebags and a lantern to light the way. If you wish to have your own goat, there are two options, differing only in speed. Both require you to raise your reputation with the Iron Garrison Miners within Moria, but the slower only requires Friend status, while the speedier requires Kindred.
Want to know what Traits are the best for your Minstrel? Especially with the Class Trait Lines introduced in Mines of Moria, choosing the right Traits and Virtues makes all the difference.