The Codex of Editable Wisdom


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Horse, from Ultima VII manual
Variants: Plough
First appearance: Ultima I
Last appearance: Ultima IX (Sort of)

Horses are work animals. People use them for a great number of tasks, including ploughing, transport, bread-baking, and accounting. The adventurer can take advantage of this by buying a horse to quicken travel, food preparation, or computation of travel costs. Riding shortens the time needed for traveling enormously.

Horses stayed the same in all installments in which they appear, but didn't appear in the Underworlds or Ultima VIII due to difficulties in contract negotiations with Electronic Arts, which refused to include vet insurance as a term of their employment contracts. As a result, in Ultima IX, all horses are depicted as dead and hanged (one is even enclosed into a iceberg) and the culprit is a woman named Cleo found in the Prison of Wrong. The reason for all the dead horses was essentially an in-joke to get back at the horses' intractable labor union.

Ultima V is the only game that really describes differences between breeds of Britannian horses. While all horses look the same in the game, several NPCs, usually those who work in stables identify various types: plough horses, mountain horses, steppes horses, Valorian steeds which are prized as warhorses, and horses with huge batlike wings from the gargoyles' stables (their scaly hides having protected them from the gargoyles' voracious appetites).



Horses - Riding horse back is faster than walking, and horses are cheap.

- from The Second Age of Darkness (Ultima II)

Being both strong and swift, these companions of the trail are invaluable when time is of the essence and one's strength is at an end. The traveler should obtain a steed early in his adventuring. Occasionally, you may spy a majestic wild stallion roaming the broad plains, but catching and taming it is another thing.

- from Compendium (Ultima VI)

This animal can be found in the wild or domesticated in the stables. Horses are most commonly used for rapid transportation from town to town of through the wilderness.

- from The Book of Fellowship (Ultima VII)

Notable examplesEdit


Smith the Horse

  • Smith the Horse is maybe the most famous example of a horse that can be encountered. When else can you meet a talking horse? Smith lives in the northeastern corner of Iolo's hut, near Yew, and usually gives clues that are useless because they were important for the previous Ultima game. Smith appears in Ultima III, IV, V, VI, VII, and Savage Empire. He is mentioned in Ultima IX, but can't be found and is most likely dead like all other horses unless the Avatar brings his would-be murderer to trial.

Trivia Edit

  • When the C64 port of Ultima VI was created, the limits of the system proved quite challenging to Origin, so they had to axe a few things. Therefore, horses vanished to eliminate horseriding. They added the excuse that the gargoyles had eaten all the horses (with exception of Smith).
  • A similar excuse for the lack of horses in the NES port for Ultima V was given, this time claiming it was hungry people. (Note that horse meat is considered disgusting as a food in English-speaking countries, but absolutely normal food anywhere else).
  • Likewise, since techinal limitations prevented horse riding to be implemented in Ultima IX, it was decided to have all the horses dead as an ester egg, with many carcass to be found lying or hanging around. Their supposed murdered, Cleo, can be found in the Prison of Wrong. If the Avatar has destroyed six or more Wyrmguards before confronting Cleo, she will be brought to trial for her misdeeds, with Lord Blackthorne acting as her defense attorney and (if the player has encounter him previously) Smith as an expert witness.
  • In the NES port of Ultima III, horses were available, but only for characters with pink/brown color palettes due to a bug.

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