Age of Empires Series Wiki

The Horse is an animal that appears as a campaign unit in Age of Empires II and Age of Empires III. In Age of Empires and Age of Mythology, it is a beta unit cut from the retail releases of both titles, though it was officially introduced to the former game with Return of Rome.

ReturnRome-AoEIcon Age of Empires[]

Riderless Horses were only officially introduced in the Return of Rome expansion. The black Horse in the original Age of Empires is a Gaia-only hidden unit.

The unit in Return of Rome has a unique icon, which corresponds to the black coat appearance in the original game, but in-game they use the same assets as the Horses of Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, and none feature a black coat as portrayed in the icon.

They are decoration units, and thus cannot be hunted and do not yield any food. Unlike other animals, and like non-animal Gaia units, they are also capturable by a human player. Like their Age of Empires II counterpart, if they are placed under the control of the player in certain game modes or maps such as MegaRandom, they can function as scout units.

The Horse has a non-capturable counterpart that behaves like Deer: the Wild Horse.

Before Return of Rome[]

In the original game, the Horse does not appear in-game by default, despite being seen on the pre-game maps for the The Holy Man and The Assassins scenarios. If accessed via special game editors, the Horse can be placed in a scenario as a Gaia unit.

It is a large black Horse with spots near its tail, and much bigger than other cavalry in the game. It produces the same sounds as other horses. If other units approach it, it will run away much like a Gazelle, but is startled more easily. Unlike other animals, it is a purely decorative unit that holds no food. Despite this, it can be hunted by Villagers in the original Age of Empires, and instantly disappears when killed as it lacks a dying animation. Other units can't be ordered to attack it.

The Horse underwent some changes in The Rise of Rome. No player-controlled unit, including Villagers, can attack Horses anymore, even though the words "Right-click to hunt this animal" will still appear if the mouse is hovered over a Horse. Right-clicking will just send the player's Villagers to the spot where it is/was standing. CPU Villagers will approach it to hunt it, but they will simply follow it around without ever turning into Hunters. On the other hand, Lions will chase Horses the same way they attack Gazelles in The Rise of Rome.

Additionally, in The Rise of Rome, the Horse will disappear while in running animation, reappearing every time it comes to a stop. The Horse has the dying animation of a Gazelle and the carcass of a Lion in the expansion.

If "gaia" is typed in as a cheat, the Horse can be controlled just like any other animal in the game, although it cannot attack. In The Rise of Rome, it does not disappear if the player is moving it around. This is because it is configured to use different animations for moving after an order and for running away, with assets for the latter missing. It can be killed if the player presses "Delete".

Another way to kill it is by activating "Attack Ground" at the spot where it is standing, with a Catapult or other similar unit. Horses are affected by the splash damage of melee units like War Elephants, too.

During development, it was planned that Horses (and also Goats) would be created as food sources in a building called "Pasture" that was similar to the Livestock Pen in Age of Empires III.

AoE2-DLCicon-0 Age of Empires II[]

The Horse, like the Camel and the Bactrian Camel, is an untrainable unit that is found mostly in campaign scenarios. Two exceptions are the random maps Steppe, where each player begins with a horse instead of a Scout Cavalry and MegaRandom, where the same is possible. The Horse is also considered a scout unit, and can use Auto Scout. Horses do not cost any population space.

Horses appear in the Units tab of the Scenario Editor. If assigned to Gaia, they will behave just like regular military units in that they switch allegiance to human players as soon as they are seen by one of their units and will never switch again, unlike Herdable animals. Similarly, enemy units in aggressive stance attack Horses.

Horses outside of campaigns fulfill the role of Scout Cavalry or Eagle Scouts, as they have the same speed, line of sight and armor class as a regular Scout Cavalry in addition to having 5 more hit points. Unlike these scouts, however, they are unable to attack other units or profit from upgrades.

Up until hotfix 39515, the Horse (and its functional counterparts) were of very limited use, as their ability of scouting was limited by a poor Line of Sight of only 2, fulfilling a mostly decorative role. In this hotfix, these units were changed to have the same speed, line of sight and armor class as regular Dark Age Scout Cavalry. Further, in update 39284, it was made possible to load them into Transport Ships.

Some scenarios have objectives revolving around capturing, keeping, or moving around a number of Horses:

  • In the third scenario of the Montezuma campaign, the player may opt to defeat Cortéz by capturing 20 Horses from him and bringing them to a walled area controlled by the player. The Horses are controlled by Cortéz and will not turn over to the player's control until the walls around them are breached and Aztec units enter their enclosures. As a result, it is possible for archers in aggressive stance to kill the Horses from outside, complicating the challenge. The player's ally Tabasco may also breach an enclosure and kill Horses but will usually surrender before this happens. After switching to the player's control, Cortéz and his ally Tlaxcala will attack the Horses.
  • In the fifth scenario of the same campaign, the player can capture Horses and bring them to a citadel, where they will turn into Elite Tarkans (Xolotl Warriors in the Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition). In this case, the Horses are initially controlled by Gaia despite being in walled areas controlled by Cortéz, and will switch over to the player even if the walls are not breached. This can potentially result in Cortéz killing the Horses while still walled in, if the player cannot break the walls in time.
  • In the first scenario of the Attila the Hun campaign, the Scythians, in gratitude for Attila's rescue of their prince from the Romans, will ally themselves with the Huns if the Huns bring them ten Horses. The player starts with three Horses but the scenario can be won without giving them up, as there are more than ten Gaia Horses scattered through the map.
  • In both the first and third scenario of the El Cid campaign, the player is required to move the titular character near one particular Horse (Babieca) so he will turn into his mounted version, El Cid Campeador. In this case, Babieca is controlled initially by the player's allies, King Sancho and King Alfonso respectively.
  • In Pearl of the East, Babur is tasked by Targhai to bring him 10 white Horses before joining Babur's ranks. There is also a non-white Horse present which will not count towards the objective. Once brought enough Horses, Targhai will join Babur in subjugating Samarkand.
  • Several Horses are present within Erzincan in The Red Hats, initially dismounted alongside some Villagers. This is an Aq Qoyunlu ambush that needs to be beaten to take over Erzincan.
  • Some Horses are present in Yury's camp in The Protectorate.
  • Several other appearances of Horses are as placeholder units for certain players to prevent them from being defeated automatically. This is prior to the Definitive Edition, since which they are no longer needed.

All Horses in The Conquerors and HD expansions are bay dun with dark manes. However in the Definitive Edition, Horses appear in five variants: Horse A, Horse B, Horse C, Horse D, and Horse E. They are listed as different units in the Editor as they are internally separate, but are identical in everything except coat. A is the original Horse, B is heavier and with woolly ankles like a draft horse, C is white with dark mane, D is white with blond mane, and E is bicolor brown and white. All variants have the bay dun as their icon.

Just like the Bactrian Camel has the Wild Bactrian Camel and the Camel has the Wild Camel, the Horse has a non-capturable counterpart that behaves like Deer: the Wild Horse.

Hunnic Horse[]

Since The Mountain Royals - update 99311, one Hunnic Horse is spawned at the Town Center for a Hun player in nomad game modes after the Town Center is completed. The Hunnic Horse is identical to the regular Horse, and like the latter, it is also considered a scout unit. It can Auto Scout since update 111772.

This is to compensate for the lack of starting wood to construct most other buildings that Hun players are limited by in this game mode, especially Docks, that other civilizations are able to construct right at the start.

Aom original icon Age of Mythology[]

Horses were originally intended to appear in Age of Mythology, but ended up being cut for unknown reasons. However, a close relative, the Zebra, appears.

3Icon48px Age of Empires III[]

Wild Mustangs.
—In-game description

In the Respect scenario of the Act II: Ice campaign, the player earns respect from the Lakota tribesmen if they bring them five horses. Like in previous Age of Empires games, these cannot be killed, nor can they attack. However, with decent speed, they are useful for scouting. The horses coats come in a range of colors from white, brown, or a mix of both.

Non-selectable horses also appear in certain native villages like the Cheyenne, Lakota, and Comanche in Skirmish maps.


Scientific Name: Equus caballus
Approx. Size: 5 ft. at the shoulder, 1,000 lb.
Diet: Grasses, feed

Horses are long-legged, single-toed mammals that rely on speed and awareness to flee predators. They are social animals, living in herds led by matriarchs. Horses use elaborate body language to communicate with one another, which humans can learn and use to better communicate with horses. Though domesticated, horses are prey animals and their cooperation with man must be learned. There are many characteristics that define various breeds: color, gait, temperament, and size are just a few. Almost all modern horse breeds trace their ancestry back to Arabian horses.

When the Europeans arrived in the New World, they brought horses. Many Native American nations saw and embraced the power and utility of horses. Equus is thought to have evolved in North America millions of years ago, spreading to other parts of the world. Around 10,000 years ago they mysteriously vanished from North America and were unknown on the continent until Europeans reintroduced them.


Animals in Age of Empires
Until Age of Empires Definitive Edition icon Definitive Edition
HuntablesReturn of rome gazelle Gazelle · Returnofrome elephant icon Elephant
PredatorsAlligatorAOEIcon Alligator · Returnofrome lion icon Lion · Returnofrome crocodile icon Crocodile
Marine creaturesAoE2 DE shore fish icon Shore Fish · AoE2 DE tuna icon Tuna · AoE2 DE salmon icon Salmon · Aoede whale icon Whale
Animal KingsReturnofrome lion icon Lion (Alpha) · Returnofrome crocodile icon Crocodile (Alpha) · Return of rome gazelle Gazelle (Alpha) · Returnofrome elephant icon Elephant (Alpha)
OtherReturnofrome lion icon Lion (tame)
DecorativeAoEDE Eagle icon Bird · Dragon Icon updated nuRoR Dragon
CutHorse icon AoE Horse · Goat Goat
Including AoE2Icon-ReturnRome Return of Rome
HuntableAoE2DE Deer icon Deer · AoE2DE ingame ibex icon Ibex · Boar aoe2DE Iron Boar · Boar aoe2DE Javelina · Ostrich icon aoe2de Ostrich · PR4-010 Rhinoceros · Boar aoe2DE Wild Boar · Zebra aoe2DE Zebra
HerdableCowDE Cow · Goat aoe2DE Goat · AoE2DE ingame goose icon Goose · PR4-009 Llama · Iconpig Pig · Sheep aoe2DE Sheep · PR4-006 Turkey · Yak aoe2DE Water Buffalo
PredatorAoE2DE ingame bear icon Bear · PR2-002 Dire Wolf · PR4-004 Jaguar · AoE2 DE komodo Komodo Dragon · PR2-002 Rabid Wolf · AoE2DE ingame snow leopard icon Snow Leopard · PR4-016 Tiger · PR2-002 Wolf
CivilianBactrian camel icon Bactrian Camel · AoE2DE ingame camel icon Camel · Donkey caravan aoe2DE Donkey · Returnofrome horse icon Horse
Military animalsAoE2 DE alfred icon Alfred the Alpaca · Monkey aoe2DE Furious the Monkey Boy · Penguin aoe2DE Penguin
DecorativeBactrian camel icon Wild Bactrian Camel · AoE2DE ingame camel icon Wild Camel · Returnofrome horse icon Wild Horse
Marine animalsAoE2 DE box turtles icon Box Turtles · AoE2 DE dolphin icon Dolphin · AoE2 DE dorado icon Dorado · AoE2 DE marlin icon Marlin · AoE2 DE perch icon Perch · AoE2 DE snapper icon Snapper
Animals in Age of Empires II
Herdable animalsCowDE Cow · Goat aoe2DE Goat · AoE2DE ingame goose icon Goose · PR4-009 Llama · Iconpig Pig · Sheep aoe2DE Sheep · PR4-006 Turkey · Yak aoe2DE Water Buffalo
Timid huntablesAoE2DE Deer icon Deer · Return of rome gazelle Gazelle · AoE2DE ingame ibex icon Ibex · Ostrich icon aoe2de Ostrich · Zebra aoe2DE Zebra
Aggressive huntablesElephant aoe2DE Elephant · Boar aoe2DE Iron Boar · Boar aoe2DE Javelina · PR4-010 Rhinoceros · Boar aoe2DE Wild Boar
Wild animalsAoE2DE ingame bear icon Bear · Gator aoe2DE Crocodile · PR2-002 Dire Wolf · PR4-004 Jaguar · AoE2 DE komodo Komodo Dragon · Lion aoe2DE Lion · PR2-002 Rabid Wolf · AoE2DE ingame snow leopard icon Snow Leopard · PR4-016 Tiger · PR2-002 Wolf
Marine animalsAoE2 DE box turtles icon Box Turtles · AoE2 DE dolphin icon Dolphin · AoE2 DE dorado icon Dorado · AoE2 DE marlin icon Marlin · AoE2 DE perch icon Perch · AoE2 DE salmon icon Salmon · AoE2 DE shore fish icon Shore Fish · AoE2 DE snapper icon Snapper · AoE2 DE tuna icon Tuna
Civilian animalsBactrian camel icon Bactrian Camel · AoE2DE ingame camel icon Camel · Donkey caravan aoe2DE Donkey · Horse aoe2DE Horse
Military animalsAoE2 DE alfred icon Alfred the Alpaca · Monkey aoe2DE Furious the Monkey Boy · Penguin aoe2DE Penguin
Hero animalsHunting wolf aoe2DE Hunting Wolf · Ornluthewolf aoe2DE Ornlu the Wolf
Decorative animalsAoE2 DE hawk icon Bird · AoE2 DE stormy dog Stormy Dog · Bactrian camel icon Wild Bactrian Camel · AoE2DE ingame camel icon Wild Camel · Horse aoe2DE Wild Horse
Scenario Editor units in Age of Empires II
AoE2-DLCicon-0 The Age of KingsCobracarDE Cobra Car · GenoeseCrossbowmanIcon-DE Heavy Crossbowman· Heavy swordsman aoe2DE Heavy Swordsman· Junk aoe2DE Junk· King eu aoe2DE King · Town center packed aoe2de Town Center (Packed)"
AoE2-DLCicon-1 The ConquerorsMonkey aoe2DE Furious the Monkey Boy · Horse aoe2DE Horse
AoE2-DLCicon-2 The ForgottenAoE2 DE alfred icon Alfred the Alpaca · Amazonarcher aoe2DE Amazon Archer · Amazonwarrior aoe2DE Amazon Warrior · AoE2DE ingame camel icon Camel · Canoe aoe2DE Canoe · Donkey caravan aoe2DE Donkey · Dragonship aoe2DE Dragon Ship · Eastern swordsman aoe2DE Eastern Swordsman · Flamethrower aoe2de Flamethrower · HeavyPikeman aoe2DE Heavy Pikeman · Centurion aoe2DE Imperial Centurion · AoE2 DE Legionary new icon Imperial Legionary · Norsewarrior aoe2DE Norse Warrior · Penguin aoe2DE Penguin · Queen aoe2DE Queen · Relic cart aoe2DE Relic Cart · Royal janissary aoe2de Royal Janissary
AoE2-DLCicon-3 The African KingdomsAoE2 DE priest icon Priest
AoE2-DLCicon-4 Rise of the RajasSharkatzoricon Sharkatzor"
AoE2-DLCicon-5 The Last KhansMilitiaDE Bandit · Bactrian camel icon Bactrian Camel · Tradecart aoe2DE Cart · Flaming camel icon Flaming Camel (formerly) · Iroquois warrior aoe2DE Iroquois Warrior · Khan aoe2de Khan · Merchant euro aoe2DE Merchant · Hussar aoe2DE Mounted Samurai · Ninja aoe2DE Ninja · Ox cart aoe2DE Ox Cart · Ox wagon1 aoe2DE Ox Wagon · Photonman aoe2DE Photonman
Dawn of the Dukes icon Dawn of the DukesCrusader knight aoe2de Crusader Knight
AoE2Icon-DynastiesIndia Dynasties of IndiaSogdian Cataphract icon AoE2DE Sogdian Cataphract
AoE2Icon-MountainRoyals The Mountain RoyalsAoE2 Qizilbash icon Qizilbash Warrior
Hidden units
AoE2-DLCicon-0 The Age of KingsShah aoe2DE Boarding Galley · Archer aoe2DE Outlaw · VMDL DE icon VMDL
AoE2-DLCicon-1 The ConquerorsCavalry archer render model Genitour*
AoE2-DLCicon-2 The ForgottenSiegetowericon Siege Tower· Spy icon AoE2DE Spy*
Cheat units
AoE2-DLCicon-0 The Age of KingsCobracarDE Cobra Car · Saboteur aoe2DE Saboteur · VMDL DE icon VMDL
AoE2-DLCicon-1 The ConquerorsMonkey aoe2DE Furious the Monkey Boy · AoE2 DE stormy dog Stormy Dog
AoE2-DLCicon-2 The ForgottenAoE2 DE alfred icon Alfred the Alpaca · Penguin aoe2DE Penguin
AoE2-DLCicon-5 The Last KhansPhotonman aoe2DE Photonman · Sharkatzoricon Sharkatzor
marked with " were previously hidden, marked with * were previously unhidden
Animals (non-myth units) in Age of Mythology
Herdable animalsCowAOM Cow · GoatAOM Goat · Pig icon Pig · YakiconAoM Yak
Timid huntablesBaboon icon Baboon · Caribou Caribou · ChickenIcon Chicken · Crane icon Crowned Crane · Deer icon Deer · DuckAoM icon Duck · Elk icon Elk · GazelleAOMicon Gazelle · Giraffe icon Giraffe · Monkey icon Monkey · Zebra icon Zebra
Aggressive huntablesAurochs icon Aurochs · Boar icon Boar · ElephantAOMicon Elephant · Hippo icon Hippopotamus · RamAoM icon Ram · Rhinoceros icon Rhinoceros · Walrus icon Walrus · WaterBuffalo Water Buffalo
Wild animalsWolf icon Arctic Wolf · Crocodile icon Crocodile · BrownBear icon Bear · Hyena icon Hyena · LionAOMicon Lion · LizardAoM icon Lizard · PandaAoM icon Panda Bear · PolarBearIcon Polar Bear · TigerAoM icon Tiger · Wolf icon Wolf
Military animalsLionAOMicon Golden Lion · Monkey icon Relic Monkey
FishAoM Fish Icon Herring · AoM Fish Icon Mahi-mahi · AoM Fish Icon Perch · AoM Fish Icon Salmon
Decorative animalsBird (AoM Hawk Icon Eagle · Harpy icon Harpy · AoM Hawk Icon Hawk · AoM Hawk Icon Parrot · AoM Vulture Icon Vulture) · Hawksbill Turtle · Orca · Shark · Whale
Scenario Editor-exclusive animalsHour of Alpacas Alfred · Wolf icon Dog · Giant Duck-Billed Platypus · GoatAOM Golden Fleece (also herdable) · Elk icon Reindeer
Cheat animalsChickenIcon Methane Chicken
Cut animalsAnchovies · Camel icon AoM Camel · Horse · Musk Ox · Nubian Goat · Shore Fish · Unicorn
Animals in Age of Empires III
HerdablesCow aoe3de Cow · Goat aoe3de Goat · Llama aoe3de Llama · Cow aoe3de Sacred Cow · Sanga aoe3de Sanga Cattle · Sheep aoe3de Sheep · Water buffalo aoe3de Water Buffalo · Yak portrait aoe3de Yak · Aoe3de zebu Zebu Cattle · Sanga aoe3de Big Benny
HuntablesBighorn sheep aoe3de Bighorn Sheep · Bison aoe3de Bison · Capybara aoe3de Capybara · Caribou aoe3de Caribou · Deer aoe3de Deer · Elephant aoe3de Elephant · Elk aoe3de Elk · Gazelle portrait Gazelle · Giant salamander aoe3de Giant Salamander · Giraffe portrait Giraffe · Guanaco aoe3de Guanaco · Ibex aoe3de Ibex · Marco polo sheep aoe3de Marco Polo Sheep · Moose aoe3de Moose · Musk deer aoe3de Musk Deer · Musk ox aoe3de Musk Ox · Nilgai aoe3de Nilgai · Ostrich portrait aoe3de Ostrich · Pronghorn aoe3de Pronghorn · Rhea aoe3de Rhea · Saiga aoe3de Saiga · Serow aoe3de Serow · Tapir aoe3de Tapir · Turkey aoe3de Turkey · Zebra portrait aoe3de Zebra
Treasure guardiansAlligator aoe3de Alligator · Tibetan macaque aoe3de Baboon · Black bear aoe3de Black Bear · Black panther aoe3de Black Panther · Beast portrait Beast · Beast portrait Beast of Gévaudan · Grizzly aoe3de Brown Bear · Cougar aoe3de Cougar · Pet wolf aoe3de Coyote · Alligator aoe3de Crocodile · Elephant aoe3de Elephant · Ethiopian Wolf portrait Ethiopian Wolf · Grizzly aoe3de Grizzly Bear · Hippo portrait Hippo · Honey Badger portrait Honey Badger · Hyena portrait aoe3de Hyena · Jaguar pet aoe3de Jaguar · Jaguar pet aoe3de Leopard · Lion aoe3de Lion · Liontailed macaque aoe3de Lion-Tailed Macaque · Guardian dog portrait Mad Dog · Monitor lizard aoe3de Monitor Lizard · Orangutan portrait aoe3de Orangutan · Panda portrait aoe3de Panda · Polar bear aoe3de portrait Polar Bear · Rhino aoe3de Rhinoceros · Snow leopard aoe3de Snow Leopard · Snowmonkey aoe3de Snow Monkey · Tibetan macaque aoe3de Tibetan Macaque · Tiger icon aoe3de Tiger · Warthog portrait Warthog
Unknown-exclusiveAoe3de zebu Cash Cow · Aoe3de zebu Wood Cattle
MilitaryWar dog aoe3de Dog · Turkey scout portrait aoe3de Intrepid Turkey Scout · Sheep aoe3de Lamb of the Creator · Pet wolf aoe3de Tengri Wolf
Treasure guardiansAlligator aoe3de Alligator · Hippo portrait Hippo · Greatwhiteshark aoe3de Great White Shark · Orca aoe3de Orca · White tiger aoe3de White Tiger · Warthog portrait Wild Boar · Pet wolf aoe3de Wolf
FishBass aoe3de Bass · Carp portrait aoe3de Carp · Catfish portrait aoe3de Catfish · Cod portrait aoe3de Cod · Mahi portrait aoe3de Mahi-mahi · Mola mola portrait aoe3de Mola Mola · Salmon aoe3de Salmon · Sardine portrait aoe3de Sardines · Squid portrait aoe3de Squid · Tarpon portrait aoe3de Tarpon · Tuna aoe3de Tuna
WhalesBeluga whale portrait aoe3de Beluga Whale · Whale humpback portrait aoe3de Humpback Whale · Minke whale portrait aoe3de Minke Whale
Bird · Bird unit icon AoE3DE Bird (unit)