Besides walking, you can get around Mineral Town by riding a horse. You can get a horse for your farm during your first spring season. The first step is to introduce yourself to Mugi, the livestock rancher. On a sunny weather Spring 4 or later, Mugi will stop by your farm in the morning and ask if you would be interested in taking care of a little horse that he can't keep on his ranch. If you accept, you can then give the horse a name, and Mugi will place the horse inside the horse barn.
The horse only comes in one color (brown) and cannot be bred with other horses. It also cannot pass away from old age or sickness.
You can tell Mugi "no" when he asks if you want to care for the horse. He will then ask two more times if you're sure you do not want it. After you confirm you are really, really, really sure you don't want a horse, Mugi will return to his ranch with the little horse, but he'll return the next morning to offer you the horse a second time. If you continue to tell him you don't want the horse, Mugi will leave a second time and never come back to offer the horse again. Since the horse is not an animal you can buy, rejecting Mugi's offer means you will never have a horse on your farm. It will not be possible to run in the derby horse races if you don't own a horse. From experience, it is dull having to run everywhere until year 3, so I would recommend taking Mugi up on his offer for a free horse.
Saibara will sell a brush at his shop the day after you receive the horse from Mugi.
Your little horse will live in the horse barn next to the livestock barn. It will be outside on sunny days and return to their barn at 8:00 pm. The horse will feed itself too! Initially, the little horse is too small to carry you around. It will grow to an adult size 90 days after arriving on your farm. The adult horse will wear a red bandana around their neck.
During these 90 days, you will have to work on growing your relationship with the baby horse. Mugi will stop by your house in the morning on the 90th day to check up on your care of the horse. If Mugi is not pleased with your effort, he will take back your horse.
You need to have at least 4 hearts of friendship with your horsey friend to keep Mugi from impounding your pony. The current friendship level with the horse is located in the game's Relationships menu. Each heart marker contains 24 points. You can earn points by using the Brush tool (+1 point per day), talking to the horse (+1 point per day), and getting a response from your horse by whistling using the ZL button (+1 point per day).
If Mugi does take back the horse, he will only keep it for 1 year. After the year has gone by, Mugi will return to your farm and give you back the full-grown horse.
Now that the horse is fully grown, you can ride the horse all over Mineral Town! Except into villagers' houses. The horse doesn't fit through the front door. Nobody wants a horse in their home anyway.
The GBA horse had baskets attached to the horse's saddle that you could use as a mobile shipping bin. This updated horse does not have saddlebags.
The adult horse can participate in the horse derby that takes place on Spring 18 and Fall 18. Mugi will stop by your house on the morning of the 17th to ask if you would like to participate in the races. If you participate, you and your horse will run against three other random racers in the third (and last) race of the derby.
While running in the race, your horse will display a colored heart bubble above its head. As you repeatedly press the A button to encourage your horse to run, this bubble will change color based on the horse's stamina:
- A green bubble means your horse is full of energy.
- A yellow bubble means your horse is getting tired, so lay off pressing the A button for a bit.
- A red bubble means your horse is very tired and will slow down, possibly allowing the competing horses to catch up.
The more hearts of friendship your horse has, the more stamina they have to run the race.
The first time you win the horse race, you'll be rewarded with a Power Berry and +20 FP with the villagers in Rose Plaza. After the initial victory, you will simply receive the +20 FP per person.