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Skyrim free horse armor doesn't actually give your horse any armor

Skyrim
(Image credit: Bethesda)

Update: Skyrim horse armor is more than just a visual overhaul, but it doesn't actually boost your steed's armor class.

In a post on Reddit, user JDGumby used the game's console commands to confirm that without armor equipped, one of Skyrim's hardy horses has 289 health. With a fetching suit of elven armor attached, however, that number jumps to 1289.

That's a pretty simple switch, not least because it seems to only really require the inclusion of a number '1' in the right place. JDGumby also notes that the armor doesn't actually improve the horse's armor rating, which defines damage resistance, and remains set at 0.

In Oblivion, where the armor started life (and where it is largely credited with kickstarting modern DLC trends), horses wearing either the steel or elven gear were granted double health and durability. Perhaps that was a slightly better bonus than the boost to HP in Skyrim, but at least this time around, the armor is free.

Original story: Skyrim Anniversary Edition has snuck a long-running joke into the Creation Club.

The game, celebrating the tenth anniversary of the 2011 game, releases today, with some new community content added for free, and far more available through the Creation Club, a community-driven item store for Skyrim and Fallout 4 introduced in 2017. Bethesda has already shown off much of the content making its way to the Club, but upon launching the game earlier today, players have discovered two potentially controversial items from the Elder Scrolls' past.

Horse Armor was originally added to Oblivion as paid DLC, allowing players to pay $2.50 to kit their mounts out in Steel or Elven-style suits of equine armor. That cost, for an item that many players felt was trivial, made the decision extremely unpopular within the community. As a result, horse armor has since become a joke attached to any add-ons deemed overly expensive, no matter the game.

Now, it looks like Bethesda is trying to make light of that situation. Players discovered that both Elven and Steel armor sets are available in the Creation Club store, but also noted that this time, both sets are available for free. Given that the developer seems to have hidden the content from players ahead of release, it looks like it's very much trying to make sure it's in on the joke. Whether the armor maintains its steep discount remains to be seen, so if you want to make sure you've got the hardiest mount between here and Markarth, you may want to move quickly.

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Ali Jones

I'm GamesRadar's deputy news editor, working with Ben T across our gaming news articles. I started my journalistic career while getting my degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick, where I also worked as Games Editor on the student newspaper, The Boar. Since then, I've run the news sections at PCGamesN and Kotaku UK, and also regularly contributed to PC Gamer. As you might be able to tell, PC is my platform of choice, so you can regularly find me playing League of Legends or Steam's latest indie hit.