It's expensive to buy and maintain a real horse, but now you can download a virtual one instead from the App Store-- What a world we live in. My Horse [Free] from NaturalMotion Games and MunkyFun is a realistic horse simulation game, which allows you to groom, feed and reward your very own horsey, without ever leaving the couch. Although the true cost of the virtual horse depends on whether you choose to invest in the optional in-app purchases.

The developers goal was to create a horse which is realistic enough for the player to form a bond with. And they've managed to successfully achieve this as the horse graphics and behavior is pretty realistic. It flicks it's tail, grazes, looks around, trots, bucks, walks backwards and neighs. There's no obvious repeated animation loops, or cartoon graphics. You're caring for a real-looking virtual horse.

After meeting and naming your beast (default name was "Beauty", but I chose "GluePot"), Dan the Stable-boy assigns you some tasks, such as "take a photo of your horse" using the in-game camera. Completing tasks or spending time with your horse earns experience (XP) points, which helps increase your overall level.

You can tap the ground to place two markers and the horse will go there, at it's own pace. If a circle appears, you can walk your horse over it to collect XP. However, most of your actions are initiated by opening your leather journal, which has separate tabs for activities, care tasks, work tasks, competing and a marketplace for shopping.

The "Activities" are interactive mini-games, based upon feeding, treating and grooming your horse and caring for the paddock. For example, to groom your horse you swipe dirt from it's body, while feeding it involves buying a recipe and measuring out the right ingredient ratios. You can also buy extra horses. There's eight breeds of horse to collect, but they are all the same generic horse frame (size, shape) with a different texture. You can't make a custom-made mean beast or Shetland pony. You can switch between your horses, but can only play one at a time.

The health and happiness of your animal decrease over time, so you have to complete care tasks to maintain your virtual pet. There's 32 different care tasks to unlock, ranging from mucking out the stall and re-fitting horse-shoes, to giving vaccinations and plaiting the mane and tail. Each task is unlocked by reaching the prerequisite level.

Once you press the button for a task, it counts down to completion, which can range from a couple of minutes to many hours, as done in games like Smurf Village [Free].  Once the countdown reaches zero, the task is completed and you receive XP, while the horse gains health and happiness points. You can use gems (acquired from IAP or from each level upgrade) to immediately complete a task without any delay.

You can assign your animal to 32 different work tasks, to earn the coins needed for care tasks and tack (horse equipment). For example, your nag can be used for riding lessons, television work, or rides at the fairground. Again, you don't actually complete these tasks on the screen, they are simply count-downs. If your horses energy-levels get too low, he won't be able to work, unless he rests or gets a yummy sugary treat.

There's a series of show jumping events to compete in, so you'll want your nag to be in good shape.  Each competition has "entry requirements" such as a certain health level and training. You can either train your horse by completing a mini-game, or pay a trainer if you're impatient. As your horse moves towards a jump, a line moves across the screen and you have to tap a button so the line stops in the right color. If you're successful, the horse clears the jump, but the more you miss the mark, the worse the jump and the lower your score. You can work your way right to the world championships.

There's a market where items like stirrups, reins, saddles and boots can be purchased using coins and/or gems. You're given a few gems (1 gem per level upgrade, 3 gems for rating the app), or you can buy gems as in-app purchases.  The problem is that many items such as the best colorful equipment can only be purchased with gems. Yet, It seems unlikely that players will earn enough gems, without paying for in-app purchases.

The game features a social component too, as you can visit your friends stables to look after their horses.  One of the early assigned tasks is to visit a friend in your friend list, which helps promote the game, but is annoying if you want to play alone. Fortunately, there's a TouchArcade Forum for people seeking My Horse friends.  Also, be warned, the + GameCenter icon doesn't invite just one friend, it adds all of your friends with My Horse from Game Center.

This universal game has two Game Center leader-boards (total XP and total coins). Unfortunately your progress doesn't sync across devices, so you can't play with your iPad horse on your iPod.

My Horse is a wonderful game for horse-lovers and is worth a free download just to check out the realistic horse.  But if you're planning on playing this game for a long time, be prepared to spend some real money on gems, or accept that you probably won't be able to buy the best looking equipment, no matter how many coins you earn.  But, I guess that's still cheaper than a real horse.

Hat tip to Clint.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • ltcommander.data

    The first step on the long road to Red Dead? Perhaps when developers can target Apple A5 only.

  • Noah

    So it's sort of like Nintendogs... but with Horses?

  • http://twitter.com/d3vildog76 Chris Rodriguez

    I'll pass... If I want to go play with horses, I walk outside to my pasture and play with the real thing.  Although being very, very far from free, they're a lot more fun than a touch device.

  • Bethany

    I just added random people who showed up in competitions, since I didn't know about the thread.  I'd rather have TA people, but there seems to be no way to delete friends once made.  On the other hand, having friends seems to have no implications except that you can go clean their paddock and groom their horse for coins/XP.

    I'm enjoying it in a casual way, but I'm annoyed by the fact that there's really only one complete upgraded set of tack you can realistically get without spending real money, especially since the quality of your tack is important in the competitions.  You can upgrade your tack buying mismatched pieces to get the points in competitions, but then your horse looks stupid.

    OTOH, almost all the upgraded tack is pink and thus would look stupid even if you had a matched set.  Dear developers: I realize your target audience is 12-year-old girls, but not even all 12-year-old girls like pink.

    • cowbouy

      I agree with you on Tack issue...  I hope the game developers will do something about it.
      One more drawback I see with this game is, while in the competition, the player is concentrating on the horse icon that moves on the multi-color slider & misses out to see what stunt does the horse perform.

  • Michael

    It´s realy bad, and not because it´s freemium and horses are a girls theme.

    I expect a ton of slowdowns, even in the menus (on iPad 2, mind you) wen it happens during "gameplay" you hardly can play anymore. Sometimes the game even had hick ups that were hard enough to disalow me to finish a minigame. (no more poo to colect on screen yet the game wants you to, so you loose, to bad)

    As for the gameplay, there is non. Seriusly, play it yourself, five minutes and you have seen everything. You clean your horese (rub the ipad), you colect poo and flowers and you take part in one button quicktime events. These quicktime events do not change... it´s always the same, no matter what (of 4 things) the horse dos or how high your level is.

    There is no need to level up (i am at 16 i think), if you just stick with the low level the game even alows you to play more often.

  • Commenter

    Someone has to say it... http://lookatmyhorsemyhorseisamazing.com/

    • Kefiox

      Haha this is exactly what I thought when my daughter downloaded this game last weekend. Opened it and was incredibly disappointed haha.

  • Spazzing

    Is their a glue factory.

  • Jacob_laird17

    JACOB(OF COURSE)

    ^ add me on game centre

  • SOPHIE WIERMAN

    i have the game on my ipod already to level 7 no hic-ups great game 

  • Anonymous

    Both my daughter and I love horses, good game, BUT asked to play the feeding game, which is all well and good but how do u play it? I tried feeding all that's available and still nothing. Plus I'm on level 11 and if I'm not on it for just an hr the health etc drops to 3 even though I left it at 100. Go figure!!

  • Abbey Watson

    it will open then close after like 5 secs

  • LaRynnBelle

    Can someone tell me how to perform happiness care tasks? I can't figure out which task makes the happiness points.

My Horse Reviewed by Troy Woodfield on . Rating: 4