2010 was the year I started playing computer games online. I always had a fascination with digital games, especially multiplayer ones. Since August 29th, 2010 I have been playing this game called Howrse. Over the past 10 years it has been a wild time, for sure. I’ve seen a lot of transitions in the game over those 10 years from good, to bad, to questionable. But I have stuck through them all.
Howrse is essentially a game about raising digital horses, breeding them to become the highest skilled horses on the servers. There are a wide range of servers available too, from the original French server made in 2008 that got split into two servers because of how massive it was, to the International server that I play on.
When I first started playing, I was very lost and very confused but still had a fun time. I even accidentally killed my first horse on the game in the tutorial phase because I did not understand the game mechanics, whoops. So I immediately made a second account and tried again, not realizing I could have reset my game. At first I did not really know what my objectives were in the game. There was not much to do overall other than feed, train, and compete horses. It was very bare-bones back then. But I found my calling within the game after making an equestrian center in 2011. Equestrian centers are a vital part of the game, but also an often ignored part of it. There has not been a major equestrian center update since 2015, and before then I can not recall any updates to it. Equestrian centers are essentially where you board horses so you can put them to sleep at night. Some centers can offer items that players won’t have to pay for on their own, like carrots or saddles. Ever since the big equestrian center update in 2015, I decided to go full force and created a massive equestrian center of 21,200 boxes within a year. For context, the average sized equestrian center is around 100 to 200 boxes, with 1 horse boarded per box. I’ve essentially turned my equestrian center into a major cash cow, and I am probably the only one that can say for sure that can earn over 2 million equus (the in-game currency) per day from the equestrian center part of the game alone.
Only during the summer had I started competitively breeding horses. Before this point, I had no reason to. In the international server, horses became obsolete so quickly. A horse might be the top horse of overall skills one day, but the next be ranked somewhere else in the top 100s. I cannot say if that is true for other servers, but the turn over of the horses always was off putting for me because I was not a part of a team. But I joined two teams over the summer and got to experience the competitive horse breeding part of the game for the first time in almost 10 years. I have learned so much about competitive breeding on this game that I felt like I had been missing out for so long, but boy is it competitive. Some teams expect you to raise a horse, train it, and breed it within a few hours and do that multiple times a week in order to stay on the team. I joined two very relaxed teams, which really helped me appreciate this aspect of the game without being stressed over it.
Howrse does monthly events on the game to keep players engaged. A lot of the events are a lot of fun. Personally, I enjoy the lottery events where you purchase tickets and there are drawings several times a day. I really enjoy the randomness of it and I have gotten really good prizes. Another fun event is the maze event where you are navigating a maze that reveals a radius of tiles every time you are able to move, which can be frustrating when you do not unlock a specific radius in time and end up at a dead end. But that’s the fun part. Other events, however, are very interesting to say the least. Events repeat very often, but always with a different theme. I think I have done the same trading card event five times by now. Although it is fun, it gets repetitive after a while. But I’ve also been around for a decade, so of course I would rather get new, exciting events. Other events are just not that great. Such as the snowball event. It can be fun if you have a lot of friends, but if you do not then progress with it is very hard. Essentially the snowball event is when snowballs will randomly float on your screen as UFO, and if you click on it you gain a snowball and a prize. You can then ‘throw’ the snowball at a friend to also give them a prize. However, if you only have a hand full of friends, you will not be getting that many snowballs in return.
Some of the updates have also been both amazing and questionable. My favorite update, although I am biased, was the major equestrian center update that included new things like workshops to make items in, regions for your center to be based in, missions that both people boarding their horses and those who own the centers can earn resources and equus from, and a few other things. This made equestrian centers more in depth than just somewhere to board a horse. Even those who did not use their own equestrian centers can still benefit from owning one. A questionable update, however, was when they swapped the notification center to something that gives visible numbers on the amount of notifications you had. Originally, any notification from the game (such as a horse dying, someone gifting you something, one of your horses being purchased, ect) would be included in the ‘office’ tab. You would not receive any notifications for it, you would have to actively check it daily. Now there is a notification bell at the top of the screen that notifies you over every little thing. That does not sound bad, but when they first released the update it was unfinished. Even a month or two later it still has its quirks. I am slowly getting used to it, but I do not like logging in and seeing over 50 notifications that just clicking on the bell will not make them disappear, I have to click the ‘mark as read’ button.
Howrse has a lot of unique elements to its game. They release divine horses every once in a while, which is a specialty horse that can give you items, passes, equus, and other things depending on the specific divine. My favorite divine right now is Fall, where every day of Fall in the game (one week out of the entire month), I am given skill points that I can give to Fall specifically. I have turned my Fall divine into a show jumping champion with 600 wins in show jumping competitions alone and 1,000 wins in total of a variety of competitions. Other good divines include the Valentine divine series, which all are named ‘I love you’ but in different languages. Those divines give you 20 passes a month, another in game currency, as well as the option to gift the horse to a friend only in the month of February if you wanted to for these horses are not sellable.
Over 10 years I have seen many updates, many events, and many new horses. Overall I have really enjoyed my experiences on this game. It can be quirky sometimes, and sometimes the updates make me upset, but I do not plan on leaving anytime soon. I am too committed to this game to do that to be completely honest.