The way that the horse system works allows players to have primary and secondary horses at any time. Though just as important as the horse itself is the saddle that the horse carries as it has numerous items that you store on it. To change your horse in Red Dead Redemption 2 you have a couple of options.
There are basically a few different situations as to how you’ll procure a new horse. You can either kill someone and take their horse, find a wild horse, steal a horse, or you can just purchase a new horse. These different scenarios will require that you different things.
Killing someone and taking their horse
If you kill someone that was riding a horse their horse will likely get spooked and ride away. They usually won’t go too far though. Once you catch up to the horse you can hop on to it by pressing the the Y/Triangle Button. If you want to make this your main horse you’re going to want to take the saddle off of your current main horse and then move that saddle over the new horse. Both of these require that you press LT/L2 when near the horse and then press up on the d-pad to remove the saddle. With saddle in hand go over to the new horse and then press up on the d-pad to put the saddle on the new horse.
Finding a wild horse
There are wild horses all over the world of Red Dead Redemption that you can have for your own if you can catch them. To do this you’ll need to use the lasso to capture the horse. Once you’ve got it roped you’re going to need to press X/Square to calm it while you approach it. Slowly walking toward the horse while calming it, once you get close enough you can then press the Y button to try and get on it. At this point it will try to buck you off, but you can play a mini-game to break the horse. You’re going to want to press back on the Left Thumbstick and then try to press in the opposite direction that the horse is trying to buck you. After you’ve broken the horse you’ll need to ride to level 1 before you can put your saddle on it.
Once you are at Level 1 Horse Bonding with the new horse you can put your saddle on it by removing your saddle from the old horse and then putting it on the new one. Press LT/L2 when near your main horse and then press the d-pad to remove the saddle. Go to the new horse and then press up on the d-pad to saddle up.
Stealing a horse
If you steal a horse that’s in a town outside on an establishment with no rider, you can just hop on it and take it. Depending on the circumstances, someone may or may not see you commit this crime. If no one sees you take the horse just go a short distance away and then call your main horse by pressing up on the d-pad. You can then do the same saddle transfer option as described above.
Buying a horse at the Stable
When you purchase a new horse from the Stable you can also Manage your horses from this location. In the Manage Horse section just tab to the horse that you want and press the Y button to Saddle Up. Once you do this will be your main horse going forward.