Mounted Combat arrives in 1.6 Skyrim Update

The team at Bethesda Game Studios is excited to announce another new feature making its way into Skyrim… Mounted Combat! Like the recently added Kinect support (360) and new kill cameras, this highly-requested feature that was seen in the Skyrim Game Jam video is arriving for free. In fact, by opting into the latest Steam Beta Update, PC users can check out the feature today. As far as release on other platforms, we’ll let you know when we have more information.

Thanks again to all our fans, we remain committed to supporting the game through our free updates, mod tools, and more. And yes, we’re still working on our first add-on, Dawnguard – some great stuff to show you soon, stay tuned!

Read the current 1.6 release notes below…

1.6 Update (all platforms unless specified)


  • Mounted Combat – Skyrim now allows you to do melee and ranged combat while riding a horse


  • General stability and memory optimizations
  • General AI pathfinding optimizations and bug fixes
  • Optimizations and crash fixes for data leaks
  • Fixed rare crash with lighting
  • Fixed crashes related to loading and saving games
  • Fixed crash with summoned creatures/NPCs
  • Fixed rare issue where saves would be corrupted
  • Improved logic for when ranged kill cams are played
  • Fixed issue with ranged kill cams while killing a dragon
  • Fixed rare issue with certain ranged kill cams not playing properly
  • Fixed issue with nirnroot lighting not properly cleaning up
  • Fixed issue where bow damage was being calculated incorrectly
  • Fixed rare problem with werewolf kill moves would not finish animating properly
  • In “The Break of Dawn” fixed rare issue where Meridia’s Beacon would disappear from player’s inventory
  • Fixed occasional issue where followers would disappear after player pays off a bounty after committing a crime
  • Fixed issue where certain creatures and NPCs would fail to respawn properly
  • Fixed rare issue with dialogue subtitles not displaying properly
  • Fixed issue with water appearing blurry when loading a saved game after creating a save underwater
  • Fixed issue where map cursor would occasionally disappear after closing a message box with Kinect enabled  (Xbox 360)
  • Fixed rare issue with shouts only performing the first level and not other unlocked levels with Kinect enabled  (Xbox 360)
  • Fixed issue where the shout buttons would stop working properly if users mashed LB and RB during cooldown with Kinect enabled  (Xbox 360)


If you’d like to download the 1.6 Beta Update on Steam, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Log into Steam
  2. Click on Steam in the upper menu
  3. Select Settings
  4. Under the Account tab, go to the Beta Participation section and select Change.
  5. A drop down menu will appear. Select Skyrim Beta.
  6. Select OK.
  7. Steam will now restart. After Steam restarts, Skyrim will be updated to the Beta version currently available.

If you opt into the Beta, be sure to back up your saved games or simply be careful not to overwrite your existing saves. If you decide to opt out of the beta program, your old saves will still work with the current release of Skyrim on Steam (v 1.5).

If you decide you don’t want to run the Beta anymore, redo steps 1 – 4. At the drop down, select NONE – Opt out of all beta programs. Let Steam restart, and Skyrim will automatically update itself back to the latest released version.

To provide feedback on the beta update, use our beta forum.

Reader Comments

  1. I have tons of mods installed, many affecting horses in Skyrim. How will they function given the update to fighting from a horse?

  2. THIS is what makes Bethesda Game Studios great. Putting stuff in updates, not because they have to, but because they can!

  3. Thanks a lot! I was waiting for mounted combat. I just wonder if, beside fighting, we’ll be able to interact with npc (talking to them).

  4. On 360: Some dragons do not disappear after killed and looted. They stay on the flesh and empty and spawn every time I fast travel to the area (ex. Worker’s House, Mixwater Mill). Is that fixed by “Fixed issue where certain creatures and NPCs would fail to respawn properly”? Thx!

  5. While I appreciate the free update, I just don’t understand the choice here. Mounts were almost scrapped in the base game, Skyrim’s terrain isn’t exactly suited for mounted combat, there are no mounted enemies to fight, and being able to attack while mounted gives you a rather huge mobility advantage over your enemies. I fail to see how this is even balanced gameplay-wise.

    Development time would have been better suited just fixing the normal combat – making it better. Making it feel crunchier or more fun. Skyrim isn’t Mount and Blade and it won’t ever be that, even if the modders can try to find a purpose for this update.

    • Mounted combat is a new feature, quite often requested if I’m not mistaking, and makes sense to add afterward.

      The general combat system is in the base game and has undoubtedly gone through extensive debates, trade-offs, tuning, play-testing, re-evaluation, etc etc. I think it’s safe to say something as important as the combat system is polished to be (close to) exactly what the dev’s want when the game rolls out. Changing this is much more a modders thing, since it is impossible to suit every different view.

      my 2 cents

  6. Does this mean that more enemies will be riding horses? Or, in fact, will enemies be able to do this as well at all?? What about companions???

    • Ultimate Follower Overhaul added the capability for companions to ride horses and added several horses at stables around the world for them to ride. Hopefully, if you can fight from horseback they can too.

  7. Oh my gosh, you guys rock!

    How do you keep these amazing stealth updates going!? And for free? Thank you so much. I’m going to have to think of a reason to buy Skyrim again if you keep these free updates going. It’s just too awesome not to reward.

  8. gstaff,
    In a blogpost last year it was mentioned that starting in January (2012) we would begin seeing more “data fixes” (as opposed to engine fixes), including rebalancing difficulty. Is difficulty rebalancing still planned?

    Thanks to everyone at Bethesda for your continued support of this great game.

  9. This is really cool that you are adding features post release, almost unheard of. However my biggest complaints are still that there is no survival mode, and all the male characters are hairy and 40+ years old, when the females are all young, smooth faced beauties. I’d love if they added a beauty parlour with new and improved hairstyles and maybe a doesn’t-look-I-rub-feces-and-sandpaper-on-my-face skin treatment (sorry I took the first 3 hours of the game in character creator, could not make a decent male char of the young adventurer “archetype” so made a Grace Jones–inspired woman, which was easy, (great job on them). Another probably impossible to fix feature is that the landscape is tiny, where are the epic Icelandic fjords and grasslands which were sorta needed?

    • Fjords would be awesome!

      I would have also loved a less stylized art direction on the character generator. The character generator for (a just released competitor’s game) Dragon’s Dogma, is very realistic and extremely flexible, while maintaining the general design elements of the character creator in Skyrim.
      If I could use the features & art direction of that character generator in Skyrim… well, it boggles the mind!

    • I was looking forward to Fjords and epic vistas too. Sadly, it’s just a limitation of today’s tech (console limitations at least), and the fact that vastly increasing the world size to make room for majestic fjords would mean a heck of a lot more work for the world designers. They would literally need to increase the world design team ten-fold to retain Skyrim’s current level of detail.

      But if you look at the amazing concept art for Skyrim by Adam, you can clearly see that a huge scale was originally on the table. Adam was able to capture it perfectly in his art work. It’s just a shame that they couldn’t reach that scale on today’s hardware.

  10. Still no fix for “Waking Nightmare” on consoles? That jerk Erandur is all the way inside the dungeon and I can’t get to him.

  11. Wow, awesome update! Thanks for continued support.

    I’m curious to know – and I mean this in a non-combative way – by “General AI pathfinding optimizations and bug fixes”, do you mean a fix for the navmesh bug? Or is that still in the works?

  12. I’m surprised Microsoft is letting them add features to their game. Usually they reject certification and tell the devs they have to make new stuff paid DLC or not release it.

    Must have something to do with the big fat check Beth took from MS to delay Dawnguard by a month.

  13. The mounted combat is brilliant! I originally was concerned that it might be clumsy and take some getting used to it before it became really usable, but no. I find it pretty intuitive and it feels natural.

    When I draw my bow I am guiding my horse with my legs and knees and of course I am limited in how far I can turn to each side. When the horse is not moving I have a pretty good turning range.

    With the sword I love that I am leaning out of the saddle and to the side in order to give power to my sword swing. It can get frustrating turning the horse around and around in order to get the enemy on my sword side, but no horse turns on a dime and I wouldn’t change it because it is realistic and takes away a bit of the advantage in a fight that being on a horse gives.Imho.

    So brilliant to finally be able to fight, rather then having to speed ahead to a safe distance and dismount my horse, hoping the enemy doesn’t reach me and get a few blows in before I can draw my weapon and turn to face them.

    Thanks so much!

    • Thank you very much for this informative post, Shezrie!
      Great for those of us not on steam, who are still looking forward to doing this. =)

    • Blimey, that took me a while. I only just discovered how to attack on the other side of the horse, no more turning around and around. Just gets better and better.

      • That is so cool! I wonder if we’ll get to have lances at some point? I’d love to have a magic lance called Dragonskewer.

  14. now some questions:
    are there mounted combat killcams?
    what will the price for dawnguard DLC will be?
    are we seeing spears soon? mounted combat with a spear sounds awesome

    also, good job with these releases, hope we see more like these

    • Maybe for the next elder scrolls, skyrim has little water ports or deep rivers to use a small boat, oblivion could have used it more I think.

      • Well, there is The Sea Of Ghosts, y’know…
        One could travel right around the North coast in a boat, instead of having to swim the entire distance like an Argonian….

    • YES!!
      PLEASE make the boats work! Please, please, pretty please?!
      I know it can’t be that difficult. If we can swim & ride horses, then surely we should be able to row a boat.
      So glad to find out I’m not the only one who thinks so. =)

  15. I dont usualy comment

    and i dont know if ur reading this



    ur simply the only ONE THAT HAS NEVER LET ME DOWN


    keep it up we al support you in everything

  16. Just wondering…is there a possibility of adding an option to turn off kill cams? They’re cool and all for the first 50 hours or so but it would be nice to at least have an option to toggle them like in Fallout.

  17. FINALLY…..MOUNTED COMBAT!!!!! After so long, YES!!! YES!!! And NOT making this into a DLC really makes me respect you all the more Bethesda!!!

    That said, i promise you i’ll be one of the FIRST in queue for Dawnguard!! *Love* ^^

  18. Wow, we’re actually getting mounted combat too? This is the most awesome post-release support for any AAA game that I have ever seen before. Ever.

    Now all you need to do is add spears and my life would be perfect. 😉

  19. Please make that awesome water shader that you’ve shown in the game jam video available in the next update. Its really the only thing that i want right now.

  20. Its very nice how you guys throw in things that were cut for the lack of time to polish, I’m sure you guys will be at E3 for Dishonor. Any showing of when we can expext to see a teaser or a price point? Oh and make a morrowind high res version for Ps vita 🙂 thanks Gstaff lol

  21. Very nice update and really nice with mounted combat!
    Great that you also fixed the long bugged nirnroot glow.

    But, Bethesda please…
    Fix the laggy and bugged grass shadows the previous patch introduced. Grass shadows have made my whole game stuttery and I’ve lost 10 FPS, and I CAN’T disable them! Give us an option to DISABLE grass shadows. Right now you’re forcing lagginess on all users, even those who have bad/average computers.

    Another thing 80 % of your PC users would appreciate is also a fix for the massive mountain Z-fighting, as well as the unnaturally low sound volume and quality that the majority of 2.1 speaker users have. These are probably the two most major bugs in Skyrim that the great majority of all PC users experience since 11/11/11. Fix them.