A person riding a white horse in front of a canyon.
A person riding a white horse in front of a canyon.
The Sims 4: Horse Ranch | image courtesy of EA

The Sims 4: Horse Ranch – An Honest First Impression

The release of The Sims 4: Horse Ranch expansion pack was probably one of the most anticipated DLC releases in the franchise in the last years. Pets was one of the most popular expansion packs for Sims 3, and players had been hoping for the addition of horses since the release of Sims 4. After cats and dogs were released as their own pack (they were part of Pets in Sims 3) and we got farm animals as part of Cottage Living, players agreed that we would not get horses in this game.

Hope went back up after the Sims team posted an eye 👀 and a horse 🏇 emoji as a response on to someone asking them if we will ever get horses on social media. Shortly after, a horse-related expansion pack was leaked on keyseller websites, and the hype was REAL.

The Sims 4: Horse Ranch

Expansion Pack

  • release date: 20th July 2023
  • requires: The Sims 4 base game (free)
  • price: £34.99

Buy the pack here:

Chestnut Ridge

Chestnut Ridge is the new world included in this pack. It features 3 neighbourhoods and plenty of space for you to go on a ride with horses. The residential lots allow you to choose between a large 64×64 lot for a big ranch, smaller ranches, properties perfect for nectar making (a new feature), properties in the outback, and town houses.

The world looks very nice and includes a variety of biomes and details. Players were a bit worried because of the lack of large lots in the world, but the environment around the lots includes a variety of training opportunities so you do not need a ton of large items on your lot to play with horses.

Create A Sim

Create A Sim comes with a wardrobe full of clothes suitable for ranch life. From dirty jeans, to decorated chaps, CAS got you covered. I was also delighted to see that there were plenty of non-horse related clothes available for you to choose from, making the CAS items usable in more gameplay contexts.

There are very few items available for children, however, which is a shame because they can ride horses as well and many found the idea of family ranch gameplay very appealing.

There are also new traits and aspirations related to ranch life, nectar making and riding for your Sim.

Create A Horse

Creating a horse in Sims 4 works much like creating a cat or a dog from the Cats & Dogs expansion pack.

You can pick a breed as a base to start customising your horse. There is a wide range of breeds available, from cob type horses to sport horses and heavy draught horses. I am really happy to see that the choices include some rarer and less well known breeds as well.

Breeds will have one of the three traits already chosen for you based on the breed. You do not have to keep this trait and are free to remove it and add another instead, but I like the thought that went into making the breeds more distinct.

The player can then change the appearance of the horse, including the body shape, face shape, feathering, mane and tail. There is a large selection of pre-made coat colours to choose from and players do not have to stick to the colours usually allowed in the breed they chose. Just like in Cats & Dogs you can also enter a mode which lets you paint the coat colour of your horse, either freely or by using stamps and stencils. This mode offers a lot of freedom for you to create the horse of your dreams and I am very happy with the available choices.

Additionally, horses can have outfits in two categories, everyday and riding. There are few bridles and saddles to choose from and while they look great, the choices don’t offer a great deal of customisation. I will certainly seek custom content for my game in this category. The leg wraps also go all the way down to the hoof, which looks weird to me as I have never seen leg wraps go this low on a horse before. Having more options here would also be great.


Sims can mount any adult horse in their household and learn how to ride. They can go on a ride, choose to ride to a specific location, or train using jumps or barrels. More options will be available as Sims develop their skill. Horses will also develop skills, such as endurance, jumping or barrels. These skills will be important later on when you enter competitions.

Riding and training your horse is good fun because you can choose what you want to train and watching the carefully developed animations while your horse and rider are doing their thing is very satisfying.

It is also possible for horses to be unsuccessful in their efforts, for example by knocking over a barrel or refusing a jump, which adds realism and interest to the activity. The animations for these look great as well.

Riding through the valley or the canyon allows you to discover a lot of scenic or interesting areas.

And what happened here? There is a horse grave right next to a broken rope bridge… 🫥

Getting a New Horse

Horses can be bought from the large arena in the middle of the town, any horse bed, or the community board, which you can buy and place on your lot.

You can choose between purchasing a horse or rescuing one. Purchasing a horse costs 1000 Simoleons and horses generally have more desirable traits that will make your life easier. Rescued horses cost 250 Simoleons, but they have less desirable traits that may make your life more difficult. Rescuing horses and training them poses a fun new challenge and I have already seen other players running their own rescue stable.

Foals, adult and elderly horses will be available for both buying and rescuing.


Players can choose to breed two adult horses if they want to breed a foal. If the parents are trained well, the foal will have beneficial extra traits that make training easier.

Foals will usually inherit the coat colour of one parent and the mane/tail colour of the other parent.

I am personally a huge nerd when it comes to horse coat colours, their genetics, and breeding them in real life, so I am a tad sad that the genetics are not realistic in this game. Realism is not the focus of the game though and adding realistic genetics would be a huge undertaking for the development team.


Competitions can take place from 7am to 7pm in the large arena in the middle of the town. The following competitions are available to choose from: Barrel Racing, Jumping, Endurance Racing, and Western Pleasure. If a horse has won all of th ehardest classes in these categories, they can go to the arena on a Saturday to enter the Ultimate Horse Championship.

Unlike in The Sims 3: Pets, competitions do not let you choose a strategy or let you see your position and your opponents on a leaderboard in real time. You simply enter the rabbit hole and come back after a while, the result will then be shown on the screen. I feel like the development team has cut corners a bit too much here and I would enjoy the competitions much more if they had some kind of interactivity or perhaps just a dynamic leaderboard. It would be even better if we could see our team competing in the different disciplines on the lot.

Building a Ranch

The expansion features many objects to build a ranch with. The items look rustic, sometimes weathered, and they all fit the theme really well.

What I like the most about the new building items is that you can build the stable yourself with walls, doors, and windows from the pack. In Cottage Living, all animals were tied to a specific building that you bought and placed from buy mode. Being able to build your own is much cooler and very simple with the items provided.

I don’t really have any thing bad to say about the build & buy objects in this pack. They also work well with other packs such as Cottage Living!


There is no new profession in Horse Ranch, but you can complete community requests if you own a community board and start them from there during the day.

You can hire a ranch hand (works pretty much like a butler) to help you with your farm life. Your own Sims cannot work as a ranch hand on other ranches.

Mini Goats & Sheep

Mini goats and sheep are another animal included in the new expansion pack. They can be bought from the community board or any horse bed and come in many different colours. Once purchased, they will be in the Sim’s inventory and can be placed from there. The little cuties will roam around freely and are not tied to a specific object.

Sims can interact with them and they will need food, care, and social interactions to be happy. Happy mini goats and sheep can be milked or sheared, and you will get Simoleons for your efforts (if you also have Cottage Living, you will get the product instead.

These mini animals are super adorable and I really enjoy seeing them roam around the farm. They make the land look more lively and are fun to interact with. The fact that they can be a source of income or resources is a nice addition. They are clearly not the main focus of the pack but they are a nice addition.

Nectar Making

Nectar making is one of the new activities in this pack. Sims can place a nectar making station and use fruit and vegetables to make nectar. These can be grown by your Sims so nectar making can be a profitable source of income. Nectar making is a skill and some ingredients will be locked until the Sim reaches a higher level.
Sims can also discover new recipes in the world.

Once a nectar is ready, it can be placed in one of the (modular!!) shelves for it to age. Aged nectar is worth more money.

Consuming nectar has effects on your Sims, but they are definitely not drunk… 😏

So… Is it worth it?

As with most games, the answer is it depends.

And because we all hate that answer, let me explain what I think the game does well, what is missing or lacking and who it could be for.

The horses look wonderful in this game, the customisation is great (although the tack lacks variety), and the animations are amazing. Riding horses is a lot of fun, but a lot of the gameplay related to horses lacks depth. Competitions are a rabbit hole where you get a result thrown at you based on your current skill level. Breeding does not resemble any real life rules of passing on traits to the next generation.

The lack of depth is also a problem with the new mini animals and the nectar making. What you see is what you get with those features and from what I can tell, there isn’t reallyt much to explore.

Despite these negative points, this pack is still great if you love horses and the idea of living on a farm or ranch. Especially when combined with other packs, such as Cottage Living or Cats & Dogs, there will be so many things for you to do that you won’t get bored for a long time.

As with all Sims expansions, I cannot recommend buying them at full price and I would personally say that Horse Ranch is worth it with a discount on the price tag. Horse enthusiasts will not regret getting this pack.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *