Pack Horse Guide
"Onward Mule"-Yosemite Sam -- A Guide To pack horses by Guildenstern; edited by Mordanna

The pack horse (general)

Depending on your experience, the pack horse can either be extremely annoying or your best friend. The aim of this guide is to help turn him into your best friend. Knowing how to handle a pack horse and the limitations of a pack horse will help you decide whether you really want to invest the gold and the time into one.

Note: You can have pack horses or packllamas as a packy, but besides the different look and sound, there is absolutely no difference between both. So for the remainder of this essay, we will just call them pack horse, no matter if it's actually a pack horse or a packllama.

Who sells them? How much are they?

Pack horses are available from either NPCs or from other players. You may buy a pack horse from any stablemaster and some ranchers. The NPCs almost always have pack horses and pack llamas "in stock", but at usually twice the price you will pay from a player. While buying a pack horse from players is not always possible, due to availability, it is cheaper.

Prices for pack horses have dropped a lot over time, and since many players now just abandon their packy instead of stabling it, the cheapest way to get your very own pack horse is to tame one of the lonesome packys that venture through the city roads. You need a minimum adjusted taming skill of 35.1 to tame one of the abandoned packys, given it hasn't had more than one owner, but at the bare minimum skill level it can take you a long time to retame it.

The stablemaster can be found, obviously enough, at the stables. Ranchers can be a little more elusive. Look for them at the farms (in Britain) and in Farmer's Markets (Vesper, for instance). Some ranchers are "free standing" NPCs and will sell to you without being in a shop (as in the Rancher that stands North of the Bank, in Minoc). Pack horses usually sell between 500 and 600 gold pieces. If you are really trying to stretch your gold, then you will want to check around at different NPC shops, or different ranchers, to see if the prices are different.

To buy (or re-sell) your pack horse, the usual place to hang about is the bank. NPCs do not buy back pack horses (or llamas). So if you have to re-sell your pack horse, you have to find an interested player.

Understanding your pack horse

Most of these Guidelines are also relevant to pets in general, so if you know enough about pets you may not need to read this section.

My pack horse went wild! What do I do? Well, the first thing you need to do is not worry. If you are the former master of the pack horse, you will be able to retame it. You do not need to have any taming skill to do so. This even remains true if you transfer the pack horse to someone else and it goes wild. As long as you have been its master at some point, you will always be able to retame it with no taming skill. The only thing you need to do is to be quick. If your pack horse goes wild in the mage shop loaded with a bunch of reagents or in a crowded mine with tons of ingots in its backpack, it's likely that another player with enough taming skill will try to tame the pack horse before you and thus get legal ownership of whatever the pack horse is carrying. Immediately after retaming your pack horse, feed it!

Why did my pack horse go wild? If you don't feed your poor pack horse often enough, and just keep working it, eventually it will become unhappy enough to go wild. Also, if you left your pack horse alone (where it could not see you), it may go wild. This does not happen instantly, in fact, if your pack horse is freshly fed, you can leave it alone for up to twenty minutes without needing to worry at all. Be sure to feed it immediately when you return, though.

Bonding and resurrection

Anyone can bond with a pack horse (or any animal with a minimum taming requirement of 29.1 or below for that matter), regardless of their skill level in taming. The main benefit of owning a bonded pack animal is that you can recall with it instead of having to gate it everywhere. Other than that, if a bonded pack horse dies, it can be resurrected.

Dead Packy

This can be quite a problem when it happens: Since they can carry a lot more than a person, it can be quite hard to get it all before the corpse disappears.

Also, I have had problems recovering things from my pack horse on Trammel, when a monster killed Packy - it seems the looting system kicks in, and I'm told "you did not slay this creature". The only solutions I can see to this problem are waiting for the corpse to be lootable by everyone after two minutes or avoiding getting them killed in the first place. (See later in the guide for tips on how to avoid this.)

Caring for Packy (Stabling and Feeding)

How do I stable a pack horse?

Stabling a pet is fairly straightforward. You simply go up to a stablemaster in a stable, tell them "stable" and the targeting cursor will come up. Click on your pack horse and you're good to go. To get them back from the stablemaster, simply tell them "claim", and your animal will appear. If you have several pack horses stabled, you can claim them by their name, such as "claim Packy", or if you forgot its name, just say "claim list" and the stablemaster will give you a list of all creatures this character has stabled. Only saying "claim" to the stablemaster will make him return as many animals as you have control slots available for.

Stabling requires 30 gold pieces. If you don't have it, they will not let you stable your animal. You do not need to have the gold on you, they will take it directly from your bank box. For detailed information on stabling pets, see the stabling information in the Tamer's guide.

How often do you have to feed your pack horse?

Most people will tell you every one to two hours; I believe this is a good guide. Think about it, if you will: every two hours of real time is one game-time day. With that ratio, we're really lucky we only have to feed pack horses once a day! I will typically feed my pack horse once when we begin, and then once later, after about an hour or so.

How much should you feed?

One sheaf of hay works very well, or fruits/veggies. The hay is cheaper, but it is heavier than fruit, and doesn't stack, either. What you feed your pack horse is really up to you. Your pack horse is a frugal creature: It will be just as happy with a single apple as it is with a full sheaf of hay. There is no reason to feed the packy with more than one unit of whatever fruit or veggie you are feeding it with; each time it is fed, it will become wonderfully happy, regardless of the amount fed. Feeding it more won't make it happier or more compliant and you just need to carry more. Your best bet is to simply feed your pack horse a little bit, regularly; rather than a lot at once.

Also, a minor note that is good to know, immediately after feeding a pack horse it will "loose" whatever its current command is, so if you have it following you, and you stop to feed it, if you do not tell it to follow you again, it will start to wander around of its own accord. I have no idea why this happens; something about feeding them makes them loose their minds.

Working with your pack horse (commands)

All the commands that work with other pets, also work with pack horses. The most useful ones you should macro, so that in an emergency you can command your pack horse much more quickly. If you prefer you can put the name of your pack horse in the macro, instead of "all".

The usual commands that you should macro are:

          "all follow me" (yes, you can say 'all follow' but that requires that you target yourself, which can take time you may not have)
          "all stay"
          "all stop"

Don't tell your pack horse to guard you. It's useless and they just get themselves killed.

Be careful with the context menus! If you want to tell your pet to stay or add a friend this way, check twice that you don't accidentally use the "Command: Drop" option, as this will make your pack horse to drop everything it carries on the ground. In remote locations you just have to pick up everything again, but do this with a pack horse full of ingots or reagents close to a bank, and you've seen your valuable resources for the longest time.

Do not bother with "all come". Pack horses respond much quicker to "all follow me". However, there is a use to the "all come" command. It comes in handy when you want your pet to get upstairs in a small house with multiple stories (one of those with a ladder instead of a staircase), or around obstacles. If you just have them following you, you won't get them upstairs at all because they'll always walk away from the ladder before they reach the top end.

Here is a description on how to get your pack horse on the first floor of a small tower. With this description, you should be able to do the trick for other stories or house types without a problem.

Have your pack horse following you and go upstairs till you reach the end of the ladder. Your pack horse is one tile behind you and hence still on that part of the ladder that belongs to the ground floor. Now Move only one tile to the left, not more. If you walk more than one tile to the left, your pack horse will also walk towards the left and will stand in the middle of the ground floor.

You walked one tile only? Fine! Your pack horse won't move as it is still to an adjacent tile to you. Now tell it to "come" and it will walk one tile forward, which means to the end of the ladder. From then on, you can have it follow you again and do a dance with it on the first floor.

Traveling with Packy

If you have your pack horse following you, you shouldn't have much trouble gating with it. It will automatically go through the gate the instant moment you go through. No need to maneuver it through the gate before going through yourself. If your packy has bonded, there is even no need for gate travel, since you can just recall with it.

Just be careful when walking around after casting the gate: Your pack horse can go through before you and then stand there while you're trying to get through, then the gate collapses and when you recast it "something is blocking that location"; namely your idiot pack horse!

A little more tricky are server borders: The world of Ultima Online is split in several sub servers If you're using UOAM, you can see them as dotted lines in a light yellow color.

If you cross a server border, your pack horse sometimes will get "stuck" and stay on the other side. In this case, just go back, tell it to follow you and try to cross the border again.

Your best bet to avoid this at all is to cross the border vertically and with a slow pace. So don't run along the border, step over it and then run along it again. Instead walk directly towards it and cross it vertically. Once your packy is over the border line, you may as well walk along the border as long as you want.

Packy and Mr. Monster

If a monster comes up on you, it is very likely your pack horse will decide to attack it. They are stupid that way. Unless you are capable of taking out whatever monster appears, I strongly suggest getting your pack horse and yourself out of there. If it has already attacked the monster, you may be able to get it to follow you by telling it to "stop" and then repeating the "all follow me" macro, and moving away slowly.

Do not start running however, if you can avoid it. You can outrun your pack horse! If you are quick enough to notice the monster arriving, go the opposite direction at a steady walk, as quick as you can without running. Stay only one step ahead of your pack horse, that way it will use the same path you take. The further ahead you get, the more likely your pack horse will attempt to navigate it's own way towards you, thus increasing the chance of it getting stuck behind an obstacle.

It's important to always keep an escape route in the back of your mind; that is, the clearest path through the brush. You can be sure, if there is ever a time for Packy to get stuck, they'll do it when you need it least. (Note: if you are on Felucca, it is critical to make sure you know where you're going, while trying to get away from a monster. If you are not careful to observe the terrain, you can easily get yourself stuck behind obstacles, only to have loyal Packy stop right behind you, covering your retreat, and your exit. You can sometimes push past Packy, but not always so don't count on it when you are in trouble.)

Packy and the pack horse killer/PK

The only thing you need to worry about from other players on Trammel is when your pack horse goes grey ("wild"). If it has gone wild, other players can attack them. Short of retaming quickly or not letting the pack horse go wild in the first place (you did read the first part of this guide right??), there is nothing you can do about this.

On Felucca, your pack horse is fair game, to thieves and to PK's. Assuming you still want to use a pack horse on Felucca, there are still several things you can do to avoid problems. Note: I assume you are going to be mining in this section, but most of this is valid for other professions, such as lumberjacking.

I have divided these guidelines into two sections, basic guidelines and advanced. The basic guidelines are for you if you are just starting out with your very first pack horse. The advanced guidelines are for those who either have enough magery to make them work, or have a friend to go with them.

However, here are my basic guidelines for pack horse mining:
  1. Mine in guarded areas, Britain, Delucia, N. Minoc Mountain (OUTSIDE the cave - pack horse killers hang around inside the cave).
  2. Do not keep ingots on the pack horse; it's just asking for them to be stolen. Do keep them on yourself (buried deep) or, better yet, put them in the bank as soon as you smelt them.
  3. Packing "Packy": I don't try to fill up my pack horse with as much as humanly possible. The mess of ore on them (not sorted or anything) is as useful a thief deterrent as I've seen yet; thieves have to move them to see what's underneath. If you don't sort ore into the smaller piles, then, yes, you can't get as much on them, but considering the horse can carry 4 times as much as you can, I figure better safe than sorry. GREED=Dead Miner.
*Advanced Guidelines*

These are for you if you have or know another character (preferably a mage). You can still work this way alone, but it's nice if you can get a friend to help.

  1. Have either NPC's or your friend guard you while you're mining with the pack horse. If your guard is a PC, make sure they are "friended" to your horse (type "[name of horse] friend" wait for the targeting cursor, then click on your friend); that way they can give the horse commands in an emergency. Also, anyone who attacks the horse will be grey to them as well.
  2. Gate to your preferred mining area (this is why I said "advanced" guidelines); use scrolls if necessary. Scrolls count as if their spells were two circles lower when you attempt to use them.
  3. Have your friend hide while you're working (unless they want to mine, too) This can be an advantage against PK's or pack horse killers who thought you were alone, when your friend pops out and attacks them. If your friend is an archer or a mage this seems to work well. If they are a "knight" you may rather use the visible deterrent method
  4. Either you or your friend cast "Invisibility" on your pack horse. This has advantages and disadvantages, of course. Plus you have to be able to cast it reliably. You tell your horse to "stay", and then mine away. You can either cast invisibility on the horse then or wait (checking often for monsters - use tracking) until it is necessary. The would-be horse killer has to reveal the horse - not always easy - to attack, steal or otherwise mess with the horse. If the horse killer is a mage who can reveal, well you should be running anyway ok? Anyway, when you've played out an area, you say "all follow me", the pack horse becomes visible, and away you go to do it again.

I like this method myself because if you do get killed or have to run off, usually the horse is there waiting for you when you get back. YOU MUST REMEMBER TO TELL THE pack horse TO STAY, OK? I use this method mainly for dangerous areas outside of town. OK, to recap - invisibility wears off. They can be revealed. You can't put ore on a pack horse you can't see. If you tell the pack horse to move, it will loose its invisibility. Invisibility also wears off after about two minutes.

Dealing with Thieves (Felucca)

Thieves currently cannot steal anything over 10 stone. So, really, if you're mining or cutting logs, thieves are more an annoyance than a real problem. If you have anything valuable on your pack horse (why???), bury it deep in a bag within another bag, within another bag, etc. It's a good idea to do this on your person as well.

You may want to use the idea of trapped boxes on your pack horse. That is, put the ore/ingots into a trapped box on the horse (obviously if you do this with heavy items, you'll either need more than one box, or it won't work). I don't know though if it's worth it because I have more of a problem with people killing the horse than stealing things. It ought to be good in town though, especially if you name the packy "TRAPPED!" *Evil laugh*

The only other two options you have in Felucca for dealing with thieves is to get whatever is on our pack horse into the bank as quickly as possible, or to attack the thief when they turn grey.


I hope these guidelines help you, if you choose to use a pack horse. I am glad to say since I figured all the above out, I have only lost one pack horse (rather than one a week!), and that was due to leaving it alone for a RL day.

Good luck!

101 Uses for the abandoned Packy; by Raphael the scribe

Since pack horses are really cheap lately, a lot of abandoned pack horses venture through the streets, avidly looking for a new master. There are a few things you can do with them - or your very own, freshly bought pack horse that go beyond just moving around heavy stuff.

Training stealing

pack horses are a valid (and very popular) means of training your Stealing skill. Put whatever you want to train with in your packy's backpack, go in a crowded area (close to a bank works best), and tell your pack horse to guard you. The latter one is very important - it won't work otherwise. Now steal right away and watch your skill rise.

This used to work in Trammel as well, but since Publish 13, it is no longer possible. So you have to do it in Felucca, but you still have the advantage of training the stealing skill without going grey.

Training snooping

There is no better way to train Snooping than with pack horses, in Trammel as well as in Felucca. Just look for someone else with a pack horse or watch out for a packy without a master or just get yourself one and release it. Now double click it once, hit your "Last Object" macro like crazy and watch as your Snooping skill skyrockets.

If you have someone else get a pack horse and tell it to stay, it's a pure pleasure to train this skill as you don't have to run after the stupid NPCs any more to train the skill.

Doing large transactions

Doing transactions with lots of heavy stuff, like 15 kegs of potions, can be quite a nuisance because of weight limits: You have to give a little to the other, he pays a fraction of the total amount, you wait for him to put it somewhere and start over till everything is done. For certain commodities, this has been made a lot easier with the commodity deeds, but other stuff, like the aforementioned kegs, the problem remains.

You can make your life a lot easier with a pack horse: Put everything inside and just transfer (sell) the pack horse to the other. However, this requires a certain amount of trust, as the other one can't see what is inside the pack horse in in the trade window. You can friend him to enable him to peek into the packy's pack, but then he will be able to take anything out of it, so this requires trust on your side.

If you have a little patience, you can still do secure transactions with a pack horse. Each char has an adjusted Snooping skill of at least 5, in most cases more. The other one can try to peek into the packy with snooping, so he can see what's inside but cannot take anything out. It will require several tries in most cases, but your trading partner can do it without loosing karma.

Of course you can do all of this only in Trammel without risking a theft or the other one just killing the pack horse. But no-one is able to steal a keg with 100 stones anyway, and killing a pack next to a bank isn't a wise decision either - unless you like your view in black and white.

Creating your own stable

Some players like to have a stable in their house. Well, not a real one, where you actually can store pets, but a room decorated like a stable, with hay, horseshoes and things alike.

If you're hosting a guild meeting or another event and want your stable to look even more realistic, just pick up one or two abandoned packys, put them in your stable and tell them to stay there. I for my part think that with a packy or two, a stable looks a lot more realistic than with "just" rideable horses.

Something that you might like to know is that tamed animals stay tame in a player-owned house for an extended period of time - even if their master is not in sight. So let your guildmates put their mounts inside, in your stable, before they follow you to the rooftop or another location, rather than making them dismount outside.

Role-playing events

You can have a lot of role-playing fun with pack horses. For example, go to Felucca, get a few, put 10 k gold in each one (or whatever you seem fit) and announce publicly that you are going to create a caravan that will move a huge treasure on such and such date from A to B.

You can rest assured that quite a few PKs and others feel challenged to try to sabotage the caravan while your challenge is to get as much of it to the destination as possible.

If you don't want to have everyone chasing you, do all this in Trammel with guildmates or with members of another guild that your guild is in war with. However, this requires a little more planning, as transferring and controlling of pets for members of warring guilds is limited a bit.

Having fun with names

If you really don't know what to do with your pack horse or just want to have some real fun, you can tame them, rename them, and maybe release them, depending on what to do. Because pack horses and packllamas come labeled as "a pack horse" or "a pack llama", you can rename them to something consisting of up to three words. Here are a few suggestions:

  • a lawnmower
  • a racing llama
  • a Harley Davidson
  • I feel useless

You can also name them "a treasure chest", release them close to a bank and watch who starts the first try in taming them, just to discover the pack's empty pack.