|Game(s)|| Ocarina of Time|
Four Swords Adventures
The Minish Cap
|Non-canon Appearances|| Ocarina of Time manga|
Link's Crossbow Training
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Epona (pronounced /iːˈpoʊ.nə/ ee-POH-nə) serves the role of Link's steed in The Legend of Zelda series. She made her debut in the first 3D Zelda game, Ocarina of Time. She also appeared in its sequel, Majora's Mask, Twilight Princess, and as a small cameo in the Oracle series and The Minish Cap.
Link is able to ride her in her home console appearances and can control her pace through the Carrot system. After cracking a whip, one of the on-screen Carrot icons darken and Epona moves more quickly, gaining the ability to jump over barriers. The Carrot icons reappear if Link waits before cracking the whip again. If he consumes them too quickly, Epona temporarily loses the ability to speed up and cannot jump over barriers. In Twilight Princess, these Carrots are replaced by spurs.
Ocarina of Time
In Ocarina of Time, Epona is first encountered when she is just a foal at Lon Lon Ranch where she was raised by Malon. She is wild and untamed, running away when Link approaches, and only Malon can get close to her. After Malon teaches Link "Epona's Song" for his Ocarina, Epona stops running away and approaches Link. Malon then says that Epona has taken a liking to Link.
Link next encounters Epona seven years later when she has become a mare. Unfortunately, things have taken a turn for the worse at the ranch and Ingo is now in charge. Ingo plans to present Epona to Ganondorf, who he claims gave him ownership of the Ranch. At first, Epona runs away from Link again, but once he plays "Epona's Song," she remembers him and trots to his side. Link then participates in a horse race against Ingo, with Epona as his steed, and wins much to Ingo's astonishment. Ingo, now furious, challenges Link again and bets Epona herself on the outcome of the race. Needless to say, Link wins, and Epona is his. However, Ingo attempts to prevent Link from leaving with Epona by shutting the gates of the ranch. This is not a problem for Epona though, who just jumps straight over and out to freedom. From that point on she will willingly carry Link anywhere she can and will run to his side whenever he plays "Epona's Song" on his ocarina. Link cannot get hurt by enemies while riding on Epona.
During the ending, after Link defeats Ganon and is sent back in time by Zelda, Epona is seen running across Hyrule Field and is later seen next to Malon during the celebration of Ganondorf's defeat at Lon Lon Ranch.
In Majora's Mask, Link is seen riding on Epona at the start of the game, both of them still young. Epona is intentionally startled by two fairies, Tatl and Tael, and Link is thrown to the ground and knocked unconscious. Skull Kid appears, wearing Majora's Mask, and searches Link's unconscious body, finding the Ocarina of Time and taking it.
When Link regains consciousness, the Skull Kid attempts to hide the ocarina, but Link lunges for him in an attempt to get it back. Skull Kid leaps out of the way and onto Epona, and gallops away. Link leaps after him but only manages to grab onto Skull Kid's leg. Epona continues to gallop along, dragging Link with them until he loses his grip when she veers around a bend, and he is forced to watch her gallop off with Skull Kid on her back.
When Link finally catches up with Skull Kid again, he tells him that he got rid of Epona because she was a "stupid horse" that didn't listen to a word that was said to her. Link does not encounter her again until he makes his way to Romani Ranch in Termina. If he visits the Ranch on the First Day, which is only possible with the aid of a Powder Keg, Romani teaches him "Epona's Song" and gives Epona back after Link practices shooting aliens from horseback.
Epona is necessary to enter the Great Bay and Ikana Canyon areas since they are blocked off by fences that only Epona can jump over. As with Ocarina of Time, enemies cannot hurt Link if he's riding on Epona. When Link's adventures in Termina end on the dawn of a New Day, he departs riding Epona.
In the Oracle series, a nameless horse that looks very similar to Epona can be seen in the games' introductions, being ridden on by Link. They are seen either riding in green fields or near a rocky shore before Link discovers a castle, which houses the Triforce that transports him to either Holodrum or Labrynna.
The Wind Waker
Epona from Ocarina of Time makes a small cameo in the introduction of The Wind Waker, being ridden by Link while he and the people of Hyrule celebrate Ganon's defeat.
Four Swords Adventures
In Four Swords Adventures, the Links gain their horses in Near the Fields' first stage, The Field. After escorting Malon home, Talon will reward the four Links by letting them use horses from Lon Lon Ranch. The four horses are never referred to by name. If a Link acquires a Carrot and throws it on the ground, each of the four Links will be able to ride a horse for a short period of time. While riding, the Links cannot be damaged by enemies and are able to knock Force Gems out of other characters. The horse is also added to the Shadow Battle mode.
The Minish Cap
Epona also makes an appearance in The Minish Cap; however, Link cannot ride her. She is under the ownership of Lon Lon Ranch, and can be seen in Hyrule Castle Town with Malon, who will sell milk there after Link helps Malon and Talon find the spare key to their farm house. Minish Link is able to communicate with Epona, who asks Link to buy some Lon Lon Milk. Link can also fuse Kinstones with her.
In Twilight Princess, the name of Link's horse can be chosen, although the default name is Epona. She is seen and used very early in the game, aiding Link in his job as a rancher, but it is Ilia who takes care of her. Ilia gets very angry when Link treats the horse poorly or she gets hurt. After the village is attacked by King Bulblin, the horse disappears. Link reunites with Epona later in Kakariko Village. She runs around desperately attempting to throw off two Bulblins. Once the Bulblins are defeated, Link has to tame her and then take her off to save Colin. In this game, Epona can gallop faster than in previous games. In most locations around Hyrule Field, Link can call Epona to his side by blowing a Horse Grass or the Horse Call. Both instruments play "Epona's Song".
Epona plays a much more prominent role in this game than in the previous games in which she has appeared. For the first time, Link can use various items while riding her, including the Sword. There are times during which it is necessary to use Epona to progress in the game, which often includes battle on horseback. Both King Bulblin and the third part of Ganondorf's fight are horseback battles.
Wolf Link is able to speak with Epona briefly, as with other animals. The first time he speaks to her, she says "Even though you change shape, I still understand you." Afterwards, she will say, "Link... Hurry up and return to your true self..." or, "If you wish to ride me, return to your true self."
During the development of Super Mario 64, a discussion about horses began. Though a horse never appeared in Super Mario 64, one was included in Ocarina of Time. The developers did not want controls to be very difficult, so Epona was made to automatically jump over barriers if she has enough speed. To make the experience more entertaining, the Carrot system was established, as well as mounted archery. The developers also wanted to include one-on-one battles and horseback swordplay, though such features didn't appear until Twilight Princess.
The scene where Epona jumps over the broken bridge in Gerudo Valley was specially requested by Shigeru Miyamoto. The view was from the bottom of the valley against the light, so the light would break through. A similar scene was shown when Epona escaped from the ranch with Link's help. At the time, the ranch had more than one exit, so a cutscene was made for each. The idea of horses and these scenes in particular were inspired by Western cowboy movies.
- She is named after the Celtic Goddess of horses and fertility, Epona.
- Despite being such an iconic character in Ocarina of Time, the first game she appears in, getting Epona is entirely optional. The only time where Epona is used to progress further in the main quest is crossing the broken bridge in Gerudo Valley. However, the broken bridge can also be crossed using the Longshot.
- "That first DLC pack unlocks Epona, which is like the best thing ever." — Nintendo Minute – September Favorites, YouTube, retrieved October 24, 2014.
- "Oh, yeah, I have to introduce you to my friend, fairy boy! She's this horse. Her name is Epona. Isn't she cute?" — Malon (Ocarina of Time)
- "It seems like Epona is afraid of you, fairy boy..." — Malon (Ocarina of Time)
- "My mother composed this song. Isn't it nice? Let's sing together." — Malon (Ocarina of Time)
- "Oh, Epona! She's grown fond of you, fairy boy." — Malon (Ocarina of Time)
- "Is that Epona? How did you tame that wild horse right under my nose?! I was going to present that horse to the great Ganondorf..." — Ingo (Ocarina of Time)
- "There are some people in Kakariko spreading rumors that I cheated Talon out of the ranch, but... Don't be ridiculous! That guy Talon was weak! I, the hard-working Ingo, poured so much energy into this place! I don't want any strangers like you saying anything bad about me! Listen. The great Ganondorf recognized my obvious talents and gave the ranch to me!" — Ingo (Ocarina of Time)
- "Hey, you!! How about another race! If you win... You can keep...the horse!!" — Ingo (Ocarina of Time)
- "As I promised, I'll give the horse to you... However... I'll never let you leave this ranch!" — Ingo (Ocarina of Time)
- "Ooh, ooh! What a pretty ocarina... Hey, Skull Kid, lemme touch it! I wanna see!" — Tael (Majora's Mask)
- "What's with that stupid horse of yours?! It doesn't listen to a word that's said to it... There's no point in riding a thing like that, so I did you a favor and got rid of it... Hee, hee..." — Skull Kid (Majora's Mask)
- "I'll teach Romani's horse-calling song to you, Grasshopper." — Romani (Majora's Mask)
- "Now you two keep getting along, and go practice some more!" — Romani (Majora's Mask)
- "Minish Cap Kinstone fusion screen" — (The Minish Cap)
- "Please! Buy Lon Lon Milk from me! If you don't my wagon will be too heavy on the ride home!" — Epona (The Minish Cap)
- "Oh, hi, Link. I washed Epona for you!" — Ilia (Twilight Princess)
- "Wait... What's this? What's happened? She's injured, isn't she? Link? How could you! You were pushing Epona too hard again! I bet you hurt her leg jumping fences, didn't you!" — Ilia (Twilight Princess)
- "Hmm... You're not too shabby a wrangler after all! Won't this make getting back to your town a lot easier? Now go finish your errand so we can get back! Get a move on!" — Midna (Twilight Princess)
- What We Couldn't Do with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Iwata Asks.
- Everyone Loves Horses, Iwata Asks.
|Names in Other Regions|