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When you start playing ESO you have to travel on foot. In the beginning, it is interesting to take your time to explore and observe the world but sooner or later you will find out that you want to travel faster. Especially in Cyrodiil when you need to help your alliance to protect a keep that is under attack. You will not be able to teleport to such keep and a mount may help you a lot. Cyrodiil is a very large province and it's impossible to play there without a Horse.
There was only one type of mount when the game was released – horses. However, developers added other types of mounts in their updates. We are sure that they will add even more later on.
There are 2 ways to get a mount. You can buy a horse in a stable or in Crown Store.
Stables aren't difficult to find, they can be found in all the main cities of Tamriel. You will be able to identify this building by the stall and horses inside. Simply talk to stableman and you will be able to see all the horses available.
You will have to pay by your gold in order to get a horse from Stable. The cheapest mount is 10 000 gold and you are not restricted by level to be able to purchase it. All you need is to have enough gold.
There is a way to get a mount for only 1 gold - if you buy the Imperial Edition of the game. The Imperial White horse is just one of the exclusive bonuses you receive with this edition. Characteristics of an imperial horse are similar to the Common one, but it costs a lot less. It’s also possible to upgrade from the Standard edition to Imperial and receive all the digital bonuses including a mount.
The second way is to purchase a mount from in-game shop called Crown Store. You can find it in the top menu when you open your inventory. You will have to pay by Crowns in order to buy mount there. Crowns can be purchased for real money or can be obtained from ESO Plus Subscription.
Which variant to select?
If you have Imperial Edition - use Imperial Horse until you decide to change it. That's the best option. If you start the game and you have only Standard Edition you have two options: to collect 10 000 gold and get horse from stable or to purchase it from Crown Store.
Once you have purchased a horse, you can summon it by pressing the 'H' button. You can have as many mounts as you wish but can summon only one of them at a time. If you want to change a mount you need to go to your inventory. You can manage mounts from there.
Some of the mounts in Elder Scrolls Online are rare. That means you can't get them any time you wish. They can be obtained from Crown Store during special sales only. the price of such mounts is usualy high.
Frost Mare can be purchased in Crown Store, but it's not available every time there, only during special sales. That's why you will not see this Frost horse very often. The cost is 3000 Crowns.
In the beginning your horse may not seem very beneficial. It has low movement speed, low stamina pool. But everything changes when you start boosting your Riding skill. The Riding skill allows you to change certain characteristics of your mount.
You can train the skill once per 20 hours. It costs 250 gold and allows to increase one of 3 basic characteristics of the mounts you use: Speed, Stamina or Capacity. It's possible to increase only 1 characteristic per 1 upgrade! You can't boost all 3, you have to choose.
You can train Riding skill every 20 hours and the process is very similar to leveling. The gains are permanent and cumulative. You can level the skill in any way you like. It's possible to train only one stat. For example if you need fast mount train the speed. It's possible to train different characteristics every time. For example you train Spped, then train Stamina and then Capacity.
As you see it will take 3600 hours to maximize all the stats to cap values. It's equal to 150 days if you don't miss the time. But you will most likely need 180 days or even more because you will sometimes miss the end of previous training.
Pay attention: if you want to level riding Skill faster there are Riding Lessons in Crown Store. A package of 10 lessons costs 1000 Crowns which is equal to 10 USD approximately. It will cost you 180 USD to level all the Riding stats to cap values by using Riding Lessons only.
Does the training works for all mounts? Yes, it does. That's because horses don't have their own experience and stats. If you max your Riding skill it will affect all the mounts you have. You will be able to switch between them without loosing any characteristics.
Is it possible to fight sitting on a mount? There is no such option in Elder Scrolls Online. You can’t sit on a horse and attack enemies. Who knows, maybe such option will be added later. But you can always attack a player on a mount. It takes time to dismount and it may be your advantage.
Will mount die if someone kills me while I am sitting on it? There may be situation when a big group of players kills you very fast even before you dismount. It will hardly happen in PvE but may happen in PvP. Your mount will not suffer from this and will not be killed. You will be able to summon it after you resurrect.
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I guess I will be buying the imperial edition then :)