If you ever wanted to ride out into the sunset with a majestic steed, you can finally do that (at least virtually) in the Horse Ranch expansion pack. This beloved animal was one of the most sought-after companions in the Sims universe, bringing in fanmade creations with mods over the years. But now, players can acquire their very own stallion without using these enhancements, where they can teach, nurture, and raise horses.
While some aspects of the pack stand out from the rest, others lack a certain kind of substance that ultimately makes it feel like it’s missing something. So, without further ado, we’ll go over the things Sims 4 Horse Ranch does well and ways it could’ve done better.
Does Well: Horses Galore
With over 30 breeds to choose from, the Horse Ranch features a ton of distinct coats, including the Appaloosa, Galineers Cob, and the Shire. Each type can be customized through their hair and body, and you can add a personal touch with the Paint Mode’s brush.
To top it off, you can place a saddle or blanket of your choice, as well as a decorative cosmetic that will truly bring out the personality of your steed. Players can also try out new horse types with the ‘Make a Mix Breed’ option, and these foals may develop positive traits that can give them an early start for the competitions.
Does Well: More Ways to Make Money
When I first dove into the Horse Ranch pack, I wanted to experience the ultimate farmer’s life by taking advantage of the land’s resources and extensive fields. In doing so, I realized how much money you can rack up through all the valuable tools, from the Nectar maker to the competition winnings.
You will no longer need to stress about making ends meet, where you can sell high-quality bottles, sheep coats, and goat’s milk to pay those monthly bills. Alternatively, the Ultimate Horse Championship can reward you with a grand total of 6,000 Simoleons to further boost your cash flow.
Does Well: Mini Goats & Mini Sheep
Although horses are the main focus of the expansion pack, the Mini Sheep and Mini Goats’ adorableness factor can sometimes steal the spotlight. I can’t tell you how often these animals brought a smile to my face as they hopped around the ranch and boosted the horse’s happiness meter when socializing with them.
These companions can also help around the house by warding off bugs and weeds in the garden, along with a daily intake of Simoleons through their coats and milk. If you need some assistance, Ranch Hands can replenish these companions’ meters substantially, and they can take care of the rest of the house to maximize the homestead’s business.
Does Well: Items Fit for a Cowboy
The Horse Ranch pack wouldn’t be complete without an outfit collection that caters to the Western lifestyle. Fortunately, the DLC certainly delivers on this front with an entire cowboy/cowgirl ensemble, such as hats, boots, and hairstyles. Infants can even join in on the fun with the adorable horse onesie that comes with a variety of unique designs.
Once you’ve created the cowboy/cowgirl of your dreams, you can start decorating the ranch with the latest lineup of products, like the Just Horsing Around Trailer, Chestnut Saloon Back Bar, and Country Classic Barn Dollhouse. Just be sure to include a main hub for all your animals to create a welcoming atmosphere for all family members.
Does Well: Wholesome Moments
The wholesome moments the animals and Sims share are one of the best qualities of the pack, as they develop their companionships each day. It may be rocky at first (especially when the goats headbutt you), yet eventually, these relationships will blossom into meaningful interactions and constantly keep your household in a good mood.
If your Sim is a Horse Lover or Rancher, they will look at their animals in awe and happily take care of their companions. One of my personal favorites is when the goats, sheep, and horses sleep together and then immediately greet each other once they wake up.
Done Better: More Lots
While Chesnut Ridge features a decent amount of lots, it would be great to see much more with Residential types and entertainment-based locations. Specifically, Maxis Studios could implement additional 64×64 areas to give players enough room for multiple expansive ranches or possibly a large food outlet with the newest recipes.
Another excellent option is to bring more life to the non-interactive buildings in the center of New Appaloosa. Maybe there could be a store specifically for Nectar where players can discover new flavors and customize bottles. Or, the clothing store could be revamped to acquire exclusive outfit choices not shown in Create a Sim.
Done Better: Jockey Career
One thing I was expecting for the Horse Ranch pack is a jockey career that could function the same as other athletic-based jobs. However, this role was not incorporated into the game and mainly worked as a side business for Horse Lover Sims. You can also consider the fact that the Equestrian Center only permits you one competition per day, which can prohibit you from earning extra cash during the beginning stages.
Instead of being an unemployed horse rider, the expansion pack could include a jockey pathway to give your Sim an official title and a reliable cash flow. Then, they could work their way up to become a famous cowboy/cowgirl, producing a celebrity effect similar to the Get Famous DLC.
Done Better: Watch & Interact With the Competitions
Throughout the franchise’s history, players couldn’t directly manage the tasks while their Sims were at school or on the job, in which they needed to wait for the day to be over. That is until Get to Work and High School Years finally allowed us into these daily activities to control the characters’ lives from start to finish.
Yet, the Horse Ranch pack goes back to the series’ old ways by not permitting the fans to actually participate in the Equestrian Center’s competition, forcing them to wait once again. Hence, to counter this approach, the DLC could allow players to at least watch these courses play out or have a specific set of tasks to complete to achieve the gold medal.
Done Better: Unicorns
Unfortunately, unicorns didn’t make the cut for the official release, and it caused quite a stir in the community, given that they have appeared in The Sims 3: Pets. Yes, there’s a horn accessory to give off the impression of this majestic beast, but it isn’t as satisfying without the unique abilities and title. For example, the previous version features teleportation and fiery perks that could easily return to this pack.
There could still be some hope with this aspect since a fan has indicated a unicorn subject in the pack’s coding, so we may anticipate the animal’s arrival for a future fantasy-themed DLC.
Done Better: More Horse Riders
When exploring Chestnut Ridge, you’ll notice that there aren’t many horse riders to meet up with, despite being a steed-friendly community. In return, it makes the experience feel more isolating as an owner, considering that you can’t necessarily share your love for animals with fellow riders or come across wild stallions.
Reddit user Different-Pea has suggested an option to ‘Ride Together’ to invite other Sims out on the town or include a horse club to celebrate the animals further. Whatever the case may be, it would be excellent to see an expansion of riders in order to make it feel less detached.
Done Better: Keep Track of Goats & Sheep
Those who have placed countless goats and sheep on their lot will undoubtedly lose a lot of them due to their status as non-family members. That means you can’t press on them to get their exact location, increasing their chances of getting dirty or hungry.
Even more so, these animals are relatively small in size and can hide from you in plain sight, especially with their tremendous speed. Thus, Maxis Studios could utilize a tracking system to keep these companions happy, boosting the ranch’s success. The pack could also utilize the features of the Dine Out business opportunities, where players can see the status of the entire ranch.