Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch Guide – How to Beat Lilli in the Sneaky Ways Race

This guide will give you tips on how to beat Lilli's score in the Sneaky Ways race in Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch. Even without the notorious bug plaguing this quest, beating Lilli's score can be tricky, and it takes a good horse, skills, and practice to get the best time possible.

Horse Tales Emerald Valley Ranch Guide - How to Beat Lilli in the Sneaky Ways Race

If you’ve been playing Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch, you’re probably familiar with the name Lilli. She is the main focus of the quest “Who is Lilli?” Well, you’ll definitely know who Lilli is very quickly, and you’ll quickly grow to resent her. Quite simply, this quest requires you to beat Lilli’s high score in the Sneaky Ways race. The premise is simple, the execution is apparently anything but, not helped at all by a very annoying and practically game-breaking bug. Beating Lilli’s score and getting past this quest seems impossible… or is it?

While the bug in question is currently being dealt with by the developers of Horse Tales, it’s up to you to beat Lilli’s score, and it is doable, if you know how to. The Sneaky Ways race is probably one of the most difficult in the game, and with this guide, we’ll help you master the race and put Lilli’s score in the dust.

Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch is now available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.

Sneaky Ways isn't an easy race, but with practice, you'll bag that number one spot on the leaderboard.

Sneaky Ways isn’t an easy race, but with practice, you’ll bag that number one spot on the leaderboard.

A Quick Overview of Lilli and the Sneaky Ways Race

First, you need to know who Lilli is and the Sneaky Ways race in Horse Tales.

Who is Lilli?

Lilli Felix is a character in Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch. She is the focus of the main quest “Who is Lilli?” The main goal of this quest is to lure the elusive Lilli out of hiding so you can meet her. To get her to show her face, you need to beat her in the Sneaky Ways race. You have to top her race time and overtake her spot on the leaderboard. You can see for yourself where Lilli is on the board and what time you need to beat. 

Note: In Horse Tales, Lilli’s name is also seen as being spelt as Lili, as seen on the leaderboard. This may be confusing, but they’re both the same person.

Initially, Lilli’s score is roughly 2 minutes and 29 seconds. That’s the time you want to beat. With a good horse and a good run, you can easily trump that time. You can do the race in 2 minutes or less!

It's not easy to beat Lilli's time, especially with the bugs.

It’s not easy to beat Lilli’s time, especially with the bugs.

What is the Sneaky Ways Race?

The Sneaky Ways race requires you to complete 2 laps. There are 2 times that are recorded and displayed on the leaderboard: the best lap time and the best race time. The one you want to watch for is the complete race time.

Sneaky Ways is probably one of the trickier tracks in Horse Tales. Lilli’s quick time to beat makes it more difficult. If you can do this race, the other ones should be a piece of cake. It’s full of obstacles, jumps, archways, tight turns, as well as water and mud. It can be tricky to master, but with plenty of practice, you’ll conquer the track and those tougher times.

The Sneaky Ways race isn't far from the Emerald Estate.

The Sneaky Ways race isn’t far from the Emerald Estate.

Get a Better Horse

First things first, if you’re serious about getting that first place spot on the leaderboard, you may want to think about upgrading to a better horse.

Horses in Horse Tales have 5 stats: Endurance, Agility, Strength, Luck, and Charisma. These range between 1 and 10, 10 being the best. For racing, you need to worry about the first 3 stats. These affect how well your horses perform whilst galloping and jumping. You want a horse than can go fast for a long time without getting tired, doesn’t get tired so easily from jumping, and can regain their stamina quickly.

If you want a good racing horse, you ideally want stats with at least level 5. You’ll find that the horses you start with are well below this level. It is possible to beat Lilli’s time with the beginner horses that Horse Tales gives you at the start (particularly Dancer and Molly), but it’s much easier to succeed with a better horse. Unfortunately, there’s no way to improve a horse’s stats through training or other such methods. The only thing you can do is find a horse with better stats, or breed them.

Quagga, a starter horse, has significantly lower stats compared to wild and bred horses.

Quagga, a starter horse, has significantly lower stats compared to wild and bred horses.

Taming wild horses and breeding horses are both pretty easy, and you’ll get horses with better stats than your starter horse. You’ll really notice the difference in performance when your lap times come tumbling down. What method you go with is up to you. You can even mix and match these methods. You may want to find some wild horses with good stats so you can breed them to get horses with even better stats.

Note: If you’re going to get a lot of horses, you’ll need the space to keep them, so build some extra stables. You might need to do a lot of breeding and wild horse taming if you want to get a horse that matches Lilli’s in Horse Tales.

A Quick Guide to Taming Wild Horses

Taming a wild horse is much easier than you may think in Horse Tales. The process is very simple. You just have to approach any wild horse, press a few buttons, and before you know it, you’ve got yourself a new horse.

Where Can I Find Wild Horses?

First, you need to find some wild horses. You can find them all over Cape Emerald. However, your access may be restricted if you haven’t been able to unlock parts of the world. If this is the case, here are some locations for horses with notably good stats. You can find some horses outside the Felix Estate. There are also some at Kikki’s Sanctuary, which is on the way to the Sneaky Ways racetrack from the Emerald Estate where your ranch is. If you find wild horses in these places, or anywhere else while riding around, go and check them out and see what stats they have. 

Looking for some good wild horses? Kikki's Sanctuary is home to a few.

Looking for some good wild horses? Kikki’s Sanctuary is home to a few.

Don’t Spook the Horses!

Once you find some wild horses, your next step is to approach them. You have to be careful here, because if you run up to them, you’ll spook them and they’ll run off, gone forever. You need to approach a wild horse cautiously by sneaking up to them. You can do this by holding the Crouch button and moving towards the horse. 

Approach a wild horse slowly, or they'll bolt.

Approach a wild horse slowly, or they’ll bolt.

Check the Horse Out First

When you’re near enough to a wild horse, you have two options. You can Inspect the horse or go ahead and Tame them. You ideally want to inspect them first, so you can see their stats. You want a horse with stats of at least 4, ideally 5 or higher. If the wild horse doesn’t match this, you should look for another horse.

This horse has ideal stats for a race.

This horse has ideal stats for a race.

Time to Tame a Horse

When you’ve found a horse you like the look of, it’s time to tame it. In order to initiate this action, you must be facing the horse, otherwise the Tame command won’t be available. It also won’t be available if you don’t have any room at your ranch to store the horse. Once you press Tame, be prepared. You’ll suddenly find yourself in a mini game, and you have to be quick. It’s very simple what you have to do, but it happens quickly and without much warning. This is a quick-time action mini game where you have to repeatedly press the correct buttons in order to tame the horse. If you’re too slow or press the wrong buttons, the horse will throw you off and may bolt. If you succeed, congratulations! You are now the owner of a new horse!

When taming horses, make sure there aren’t any traits that may negatively affect their behaviour. There aren’t many that will directly impact the Sneaky Ways race – except for one. Make sure you don’t get a horse with the Out of Shape trait. A horse with this will have less stamina, which is not ideal for any race. You can, however, train your horse out of this trait, but you don’t really want to have it in the first place.

Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch (Switch) gameplay: Catching and taming a wild horse

(Video by Necromantis XIII)

By taming a wild horse, you unlock the quest to start breeding horses.

A Quick Guide to Breeding Horses

Once you get yourself a second horse, you can start breeding horses. This is a great way to not just get new horses, but also horses with great stats like Lilli’s. The good news is that in Horse Tales, breeding is a quick and simple process. Here’s how you do it.

How Do I Unlock Breeding?

First, make sure you open the mailbox at your campsite/house at the Emerald Estate the day after you acquire a second horse. Here, you will get a letter that triggers the breeding quest. It’s nothing difficult; it just shows you the ropes of horse breeding in Horse Tales.

Where Can I Breed?

There are 3 places to breed a horse. First, you can build your own breeding station at your ranch (once you complete the quest). Second, you can go to the 2 breeding stations in Cape Emerald.  These stations are marked on the map.

How Do I Breed Horses?

Go to the breeding station, walk up to the marker on the ground, and select which of your horses you want to breed. You’ll get a list of all the horses you own. The horse you select goes into the breeding station. You can also see the stats of the horse currently in the breeding station.

To start the breeding process, you need to provide some food for your horses, including peppermints, apples and sugar cubes. You can get peppermints from Esmee outside the Felix Estate when you restore sandcastles on the beach. Sugar cubes can be found all over Cape Emerald, usually near buildings. Apples can be found in trees.

Once the requested food has been handed over, there’s nothing else to do but wait. It takes just one day to produce a new horse, so you’ll need to rest at your campsite/house. Return to the breeding station the next day and your new horse will be ready! You don’t have to wait for the foal to become a horse, so you can start riding them right away. You can even check out the new horse’s stats before you take them away. Hopefully, you should get a horse with greater stats than the horse you bred with.

Elodin is the result of breeding wild horses with good stats.

Elodin is the result of breeding wild horses with good stats.

Practice, Practice, Practice

You know that old saying: if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Practice really does make perfect in the Sneaky Ways race. If a racetrack is unfamiliar to you, your first run may not be your best. You won’t know where all the turns are, the routes you can take, how far the track is, where all the jumps are, whether there’s mud and water and sand. There’s a lot to think about in races in Horse Tales, not just Lilli and other riders’ times.

If you want to get a really good time in for the Sneaky Ways track, you’ll need to know it like the back of your hand. You’ll probably have to redo it over and over anyway to get that best time, but you should know what’s coming next in the race, so you’re not caught out by a turn or an obstacle.

Watch Out for Obstacles

Obstacles can be a big headache if you miss a jump and are set further back, wasting precious seconds. If you run out of stamina, your horse can’t make those bigger jumps. That’s why it’s important to get a horse with great stamina, so they don’t get tired so easily and can quickly recover lost stamina.

Make a note of the jumps throughout the race. Which ones can you get around? How close do you need to be before you jump? Is it a short jump or a big jump? Do you need to build up speed to make the jump?

Note every obstacle and the best way to overcome it.

Note every obstacle and the best way to overcome it.

You should also keep an eye out for those archways that you need to duck under. It’s quite easy to get caught out, bump your head, and have to restart further back. 

As you practice the track, make a mental note of every obstacle so you know what’s to come next. The last thing you want is to be thrown off-guard, which can make you flounder a jump or turn or slow down suddenly in a panic.

Try Different Paths

You should also experiment with the different routes you can take around the track. The start and finish line are both one thing, so the track goes around in a loop. However, there are different paths you can take. This is important as you can encounter different obstacles. Some paths are shorter than others but may have obstacles to jump over or duck under. If you mess up, you’ll be set back. Try out the different paths and see what works best for you and your time. Figure out which routes are quickest while keeping in mind obstacles. 

As you practice the track more, you’ll notice a difference in how well you perform in the race. You’ll find that you make less mistakes, get an idea of the stamina you use up to get around it, and find that route that works best for you.

The Sneaky Ways track has shortcuts you can take advantage of.

The Sneaky Ways track has shortcuts you can take advantage of.

Tighten Those Turns

When you’re riding fast on a horse, it can be easy to overcook a turn. This may make you collide with an obstacle or go around further, wasting seconds. Aim to get around those corners as tightly as you can. You can slide around corners by holding the Slide button and steering your horse in the direction you want to go. Practice this technique and get the hang of making quick turns.

Get Off to a Good Start

If you want a good time, you want to make sure you have a perfect run from start to finish. How you set off will set the tone for the rest of the race. If you have a good beginning, the rest should follow suit.

Once you initiate the race at the leaderboard, you’ll automatically be positioned at the start line. The timer will count you down from 3, and then once the three seconds are up, you’ll be prompted to go. Do not move until you get the prompt from the game. If you move an inch, the game automatically writes it off as a false start, and the race will be cancelled. To restart the race, you’ll have to return to the leaderboard. 

Don't move an inch until the say so, otherwise the race is automatically cancelled.

Don’t move an inch until the say so, otherwise the race is automatically cancelled.

You want to get off at a good speed when you do successfully set off from the start line. As soon as you’re permitted to go, go! Hold that Sprint button as soon as you can. It’s recommended that you mash it even, because if you just hold it, your horse may not even move, which could cost you a few seconds. Make sure your horse flies off that start line so they can really get going and set the pace for the race. Just watch out for that first jump! Don’t be too overeager in building up speed and then boggle the jump, ruining your perfect run.

If You Take a Stumble, Start Again

There’s nothing more annoying than messing up a jump or bumping your head on an archway, or slowing down as you run into an obstacle. If you slow down due to bumping into something, you can quickly recover and save your time by picking up speed. However, a missed jump or archway is more problematic. If you boggle a jump or forget to duck under an archway, the screen goes black. You do quickly recover, but you’re set further back from where you messed up. This can cost you valuable seconds, and seconds can make a big difference in the Sneaky Ways race. Even just one stumble can cost you that first place.

In this case, you may have to make an important decision. If you mess up a step, even just once, it might be a good idea to restart the race. This is annoying and not exactly ideal, but it means you can start again with a clean slate. Remember the race is just two laps and should take approximately 2 minutes to complete. If you want to get a perfect time, you need a clean run, which means no mistakes at all.

If you're not having a clean run due to mistakes, it might be best to start again.

If you’re not having a clean run due to mistakes, it might be best to start again.

Spare Your Horse’s Stamina

Stamina is one of the reasons why you want a good fast and strong horse. Stamina is very important in any race, let alone the Sneaky Ways one. It affects how long your horse can gallop and jump for before getting tired. Both of these are critical for a good time in Horse Tales, especially beating Lilli’s. If your horse doesn’t have stamina, they can’t gallop or jump. Without galloping, you’re much slower, vastly affecting your final time, and you can’t make those harder jumps.

The Stamina Meter

Stamina is displayed at the bottom of the screen by a meter. It’s portrayed with a white flower in the middle and long green stalks both sides. As you use stamina, the meter will slowly drain, going towards the flower in the middle, draining of color. Keep a close eye on this meter. When it hits rock bottom, your horse cannot gallop or do long jumps until the meter fully recharges. The recharge time depends on your horse’s Endurance.

You want a horse with at least an Endurance stat level of 4 if you want to do well in the race. You’ll notice the difference with horses with different levels of Endurance.

The stamina meter is displayed at the bottom when your horse sprints. Keep an eye on it!

The stamina meter is displayed at the bottom when your horse sprints. Keep an eye on it!

Sprint in Rhythm

Sprinting may cost stamina, but there is a way to not only conserve stamina, but also speed up your horse. Both of these you’ll want for your race – but how? While sprinting, you can tap the sprint button in time with your horse’s gallop. You’ll know you’re hitting it right when you’ll see a gold flash under your horse’s hooves. Find your rhythm and you’ll be flying. Just don’t get so distracted watching the rhythm that you forget about the obstacles and turns. Try to sprint in rhythm when you have a clear run with nothing to stop or distract you.

Don’t Abuse the Sprint Button

Having a horse with great Endurance, as well as Agility and Strength, isn’t enough. It’s down to you to make sure you use the stamina wisely. You may not be able to get around the track twice with a full stamina meter. Avoid letting the meter drain to zero, otherwise you’ll wear your horse out and waste valuable time waiting for your horse to get their strength and speed back. If you do want to go for it, try sprinting in rhythm to save stamina. Just don’t go crazy mashing the sprint button haphazardly. If you get towards the end of the second lap and you have plenty of stamina to spare, mash that gallop button to really let your horse fly across the finish line.

Avoid Jumping If Possible

Jumps can be found in all races, including Sneaky Ways. Some jumps you can get around, others you can’t. A mistimed jump can seriously hamper your chances of getting a good score. The last thing you want is to miss a jump and be reset back to an earlier point. 

With this in mind, it’s best to avoid jumping where you can. Pick a route where you don’t have to jump so often, especially in quick succession.

Avoiding jumps isn’t always possible though, especially with the shortcuts. If you really have to jump, figure out the best way to get over them without compromising your stamina. Do some jumps need you to be sprinting to make it? Work out which jumps you can simply hop over, and which ones you really need power to make it over. This can save you time and energy, focusing instead on sprinting.

Try to have a run with as little jumps as possible.

Try to have a run with as little jumps as possible.

Here’s another tip. At the very start of the track, there are two jumps close to each other. There’s a bar to get over, which you can’t avoid, but you can skirt around the second jump. The second jump is a little trickier to get right. It’s almost right after the bar, and it’s a solid wall, which makes it a bit more intimidating. Timing the jump over this wall can be difficult to get right. It’s easy to mistime it and crash into it, forcing a reset just seconds into the race. Fortunately, there’s a good workaround for this particular jump. You can squeeze past it on the left side. It’s a bit tight, so you might slow down if you hit the side of the track, but it’s better than barrelling into the wall in a tricky jump.

Instead of attempting the tricky second jump, simply ride around it.

Instead of attempting the tricky second jump, simply ride around it.

Make Sure Your Horse is Happy

Whether or not you have a horse with decent stats, one thing is important: your horse’s happiness. If your horse isn’t happy, they won’t perform to their full potential.

With the Sneaky Ways race, there are 2 negative traits to look out for: Hungry and Stressed. If your horse has one or both of these traits, make sure you sort it out before you start the race. The last thing you want is to be busy doing the race and then one of these traits pops up.

You don't want your horse to have anything that might affect their race time.

You don’t want your horse to have anything that might affect their race time.

A Hungry Horse

If your horse becomes hungry, the solution is very simple: feed them! Or is it really that simple? In Horse Tales, your horse can be very particular about what you feed them.

There are several different foods you can feed your horse: apples, carrots, sunflowers, peppermint, and sugar cubes. You can find these all over Cape Emerald – collect them when you see them! 

Next, you need to find out what your horse likes to eat. This, unfortunately, is a trial-and-error process. Select the food you want to try and feed your horse and see what happens. If they whinny happily and hearts appear, they like the food. If lightning bolts appear and your horse shakes their head, they don’t like it. If you feed your horse something they dislike, you’ll give them a negative trait. This trait can negatively impact on how quickly their stamina recovers, one thing you don’t want when you’re about to race. Fortunately, you can counter this by finding something your horse does enjoy eating. Once you discover what your horse likes, make a note of it so you know what to feed them next time.

Find out what your horse likes to eat. Eating disliked food will make your horse perform more poorly.

Find out what your horse likes to eat. Eating disliked food will make your horse perform more poorly.

A Stressed Horse

The other negative trait to watch for is Stressed. You really don’t want your horse to have this trait in a race. You want your horse happy and content, geared up for a good run.

Getting your horse out of the Stressed state is very simple, probably easier than feeding. You just need to pet your horse. Petting functions as a mini game, but a simple one. You have to use the four direction buttons, each one pertaining to a different part of your horse that you can pet. There’s the neck, chin, head, and croup.

Again, as with food, this is a guessing game. The only difference is that there’s no negative consequence if you get it wrong, except you’ll have to start again.

You’ve got to press the buttons a number of times in any order you want to initiate a sequence where you continuously pet the horse. The sequence can take three to five steps, or pets. You can use different pets, or the same one for the whole sequence. You can mix and match to see if the results are different.

Petting your horse makes them calmer and more prepared to race.

Petting your horse makes them calmer and more prepared to race.

First though, you should find out what areas your horse likes being petted. They can either love, like, or hate it. If they hate it, they won’t even let you pet them. The sequence will prematurely end, and you’ll have to start again. Remember not to use the pets your horse doesn’t like. It won’t ever grow to like it, so don’t bother trying it again. What you really want to look out for is the pets your horse loves. Pets they like can gain some points, but pets they love really bumps up the meter. Use these the most in your sequence.

When you pet your horse, it fills up a meter at the top. You want it to get completely full up to the right end. You’ll be notified with a green checkmark. You’ll also see the point where your horse will no longer be Stressed. When you pass this spot, the marker will vanish, and your horse will be happier.

If you make sure your horse is fed and relaxed before the race, you don’t have to worry about anything holding you back.

Watch What Your Competition Does

In all races in Horse Tales, you have competition. You’ll see a list of the top 5 times on the leaderboard. If you’re struggling to get a good time, you’re probably wondering: How did they do this in such a good time? Well, there’s a solution to this: you can watch them for yourself.

In the Horse Tales races, there is a really handy feature where you can choose to do a race with a ghost version of one of the top 5 rider’s runs, including Lilli. From the start line, you’ll see a ghostly figure and their horse riding around the track. If you’re struggling to do well, take the time to follow them closely and watch what they do. How and where do they jump? What paths do they take? How fast are they going? By studying their movements and strategy, you can learn from them and pick up tips. 

It might be an idea to race with a ghost version of another competitor and observe how they take on the track.

It might be an idea to race with a ghost version of another competitor and observe how they take on the track.

If you see a racer taking a path, you could try and see if you can come up with a better path to beat them. If you notice they are much faster than your horse, it means they’re either making great use of the horse’s stamina, or their horse is simpler much faster, which can mean two things. You need to use more stamina, or you need to get yourself a faster horse.

Known Bug

If you’re reading this guide, you might be aware of a notorious bug in Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch. This bug essentially makes it impossible to beat Lilli’s score and get past this quest, stopping you from progressing in the game. While you can technically beat Lilli’s score, Horse Tales won’t register it and let you pass the quest, hence why it’s so hard. There is word that to beat “Who is Lilli?”, you actually need to get first place in the Sneaky Ways race, not just topping Lilli. This isn’t helped by the fact that the times seem to constantly change, the times to beat getting shorter and shorter, virtually impossible.

However, it’s not all bad news. The developers are aware of this bug and have issued a patch directly dealing with the bug found in Lilli’s quest in Horse Tales. So far, the patch has been released for the PC version. It hasn’t yet been released on the console versions, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, but it will be arriving soon. We’ll update you once a fix for the consoles have been released.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: The patches originally released on the PC version of Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch has now been released on PS4 and Nintendo Switch. This means that the “Who is Lilli?” quest should no longer be bugged. You may have to start a new game in order to beat Lilli’s original time of 2 minutes and 29 seconds, if the bug meant that it brought the time down to 1 minute and 43 seconds. I can confirm that I started a new game, being in the same situation myself on the Switch, and was able to beat Lilli’s original time and the game registered it, meaning I can continue playing the story. If you’ve been experiencing this bug, the patches should hopefully resolve it for you.

Final Notes

Ignoring the annoying bugs, this guide should help you master the Sneaky Ways race and lure Lilli out of hiding in Horse Tales. Once you do manage to beat Lilli’s score, she should appear next to the leaderboard, ready for you to talk to her and continue with the quest and story of Horse Tales. If you follow the tips given in this guide, you should find yourself getting a better time in Sneaky Ways. The tips aren’t just for this race either, but all races in Horse Tales. You should be a champion racer in no time!

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