Set in islands in the sky, a horse (unless it was Pegasus) wouldn’t work in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Nintendo has a mount for Link and in this game it’s a giant red bird.
The bird riding demo began with Link, still dressed in regular clothes, leaping of a cliff with his friends and onto the back of a red bird. A short event scene also introduced, as the game calls her, the Lovely Zelda. She’s a regular girl in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
The goal of this demo is to catch a golden bird. I moved Link and his avian steed by tilting and turning the Wii remote. Flicking the remote didn’t have an effect, the bird riding demo was most responsive when I gently moved the controller.
Just like Epona, Link’s bird has "carrots" or feathers seen on the bottom of the screen. Press A and you can use one to get a quick burst of speed. The feathers, at least in the demo, restore quickly. I found myself rapidly hitting A, only stopping for a few seconds for all three feather power to recharge.
The golden bird weaved in an unpredictable pattern. I saw another player trailing it from behind, but I had a different strategy. I waited until the target turned, then intercepted it by using all three feathers to charge at it in a straight line. That worked, but one of Link’s "buddies" a guy riding a blue bird was jealous of Link hogging the glory. He knocked Link away from the bird, so I had to catch it a second time.
My reward was a bird statue and a scene of Link bird riding with Zelda.