They say you should never work with kids or animals, but Disney has established a niche with both. Whether it’s Lassie or Nemo. Disney’s animal-themed movies are a guaranteed hit. But while their live-action movies center around real-live dogs and CGI wildlife, their horse films are mostly animated. So let’s look at some well-known horses in Disney movies.
1. Little Bub from Justin Morgan
The book Justin Morgan had a Horse was adapted into a movie by Walt Disney Studios in 1978. In the book, Justin is a school teacher and receives two horses as payment for a debt. One of his students – Joel Goss – trains the horse, which is a two-year-old colt named Little Bub. The historical novel is set in 1791 Vermont so it’s a heartwarming pastoral frontier tale.
2. Maximus from Tangled
Tangled is Disney’s re-telling of Rapunzel, an age-old fairy tale. And in this telling, her animal companions are Pascal the chameleon, and Maximus the horse. Maximus belongs to the palace guard and his mission is to capture Flynn Rider. Maximus is a more effective cop than his human owners, but he warms up to Rapunzel and later gets along with Flynn too.
3. Lightning from Wild Hearts
Horse movies often have multiple animals featured. And often, four or five horse doubles will portray the same horse. In Wild Hearts Can’t be Broken, Lightning is the star, though there are technically two Lightnings – the one sold at the beginning and the one won at the fair. The horses in this Disney movie are pro performers that work with diving girls like Sonora.
4. Kjekk, Nokk, and Sitron from Frozen
Not all Disney horses get names. And some of them are passing characters that stay in the background. In Frozen, three horses get notable screen time. One is Nokk, Elsa’s ice horse from Frozen II. Then there’s Sitron, the goofy horse that belongs to Prince Hans, and Kjekk, Anna’s noble white horse. But none of the horses is as prominent as Sven, Kristoff’s reindeer.
5. Taff from Wild Pony
This tear-jerking horse is from an Australian movie about a pony named Taff. It’s a moving film that deals with issues like wealth, privilege, and disability. Taff starts out belonging to a poor farm boy whose father struggled to buy the pony. After Scott breaks and tames the horse, Taff is taken by a rich man for his disabled daughter. But it all works out in the end.
6. Khan from Mulan
A Disney Princess – even when she’s disguised as a prince – needs the help of her animal companions. And Mulan had both furry and scaly friends – Mushu the dragon, Khan the horse, and Cri-Kee the cricket. She also has a pet dog that she calls Little Brother. Khan is a black horse with a white blaze marking running down his face. His stockings are white too.
7. Abu from Aladdin
While he’s technically a monkey. Abu has been transformed int0 various animals including an elephant, a dog, a camel, and at least two horses. It often happens when Genie is cooking up a scheme to help Aladdin. Abu – in horse, camel, or elephant form – becomes Aladdin’s steed. This helps him look grander and more aristocratic than riding his magic flying carpet.
8. Black Beauty, Merrylegs, and Ginger from Black Beauty
In the novel, Black Beauty is a black horse with a white star and an untamed spirit. And in 2o2o, Black Beauty joined the throng of horses in Disney movies. The film narrator is Kate Winslett, speaking as Black Beauty. The horses that act as Black Beauty are named Jenny, Rosie, Sprit, and Award. Other horse characters include Merrylegs, Duchess, and Ginger.
9. Bullseye from Toy Story
Bullseye first appears in Toy Story 2 as Woody and Jessie’s horse. He’s fun, playful, excitable, and quite fast as he gets the Woody Roundup Gang out of tight spots and various adventures. He is a brown wooden horse with a short tail and mane and a sturdy saddle. Bullseye is particularly fond of Jessie because he spent a lot of time with her before he first met Woody.
10. Angus from Brave
While Mama Bear – pun intended – is the most significant animal in Brave, Angus is quite the star as well. As Merida’s horse, he takes her on many excursions as she hunts and practices her archery skills. Angus is a black Clydesdale with thick fluffy fur, a white blaze and stockings, and a powerful work-horse build. He has a strong will and spirit, like Merida.
11. Hidalgo from Hidalgo
Buena Vista is a Walt Disney subsidiary, so its releases – including Hidalgo – can be categorized as horses in Disney movies. Hidalgo was real, and he was Frank Hopkins’ horse. The famous mustang raced successfully against Bedouins on Arabian horses. It stars Viggo Mortensen of Aragorn fame – he speaks fluent Spanish and seems to have a thing for horses.
12. Captain from 101 Dalmatians
It takes a lot to get noticed in a movie full of puppies. And since this movie has 99 adorably spotted ones (plus two adult dogs), Captain works extra hard to stand out. In this Disney movie, all the animals have speaking roles, including Sergeant Tibbs the tabby cat, Colonel the sheepdog, and Captain himself. They’re former military animals now retired at the farm.
13. Frou-Frou from Aristocats
Yes, everybody wants to be a cat, but sometimes, it’s nice to be a horse too. And Frou-Frou holds her own. She’s a pretty palomino with pale brown fur and blonde mane and tail. She frequently wears a pink flowered hat as she draws the carriage around town. Frou-Frou is gentle, motherly, and extremely protective of Duchess and the kittens. She has a temper too.
14. Tonka from Tonka
Old movies often have disturbing depictions of racism and misogyny, and Tonka is no different. It has some unpleasant and untrue stereotypical depictions of Native Americans plus a lot of whitewashing. But the horse at the center of the story is magnificent enough to inspire family fights. In the book that inspired the movie, the horse was called Comanche.
15. Cyril Proudbottom from Ichabod and Mr. Toad
Ichabod Crane is the main character in a story about a headless horseman, but Cyril belongs to J. Thaddeus Toad from Wind in the Willows. Cyril is a goofy-looking horse that might be mistaken for a mule. He’s mostly ridden by Mr. Toad so he has a miniature saddle on his neck instead of the standard one worn on the back. He sometimes wears disguises.
16. Abha, Jinah, and Shetan from Young Black Stallion
Diablo, Demon, and Shetan might sound scary, but they’re popular names for black horses in Disney movies. In Young Black Stallion, Shetan is portrayed by a famous black horse named Cass Ole. It follows an Arabian girl who gets lost but a wild black horse helps her find her way home. She becomes a jockey and races Shetan to victory that saves her family’s fortune.
17. Achilles and Snowball from Hunchback of Notre Dame
While Achilles is a relatively serious horse, his punny name is used to comic effect throughout the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Achilles belongs to Captain Phoebus, and while he doesn’t have a speaking role, he can communicate and count. Achilles is snarky and fiery, but he’s not as mean as Snowball, Claude Frollo’s Friesian horse. He gets the girl in the end.
18. Lippzanners from Miracle of White Stallions
War movies sometimes take interesting turns. You probably know about the Von Trapp Family escaping the Nazis. This story is a little like that, but it’s about horses. A Spanish Rising School based in Vienna tries to save its prized white horses from the Soviets with help from General Patton. There are dozens of purebred white horses (Lippzanners) in this film.
19. Major, Jaq, and Gus from Cinderella
Cinderella is the second Disney Princess and we first meet her in 1950, singing to her animal companions. When she goes to the ball, her magical pumpkin carriage is drawn by horses. Major is already a horse that works at the farm, but Cinderella’s mice friends Jaq and Gus are also transfigured into horses so they can take our secret beauty to dance with the prince.
20. Four Brumbies from Snowy River
The Man from Snowy River is an Australian film built around feral horses. They’re known as brumbies, and this three-part movie stars hundreds of them, though not all the horses are named. The sequels were distributed by Walt Disney, so this lot qualifies as horses in Disney movies. Some of the named horses include Bess, The Stallion, Old Regret, and The Colt.
21. Patrick and Buck from Home on the Range
You can’t help twanging along whenever someone starts singing Home on the Range. This famous folk song inspired a film that features two of the funniest horses in Disney movies. Buck was initially Sheriff Sam’s horse and has dreams of fame and glory. Patrick is quieter and more serious compared to Buck, though both horses serve Rico in various scenarios.
22. Destiny from Enchanted
Horses in Disney movies can be live-action or animated. And Enchanted has both. The prince in the story is Edward, and Destiny is his pretty horse. Unlike some of the other animals in the movie, Destiny has no speaking roles and doesn’t cross over into the ‘real world’ scenes in New York. Destiny has a whitish-grey body and a fluffy golden mane.
23. Nautical from Flying Tail
Technically speaking, The Horse with the Flying Tail is a documentary rather than a feature film or animated short. But as it features a showjumper, Nautical can be counted among the horses in Disney movies. The cheeky horse had nicknames including Pelo de Oro (because he was a palomino) and Sneaky Pete (since he sometimes refuses to jump over water or ditches).
24. Philippe from Beauty and the Beast
In Beauty and the Beast, the emphasis is on the talking furniture. So you might forget how Belle got to the castle in her first place. She was riding her father’s horse, Philippe. She rides Philippe to the castle searching for her dad and agrees to be a prisoner in his place. Philippe He is a strong, muscular brown horse with a blonde mane and stockings. He draws a wagon.
25. Nasty Jack from Winnie the Pooh
Most horses in Disney movies are close to their (human) owners and serve them well. But in some shows, the animals are autonomous and punny. Nasty Jack is a good example. He’s a horse thief – meaning he’s a horse and he steals things. He even has those supervillain eyebrows and a silly mustache. Jack appears in Paw and Order where Piglet is the sheriff.
26. Conquistador from the Little Outlaw
Pablito is a ten-year-old boy with a mean stepdad. He grows up around horses because that’s his stepdad’s job. But when his stepdad hurts a special horse named Conquistador, Pablito grabs the horse and runs away. The horse was due for death but together with Pablito, they become outlaws and experience grand adventures together. The story is set in Mexico.
27. Samson from Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty is such a popular story, but just like Snow White, you might not remember the actual names of the characters. For example, the princess herself is Aurora, the prince is Phillip, and his horse is Samson. Samson doesn’t talk, but he gets more screen time than many horses in Disney movies. He helps Philip discover Aurora and later fights Maleficent.
28. Widowmaker from Pecos Bill
Pecos Bill was a brilliant cowboy who could shoot, hunt, and lasso with the best of them. His best friend was his horse Widowmaker. Bill met the horse when he rescued him from vultures as a foal. They grew up together and their relationship was unbreakable until a girl showed up – Sluefoot Sue. Widowmaker is brown with a yellow mane, and a fiery temper.
29. Secretariat, Bold Ruler, Hasty Matilda, Sham, and Something Royal
Lots of horses in Disney movies are pets or farmworkers. But this Disney movie stars a beloved racehorse named Secretariat. The movie features lots of other horses, including Secretariat’s parents and the other racers too. Secretariat belongs to Penny and while he starts out as the underdog he ends up winning the Triple Crown and saving the horse farm.
Who’s your favorite Disney horse? Tell us why you like him/her in the comments section!