We all know that everyone’s favorite part of any movie is the horses, right? Wait. Not everyone? Just us? Either way, we love them. So we’re taking a moment to recognize our favorite animated equines from the Disney library.
As equestrians, there’s no question that our favorite part of pretty much any movie is the horses. It’s always the horses. That’s especially true of Disney movies. After all, who can resist a horse with plenty of personality and animated anthropomorphism (here’s looking at you, Max)? So, we want to take a look at and appreciate some the equines that graced Disney’s animated screens.
Here is Part II. The horses are listed in alphabetical order, so if you notice a prominent horse missing and its name comes a bit earlier in the alphabet, take a look at Part I.
Major actually is the first horse owned by a Disney princess (with Phillipe being the second and Khan being the the third). Major was Cinderella’s horse and was gifted to her by her father before his death.
Major is a kind, aged horse who has seen better days. In the film’s prologue, he is shown as a fully-grown horse with creamy tan fur and brown mane, but by the time we see him, he is slender and grey. He hasn’t been treated will be Lady Tremaine or her daughters, but Cinderella loves him and he’s good friends with Bruno the mouse.
Major doesn’t have a distinct personality like some of the other horses in Disney’s library, but he’s loyal to Cinderella and is happy to do whatever is asked of him — even be a coachman when Cinderella’s fairy godmother transforms everyone for the ball:
“But tonight, for a change, you’ll handle the reins… and sit in the driver’s seat too. For instead of a horse, why the coachman, of course! Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo!”
~Fairy Godmother turning Major into a coachman
(I still can’t quite figure out why he didn’t become a really fancy horse instead of a coachman — that’s bothered me since I was a child, but whatever.)
He also appears in Cinderella II: Dreams Come True as one of the horses leading Cinderella and Prince Charming back to the castle as well as the horse she rides later in the film.
Unlike many of the other Disney horses that just fill in background roles, Maximus is a supporting character. He was originally a palace horse — likely an Andalusian (at least that’s what his appearance is based on) — who was out to catch Flynn Rider after he stole Rapunzel’s crown. However, he ends up joining up with Rapunzel and Flynn Rider.
Maximus appears in a number of Disney animated flicks. Although he made his debut in Tangled, he shows up in a number of other entries in the Disney library:
- Tangled Ever After
- Tangled: Before Ever After
- Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure (TV series)
- Crashimus Maximus (a Disney short on the Blu-Ray release of Tangled)
- Big Hero 6 (he’s seen near the staircase)
- Once Upon a Studio (he’s next to Flynn waiting in line for a group photo)
- There’s even an emoticon version of him in As Told by Emoji
That doesn’t even include the video game appearances. Clearly he’s a popular horse.
Maximus is one of my favorite Disney horses. Maybe it’s just because my kids were exactly the right way to watch this movie repeatedly after it came out they were younger, but I think it’s actually because I can’t resist his human characteristics and expressions. Also, you’ve gotta love a horse with a tough-guy personality who melts for apples and Rapunzel. Plus, he ultimately cares more about doing what’s right than what’s by the book. Who can resist?
Pegasus is a major character in Disney’s 1997 film, Hercules. In fact, he is Hercules’s best friend and personal horse. Since no one has any actual first-hand experience with a pegasus (I mean, we think — who really knows what’s going on behind the scenes at Disney), Pegasus combines the elements of a horse and a bird. In fact, Hercules himself describes Pegasus as “a magnificent horse with the brain of a bird.” As such, he’s got some quirky behaviors like clicking his tongue, whistling, and perching on one of Hercules’ shoulders (good thing he’s a demigod).
Sometimes Pegasus acts a bit more like a dog, licking Hercules’s face and he’s incredibly protected of his friend. Overall, Pegasus distrusts anyone that tries to get close to Hercules and has no problem jumping into battle for him. He does eventually accept those who are kind to Hercules, but it takes time.
Like most Disney movies, the creators changed around Pegasus’s origin story a bit. According to Greek mythology, Pegasus was born when the hero Perseus cut off Medusa’s head. Fathered by Poseidon, he sprang from Medusa’s severed neck (we can’t imagine why Disney didn’t include that). In the Disney version, Pegasus is created by Zeus out of three different types of clouds: Cirrus, Nimbostratus, and Cumulus.
Philippe is Belle and Maurice’s Belgian draft horse in Beauty and the Beast. Even as a tween watching the iconic movie when it first came out, I’ve always cringed when Philippe came running back with the cart and Belle grabs him by the reins and demands, “Philippe! What are you doing here? Where’s…? Where’s Papa? Where is he, Philippe?” Something about the “Where is he, Philippe” always got me. Like, he’s not an oracle.
Anyway, Philippe is less of a factor than some of the other Disney horses, but like most he is loyal to his people, even if he is a bit nervous and spooky (and haven’t we all known a horse or two like that?). According to the Disney Fandom.com page, he was originally supposed to be named Orson (I’m kind of a fan, I have to admit) and Maurice nearly lost him due to his inability to pay his taxes. Thankfully, he was able to hang on to the horse so that Philippe could make an appearance in Beauty and the Beast and The Enchanted Christmas.
Samson is Prince Phillip’s horse in Sleeping Beauty. He doesn’t speak beyond neighing, but he’s smart enough to find his way home on his own and clearly is brave enough to rush through a forest of thorns and into the castle in order to save Aurora, which is more than we can say for some of the other horses in the Disney collection (cough — Philippe — cough).
Samson doesn’t have as major a role as some of the other Disney horses, but he is credited with paving the way for the horse companion characters in future Disney films. His stubborn but lovable personality appears in many of the other horses featured here and in the first part to this article.
Sitron is Prince Hans’s horse in Frozen. He accompanies Hans to Arendelle for Queen Elsa’s coronation. Sitron is a Fjord horse, with a fairly typical appearance. He doesn’t have a huge role in the film, but his presence does help facilitate Hans and Anna meeting, thereby triggering the series of events that leads Elsa to set off an eternal winter and, you know, having to let it go and build the plot for the rest of the film. On the upside, when Hans gets shipped back to the Southern Isles, so maybe Anna and Elsa keep him? We’re not sure.
Okay, so we’ve seen this horse listed under both names, but according Disney’s Fandom.com page, his name is Widowmaker. He’s one of the main characters in from the Pecos Bill segment of Disney’s 1948 feature film Melody Time. He’s first introduced crossing a desert with vultures circling overhead (that’s never a good sign). The young horse tries to defend himself but is quickly overwhelmed due to his thirst (and likely something else? we’re not really sure vultures circle healthy animals, but what do we know?). However, Bill arrives in time and saves the horse from the vultures. After that, the pair is inseparable.
Widowmaker is jealous and clever, and always the brains of the partnership. When he sees Bill doing something stupid, he’s sure to interrupt him. However, his jealousy does get the best of him occasionally, as he had an absolute fit when Bill decides to marry Sue. So much so that he tries so hard to buck off Sue, that he throws his shoes. We think Sue might be the real hero, though. She sits those bucks like a champ, powdering her nose while Widowmaker tries his best to unseat her. Eventually her clothing does get the best of her, as her bustle bounces with the bucks — so much so that she goes to the moon. Bill tries to lasso her back, but Widowmaker stands on the rope so Bill is unsuccessful. After that, Bill and Widowmaker return to the coyote pack (after all, isn’t life with a horse better anyway? we’re with you, Widowmaker).
Who did we miss? Who is your favorite? Let us know in the Facebook comments!