Disney Horses for Derby Day

I don’t know how many of you knew I used to live in Kentucky, or that I grew up riding my cousin’s horses. Even, as a child, I would always watch the Kentucky Derby, hailed as the most exciting two minutes in sports. This weekend, the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby will be held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. I always try to pick out my favorite based on the names, not the odds, and I’ve done pretty well in the last few years. While I would love to make it to the Derby at some point in my life, this is not the year. However, I will partake in a mint julep, if I can get together the ingredients, or if I can make it over to the Turf Club at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. This all got me thinking about the horses that can be found in Disney animation. So, if you will indulge me once again, I’ll take you back to visit some of the horses in Disney movies.


Melody Time (1948)

In the Pecos Bill short, Bill’s horse Widowmaker is his sidekick. He accompanies Pecos Bill on his adventures and his love story with Slue Foot Sue.Widowmaker

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)

For anyone who has seen this short package film before, you may have noticed in the Legend of Sleepy Hollow story that two horses have prominent roles. One, unnamed in the short, but named Gunpowder in the Washington Irving short story, is the horse Ichabod Crane borrows to travel to go to the Van Tassel farm and back home. The second, is the horse ridden by the Headless Horseman. This horse can be seen in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World before the beginning of the Boo To You Parade during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party on select nights in September and October.

Ichabod's horseThe_Headless_Horseman



Cinderella (1950)

In Cinderella, she has a horse named Major who was given to her as a gift from her father before he died. During the scene with the Fairy Godmother, Major is turned into a footman who drives Cinderella to and from the ball to meet Prince Charming. The four mice, Bert, Luke, Jaq and Gus, are turned into horses who draw the carriage for Cinderella.

Cinderella's horse MajorCinderella's horses


Sleeping Beauty (1959)

Prince Phillip’s trusty steed, Samson, helps him get around the forest where he first meets Briar Rose/Princess Aurora. Samson is also integral in transporting Phillip to fight Maleficent. Samson seems to emote quite a bit, which to me is a precursor to some of his later counterparts in Hercules, Mulan and Tangled in particular.



101 Dalmatians (1961)

In the Twilight Bark sequence, a horse named Captain helps out along with Colonel, a dog, and Sergeant Tibbs, a cat, in passing along the message to help find the missing puppies.




The Aristocats (1970)

Frou-Frou is the horse belonging to Madame Bonfamille, who is friends with Duchess and her kittens. When Edgar the butler confesses to Frou-Frou that he was the one who catnapped Duchess, Berlioz, Toulouse and Marie, the horse teams up with Roquefort the mouse to help get the kittens home and capture Edgar.




Beauty and the Beast (1991)

In Beauty and the Beast, Maurice and Belle’s horse Philippe plays an important part in bringing them into the Beast’s world. If Philippe had not been frightened by wolves, Maurice never would have stumbled upon the castle. It was also Philippe who brought Belle to the castle to find Maurice. Later Philippe also helps Belle return to Beast when the villagers are attacking the castle.




The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

Captain Phoebus’ horse’s name is Achilles, but at times the equine seems to act more like a canine. Phoebus, on more than one occasion, commands Achilles to sit, which the horse does obligingly.




Hercules (1997)

Pegasus is one of my favorite “horses” in Disney animated films. He is especially adorable as a baby, and is always found right by Herc’s side. These two buddies grew up together and nothing can tear apart their bond and loyalty to each other.

baby pegasus


Mulan (1998)

Khan is one of Mulan’s sidekicks, along with Mushu and Cri-kee, that helps her as she goes off to battle in her father’s place to defeat the Huns. Khan is definitely one of the most expressive of all of the Disney horses in my opinion.



Toy Story 2 (1999) and Toy Story 3 (2010)

Bullseye is probably one of the most loyal horses on the list. He is definitely up there as one of my favorites, and the Roundup Gang with Woody and Jessie wouldn’t be the same without him.



Home on the Range (2004)

This movie is about a trio of cows who are in danger of losing their farm to the highest bidder if they can’t raise money to save it. The cows team up with a horse named Buck to help capture a cattle thief named Alameda Slim, and the reward money is just enough to save the farm, literally.



Tangled (2010)

Now we come to my favorite horse on the list, and one of my favorite non-speaking Disney sidekicks of all time, Maximus. This horse of the Royal Guard appears to be part bloodhound, and only out for Flynn Rider’s blood … at first. Eventually, the two pair up to save Rapunzel and the kingdom can live happily ever after with Maximus wielding his frying pan. Who knew?




Brave (2012)

Angus is Merida’s horse who acts almost like her confidante. He tries to help lead her to the right decision when it comes to the strife between Merida and Queen Eleanor. Angus always seems happy to take Merida on her ride when she doesn’t have her princess lessons.



Frozen (2013)

Two horses play important catalysts in the plot of Frozen. First, the horse belonging to Prince Hans of the Southern Isles is there to save Anna from falling into the fjord when she bumps into him. This provides the meet cute for Anna and Hans and later plot developments (grr). The second horse belongs to Anna. The princess follows after her sister on horseback, Queen Elsa, after the whole freezing the town thing. Anna’s horse is startled and throws Anna, who then falls into a creek and snow falls on her. This causes her to find Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post … and Sauna, where she meets Kristoff (yeah!).

Hans' horseAnna's horse



I know that this is not a complete list, but it is fairly comprehensive. How many of these horses do you remember? Do you have any favorites? This was a lot of fun revisiting some of the lesser known horses especially. I hope you all have a great Derby Day tomorrow!

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Kentucky Derby Day at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort

DSCF7944This Saturday, May 3rd, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa will be hosting activities to celebrate the Kentucky Derby.

Most of the crafts and games will take place around the High Rock Spring Pool, with some also occurring at the Paddock Pool or in Community Hall.

The first activity is at 1pm at both pools with Make Your Own Derby Hat.

At 2pm the High Rock Spring Pool (main pool) will have Disney Horse Trivia and the Paddock Pool will start their pool party.

High Rock Springs will have a Dance Party at 3pm, followed directly by their pool party at 3:15pm.

The Paddock Pool is having Paper Bag Horses at 3pm, then Color a Jockey Jacket at 3:30pm. At 4pm they will have the Race for the Roses.

Over at the main pool at 4:15pm guests can make their own mint julep ice cream.

At 7:30pm there will be s’mores at the High Rock Spring Pool, and the movie under the stars at 9pm will be Secretariat.

Community Hall will have an activity where guests can make their own burlap wreath for an additional cost.

As always, times and activities are subject to change. We hope you get to check out some of these special activities just for Kentucky Derby Day. Saratoga Springs seems like the perfect place to celebrate Derby Day at Walt Disney World.

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