Top Three Animated Horses

February 3, 2015 3:55 pm

Horses, in a variety of guises, have found popularity across various forms of entertainment. These majestic creatures are loved by people of all ages and have an appeal that transcends gender, class and culture.

Whether it be young girls running to buy horse-themed stationary or older men heatedly debating over Grand National odds, it appears everyone cannot get enough of horses. In whatever context one describes them – whether it be sport, movies or painting – horses have their place and respective fan-base in pretty much every form of entertainment imaginable. It is also notable that horses, within the realm of animation, have proven to be the animal most likely to produce memorable and charismatic characters. Therefore, to honour this, here are three of the best animated horses.

Maximus (Tangled, 2010)

Described by creators and Tangled directors Byron Howard and Nathan Greno as ‘the Tommy Lee Jones of horses’, Maximus is definitely one cool customer. The break-out character of 2010 surprise hit Tangled, Maximus is the dedicated guardsman’s horse determined to capture protagonist Flynn Rider. Where Maximus succeeds, and other Disney animal sidekicks have failed, is the sublime decision to render him speechless by his creators. Taking a leaf out of Wallace and Gromit’s book, Maximus’s personality is communicated entirely though facial expression. Moreover, the animators instil an almost Gromit-like exasperation to Maximus’s characterisation, where his constant frustration at the stupidity of the humans around him is mined repeatedly for comedic gold. If nothing else, Maximus deserves a place on the list for the quality of the film’s cutaways to him alone.

animated horse

by iamanticonformity

Boxer (Animal Farm, 1954)

John Halas and Joy Batchelor’s faithful adaptation of George Orwell’s superb allegorical novel, perfectly depicts the heartbreaking fate of workhorse Boxer. Mixing animation and art-design inspired by Walt Disney with the unflinchingly and unsentimental source material, Animal Farm is harrowing without compromising its universal appeal. Boxer is the physically strong and fiercely loyal horse of the farm, who continues to support and believe in the propaganda of supreme pig Napoleon without any doubt. Boxer not only protects the other animals, through taking on their workload, but refuses to see the bad in anyone. Tragically, when Boxer has worked himself to almost-death, he is sold to a glue factory when Napoleon decides he is no-longer useful. Boxer’s noble death, and pureness of heart, is beautifully depicted on screen and makes his death perhaps the most heartbreaking and unjust of any animated horse in the history of cinema.

Quick Draw McGraw (The Quick Draw McGraw Show, 1959)

One of the more forgotten members of Hanna-Barbera’s superb canon of animated anamorphic heroes, Quick Draw McGraw is a delightfully absurd pastiche of a traditional movie cowboy. Sadly not available on DVD due to licensing rights concerning background music, The Quick Draw McGraw Show combined the slapstick of Tom and Jerry with the conventions of, and homages to, the western film genre. Quick Draw himself was a delightfully incompetent Sheriff who was often outsmarted by his put-upon sidekick Baba Looey. The series was known for its tongue-in-cheek sense of humour, and somewhat surreal visual gags, such as Quick Draw riding into town on horseback, despite being one himself.

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