The Top 6 Horse People in Pop Culture
BoJack Horseman comes to an end this week, probably my favorite TV show of the past several years. It is a masterful show combining comedy and drama in equal measure, to degrees rarely seen in entertainment. It’s funny, and then it’s so damn poignant!
So let’s celebrate anthropomorphic horse people in pop culture!
Anthropomorphic animals are a staple across cartoons, comics, movies and everything else under the sun. Who doesn’t love a good talking horse? Heck, having just a regular horse with some human characteristics is a hugely popular trope across all of fiction. But in honor of BoJack Horseman (who definitely makes this list), we’re going to look specifically at horses that can at least talk. Horses with character. Horses with depression. Horses with real personality!
Join me after the jump for the best talking horse characters in popular culture!
6. Swift Wind
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is one of my other favorite TV shows these days, and it’s also a cartoon on Netflix. It’s a re-imagining of the classic She-Ra cartoon, with a lot more creativity and drive this time around. She-Ra’s sidekick and magical partner is Swift Wind, a normal horse that she accidentally zapped with her magic powers and turned into a magical, armored, rainbow Pegasus unicorn. Swift Wind is a chipper, sometimes obnoxious partner that loves being able to talk and fly and contribute. He’s a pretty funny addition to the cast of heroes. It’s the best outcome for a regular horse, quite honestly.
5. James Baxter
I finally got around to watching the Adventure Time series finale this past weekend and it was amazing! Lived up to all the excitement and hype of enjoying that show all these years. James Baxter was the star of two specific episodes. He is a horse that travels around balancing on a beach ball and constantly saying the words “James Baxter”. He’s a celebrity because of how much joy he brings to the world on that beach ball. His episodes are all about appreciating art and artists, and finding your own art within you. He’s also animated by guest animator James Baxter, who has a long history with Disney animation and a multitude of other projects. Because only a show like Adventure Time would bring in a famous animator to have him create a horse balancing on a beach ball constantly calling out his own name.
4. Mister Ed
This one is going back! Mister Ed was a talking horse in a TV show of the same name all the way back in the early 1960s, in the black & white TV days. The show was about a horse who could only talk to his owner, and often revolved around people thinking the owner was cuckoo for talking to his horse. Mister Ed liked mischief and gladly played this for laughs. And I’m pretty sure that’s it, that’s all the show was about, and that’s how television worked back then. A talking horse, that can only talk to one guy, causes mischief for that guy. In today’s market, the talking horse would be a metaphor for mental illness. Also, upon reading the Wikipedia page for Mister Ed, I’ve discovered that he was a knock-off of the Francis the Talking Mule movies, of which there were seven! There were seven Francis the Talking Mule movies! What a time to be alive.
3. Horace Horsecollar
Horace Horsecollar is one of Mickey Mouse’s early buddies from the original cartoons, but he lacked the popularity of your Donald Duck or your Goofy, so he quickly faded into the background. But he was in a couple of the early Disney shorts, often hanging out with Clarabelle Cow. In fact, did you know that Horace and Goofy were romantic rivals for Clarabelle’s affections? Did you know Goofy had game like that?! And did you know that Horace was once pitched to have his own mid-90s Disney revival cartoon like Goof Troop and DuckTales? Apparently it was going to be called “Maximum Horsepower” and involve Horace blasting off across the galaxy to battle aliens or some such nonsense. I think that’s perfect for a Disney+ revival!
2. BoJack Horseman
Back in the 90s, BoJack was in a very famous TV show! Don’t act like you don’t know. BoJack is such a fascinating character. He’s utterly self-destructive, but he’s just charming and good-hearted enough that you root for him to get better, no matter how many horrible things he does. I have very much enjoyed watching the show break him apart and pick up the pieces, detailing a long life of abuse and depression, while giving him a wonderful supporting cast of people who care. Couple all of that with a dry, cool sarcastic wit and a comfy-looking blue sweater and you’ve got a phenomenally horsey TV character.
1. Quick Draw McGraw
Sorry BoJack, but you’ll probably never be as famous as the fastest hoof in the west, Quick Draw McGraw! This old timey sheriff was a classic Western parody from Hanna-Barbera way back at the tail end of the 1950s. Quick Draw was a dim-witted cowboy type, quick with a gun and even faster with a pratfall. Quick Draw McGraw was my jam as a kid. And not only was he a cowboy, but he was a masked vigilante as well! El Kabong would swoop down and smash evil-doers over the head with a guitar, because sometimes the law wasn’t enough and Quick Draw would have to take matters into his own hands, beyond the badge. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, indeed.