The Most Iconic Horses in Fiction

For thousands of years, humans have marveled at horses. The theme of horses has been a favorite everywhere – from casino slots to serious equestrian passions. But what are the most iconic figures that we all admire? Let’s remember them together. 

Rocinante of Don Quixote

This name is not accidental: Don Quixote himself came up with it before embarking on a journey, combining the words rocin (“nag”) and ante (“ahead”). What would that mean? There was a simple logic behind it: “Before this horse was an ordinary horse, now, ahead of all the others, it has become the first horse in the world.” There is a great deal of truth in this: together with Don Quixote and his horse, he went far beyond the binding of one particular novel of the early 17th century. At the same time, if Don Quixote has become a universally recognized symbol of a beautiful-hearted eccentric who fights with windmills, then his faithful Rocinante is the living embodiment of the saying “The old horse does not spoil the furrow”: a fair hard worker who honestly fulfills his hard duty.


The beautiful silver stallion with widespread wings was beloved by Muses. There are several versions of how Pegasus was created:

  • one legend has it that Pegasus was born to the Gorgon Medusa from Poseidon. He hopped out of the body of Medusa, after Perseus cut off her head. 
  • another version tells that this horse was born by the blood of Medusa that fell on the ground.  

Pegasus has an important role in many ancient Greek myths, for example, he was known to deliver lightning and thunder from Hephaestus to Zeus on Olympus. 

Trojan Horse

The Trojan horse is a wooden horse, some trick used by the Greeks to enter Troy and win, according to the stories of the Trojan War.

In the general-known version, after a fruitless 10-year siege, the Greeks built a giant wooden horse and hid a detachment inside.

The Greeks pretended to swim away, and the Trojans dragged the horse into their city. That night, the Greek troops got out of the horse and opened the gates for the rest of the Greek army, who silently returned under cover of night. The Greeks destroyed Troy, finally ending the war.


This famous horse will be recognized at once by all the admirers of The Lord of the Rings movies and books. Shadowfax was a noble horse, the leader of the royal herd of mearas. Looking at him, the word “flawless” comes to mind – gay and silver colored, fearless, and, in addition, understanding human speech. Shadowfax could run faster than any other horse in Middle-earth, and no one could ride it except Gandalf. He hated harness and saddle and wore Gandalf of his own choosing.

Gandalf went to Edoras when he finally broke free from captivity in Isengard, but was not welcomed there. King Theoden asked him to leave, but offered to choose any horse for himself. That was the moment when Gandalf decided to take Shadowfax. Later, after becoming Gandalf the White, the magician returns to Rohan and does King Theoden a favor by healing him, after which the king gives him the white steed.


Spirit is a brave horse from DreamWorks Animation’s cartoon. It tells us a story of a wild mustang stallion, Spirit, traveling throughout America. The bold Spirit befriends a young Indian, Little Creek, and finds love with a beautiful mare named Rain. The whole story takes place in the background of bloody battles between the American nation and the Indians in the 1870s. There, on the banks of the American Cimarron River, Spirit was born, grew up, and even became the leader of the herd. But the story goes on, and he struggles with various challenges on his way to freedom. The example of Spirit teaches how to be true to yourself, never give up, and always strive for the better. 


Maximus, from Tangled, is an incredibly intelligent horse that serves as the royal guard.

Maximus is brilliant and efficient. Able to take the initiative and act independently. He is a mentor to the other horses in the royal stable, and, after the events of Tangled, in the royal guard. Very determined and fearless, always ready to rush into battle. He is distinguished by exceptional responsibility, which, sometimes, combined with fearlessness, makes him act recklessly.