The Most Famous Horses Throughout History
Horses have played a surprisingly significant role in shaping human history – we have seen them as companions, they have been the strength behind famous warriors and symbols of power. We have written stories about them, made films about them, sung about them – and we just can’t get enough of them.
From legendary warhorses to iconic racehorses, here are some of the most famous horses that have had a huge impact on the history of the world as we know it.
1. Alexander the Great’s Bucephalus
A lot is said about the legend of Alexander the Great, the Prince of Macedon, who was crowned King after the murder of his father and went on to conquer Persia. However, he was always accompanied by his trusted steed, who carried him through even the fiercest of battles.
Indeed, one of the most renowned horses in ancient history was Bucephalus, who belonged to Alexander the Great. This was a horse of extraordinary strength and loyalty. This beloved beast carried Alexander through numerous conquests, including the famous Battle of Issus in 333 BCE. Legend has it that Alexander tamed the supposedly wild and untamable Bucephalus when he was just a teenager – and the rest, as they say, is history.
2. Napoleon’s Marengo
Named after the Battle of Marengo, where Napoleon took victory, Marengo was the faithful steed of the diminutive French military genius. Another horse known for his courage and resilience in the heat of battle, Marengo accompanied Napoleon in numerous dangerous campaigns – including the Battle of Waterloo.
After Napoleon’s defeat, Marengo went on to live a long life and was even part of Queen Victoria’s coronation parade.
3. The Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Traveller
Traveller, the grey American Saddlebred, became the trusted companion of Confederate General Robert E. Lee during the American Civil War. The horse, famed for his stamina and endurance, carried General Lee through many a battle.
After the war, Traveller lived a happy life with Lee and became a symbol of the Southern Confederacy.
4. Comanche – The Sole Survivor of Little Bighorn
Comanche, a mixed-breed horse, earned fame for being the only survivor of the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876, where General Custer and his men faced defeat. Despite sustaining several injuries during the battle, Comanche miraculously survived and was nursed back to health.
As such, he became a symbol of courage and resilience and lived out the remainder of his days as a famous military hero.
5. Secretariat – The Triple Crown Legend
Those who like to make horse race bets will no doubt have heard of Secretariat, considered one of the greatest racehorses of all time. Secretariat achieved legendary status by winning the Triple Crown in 1973. His record-breaking performances in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes have gone down in horse racing history.
Secretariat’s incredible speed and grace captured the hearts of millions and put him up there as an icon in the world of racing.
6. Black Beauty – The Literary Icon
Although this isn’t a real horse, per se, Black Beauty, the fictional character created by Anna Sewell, has become an icon in the world of literature. “Black Beauty: His Grooms and Companions, the Autobiography of a Horse” was published in 1877 and highlighted the abuse that horses suffered back in Victorian England.
It was the story of Black Beauty that sparked a movement for the more humane treatment of animals… and it remains a classic to this day.
7. Trigger – Roy Rogers’ Palomino Star
Trigger, the golden palomino, rose to fame as the companion of cowboy actor Roy Rogers. Known for his intelligence – and the fact that he could perform seriously impressive tricks, Trigger became a Hollywood superstar – and appeared in many different films and TV shows alongside Rogers.
After he passed, his mounted remains were preserved, and he is still considered an iconic figure in Western film history.
8. Red Rum – The Grand National Champion
Finally, we can’t forget Red Rum, the legendary racehorse who won the Grand National three times in the 1970s. Trained by Ginger McCain, his incredible endurance and skill over the challenging course made him a huge fan favourite.
These horses – courageous, loyal, strong and brave have left their mark on the world – and are the perfect examples of why they share such a bond with us that transcends time,