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[[quoteright:350:[[RobotUnicornAttack http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/RobotUnicorn_2407.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[Administrivia/TropesAreFlexible Unicorns count too]].]]

->''"A horse, or something built around the same general plan, was coming down the street at a hard gallop. Its hooves did not make the pocking noise of iron horseshoes. Bud realized it was a chevaline -- a four-legged robot [[BuffySpeak thingy]]."''
-->-- ''Literature/TheDiamondAge'' by '''Creator/NealStephenson'''

A HorseOfADifferentColor indeed - and an entirely different nature. Combining the [[CoolHorse coolness of a horse]] with the tireless reliability of a machine, the Mechanical Horse is, at its most basic level, a motorbike with legs. (If it ''doesn't'' have legs, see MyHorseIsAMotorbike.) The Mechanical Horse will usually be a [[RobotBuddy robot]], but some {{Steampunk}} universes feature ''clockwork'' horses.

The idea is not quite as ludicrous as it sounds. Biological horses can walk on vastly more kinds of terrain than a wheeled vehicle (not to mention they are perfectly amphibious), and it would be quite useful if there were a machine that could do the same thing. But engineers find it very challenging to overcome all of the problems with moving around on legs, on any uneven surface, without falling down. As an odd example, the US military once funded experimentation into a "walking truck", a horse-like machine designed as an all-terrain mount and transport. (It looks ''[[http://www.frc.ri.cmu.edu/~hpm/project.archive/Image.Archive/other.robots/Mosher.GE.walking.truck.jpg really weird]]''.)

Not to be confused with [[AutomatonHorses horses treated like machines]], or the identically-named [[http://www.mechanical-horse-club.co.uk/ vintage vehicle]]. A really big mechanical horse with some of the animal traits taken away and some weapons added is basically a SpiderTank.

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* ''VampireHunterD'' has a Cool ''Cyborg'' Horse, as his stories are set in 12,000 A.D. The novels however state that his cyborg horses (he goes through several) are just standard model with nothing special about them in the context of the setting, but somehow he manages to make them incredibly fast and agile just by sitting on their back.
* ''Anime/BtX'': X and Shadow, although Kirins, are essentially {{Cool|Horse}} Mechanical Horses. Ones that let you [[BatmanCanBreatheInSpace breath in space]]
* ''Anime/TheAnimatrix'' has a few robots riding robotic horses into combat.
* The Count in ''{{Gankutsuou}}'' has a [[RuleOfCool hovering carriage drawn by mechanical horses]].
* ''GGundam'' gives us Fuunsaiki, a [[HumongousMecha Mecha]] horse piloted by an ''actual'' horse.
** Which was likely inspired by ''SD Gundam'', which frequently featured mechanical horses due to its heavy use of samurai and knight settings. Some characters (such as Musha Zeta and Knight Gundam), even have centaur forms where they can combine with their steed. Perhaps topping them all, Ryofu Tallgeese in the current (as of early 2009) series SD Gundam BBSenshiSangokuden has a powerful robotic horse that can also transform into a motorbike.
* Saber Rider's Steed and April's Nova in ''Anime/SaberRiderAndTheStarSheriffs''.
* There is a robotic horse children guide (along with other robotic animals) in a theme park in ''LightNovel/CrestOfTheStars''. The protagonists enlist its help in escaping, resulting an a ChaseScene.
* ''LightNovel/SwordArtOnline'': Available in Gun-Gale Online as a mount, but are notorious for being more temperamental than actual horses. To the point where players who can ride in real life can't master them.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In a [[ComicBook/DisneyDucksComicUniverse Paperinik]] story (NOT from ''PaperinikNewAdventures''), Gyro Gearloose creates one for the eponymous hero after Scrooge [=McDuck=] confiscates Donald's car.
* "The Horse that Jack" built was a comic strip in ''TheBeano'' back in TheForties about a boy and the robot horse he had built. Made more amazing by the fact that the story was set in [[MedievalEuropeanFantasy the middle ages]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* According to the children’s film ''Film/SantaClaus'', our hero's sleigh is pulled by hideous giggling clockwork reindeer.
* A clockwork horse features prominently in the Literature/ArabianNights based movie ''Film/TheThiefOfBagdad'' as well. [[EvilChancellor Jaffar]] offers it to [[HorribleJudgeOfCharacter The Sultan of Basra]], a toy collector, in exchange for his daughter. (''See also'' {{Literature}}, ''below.'')
* General Grievous' Tsmeu-6 Bike from StarWars: RevengeOfTheSith is able to function both as a [[MonowheelMayhem monowheel]] and a four-legged running beast.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Gamebook]]
* The FightingFantasy book ''Portal of Evil'' featured a flying metal horse, which was owned by the Wizard of the Lake. He gives you (the PC) a ride on it.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* OlderThanPrint: One of the ''Literature/ArabianNights'' stories features a clockwork horse. (''See also'' {{Film}}, ''above.'')
* Obviously drawing on such tales Chaucer in the [[TheCanterburyTales "The Squire's Tale]] told a very similar steed being gifted to GenghisKhan alongside other wondrous items. Yes you read that right.
* ''Literature/TheDarkSideOfTheSun,'' a science fiction novel by Creator/TerryPratchett, features robot horses on a world of nothing but MechanicalLifeforms. The horses are sapient, and have a philosophical outlook on life.
** Pratchett's later book ''Literature/{{Strata}}'', contains a similar mechanical horse ''that can fly.'' The book says it runs on magic.
** Pratchett touched on the subject again in his ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novel ''Discworld/MakingMoney''. The horses are golems -- clay automatons -- and the only one to ride them notes just how uncomfortable a terra cotta saddle is. And don't ask about the Igor horses built from spare parts...
* ''Literature/TheDiamondAge'' by Creator/NealStephenson has mechanical horses; one of the main characters is given one with directions preprogrammed into it as a way of taking him to a secret location. Interesting in that they're specifically mentioned as being capable of using different gaits: galloping like a horse on smooth, level terrain, but more like a big cat when walking on steep, uneven terrain.
* Creator/RogerZelazny:
** In ''Dilvish, the Damned'' and the sequel, ''The Changing Land'', Dilvish had a talking metal horse named Black (which was... black). Not exactly a Mecha Horse, as we find out that [[spoiler:it is some kind of creature, possibly a demon, who agreed to help him in his quest according to a deal they made while they were in Hell]].
** Bronze, the Steel General's steed in ''Literature/CreaturesOfLightAndDarkness'' is a magically-enhanced mechanical horse that can ride through space. With each step it takes, it travels twice as far as the previous. It is said that with a sufficient run-up, it could circumnavigate the universe in a single stride.
* Do cyborg horses count? ChinaMieville's [[Literature/BasLagCycle Bas-Lag]], the world of ''PerdidoStreetStation'', includes Remade horses as well as criminals.
* "The Quest for Saint Aquin," a 1951 short story by Anthony Boucher, had the priest protagonist using an artificially intelligent "robass," which happened to be an atheist.
* Creator/JulesVerne's steam elephant from ''The Steam House'' is an early example.
* Creator/StephenKing's Dark Tower novel ''DarkTower/WolvesOfTheCalla". The "wolves" that kidnap children from the town of Calla Bryn Sturgis every generation appear as wolf-masked riders, but are actually robots mounted on mechanical horses.
* In ''The Marran God of Fire'' by Aleksandr Volkov (one of the ''TalesOfTheMagicLand'' series), there are two mechanical mules built by Alfred Cunning for Ellie Smith and her friend Tim O'Kelly. The children name them Caesar and Hannibal and ride them to the Magical Land, where the mechanical mounts become alive and, like the dog Totoshka, are able to talk.
* The Hephaestus cabin from ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians'' made some mechanical horses for a chariot race.
* In the ''Literature/WarlockOfGramarye'' series, this overlaps with SapientSteed, as the main character's horse, Fess, is a highly intelligent AI placed in a mechanical horse.
* In ''Literature/DaveBarrySleptHere'', the "Iron Horse" that was used to pull heavy loads before being replaced by the locomotive is implied to be one of these, since it had the drawback of producing "Monster Piles of Iron Droppings."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* In ''{{Garo}}'', after a Makai Knight seals 100 Horrors, they can take a test to see if they're worthy to ride one. These horses are made of metal and has the power to enhance the rider's weapons.
** GARO, ZERO and DAN's horses are named Gouten[[note]]''Thunderous Sky''[[/note]], Ginga[[note]]''Silver Fang''[[/note]] and Hayate[[note]]''Swift Wind''[[/note]] respectively. It's still unknown how KIBA obtains his horse Raigou though.
* In ''Series/MahouSentaiMagiranger'' and its counterpart ''Series/PowerRangersMysticForce'', TheDragon has a HellishHorse from the underworld that can grow giant, and turn into a horse mecha. He can [[CombiningMecha combine]] with it to form a mecha-centaur, and then ''further'' combine with it to form a horse-based [[HumongousMecha Megazord.]] TheHero can form this Megazord as well, and they later one-upped themselves by giving him his own mecha ''unicorn.''
** And a later villain has a chariot pulled by two similar mecha-horses.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* A Canadian indie rock band called RockPlazaCentral has an entire concept album called ''Are We Not Horses?'' -- all about robot horses who achieve sentience.
* During their most recent tour, Music/TakeThat had a [[http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2477/3671943867_2c950189d4_o.jpg giant mechanical elephant]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* [[http://www.b3tards.com/u/7c82098adc87c1f1dee2/oldesteamhorse2.jpg This.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Radio]]
* In a ''DoctorWhoExpandedUniverse'' audio, it's revealed [[CyberneticsEatYourSoul the Cyber]][[BodyHorror men]] had first cyberconverted horses. The result is HellishHorse, as by Cyberman norm, it's a corpse laden with cybernetics.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons's ''{{Eberron}}'' campaign setting features automaton horses.
** Not to mention the Stone Horse items in the 3rd edition Dungeon Masters Guide.
* In the tabletop RPG ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'', some characters can create horse-like constructs of bonded magical energy, or own magitek constructs as steeds.
* ''{{Rifts}}'' features both Robot and Bionic horses.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', in addition to fully robotic mounts, has heavily augmented bionic horses, cyber-wolves and cyber-''boars''.
** Mogul Kamir of the [[MeaningfulName Attilan]] Rough Riders is an example, known for previously riding a lot of horses to death.
** And Warhammer Fantasy features [[http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/catalog/productDetail.jsp?catId=cat440090a&prodId=prod1530056a the mechanical steed]]. This is sufficiently ridiculous for even the distinctively over-the-top Warhammer world that many Empire players consider it FanonDiscontinuity. Empire army book author [[http://www.warvault.net/interview.php Graham McNeill]] considers it the Empire's attempt to invent the car. Oh and it shoots ''lightning, from it's eyes''.
* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' has the [[http://magiccards.info/ch/en/76.html Bronze Horse]], [[http://magiccards.info/5e/en/357.html Clockwork Steed]], [[http://magiccards.info/ex/en/142.html Workhorse]], and [[http://magiccards.info/som/en/142.html Chrome Steed]]. [[http://magiccards.info/mbs/en/8.html Hero of Bladehold]] and [[http://magiccards.info/mbs/en/66.html Hero of Oxid Ridge]] can be seen riding Chrome Steeds as well.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Deadlands}}'' features mechanical pack mules available through a company specializing in [[MadScientist weird-science products]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Toys]]
* ''Franchise/MastersOfTheUniverse'' had a robotic horse called ''Stridur.'' Fisto is seen riding it in this promotional poster.[[http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/grayskull.jpg]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}} has an ad for [[http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Giddyup_Buttercup "Giddyup Buttercup"]] ("The Ultimate in Equestrian Robotics!") appear in multiple locations. In the Mothership Zeta add-on you find a room full of them in the alien mothership - [[BewareTheNiceOnes along with a number of dead aliens that have apparently been kicked to death]].
* The Mechanostriders (mechanical ''ostriches'') from ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''.
* The Genesis game ''AlienSolider'' has Wolfgunblood Garopa as boss of Stage 23, who is a [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot mechanical cowboy wolf]] with a machine-gun pistol riding one of these.
* The Aussenseiter in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'' is piloted by a person, but [[TransformingMecha transforms]] into a horse. All together now: "Real Men Ride Each Other".
* One of the challenges in ''VideoGame/{{Syberia}} II'' is how to repair a group of horse automata (no, not AutomatonHorses!) that "dance" on stage in a tavern. They can't be ridden anywhere, but they're kinda fun to watch.
* ''RobotUnicornAttack''. Speaks for itself.
* ''VideoGame/{{BioShock Infinite}}'' features mechanical horses. According to the ''Bioshock'' website, the mechanical horses called Automated Stallions were meant to replace horses on Columbia that were more likely fall off the floating city when startled by weather conditions and enemy attacks.
* The Defiant faction in ''{{Rift}}'' can get "eldritch steeds", which play the trope straight with {{magitek}}.
* In ''Videogame/FinalFantasyXIII'', the transformed Odin is a mecha warhorse that inexplicably wafts rose petals in it's wake.
* In ''{{Onimusha}} 2'', Jubei finds a strange metal sphere with an indentation bearing the word "Faith." When Jubei uses the Faith Orb given to him by Oyu on the sphere it unpacks into a mechanical horse.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* In ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'', carriages are drawn by the Model-H's: intricate robotic horses that spout [[ParadiseLost Milton]] as they slouch apocalyptically toward their destination.
* Gertrude, Brunhilda & Nikki of the webcomic ''TheKAMics'' received mechanical pegasi as a gift from the webcomic ''MagicalMisfits''. Nikki's pegasus was shown to convert into a convertible.
* Shiratz in ''UNAFrontiers'' is a 4,000-year-old alien probe that looks like a rather smallish but refined Pinto riding horse. He is realistic enough to pass a non-invasive veterinary inspection.
* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'': One of the accomplishments of the Spark known as the Iron Sheik is that [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20030905 he built a Mechanical Camel]].
** Bill and Barry Heterodyne rode to Mechanicsburg on horse clanks faster than possible when they herd about the attack.
* At one point in ''{{Homestuck}}'', Rufioh was seriously injured. In order to save him, his boyfriend Horuss built him a mechanical body. And because [[MeaningfulName Horuss]] has a creepy horse obsession, he made the body in the shape of a mechanical horse so Rufioh would better fit Horuss' ideal vision.
* The mechanical horses from ''Webcomic/{{Crankrats}}'' are mostly in the background, and they have yet to be relevant to the plot in any real sense, [[RuleOfCool But goddammit they're just so awesome!!!]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In the WhateleyUniverse, Stalwart likes to go around in Arthurian-looking PoweredArmor he built himself. He has a robot horse he rides too. It still breaks down a lot. He is only in high school.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Bravestarr}}'' had a talking cyborg horse named 30-30, who could switch between humanoid and quadruped forms, and served as his deputy. And carried a shotgun to boot.
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfTheGalaxyRangers'' has robo-horses, since many newly settled planets lack roads for wheeled vehicles.
* The fan-favorite ''WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse1983'' episode "Origin of the Sorceress" also featured Stri-Dor, Man-At-Arms' hand-built robot mount for He-Man, which Cringer/Battle Cat viewed with no small amount of distaste. It even got a HeroicSacrifice-turned-DisneyDeath fighting a villain called...wait for it...[[ShoutOut Morgoth the]] [[LordOfTheRings Terrible.]]
* The RankinBass special ''Jack Frost'' has the villain, Kubla Krauss, riding a SteamPunk mechanical horse called "Clangstomper."
* ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' has a few of them in the episode "Showdown at Crooked D". Her uncle has a technologically advanced ranch where the horses are the norm.
* The RainbowBrite movie ''Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer''. (the one with "[[MeaningfulName Spectra]]", the diamond-planet) features a talking, flying Cyber Horse called On-X (pronounced "Onyx"), for Brite's SpearCounterpart Krys (pronounced "Chris").
* One of Heloise's many inventions on ''{{Jimmy Two-Shoes}}'', which she intended to pull a carriage for her and Jimmy.
* ''SamuraiJack'': Occured when Jack was fighting off cowboys in a steam-punk based future part of TheWildWest. Instead of legs, the robot steeds hovered above the ground.
* ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'' had one episode where gang of cowboy-style robbers staged a hold-up on the school bus where the eponymous team gang is waiting to be taken to school. They all ride jet-powered mechanical ponies.
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'' where fellow anti-hero ComicBook/JonahHex rode on a sleek mechanical horse-like robot after being dragged from his timeline by Mongul to have warriors fight in his "War World", again taking place in a futuristic Wild West setting.
* ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'': Although shown only briefly, a few mechanical horses galloped along Dee-dee (who transformed into a horse after begging her brother to turn her into a pony) as part of a testing ground assessing the stengths of her new body.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* One of the early projects of ''automobile'', back in the 1800s, included a ''papier-mâché'' wheeled horse with engine inside. The idea was to make it less scary to other horses (and some of the more conservative folks as well).
** [[http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1657686_1657662,00.html Here's]] some proof. Seriously... That particular early automobile ''was actually named and marketed as the'' [[AlliterativeName "Horsey]] [[PunnyName Horseless"]] !
* The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1czBcnX1Ww BigDog]] mechanical mule.
** And now, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wE3fmFTtP9g The WildCat.]] It has an added effect of being [[NightmareFuel absolutely terryfying.]]
** The successor to the [=BigDog=], the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legged_Squad_Support_System Legged Squad Support System]], currently (December 2013) in development for [[ThePentagon US Armed Forces]], is, in essence, a mechanical packhorse, designed to carry equipment and supplies and collect intelligence for soldiers in urban situations or rough terrain.
* A concept design by Jason Battersby has a real-life version. Called the Nomad, it even gets energy from eating vegetation [[http://www.flylyf.com/project-nomad-jason-battersby/]].
[[/folder]]

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