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Moody Mount

A horse, dragon, dinosaur, or other creature that is being used as a mount has a mind of its own.... and doesn't like its rider. So it resists being saddled, doesn't take commands, tries and often succeeds in throwing the rider. Such animals are often black. They most likely started out fractious when being broken (indeed, broncos for rodeos are specially selected for the challenge they present), and this mount hasn't improved much with training. Don't expect bribes of food treats to work either; people foolish enough to offer a treat are likely to be bitten and/or kicked for their trouble.

If such an animal is well-known to be temperamental, expect its name to reflect this (or alternately, be hilariously inappropriate). Characters in the know (stable hands or bystanders with expertise in handling such animals) will advise against riding the animal. Despite having such a reputation, a specific person may get good responses from the animal, and be much marveled at for doing so. (Compare Only I Can Make It Go, because as we all know horses are just another kind of vehicle.)

Frequently Played for Laughs. See also Horsing Around.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Ash's Charizard in the first season of the Pokémon anime. He fights when he wants and when he doesn't feel like it, he sleeps.
  • In addition to being a Sapient Steed, the relationship between the bounty hunter and his horse in Moon Jung-hoo "Yongbi" is often a contentious one, often getting into arguments like an old married couple.

Film — Animated
  • The Road to El Dorado has Altivo, who may have inspired Maximus below; they're both suspiciously intelligent white warhorses who were stolen from their owners and got very very angry about it. Altivo, in this case, originally belonged to Hernán Cortés.
  • Disney's Melody Time segment "Pecos Bill." See Folklore below.
  • In Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, the title character. Justified in that he was taken from the wild and treated harshly.
  • Maximus from Tangled won't let Flynn Rider ride him. Perhaps it has something to do with him being the Captain of the Guard's horse, and Flynn being a wanted criminal.
  • Toothless of How to Train Your Dragon decides when Hiccup, his rider, gets to set the course. All other times, he only gets to hang on.

Film — Live Action
  • Friar Tuck's donkey in Sword Of Sherwood Forest.
  • "Tornado" (the 2nd one) in The Mask of Zorro
  • Invoked in a Made-for-TV movie years ago. A boy and his bull, which was being raised for the rodeo bullriding circuit.
  • In Candleshoe, Priory (David Niven) rides a horse that is rather difficult to control. It eventually gallops off in mid conversation with Priory on it. It's not clear whether this is really a case of a Moody Mount, or if Priory is just that bad at horsemanship.
    Lady St. Edmund: the Colonel's new horse must be even more spirited than Satan was.
  • Rashomon: The court officer claims that the bandit was thrown by the horse he stole from the samurai — the bandit maintains that he fell out of the saddle because he was weakened by poisoned water.
  • Seabiscuit, infamously, to the point the movie actually toned down the behavior of the real horse because the filmmakers were worried that the audience would think they were playing up this trope for a laugh.

Folklore
  • In the Tall Tale of Pecos Bill, the horse known as Widowmaker would let no one ride him but Bill. When Slue-Foot Sue, Bill's love, tried to ride Widowmaker, he took her for quite a trip - all the way to the Moon.

Literature
  • Ichabod Crane's borrowed horse Gunpowder in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: "The animal he bestrode was a broken-down plow-horse, that had outlived almost everything but its viciousness."
  • About half the horses ridden by the heroes of Louis L'Amour's Westerns.
  • Stranger (ridden by The Hound) and Smiler (ridden by Theon) from A Song of Ice and Fire. Justified Trope since these are war mounts, trained for battle.
    • Not to mention Drogon. So far the other two dragons have proved too moody to be mounted at all.
  • Discworld:
    • In Going Postal, Moist von Lipwig rides one of these (named Boris) to another city to help save the postal system. The stablemaster gave it to him as retaliation for Moist's disparaging remarks about his horses - although he tries to back out when Moist accepts the ride, because then it started "looking too much like murder". It's mentioned that Boris would have been a champion racehorse except for his unbreakable habit of attacking the competitors and jumping the fence at the first turn.
    • Lt. Blouse's horse in Monstrous Regiment. Turns out part of the reason it's so grumpy may be that Blouse thinks the horse is male, but male she ain't. Blouse isn't very observant.
    • And "You Bastard" the camel in Pyramids. Another book has Evil-Minded Son Of A Bitch, also a camel.
    • Jason Ogg the Lancre blacksmith averts this with use of the Horseman's Word, a secret passed down from blacksmith to blacksmith (and witches, if they're pushy enough) to get uncooperative horses to get their hooves shod. It involves giving it a good whack with a big hammer, putting your mouth to the horse's ear, and whispering "Cross me, you bugger, and I'll have thy goolies on t'anvil, thou knows I can." With it he has succesfully shoed "stud stallions, the red-eyed and foam-flecked kings of the horse kingdom, the soup-plate-hoofed beasts that had kicked lesser men through walls" and even a unicorn.
  • Zeus, Theo's recalcitrant horse in the Fools Guild mysteries by Alan Gordon. Theo's little daughter Portia gets affectionate nuzzles, while everybody else risks life and limb just getting close to him, and even Theo has a touch-and-go relationship with him.
  • Codex Alera gives us the Taurga, which try at every opportunity to dislodge, bite or kill their riders.
  • Counselors and Kings has a black stallion belonging to the Jordaini order, who despite being both the largest and the finest horse in their big stable typically was left in his stall. The beast was controllable most in the scenario "set the right direction and let him bolt like mad," and wooden hitching posts worked only until he'd get bored. Matteo rode this one when he meant business, after which he considered an unbroken horse not challenging. And upon reassignment named another aggressive mount after this one.
    Some blasphemous groom had dubbed the horse "Cyric," and the name had stuck. The stallion was as volatile and possibly as crazed as the evil god whose name he bore.
  • In The Sharing Knife, Dag's horse Copperhead is habitually described as "evil", and won't allow anyone but Dag to care for him.
  • The tail end of Paladin of Souls reveals a vicious warhorse that Lord Illvin had been consciously attempting to ride to death (figuring it was the horse or him). It is discovered that said horse is demon-ridden, which, he says sagely, explains a great deal and Ista tames it - after a fashion - with whispered threats of strangling it with its own guts before feeding it to the gods.
  • In Prince Roger, on the planet Marduk the Civan are omnivorous and will happily try to take a bite out of their rider if given the opportunity.
  • The inappropriately named Peachblossom in Protector of the Small is so unruly none of the knights want him. Keladry, with help of The Beastmaster Daine, eventually wins him over. He remains temperamental, though, and only allows her near him. Neal calls him a 'monster'. This may have something to do with the fact that every time Neal goes near him, Peachblossom tries to bite him.
  • Ginger from Black Beauty has aspects of this because of being abused. Her name references this - she's not called Ginger because she's a chestnut, she's called Ginger because she snaps.
  • Rhyshadim in The Stormlight Archives will only allow their chosen human to ride them. One time, when for strategic reasons one hero needs to ride another's Rhyshadim, it takes hours to talk the horse into it.
  • Sparhawk's primary mount Faran in The Elenium and it's sequel. Foul tempered, very intelligent and surprisingly creative in his ways of misbehaving. Though Aphrael claims that it only because he's trying to live up to Sparhawk's expectations as to how a trained warhourse is supposed to act. Around her he is gentle and almost playful.

Live-Action TV

Music
  • "The Strawberry Roan" — "I'll bet all my money the man ain't alive, that can stay with that bronc' 'till he makes his high dive."

Tabletop Games
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, there's an item known as the Obsidian Steed. If the rider is good-aligned, they must roll to control the beast or it goes to the Lower Planes and dumps them there.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Juggernauts of Khorne, giant metal rhinos serving as beasts of battle. Being creatures of the god of rage, they are 'very hard to break in, which makes their riders all the more feared.
    • Slaughterfiends are demonically-possessed machines that exist only to kill. Khornates make a point of trying to hitch a ride on one, as such a feat vastly improves their status.
  • Warhammer has Cold Ones, ostrich-sized raptor-type dinosaurs used by Dark Elves and Lizardmen as cavalry. In the Dark Elves' case, riders need to smear themselves with a special unguent that masks their scent (otherwise the Cold Ones attack them), prolonged use of which deadens your sense of touch. In the fluff, one elf got rid of a rival by replacing his unguent with a placebo, ending with the rival ripped to shreds.

Video Games
  • Red Dead Redemption has a lot of unique and in some cases magical horses that must be "broken" before they can be ridden. And even a broken horse can still buck you off if you don't pay attention to the stamina meter.
  • The Elum in Abe's Oddysee is a grumbly cuss, but hopping on his back is the only way to progress through certain sections where the jumps are too broad for Abe alone.
  • Yoshi from the Super Mario Bros. games will actually run around very fast and become very hard to catch should Mario or Luigi be thrown off his back after Yoshi is hit by an enemy.
  • Angelus from Drakengard acts like this due to a deep hatred for humanity. The only reason she allows Caim to ride her is due to their pact, meaning if one dies so does the other.

Webcomics
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: Yoshi the raptor won't let anyone but Gordito ride him. Unless Gordito is in danger.
  • In Freefall, Sam tries to ride Polly the emu to escape from an angry mob, but she refuses. He gets her to run by pulling off one of his facial tentacles and putting it on a stick
  • The unicorn in Exiern allows the formerly male barbarian heroine Tiffany to ride but absolutely refuses to allow Princess Peonie to mount even when her life is in grave danger (probably because she's reputed to have been mounted more than a few times herself.) Lampshades are hung on both the implications and on the fact that Tiffany doesn't get the implications.
  • Knightmare, the dire unicorn/dragon and Blackjack's steed in The Daemonslayers. While mostly loyal to Blackjack in regards to their shared blistering hatred of daemonkind for corrupting them as they are now (Knightmare was once a noble unicorn, while Blackjack is a black dragon cursed into the form of a dracosvulf), Knightmare's capricious nature makes it so that Blackjack is left with a few broken rips at the end of the day. As a result, Blackjack always has to keep half an eye on him.

Web Original
  • The crowning achievement of Dr. Kondraki's career is setting off a series of events culminating in his riding SCP-682 like a rodeo horse. SCP-682 is a monstrous alien lizard that cannot be destroyed by any means and hates humanity as much as AM.

Western Animation
  • Looney Tunes: Yosemite Sam's camel and his dragon in the medieval episode.
    Sam: "Whoa, dragon, WHOA!!"
  • Goofy's mount in the Classic Disney Short "How to Ride a Horse."
  • There's a Pink Panther cartoon where he's trying to mount a horse who doesn't want to be ridden. Another has him as Paul Revere looking for a horse, and the only one available is on the British side.
  • Scrooge McDuck had a horse like this in his youth.
  • In an episode of Doug, the titular character has been invited to a dude ranch by Patty. So, wanting to impress her, he claims to have better equestrian skills than he actually does. He gets saddled with a mean black horse ironically named Sugar.
  • Garfield and Friends had a black horse named Certain Death on Cactus Jake's Dude Ranch in "Polecat Flats" who was so ferocious it had to be kept behind a four-rail fence and could beat it hooves on its chest like an angry gorilla when sufficiently enraged. He appears again in "Cactus Jake Rides Again", where a Champion cowboy is scheduled to ride Certain Death and must be thrown so that Cactus Jake can get a cash bonus. Unfortunately, due to eating four pans of Garfield's lasagna, Certain Death becomes drowzy and tired until Garfield feeds him Cactus Jake's special deluxe chilli, turning him ferocious again and winning the rodeo.
  • Done by the main characters in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic when a pack Diamond Dogs try to use Rarity to haul carts of diamonds and even ambush the other ponies by saddling and muzzling them as new work horses. Being sentient equines with attitude, the ponies buck the dogs off rodeo-style while Rarity drives the others insane with her incessant whining.
  • Kevin from Mr. Bogus often acts this way whenever Bogus tries to ride on him, but will sometimes oblige and let Bogus ride on him. By the way, have we mentioned that Kevin is a bulldog?
  • Sofia and Amber get a flying carpet that fits this trope in the episode "Two to Tangu." Princess Jasmine shows up to help them tame it.

Real Life
  • Many donkeys can be like this.
  • It's also where the phrase "stubborn as a mule" comes from.
  • Anyone who rides horses on a regular basis has run into at least one of these.
  • Camels also have a tendency to be this.


Mechanical HorseEquine And Equestrian TropesMounted Combat
Monster MunchAdded Alliterative AppealMook Maker
Mood-SwingerImageSource/Animated FilmsNo Immortal Inertia

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