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Equine and Equestrian Tropes

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This index is for tropes that are about or are closely related to horses, donkeys, zebras, mules and other equines. It also includes tropes that involve, or frequently come up in relationship to, horseback riding.



  • The Alleged Steed: The horse in question is pathetically weak, or outright sick and needs veterinarian to inspect.
  • All Girls Like Ponies: The stereotype that all young women love horses and ponies, or at least have gone through a 'horsey' phase.
  • Automaton Horses: When horses never seem to need basic care (food, water, shelter, etc.), or humans treat them like they don't.
  • Born in the Saddle: Cultures that revolve around riding animals, primarily but not limited to horses.
  • Chariot Race: The premier equestrian event of Roman times.
  • Cool Horse: A badass on hooves.
  • Diligent Draft Animal: The horse as laborer or beast of burden — steady, reliable, and strong.
  • Eastern Zodiac: The horse is the seventh animal of the Chinese zodiac.
  • The Grand Hunt: A formalized hunt (on horseback) for sport.
  • Headless Horseman: A decapitated rider seeking a replacement head, usually on a horse just as creepy and undead.
  • Hellish Horse: A monstrous-looking or malevolent equine.
  • Hippogriff: A mythical composite monster with the beak, wings, and forelimbs of a bird of prey and the back and hind legs of a horse.
  • Horse Archer: A fighter who can ride and shoot a bow at the same time.
  • Horseback Heroism: Good guys doing good-guy things while riding horses.
  • Horse Jump: Horse and rider going over an obstacle, for competition, survival, or just for fun.
  • Horse Returns Without Rider: Bob left on a horse; the horse came back without Bob, implying something bad happened to him.
  • Horsing Around: Equines with attitude.
  • Huge Rider, Tiny Mount: The comical juxtaposition of a very large rider on a very small animal.
  • Invulnerable Horses: In combat scenes, horses and other large mounts never seem to be killed or injured, even when it would be likely for them to be.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Cats are common in a stable, and horses tend to get along with them, often making space for them in their stalls or playing with their fur.
  • Land in the Saddle: Leaping from a height to land in the saddle of your waiting horse.
  • Mechanical Horse: A robotic horse.
  • Moody Mount: A horse, dragon, dinosaur, or other creature that can be ridden but isn't particularly gentle or safe to ride.
  • Mounted Combat: Fighting while riding on horses. In many cases the horses are also trained to attack the enemy rider and/or each other.
  • My Horse Is a Motorbike: When motorcycles are depicted as the modern version of horses.
  • Nuckelavee: A horse-like monster from Orcadian mythology.
  • Only the Chosen May Ride: A horse or other rideable creature is the one to decide who will be allowed on its back.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: The different depictions of centaurs (half-human, half-horse creatures) in fiction.
  • Our Hippocamps Are Different: Water-dwelling equines with piscine features, particularly a fish tail (hippocampus = seahorse). May or may not be carnivorous.
  • Our Kelpies Are Different: Shape-shifting creatures that take the form of horses to lure people to a watery grave.
  • Pegasus: A horse with wings. The name originates from a famous winged horse in Greek mythology.
  • Pony Tale: A Coming of Age Story featuring a female rider.
  • Rainbows and Unicorns: Rainbows and unicorns associated with one another.
  • Rearing Horse: A horse rising up so its front hooves are off the ground.
  • Sapient Steed: Horses or other mounts that can talk.
  • Somewhere, an Equestrian Is Crying: Factual inaccuracies about horses in a work of fiction, either from ignorance about horsemanship or to make the story work better.
  • Stubborn Mule: Mules or other equids depicted as uncooperative, surly, or intractable.
  • Unicorn: A horselike animal with a single horn on its forehead.
  • Unicorns Are Sacred: When harming/killing a unicorn is depicted as a particularly evil act and/or the mark of an evil person.
  • Upper-Class Equestrian: Horses and horseback riding portrayed as hobbies for the wealthy, especially English-style riding.
  • Virile Stallion: Male horses associated with sexual freedom and unbridled potency.
  • White Stallion: When only the leader gets to ride the white horse.
  • Winged Unicorn: A unicorn that has wings.
  • Zebras Are Just Striped Horses: Zebras portrayed as behaving like domestic horses.

Useful Notes

  • Equestrian Sports: Information about real-life horse-related sports.
  • Horse Racing: Information about real-life horse racing.
  • Mounted Combat: Information about the real-life practice of battling while on horseback.