Last Updated on January 9, 2022
If you’re a horse fan you’ll know that the equine world is full of legendary horses! For thousands of years, horses have worked alongside humans to pull off some incredible feats, from tales of stamina to amazing achievements. But who are the most famous horse names in history?
Horses are noble and elegant animals, and it is no surprise that many horses have become legends in their own right. From epic battles through to winning multiple competitions, let’s take a look at some incredible famous horse names in history.
Learn more about The Wild Wests Most Famous Women Cowgirls
Top 9 Famous Historical Horses
Bucephalus is an ancient legend, who was the favorite steed of Alexander the Great. He was a huge black stallion, said to be unrideable until Alexander helped to cure his fears.
After this, Alexander the Great went on to conquer large swathes of land, often choosing Bucephalus as his preferred mount. His adoration of this noble horse was so great that, after the horse’s death, he founded the city of Bucephala in his honor.
Born in 1808, this plucky and courageous horse famously carried the Duke of Wellington for 17 hours in the Battle of Waterloo. His stamina and tireless endurance were thought to be due to his Arabian and Thoroughbred bloodlines.
Who said that you had to be tall to be an equine champion! Technically a pony, Stroller was the smallest horse to ever compete at the Olympics. Standing at 14.2 hands high, Stroller flew over fences that loomed way above his body!
Stroller wasn’t just a competitor, but also a medal winner. In 1968, ridden by Marion Coakes, this plucky pony won a silver medal at the Mexico Olympics at the age of 18.
Trigger was one of the most famous horses ever to appear on the silver screen. This legendary palomino stallion was the mount of Roy Rogers and featured in a total of 81 movies. He also starred in over 100 television appearances.
This plucky little horse got his name when a member of the cast mentioned how quick off the trigger he was. After his film and TV career, Trigger lived to the golden age of 33, enjoying a long and happy retirement. When he died, his body was taxidermied and put on display at the Roy Rogers museum.
Beautiful Jim Key
The story of Beautiful Jim Key is a remarkable one. This horse was not famous for his athletic endeavors, but he was thought to be highly intelligent and could perform incredible feats of calculation.
Billed as the smartest horse on earth, Beautiful Jim Key could count, do the math, spell, tell the time, and even cite Bible verses! In the late 1800s, this remarkable horse and his trainer would tour the US, bringing in huge crowds. It was estimated that 10 million people saw Beautiful Jim Key perform during his lifetime!
One of the most notable things about this story is Beautiful Jim Key’s trainer, Dr. William Key. A former slave, Key despised the use of the whip to train animals and inspired others to train their horses using kinder methods. Because of this, he was awarded the Humanitarian Gold Medal.
Sergeant Reckless was a plucky mare who served in the Korean war. Starting out as a humble packhorse, by the end of her career, she was awarded the rank of sergeant. This was due to her bravery and faithful service during her outstanding career.
Sergeant Reckless was used on solo missions, to deliver supplies to soldiers and evacuate the wounded from the battlefield. She was wounded twice during her career and was awarded two Purple Hearts and a Good Conduct Medal as a result of this.
Although many racehorses have achieved notoriety, Secretariat is thought to be the most famous ever. This is due to his unrivaled racing career, leading to this incredible horse becoming famous around the world.
In 1973, Secretariat was the first horse to win the Triple Crown. His victory in the Belmont Stakes is considered to be one of the greatest races in history. He won this race by a record-breaking and incredible 31 lengths!
It is notable that many of the records held by Secretariat still stand to this day. His record-breaking Kentucky Derby win, in a fraction under two minutes, has never been beaten.
Secretariat was twice named as Horse Of The Year during his career. He also was unanimously voted as the recipient of the Eclipse award at the age of two.
This incredible horse quickly rose to fame, and was a Hollywood superstar with his own agent!
Although he is still alive, Valegro has already earned his place in the history books. This incredible dressage horse is a double World Champion, as well as setting Olympic world records.
Known as Blueberry to his team, Valegro is one of the most famous dressage horses of all time. His most notable discipline was the freestyle events, where this magnificent horse would appear to dance in time to the music, a truly spectacular sight!
Valegro was ridden throughout his career by the British rider Charlotte Dujardin. They won countless medals throughout their partnership and had adoring fans around the world. Their farewell performance was viewed by millions.
There can’t be many horse fans out there who haven’t heard of Red Rum! This famous horse won the Grand National on no less than three occasions – 1973, 1974, and 1977. Not only this but he was also placed second on two occasions!
The Grand National is thought to be one of the world’s toughest horse races, and to win this on three occasions is a spectacular achievement. A survey in 2007 identified Red Rum as the best-known horse in the world, meaning his notoriety has already withstood the test of time.
So, as we’ve learned, there are some incredible and legendary famous horse names in history! We’ve loved finding out the stories behind these names, and there are many more horses that we could have included.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the most famous horse names in history! Perhaps your horse or pony deserves a place in the history books? Please add your comments below!
Kate Chalmers is a qualified veterinary nurse who has specialized in horse care for the vast majority of her career. She has been around horses since she was a child, starting out riding ponies and helping out at the local stables before going on to college to study Horse Care & Management. She has backed and trained many horses during her lifetime and competed in various equestrian sports at different levels.
After Kate qualified as a veterinary nurse, she provided nursing care to the patients of a large equine veterinary hospital for many years. She then went on to teach horse care and veterinary nursing at one of the top colleges in the country. This has led to an in-depth knowledge of the care needs of horses and their various medical ailments, as well as a life-long passion for educating horse owners on how to provide the best possible care for their four-legged friends.
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN EVN VN A1 PGCE