“One of Mickey’s earliest and best pals. He is a versatile guy, smart and a little full of himself, he is also a bit dense and stubborn to a fault. But beware the trouble doer when he becomes focused on a case...”
―Epic Mickey Facebook page
Horace Horsecollar is an anthropomorphic horse created by Ub Iwerks and Walt Disney. Named after the giant horse collar around his neck, Horace first appeared in 1929’s The Plowboy as Mickey Mouse's cocky steed. Horace has an uncanny ability to morph between a normal and anthropomorphic horse (usually for comedic affect). Due to this, he rarely speaks, and most often vocalizes through neighs. Mirroring Mickey’s relationship with Minnie Mouse, Horace has been traditionally depicted as the boyfriend of Clarabelle Cow.
Horace was introduced as an overweening ham whom adored attention. In The Beach Party, for example, Horace called for Mickey and Minnie to be his audience as he dived into the sea water. In Mickey's Gala Premier, Horace lingered on the red carpet of Mickey’s screening, so that he may indulge in the paparazzi.
Horace’s towering height and considerable physical strength (which Horace tended to show off by puffing his chest) contrasted the diminutive Mickey. As Mickey’s steed, he was loyal and diligent. When he and his friends were attacked by mosquitoes in Camping Out, Horace was quick to protect Mickey, Clarabelle, and Minnie. He even helped defeat Pete on several occasions, such as The Cactus Kid. Horace’s reliance on strength leaves little room for brains. While Mickey supplies the plans, Horace supplies the muscle. This is seen in Get a Horse!, where Mickey used Horace as a tool to rescue Minnie from Pete (in such ways as turning Horace into a fighter jet. Occasionally, Horace can devise cunning plans of his own and has shown mild leadership potential. In Camping Out, Horace led the charge against the swarm of hostile mosquitoes, and found clever ways to use camping equipment to protect himself. In The Fire Fighters, he used his body to contain and export water in place of a hose during a massive apartment fire.
In House of Mouse, Horace retains his brutish ways when working as a technician—particularly in the way he manhandles his anthropomorphic equipment. Behind the scenes, however, he is easygoing to the point of being heedless. When asked for a status update, Horace would instead list off world issues or his own personal ambitions, rather than a status report of the club. He has also broken the fourth wall on occasion; in “House of Scrooge”, he quipped that the show’s writing had gotten cheaper as a result of Scrooge McDuck’s frugality (in response to a corny joke that Mickey made).
In his earliest incarnation, Horace was presented as Mickey's four-legged plow horse. He could walk upright on his hind legs, at which time his forelegs became gloved hands; at other times, he got back down on all fours and reverted to form. Like Goofy in his early Dippy Dawg appearances, Horace's body seemed to be formed of rubber tubing. He and Clarabelle Cow had an uncanny ability to change from somewhat normal farmyard animals into anthropomorphized beings as necessary.
For most of his career, Horace hadn’t a voice. Instead, he would vocalize through neighs and whinnies like an actual horse. When production began on The Prince and the Pauper, Bill Farmer (who at the time had recently assumed the role of Goofy), was approached to supply Horace with an actual voice. As there had been no actors associated with Horace before, Farmer had to make up an original voice for the character. He was told that Horace’s depiction in The Prince and the Pauper was that of a snooty, yet droll upper-crust. That inspired Farmer to base the voice on actor Jim Backus, and writer Ben Stein. This would remain the basis for Horace’s voice for decades to follow, with Farmer reprising the role as Horace’s official voice actor. In Mickey and the Roadster Racers, Farmer deviates from the Backus/Stein interpretation for a more aggressive, high-pitched tone.
After being removed from Universal Pictures’ Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon series, Walt Disney worked with Ub Iwerks and a few other loyalists to develop a new character for the studio. One of the concepts that Iwerks had conceived was a horse character, though this was put to the wayside in favor of a mouse named Mickey. Several months after Mickey’s debut in Steamboat Willie, Iwerks’s horse would be revived in the form of Mickey’s half-anthropomorphic steed in 1929’s The Plowboy. Though some of his personality was developed, Horace was not named in this cartoon. In 1931’s The Adventures of Mickey Mouse: Book I, Mickey’s bowler hat-donning steed was referred to as Henry Horse. His bovine girlfriend, meanwhile, was referred to as Carolyn Cow.
Horace first appeared in The Plowboy as Mickey Mouse's non-speaking, domesticated horse pet. He would later go on to gain a recurring spot in Mickey's shorts, living out his role as Mickey's sassy and somewhat bumbling companion. As time would go on, Horace would become more and more humanized, eventually becoming just as anthropomorphic as Mickey and Minnie. He appeared frequently in cartoons from 1930 to 1932. The name of Horace's official voice actor in the original run of shorts era is unknown, though Horace rarely spoke in the classic cartoons, especially the black-and-white shorts, where he made realistic horse vocalizations on account of, at the time, how he constantly transitioned himself between being an anthropomorphic horse and a normal four-legged horse.
His role would become larger in the 1930s, his biggest role being in Camping Out where, after harming a young mosquito, an army of mosquitos attack him, Mickey, Minnie, and Clarabelle. Horace, however, notably steals the spotlight throughout the short, acting as the gang's primary muscle. In the end, he's able to send the mosquitos running, saving the day.
Later in the 1930s, and into the early 1940s, the frequency of Horace's appearances would greatly decline, with the character becoming more and more obscure every year, until he made his final classic era appearance in Symphony Hour, after which he was never seen properly in animation again until decades later.
He was given a small cameo in the 1983 featurette Mickey's Christmas Carol. He is seen dancing with Clarabelle at Fezziewig's Christmas Party in Scrooge's past.
Horace later had a larger role as Mickey's pompous tutor in the 1990 featurette The Prince and the Pauper. When Mickey and the prince trade places, Horace never notices the switch and continues to give the "prince" the daily lessons.
In the 1990s, Horace was intended to star in a new TV series to be created for The Disney Afternoon programming block, titled Maximum Horsepower, intended to explain his disappearance from cartoons after the 1930s ended. The concept would be that, in 1939, Horace had gotten tired of playing bit parts and, after learning that Mickey was going to star in a segment of Fantasia, was going to demand that Walt give him a big role in that movie as well. On his way to Walt's office, however, he gets abducted by aliens who bring him halfway across the galaxy because they are in desperate need of the hero that they believe Horace is, despite his dreams of returning to Earth and resuming his acting career. Maximum Horsepower, however, never came to be.
Two decades after The Prince and the Pauper, Horace returned to the screen as a major character in 2013 short Get A Horse!, where he, Mickey, Minnie, Clarabelle, and a few other friends enjoy a day on the road before Pete arrives and kidnaps Minnie, resulting in Horace and Mickey having to rescue her.
Horace makes several appearances (most of them in brief cameos) in Mickey Mouse Works.
Horace's most notable appearance is in "Mickey's Big Break", where Mickey and Donald disguise themselves as Minnie and Daisy in order to retake a picture they broke while playing football. Horace spots Mickey and Donald (dressed as Minnie and Daisy) in the dressing room. Embarrassed, Horace claims that he did not see anything and runs away.
Horace appears in House of Mouse as the club's technician, often starting up the cartoons and TV reports shown on the club's big screen; he often did this by attacking the DVD player with a mallet or a boxing glove. As a running gag, Mickey often asks him what is wrong, causing him to list things that are wrong in the world (i.e. "The Internet's too dang slow!"), prompting Mickey to rephrase, "No, what's wrong in here?"
One of his most notable appearances is in the premiere episode "The Stolen Cartoons", when Pete breaks into the control room and steals all of the club's cartoons.
In the episode "House of Scrooge", Horace revealed his big idea to open a barn-themed amusement park called Horaceland.
Horace, along with most of the gang, returns in this animated series. Horace first appears in the background in his traditional 1920s/30s form in "Third Wheel" and also makes a cameo appearance in "The Adorable Couple" as part of a band conducted by Goofy.
He also appears in "¡Feliz Cumpleaños!", where he is amongst the cast of characters celebrating Mickey's birthday. In "Three-Legged Race", he partners up with Clarabelle to compete in the titular race. He and Clarabelle are eliminated due to Huey, Dewey, and Louie's cheating (though Horace and Clarabelle cheated as well).
Horace makes his big return in the Mickey and the Roadster Racers episodes "Mickey's Perfecto Day" and "Running with the Roadsters" as a popular Spanish personality named El Horace Horsecollar. He was an arrogant show-off, known for his dancing and superb racing skills. When Horace meets Goofy, he discovers that the latter's talents eclipse his own, and this developed into a one-sided rivalry. In "Running with the Roadsters", however, Goofy saved Horace from being run over by a bull, and the two became good friends afterward.
Horace would continue to make appearances sporadically throughout the series. He visited Hot Dog Hills in "Daredevil Goofy!" to participate in the town's race against Mortimer Mouse and later appeared in "Garage Alone" as an actor portraying a villain in a television show that Goofy and Pluto enjoy.
In Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas, Horace makes a cameo appearance in Mickey's segment "The Gift of the Magi", when Mickey is performing for Christmas donations. In this film, Horace's color scheme is gray in contrast to his normal black tone.
Horace has never really been more than a supporting character, though he has starred in numerous European comic book stories of his own. In these, he plays a much bigger role than elsewhere, accompanying Mickey on his adventures or acting as Clarabelle Cow's paramour and fiance. Clarabelle and Horace were engaged in the comics according to some 1931 and 1932 continuities, but neither ever followed through.
For a brief time, during the late 1960s, Clarabelle Cow began dating Goofy, perhaps in an attempt to give Goofy a girlfriend. The reasons for Clarabelle and Horace apparently breaking up were not given. In 1969, the character Glory-Bee was introduced as a new love interest for Goofy. In later comics, Clarabelle and Horace were a couple again. Horace is often shown being a boastful slacker, but always managing to land on his feet. One comic had a wealthy man offering to make a large donation to an orphanage in the name of anyone who can duplicate a high dive he had done many years ago. Horace's idle chat of he could easily accomplish that is overheard, and the attention is on him. While Clarabelle Cow said she would like nothing more than to see Horace choke on his own words because of his boastfulness, she prepares him for the high dive on the basis the orphanage badly needs money. When the big day comes, Horace gets cold feet and runs away, but manages to collide with two crooks who were taking advantage of everyone watching the high dive to rob a bank by helicopter. Horace unlatches the sack of cash and lands right in the tank of water, which is what he was fearful of all along! The combination of thwarting the bank robbers and falling from a great height is perceived that Horace was not running away, but putting on an even tougher act, which gets him hailed as the man of the hour and the wealthy benefactor agrees to make an even larger donation for Horace. Although Clarabelle Cow was annoyed that Horace bumbled his way to greatness yet again, she is glad his efforts benefited the orphans.
In the European comics, especially Italy, Horace is an affirmed repairman in Mouseton to whom Mickey and his friends go when they need something to be repaired or crafted, filling the same spot Gyro occupies in Duckburg (with the difference that Horace does not invent new technology, he just crafts high-quality items). He is often paired with Clarabelle, but their relationship is not fully established, with some stories describing them as boyfriend and girlfriend and others as no more than good friends.
Horace makes a cameo in Kingdom Hearts II, residing in Timeless River, a variant of the Disney Castle in its early days when it was populated by the classic versions of Disney's iconic characters. He does not play an essential role in this appearance other than walking around the Cornerstone Hill with Clarabelle Cow and Clara Cluck. His role is greatly expanded in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, however, as he interacts with Terra, Aqua, and Ventus in Disney Town. It is assumed that he is still present in either Disney Town or Disney Castle during Kingdom Hearts II, but Sora never encounters him. In addition to his minor appearance in Kingdom Hearts II, one of the bonsai figures in the Courtyard of the Disney Castle bears a striking resemblance to Horace Horsecollar, in a percussionist's guise. It could very well be him, as he was the percussionist in The Band Concert.
The classic black and white version of Horace lives in Wasteland, has become a private detective and good friends with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit during his time down there before the thinner disaster. Horace's black and white version appears being the forgotten version of Horace from some of the older Disney cartoons while the current version of Horace lives in the real world of Disney.
In the first game, Horace is found alone in his detective agency in Mean Street. He'll give you some cases to find some missing items or thieves. Should you accomplish Horace’s side missions, the epilogue will feature Horace being surrounded by fans and supporters. Should you ignore Horace’s side missions, he will wallow in his loneliness as his business goes under.
Horace appears at the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts as a meetable character and also appears in select parades. He is typically paired with Clarabelle Cow.
For a while, Horace donned his outfit from The Band Concert. In November 2017, Horace was given a complete redesign, including a new face, sculpt and clothes that more closely resemble his animated counterpart.