Horace first appeared as Mickey's plow horse in the 1929 cartoon The Plowboy. He next appeared later that same year in The Jazz Fool and after that, he became a regular member of the Disney supporting cast, along with Clarabelle Cow, Clara Cluck, and others even more minor. Characterized as a cheerful know-it-all, Horace helped Mickey on his sleuthing expeditions in the comics before Goofy assumed that role.
Horace is a generally kind character who is always finding ways to help. He acts very heroic and can have quite an ego, though no one ever minds. He enjoys outdoor activities and solving mysteries with his pal Mickey Mouse. Horace has been known to have a small temper problem. Unlike Mickey, Horace will be the first to attack an enemy and ask questions later. Most of the time, this will get Horace and his friends into trouble.
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 4's and reverted to form. Horace mostly played bit-parts in the approximately 30 cartoon shorts in which he appeared and his character was never as fully developed as the "Fab Five". 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.
Horace appeared frequently in cartoons from 1930 to 1932 and less frequently afterward, taking his final classic-era bow in 1942. The name of Horace's official voice actor in the classic 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.
Horace first appeared in The Plowboy as Mickey Mouse's non-speaking, domesticated horse pet, and companion. 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.
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.
Horace later had a larger role as Mickey's pompous tutor in the 1990 featurette The Prince and the Pauper. Horace is first seen tutoring the prince in his studies. Later on, the Prince and a commoner named Mickey Mouse trade places. Horace never notices the switch and continues to give the "prince" the daily lessons. In the middle, Horace informs Mickey that the king is gravely ill and advises him to visit his bedroom. That night, the king passes away so Horace and the other royal subjects head to the church where Mickey is to be crowned. However, Mickey ends up being caught in a scheme of the villainous Captain Pete. The real prince arrives with Mickey's friend Goofy and his royal valet Donald. A battle follows and after Pete is defeated, Horace celebrates the crowning of the real prince with the rest of the heroes.
Two decades later, Horace returned to the screen as a major character in the 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.
Films and television
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.
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?"
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. Here, Horace can be seen briefly in the episodes "Stayin' Cool" and "Bad Ear Day". In these two appearances, Horace wears a white tank top.
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).
In The Scariest Story Ever: A Mickey Mouse Halloween Spooktacular, Horace briefly appears during the opening credits, where Huey, Dewey, Louie, Morty, and Ferdie visit his house for Halloween.
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 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.
Horace makes appearances in Land of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse and World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.
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 any 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.
He is also a playable character in Disney TH!NK Fast. To date, this is Horace's only playable appearance in a video game.
- “HORACE - 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...”
- ―Disney Epic Mickey Video Game Facebook page
The classic black and white version of Horace lives in Wasteland, having 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. Here is the list of the cases in the first game:
- Find Horace's Book: Speak to Casey in the Emporium, who will tell you go to the Ice Cream Parlor, where you must speak to Paulie who will give you Horace’s book.
- Missing Dog Tag: Horace is in search of the Robot Dog and needs your help. Go to Tomorrow City Square Launchpad, walk around the tram track and you will see the dog tag behind a wall of glass. Go to its right and you will notice a ball-like machine pod. Use thinner to open it and jump into the machine. It will transport you to a higher platform. You can go up and place a TV sketch to activate a crane-like machine (this will transport you to a platform near the rocket with a caged Gremlin. If you release that Gremlin, he can shut down one Beetleworx generator or he can give you 3 TV sketches, you cannot choose both.). Then, go down and pick up the dog tag.
- Detective Mickey 1: Paint all the footprints on the street, this will lead you to the cinema where you will need to jump up onto the roof, thinning out the walls and using them to get on top of the roof. If you painted all the footsteps, Shifty will give you the book that he stole. If you didn't, you'll have to buy it for 50 E-Tickets.
- Detective Mickey 2: Paint and follow all the footprints from Clarabelle's house. If you painted all the footsteps, Ezra will give you the flower that he took. If you didn't, you'll have to buy it for 50 E-Tickets
- Missing Pirate: He is on the Pirate Voyage. You should notice him before the whirlpool, trapped in a jail. Thin the jail next to his and free Gremlin Erik. Erik will open the jail. Talk to him and collect some goodies.
- Detective Mickey 3: Paint and follow all the footprints from the back of the Tiki Hut. If you painted all the footsteps, Dolly Dalmatian will give you the tiki mask that she took from the Hut. If you didn't, you'll have to buy it for 50 E-Tickets.
- Missing Hatchet: The hatchet is on the top of the library in the Lonesome Manor (Thin out the walls).
- Detective Mickey 4: Paint and follow all the footprints from Louis's Shack. If you painted all the footsteps, Millicent will give you the candle that she accidentally took. If you didn't, you'll have to buy it for 50 E-Tickets.
Horace appears at the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts as a meetable character and also appears in select parades.
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.
In Mickey's Toontown, a gym owned by Horace can be seen between several buildings.
Horace was seen in a mural during the Disney California Adventure expansion as a construction worker and can also be spotted in Silly Symphony Swings. Horace also appeared during Mickey's segment of World of Color: Celebrate! at Disney's California Adventure.
During the Christmas season, Horace is found on his float in Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.
Near Pete's Silly Sideshow at the Storybook Circus, a poster featuring Horace as one of the circus attractions appears.