Horses are animal figures that were initially introduced in 1984. They were the first animal figures created, although brick-built animals were included in sets before then. They have appeared in a large number of sets and themes and have had many variations. The latest one, which was introduced in The Lord of The Rings in 2012, replaced the classic horse, and will continue to be used in the future. 
The currently ubiquitous LEGO System horse figure design was introduced in 1984 in several Castle sets, superseding previous designs of brick-built horses..
The new horse was a prefabricated figure consisting of a solid main segment representing the horse's body and legs and movable segment encompassing the head and neck. The body features a recess in its back, measuring 1x2 studs in base area and 4 plates in height, which is usually occupied by a saddle piece and allows standard minifigures to mount or dismount the horse without the need to bend the figure's leg assembly. The recess could be filled with a 1x2 brick plus plate if a saddleless horse without rider was preferred. Many sets with horses include a saddle and/or filler pieces. The recess also allows for the attachment of a horse-drawn carriage using various hinge pieces.
The horse's legs are immovable and locked in a walking configuration. The right legs are two studs apart from each other, while the left ones are four studs apart. The front hooves are diagonally adjacent to each other as are the hind hooves. The only poseable part of the horse is the neck segment, which can be swiveled around its lateral axis, allowing it to bend down. The head/neck segment is engraved with a zig-zag pattern that indicates the location of the mane and contains two small notches near the nose that indicate the location of the nostrils. All other details including eyes and bridle are printed on. The first horse figures, from 1984, were moulded in black and white. The first brown horse was introduced in 1986. All subsequent horses were moulded in these three colours but vary in the print of their manes, bridles, and additional details. The only exception to date is the grey horse included in 7189 Mill Village Raid from 2011.
Horse figure variants
This was one of the first horse figures, introduced in 1984. It sports a brown bridle with white details and has solid black eyes with thick white outlines. The eyes were updated in sets from 2010 onwards and consisted of a white crescent-shape with a white spot in its opening.
In 2012 a new type of rearing black horse appeared in the Lord of The Rings theme. The red-eyed Nazgul horse had a distinctive printing representing silvery bridle and ornate head armour. Another black horse - this time with realistic crescent-shaped eyes and brown bridle - was introduced in 2013 in Lone Ranger theme and the new wave of Castle theme sets.
This was one of the first horse figures, also introduced in 1984. It sports a brown bridle with black details and has black eyes with an off-center white spot. This design lasted for many years without changes, excluding one special variation in 2011, in 7188 King's Carriage Ambush. The pair of cart horses have side printing resembling red and brown harness with silver details.
A long-expected redesigned white horse appeared finally in 2013. The Lone Ranger's mysterious spirit horse has traditional black eyes with an off-center white spot and silver bridle. The same mould has been used in the newest Castle sets.
The first alternative variation of this figure appeared in 10235 Winter Village Market set. The two white carousel horses have unique gold, red and blue head print resembling ornate bridle as well as gold and blue details printed on their manes – the feature seen for the first time on redesigned horse minifigures. Along with pearl gold saddles decorated by red or blue plumes it gives them unreal apperance appropriate for old-fashioned merry-go-round horses.
The first brown horse was in introduced in 1986 and phased out in 1992. It has a red bridle with black details and black eyes with an off-center white spot. In 1992, an updated version with additional black mane printing was introduced, appearing in regular sets until 1997. No brown horses appeared since then until a new variant was introduced in 2007. This version sports a black bridle with white/silver details and the usual eye print. It has no special mane print.
A brown cart horse from 9469 Gandalf Arrives set was one of the first appearances of the new type of horse figure with poseable legs. The same mould is also used as a riding steed. It has a detailed bridle and an off-white spot on its head.
Indian horses were introduced in the Western theme in 1997. They were ridden by Indians and were exactly the same as normal horses, except that they had much more colourful and intricate printing resembling pinto horse colouring and horse blankets. The Indian horse came in two variants: a white one with brown patches and a brown one with white patches.
Mill Village horse
Since there are a huge profusion of generic and nameless armoured horses (such as the pictured horse from Fright Knights), it would be nearly impossible to list them all, so they are all condensed into one entry here, although some special varieties are listed separately below. Armoured horses are either black, white or brown. They often wear helmets of various types, as well as some sort of armoured barding.
Crown horses were a specific variety of armoured horses, and appeared in the Fantasy Era of the Castle theme. They were often used to combat riders on Skeletal Horses.
The Kingdoms "Unicorns" were introduced in 2010. Despite their name, they are not actually meant to be unicorns, but simply normal horses wearing armour with special helmets designed to include horns. Unicorns were used by both sides in the battle of the Lion Knights versus the Dragon Knights.
Other horse designs
There has been a huge number of horses released by The LEGO Group over the years, the most significant of which are described here.
The very first known horse made by The LEGO Group was a wooden one that originally appeared in the Wood Toy Wooden Horse with milkcart. It was white, had wheels on its feet, and a black mane and tail.
The very first horses actually compatible with LEGO elements were various horses originally made of bricks introduced in the LEGOLAND Western theme. They later appeared in various other themes, including Castle.
The considerably new appearance of brick-built horses was in 10196 Grand Carousel set released in 2009. These creatures were posed as though galloping with one front and one hind hoof raised. They were designed to be ridden by minifigures. Horses came in three colours (two horses of each type) - white and two shades of gray. They had eyes made of stickers.
Belville horses are much larger and more realistic than the normal variety, and can be ridden by Belville Figures. Belville foals also have also been produced.
DUPLO horses were introduced in mid-nineties and can only be ridden by DUPLO figures. They are slightly larger than normal horses but smaller than the Belville and Scala varieties. They appeared most recently used in the DUPLO Castle theme.
The LEGO System Pony figure (Part 30032) was introduced in the Paradisa theme in the late nineties and only ever appeared in two sets. They are in about the same scale as normal horses, but they have no studs on their backs and there is no way for a minifigure to ride them.
Horses were also included in the Scala theme. They are actually quite similar to Belville horses except for the addition of actual string manes and tails. Scala was also the first theme to give individual horses names.
Bullseye was Woody's steed in the Toy Story theme. His unique mould has not appeared anywhere else. He is brown, with a uniquely moulded head possessing a cheerful expression, poseable legs, and a spiky mane and tail.
Friends horses were released in early 2012, and are more realistic than the standard variations. They can be ridden by mini-dolls.
They have similar proportions to normal horses and are posed as though in marching position, with non-movable legs and necks. They have large printed eyes, long plastic tails, and manes swept to the right. A two-stud segment of their back can be removed and replaced by a saddle or hitching. Friends horses require special saddles and bridles.They can be decorated with a bow or awarded with a prize ribbon, thanks to the three little holes: one on the creature's forehead, one the right side of its neck, and one the base of its tail.
In 2013 a new mould of a Foal was introduced in set Olivia's Newborn Foal. Like the Paradisa Pony it is smaller than normal horse, but unlike the aforementioned pony, it has a single stud on its back to which bricks can be attached.
So far, Friends horses are available in four colour variants: white, dark orange, reddish brown with dark brown mane and nougat with dark brown mane. Friends foals are available in white and brick-yellow (tan).
Like in Scala, all Friends horses are named.
The Lord of The Rings horses
With the introduction of the Lord of The Rings theme in 2012, new horses with poseable legs were introduced in several colours.
Disney Princess horse
Cinderella's fairy godmother turned a mouse into a horse and Cinderella road on him to the ball. It is white and has a golden main and tail. The horse has long hoofs and one hoof is up, the horse has a space in between his body for Cinderella to sit or to connect to the carriage. The horse is reused in newer DUPLO sets.
HistoryThe very first horse produced by LEGO was not one of the now traditional specially molded horses, but a wooden one, included in the Wooden toy Horse with milkcart. After that, horses were absent from LEGO for many years, until the introduction of the LEGOLAND Western theme, in 1975. At that point, several sets featured horses built out of normal bricks. The Castle theme, introduced 1978, also included brick-built horses. A 1983 set, Town Square, included a parade scene with a brick-built horse, just one year before the horse figure was introduced.
In 1984, when the Castle theme was revamped, the brick-built horses were made nearly obsolete (other brick-built types would later appear in various building sets) when the horse-figures were introduced, a major innovation at the time. These horses originally had only simple circles or eyes-large rings of white or black with no color in the center for their eyes. Eventually, these were replaced with slightly more realistic eyes with a small bead of off-center white added to a round black dot. The newest versions have eyes similar to those of a minifigure, with a white area behind the eye, and a white dot in the center.Horses continued to appear in Castle and other themes throughout the eighties and nineties, and, in 1994, the first major deviation from the classic horse design debuted with the Belville horses, which were introduced in the set 5880 Prize Pony Stables. Slightly later on, DUPLO horses were introduced. In the later years of that decade, more types of horses were introduced in the final years of the girl-targeted Paradisa theme, which introduced the rare pony figure, and the advent of the horse-heavy Western line, which featured the Indian horses, which were traditional horses, but more heavily stylized, and with decorations and a saddle printed on them.
In the 21st century, not only were many variations on the original horse design released, with variations such as Dastan's eastern horse, and the Kingdoms "unicorns", which were in reality simply armored versions of traditional horses, with unicorn horns atop their helmets. However, as well of these, the classical horse design was pushed further and further, with the advent of Castle's skeletal horses, the modern Belville horses, Toy Story's Bullseye,
Saddles were introduced as early as the original horse figures, and appear in most sets that horses do. Each saddle has clip on either side of it, that can be used by the horse's rider to hold a large verity of accessories. Saddles are often used along with reigns to attach a horse to a cart. Many saddles are also included a part of a barding piece.
Reins are usually used to attach horses to carts and wagons, sometimes in conjunction with a saddle, and were first seen in the Castle theme.
Armour for horses is often found in Castle sets, and was first introduced in the Dragon Masters theme. However, decorative barding without any armour had been around much longer, since the eighties, in fact. They fit regular horses, but not skeleton horses due to their bony structure. The Kingdoms horses come with equestrian armour equipped with horns. Horse armour is made up of two pieces-one is the barding, which covers most of the horse, and the other is the headgear. The barding is always printed, whereas the armour for the head never is. The barding has two clips to carry flags and weapons attached to it, and the head armour has a clip to which horns can attach, and a newer version has a hollow stud to which a "unicorn horn" can be attached.
- Belville accessories
The Belville theme was fairly horse heavy, and used a unique variety of horse at that, so it naturally introduced a lot of accessories seen nowhere else, such as uniquely moulded saddles and reigns, as well as the unique blankets and bridles.
The LEGO Group's statement on the update to the horse design, introduced in The Lord of The Rings. "Our core target audience of 5-10 year old boys has told us in ongoing testing that the original LEGO horse is a bit ‘baby-ish’, and too static to play with properly. So we’ve re-designed the LEGO horse to make it more dynamic, pose-able and appealing by adding a higher level of detail. The new horse will appear in the LEGO Lord of the Rings sets will be released in June 2012.
"The new horse can now kick, bolt and rear up on its hind legs, making it much more playable and pose-able, while the refined detail level has also made it seem more ‘grown-up’ and ‘cooler’ in kids’ eyes.
"In making these changes we have obviously had to take into consideration several different challenges.
"First, we are fully aware that the ‘original’ horse may be perceived as a LEGO icon in many consumers’ eyes. So, when designing the new horse, we did our best to create a new version that pays homage to the original horse, particularly its proportions, silhouette and decoration style.
"Second, we have made some design choices in regards to the compatibility between the ‘new’ horse and the existing horse accessories. The existing saddle element can be used with the new version of the horse. The new horse can also wear the current barding, although it cannot be posed while wearing this element. We will be developing a replacement barding for future product launches, ensuring that the horse can be dressed for battle and still be fully pose-able. However, by streamlining the new horse’s head to make it more dynamic and more like a ‘real’ horse, we had to decide that the existing horse headgear/head plates would not compatible with the new horse. These pieces will also soon be replaced with new elements in future products.
"We apologize for any inconvenience or frustration this may cause to certain collectors, but we are striving to ensure that we are ultimately creating the best product and play experience for our core audience for the long term."
Gallery of Variants