More Behind the Scenes Stories

How Does a Horse Become a Disneyland Horse?

Erin Glover

by , Director, Publicity, Walt Disney Animation Studios

Disneyland park is a special place to work – even if you’re a horse. Have you ever watched the horses strutting along Main Street, U.S.A., and wondered how they got a job at the happiest place on Earth? Me too! So I asked Alan Cooper, Equine Trainer Leader at Circle D Corral.

When casting a new horse for a role at Disneyland park, “what we’re looking for is comfort,” said Alan, who has been at Circle D for more than 25 years. He said that the handlers will observe things like interaction and personality when “interviewing” a new horse to work in the park – they look for one that will be comfortable when surrounded by lots of people and activity.

Alan also looks for horses that have unique colors and other visual traits – things that will be noticed by guests and create conversation.


Roxy is a great example – in addition to her beautiful white coat and mane, she is also a blue ribbon winner at the L.A. County Fair International Draft Horse and Mule Show.

Next time, I’ll tell you how a new horse prepares for his role in the park.


  • I wish you could have known Ben and Sam in the mid-80s. They were a gorgeous grey team. Sam could work with other horses, but he was the only one who could keep Ben as calm as Ben needed to be. Ben would go prancing up Main Street USA as if he were saying “Where’s Sam” … never out of control, just excited with the anticipation of seeing his good friend.

  • to Janette-I was told that only geldings work the park….

  • I have owned and shown horses for many years and really enjoyed this!! when i see these guys on main street and see all that they can tolerate i am amazed!! Would love to read more about the horses at the d ranch!!!

  • Working with the Disneyland horses was one of two dream job Disney jobs as a kid. I’d still jump at the chance!

  • So if I have a beautiful coat and have won ribbons I’d have a chance at a career at Disneyland. I need to work on my ribbons. 🙂

  • We had a Carriage Business in Salem, Oregon, its State Capital. And we always purchased our horses from the AMISH. They are trained in a gentle way, & grow up around traffic. We were in Salem for over 13 years with never an incident in all that time:)

  • I love the horses at Disneyland.
    I rode in the trolly with Bert.

  • That is so weird!!! I go to the park on a pretty regular basis and know all the horses…Yet I’ve NEVER seen this one. Does she even work on Main Street?

    “she is also a blue ribbon winner at the L.A. County Fair International Draft Horse and Mule Show.” One blue ribbon…um yay?

  • I love the horses at Disney World and make a special trip to Circle D every time I am there!!

  • We learned all about the horses and the farm when we took a ride down Main Street with “Ovi”(sp?). He is a handsome dappled grey gelding and very sweet. We would have ridden around with him and our driver all day! It was about 108 degrees that day and we learned that horses actually like the heat, maybe not that much heat, but we didn’t worry about him so much after learning that.
    I first visited Disneyland when I was 7 years old and I’ve always wanted to take this ride, but never have. It took my 8 year old niece (and 40 years) to finally take the ride and I loved it!

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