More Behind the Scenes Stories

Training the Horses of the Circle D Ranch at Disneyland Park

Donna Fisk

by , Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort

Our horses at Circle D Ranch have come to the Disneyland Resort from a variety of backgrounds, all with the training to do their previous jobs. However, since the work of a Disneyland horse is so specific, each new horse undergoes a lengthy training process before becoming an official equine cast member. Our human cast members also come from varying backgrounds, which is why Circle D Ranch training emphasizes uniformity and consistency – not only for the horses, but also for the cast members who work with them.

In this video, you’ll see Lead Equine Trainer Jennifer Gable working with one of our Circle D horses in a training exercise called “Round Pen.” Note that the stick she holds in her hand is not a whip, but rather a training tool used to focus the horse’s attention. You’ll also see that by working with the horse’s natural herding instincts, the exercise provides mental stimulation and builds an atmosphere of trust between horse and trainer.


  • Perfect, perfect, perfectly beautiful! Good work, trainer and horse. I have been fascinated with the animals at Disneyland(and everywhere) since I was a child, from those in the petting area, to the draft horses, to the wild ducks in the shallows along Tom Sawyer island and in the pond at Snow White’s Grotto. Today I also appreciate the seagulls who add a touch of authenticity, hanging out by the boardwalk in California Adventure, and the ducks with baby ducks that sometimes swim under the bridge there.

    You know, it would be so very fine indeed to know the stories of the various horses and farm animals at Disneyland–how they came to arrive at the Happiest Place on Earth, their names, FUNny habits, ages, who their handlers are, the little details that help to make Disneyland Resort such a welcoming place to return to for those of us who enJOY the many critters there.

    Thank for posting this video!

  • Awesome video! How long do you usually work in the round pen for?

  • Nice. Good trainer.

  • My daughter remembers every horse she has met on our three trips to Disneyland–Ducky, Brother and Eddie. Do they all still live at the Circle D Ranch? Thanks!

  • I agree Mark, this is Totally awesome!

  • Great video! It is fun learning more about the horses at the resort. I can’t wait for my next visit and to see who is working on Main Street. Thanks!

  • Are guests allowed to pet the horses? I would ask permission first, of course.

    • Sorry, no. When the horses are working we discourage guests from petting them. You’ll just have to admire them from afar. 🙂

  • Yup. Very cool indeed. Again my daughter is giddy. 🙂

  • Totally awesome!

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