//Heroes on Horseback: From fiction to reality
The Lone Ranger and Zorro

Heroes on Horseback: From fiction to reality

Human history is full of great heroes. Some of them are found on the pages of history books while others are on the pages of fiction books. The truth is that the horse has accompanied us in much of our history and so have the heroes on horseback. And that’s why today we’ll talk about heroes on horseback, whether it’s real life or fiction.

Whether they’re real people or author’s creations, heroes on horseback occupy a prominent place in our lives.

Many of us grew up watching Zorro or the Lone Ranger. Others grew up watching western movies. But our story is also full of heroes on horseback.

Historical characters such as Simón Bolívar, Washington or Alexander the Great are real-life people whose stories have also been mixed with the myths around them.

This is one of the most important points for a real person to become a hero or villain.

Real people are complex and coexist with actions that can be seen as good or bad depending on who judges them.

Today we will learn about heroism. Whether in fiction or in the real world the horse has a relevant role. In our lives and culture the horse will always be present and so will the heroes on horseback.

Tornado y el Zorro
Tornado y Zorro

The hero and villain in the real world.

The truth is that history is written by the victors. This is how war crimes on victorious sides are often hidden while those of losers are on display.

War in general does not admit heroes, except in counted cases. But history and myths are responsible for building their heroes.

That’s why we see how some documentaries try to deconstruct heroic figures to show them as human beings. This often exposes its weaknesses and some consider it heresy.

The truth is that human beings must be seen as human beings with virtues and flaws. Perhaps then heroism will be seen in its true context and even more valued.

Let’s look at a couple of real-life cases of heroes whose myth rules out some elements of reality.

Real-life heroes and their dark side

Real people, even though they are considered heroes, have a hidden side with their mistakes and wrongdoings.

Characters like Simon Bolivar has its bright side and dark side. While as a military genius he excelled with the independence of seven countries, his personal life hides a womanizer man.

Seeing it in context many of the military of the time suffered from the same problem. It was more of a problem of the time rather than of the human being itself.

Another case is that of George Washington who, despite ridding the U.S. of English rule, did not free the slaves. Moreover, George Washington himself forbade African-Americans from forming part of the independence army.

Slave owner, as he was, George Washington did not regard African-Americans as his peers. However, in his will he freed the slaves he owned.

Both independence heroes were heroes on horseback in a contemporary era. And although in their countries they are also revered they are understood to be flesh-and-blood people.

Becomes a hero and being a real person is an exercise in forgetting mistakes. Now let’s learn more about some heroes on horseback from fiction and reality.

Simon Bolivar and George Washington - Real Heroes on Horseback
Simon Bolivar and George Washington – Real Heroes on Horseback

Fictional Heroes on horseback

Fiction, whether written or in television and film, is an important part of our culture. Heroes and superheroes shape children’s behaviors.

The values embodied by heroes and superheroes help us differentiate good from evil. The hero embodies the values of an era but in turn embodies universal values.

In this way the child grows up believing in a paradigm of good or bad. That’s why we’ll meet the best-known horseback heroes in history below.


One of the best-known heroes of heroes on horseback. In our article “Tornado the Zorro’s Horse” we can discover a little more about this hero. He is also considered the first hero of modern fiction.

With the image of a masked outlaw fighting for justice. His characteristic black attire could confuse him with a bandit, from which the villains take advantage.

Zorro defends the people, Creole and Indians, the abusive governors as well as other enemies of the people.

One of the characteristics of Zorro is its cunning, which he takes advantage of to make a fool of the authorities who pursue him. Another is his intelligence, with which he takes the opportunity to uncover the plots against him and his people.

The most interesting thing about his work is that Zorro is the figure adopted by Don Diego de La Vega to fight abuses of authority.

Don Diego is an aristocrat with a great social conscience. He also realizes that the imperial authorities look after the interests of the crown before those of the inhabitants. Whether it’s a pawn or even the aristocrats in the area, they’re all subject to their tyrannical authority.

His skill with the sword and horseback riding comes from his aristocratic training and puts him at the service of justice.

Zorro in Culture and the Arts

The best known version of the Fox is the version of the TV series in the late 1950s. The series was produced by Disney and starred Guy Williams.

However, the original fox was born from the pages of Johnston McCulley almost 30 years earlier. Thanks to McCulley we enjoy a whole universe of works dedicated to Zorro

Al Zorro can be found in TV series, animation, movies and comics and even in plays. It has certainly been a great influence

Without a doubt one of the most important heroes on horseback in our culture thanks to Tornado.

Zorro - A timeless hero on horseback
Zorro – A timeless hero on horseback

The Lone Ranger:

Although the lone plainsman first reached the small screen (1952) he did not succeed Zorro. But at the time it was a phenomenon that began its transit on the radio.

The lone plainsman began his radio career in 1933. The Lone Ranger is a Texas Ranger who wears a mask to protect his identity. Together with his companion the Indian Toro fight the wild Indians and against the bandits.

The Texas Rangers were agents of the Texas Department of Security. They were created to protect citizens from attacks by savage Indians, mainly from the Comanches and Apache tribes.

Over time they took security and citizenship protection activities.

The lone plainsman was inspired by several heroes of literature and popular culture. Some research suggests that the lone plainsman was inspired by Zorro and Robin Hood.

Together with his horse Silver and his Indian friend Toro fight for justice. An example of values for the children of the time.

The Lone Ranger
The Lone Ranger

Differences between Heroes on horseback: Zorro vs The Lone Ranger

But contrary to them, the Lone Ranger fought on the side of the authorities. Zorro and Robin Hood were fighting against the abuses of authority.

The origin of the Lone Ranger is tragic because he survived an ambush by bandits in which his brother loses his life. He is found badly wounded by an Indian tribe that heals his wounds and saves him.

Recovered from his wounds the lone plainsman decides to fight injustice and takes one of the Indian warriors as his companion. His name would be Toro and would seek to reflect the possibility of cowboys and Indians living in harmony.

Beyond its tragic beginning, its story lacks the depth of Zorro’s story. Its structure and inspiration is more similar to that of the Westerns.

It later became a TV series and also had adaptations in books, comic book and theater.

The Lone Ranger and Zorro
The Lone Ranger and Zorro

Robin Hood

Robin Hood represents the figure of the bandit-righteous of Medieval England. This character was inspired by historical characters but there is not a single person to face the aforementioned one.

Of the heroes on horseback it is one of the oldest and most popular. The truth is that much of what Robin Hood embodies can be seen in the Fox, the Lone Ranger and other heroes on horseback.

Perhaps the absence of a mask will claim to keep him away from these, but Robin Hood continues to play the outlaw fighting for justice.

According to Robin Hood’s argument, the lack of an honorable government by the Authorities of England caused great annoyance. This forced this man named Robin of Locksley to defend the poor and oppressed.

Robin of Locksley was a man of good heart and a great warrior but his defense of the oppressed could be outside the law. That’s why he would go on to call himself Robin Hood and hide in the woods of Sherwood and Barnsdale.

This location was the perfect one to besath the power and authorities of the city of Nothingham. Robin Hood’s struggle was primarily focused on the authorities of Nothinham and Prince John Lackland. They would use the power of the monarchy to concentrate wealth, increasing poverty among the population.

The characteristics of the prince, and then king of England, John I or “John Lackland” made him the subject of criticism. So much so that he became the villain of the stories related to the annoyance of the people and the search for justice of Robin Hood.

No doubt Robin Hood is a character who will continue to inspire outlaws-justices and heroes on horseback.

Robin Hood played by Kevin Costner
Robin Hood played by Kevin Costner

The Phantom:

The Phantom was born from Leon Harrison Gross’ feather in 1936, better known as Lee Falk. This hero is born of tragedy, when his father is killed by brotherhood of the Singh pirates. Sir Christopher Standish, real name of our protagonist, takes a boat trip with his father in a timely way to be ambushed by a pirate ship.

Luckily the currents drag him to the beach and a tribe picks him up and helps him recover from that tragedy. The next day the body of the pirate who killed his father and destroyed his life appears. Standish swears on the skull of the pirate who murdered his father to fight piracy, injustice and cruelty.

This fight against piracy would be the cornerstone of this character and whose mission would be inherited from parents to children, generation after generation. This sworn passing from father to son, plus the ability to hide his true identity behind the suit, would make his enemies think he was immortal.

Each generation replacing the previous one and assuming the role of vigilante in the same suit, without his enemies noticing. An immortal enemy to instill terror among the wicked.

While the origin of the story develops in the 16th century, the comics do not focus on that first Phantom. The comic strips from the beginning focused on 21th Phantom.

To achieve his goal, the twenty-oneth Phost featured two allies, his devil-wolf dog and his white horse Hero, making him a pioneer among heroes on horseback.

The Phantom is considered the father of superheroes, and we could say he’s the first hero on horseback in the comics.

The Phantom - Heroes on Horseback
The Phantom – Heroes on Horseback

Heroes on horseback in our culture

Definitely this review of heroes on horseback reminds us that horse is an important part of our culture.

In these stories the horse is one of the protagonists. Not only is it a means of transport but it is strong and brave as the main hero.

That’s why each of their horses have their own name that identifies them. From there Gustavo Mirabal had to name each of his horses and treat them with consideration and affection.

That’s why each of their horses have their own name that identifies them.