A Cowboy Needs a Horse
Studio: Disney Release Date : November 6, 1956
Cumulative rating:
(1 rating submitted)


A young boy dreams of life as a cowboy, mending fences, fighting off indians, and "riding ... riding along."



William "Bill" Justice


Cliff Nordberg
Al Coe
Jack Parr
Fred Hellmich


Dick Kinney
Roy Williams


George Bruns
Paul Mason Howard
Billy Mills


Ralph Hulett
Al Dempster


Xavier "X" Atencio


Walter Elias "Walt" Disney

Included in:

Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom


Donald's Quack Attack (Season 1, Episode 64)


United States

Disney's Tall Tales

Laserdisc (CLV)


Donald Duck Goes West


United States

It's a Small World of Fun - Volume 1
Disney Rarities

Technical Specifications

Running Time: 6:48
Animation Type: Standard (Hand-drawn-Cel) Animation
Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
Color Type: Technicolor
Sound Type: Mono: RCA Sound Recording
Print Type: 35mm
Negative Type: 35mm
Cinematographic Format: Spherical
Original Language: English

Reviews and Comments

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From Mike G :

It's hard to imagine many kids liking this gentle musical cartoon over, say, a Yosemite Sam cartoon in 1956, but seen nearly 50 years later it's a wonderful time capsule of a particular graphic style (I assume it's mainly the work of Mary Blair, who would shortly thereafter design It's A Small World). Basically a kid's dream of being a cowboy, the story starts in a split level ranch house, ultra-modern, and then goes to a west that is likewise rendered in the most modernistic, flat-art style. As a result the action is so stylized that it's not really very action-packed at all basically this is a cartoon not for kids, but for collectors of 50s lounge style, and would make a wonderful lead-in for a showing of something like Pillow Talk.

From Beth :

Such a wonderful song and animation! My 2 year old Girl is captivated by it. I wish it were on a CD.

From Julie Snitzer :

Although it seems unlikely, this short absolutely captivates children. I have two girls who BEG to watch it over and over again. It doesn't have much action and is a very stylized 50's cartoon. There is something about it though that my girls ADORE. The "sing song" lilt of the song and the soothing melody are just very catchy.

From Maria :

I loved it. I thought it was totally adorable, and I would be thrilled to see the rest of the series. It's like The Small One; Disney at its best, and we've kind of lost he Disney magic today.

From Ryan :

I remember first seeing this cartoon as a child on one of those Disney Sing A Long Songs videos. I saw it years later on the Disney Channel (or Toon Disney). While the song is beautifully written, I really do not care for the cartoon. I find it a little too tame for my tastes.

From Rob Haeuser :

I was 5 when this cartoon was released. There is a magic about it - I WAS that boy longing to be a cowboy. I haven't seen it for almost 50 years, but it still haunts me to this day. I just wish I could get a copy of it somehow.

From Amanda :

When I was younger, I would watch this cartoon, and fall asleep. I love this story sooo much! Glad that others have seen it and loved it too. A 10!

From Baruch Weiss :

Years after seeing hearing this song on the Sing along Songs video I saw it again on the Disney's Rarities DVD and it's a fabulous cartoon, but I mainly enjoyed the song as well as the music, background art and animation.

From Max Pearl :

Here it is, 2006, and I am, courtesy of my two-year-old son, just discovering this wonderful, wonder-filled Disney short for the first time. I bought the DVD because upon seeing it in a supermarket or somewhere, I noticed it had a short of "Mickey Mouse" who my son is very fond of. I didn't even know "A Cowboy Needs a Horse" was on the DVD. When we got to it on the DVD, my son was captivated. I see that others here with 2 year olds have said the same thing and I am amazed how so many others have had the same experience with their kids. There must be something quite special about this short. As someone else here has said, it could very well be because of the soothing, catchy song. I do love the song. I also am intrigued that just as America's youth dreamed of a long ago period in time filled with cowboys and the open west, so too do I find myself dreaming of an earlier age, specifically the 1950s/60s as it dreamed of the old west and cowboys. Without trying to overanalyze, I simply am fascinated at how full circle it seems. Fifty years ago we dreamed of cowboys and in 2006 we find ourselves dreaming of the life in the 1950s when we dreamed of those cowboys. When that song is sung my son feels so comforted and wants to be held as the tunes is sung.

From Christian :

Awesome cartoon and awesome song. Walt Disney at his best. It's very hard to not have that song ringing in your head.

From DaVon :

I, too, first came across this Disney short (as well as several, certain others), featured on one of the Disney Sing-Along Songs videos (which I still own). Then I finally saw the entire thing a while back. It's a nice short, but I agree the highlight of it definitely has got to be the title song, which is another one of my favorite Disney songs and I'm among those who became enraptured and enamored with this tune. Everything about this short is great, just wonderful. I guess what I really like most about this one is that there's is just such a mellow, peaceful, relaxing vibe it has and despite not having much action, I don't mind at all. To this, I can just lay back and drift off, escaping away to another world, like the boy here. Very imaginative (from the boy's imagination especially).