It's Chinese New Year on 31 January - and 2014 is the Year Of The Horse. So to celebrate, here are 14 favourite fictional, four-hooved friends along with 14 fun facts. Take a trip down memory lane with our clip (clop)s below - and tell us, did your favourite trusty steed make our list?

  • 1
    Black Beauty
    The book! The TV series! The theme tune! And at the centre of it all: a horse of many owners that really was beautiful. And black.

    Fun fact: Anna Sewell said that she didn't write the novel for children, but "to induce kindness, sympathy, and an understanding treatment of horses".
  • 2
    Champion the Wonder Horse
    He rescued people (with the help of a boy called Ricky and a dog called Rebel) - and had a theme tune to rival Black Beauty's. He was.... Championnnn! The Wonnnnder Horrrrrse!

    Fun fact: From 1966, Champion the Wonder Horse was also a cartoon strip in 'Buster'.
  • 3
    Joey from 'War Horse'
    The eponymous hero of Michael Morpurgo's book - portrayed by puppeteers for the National Theatre's stage adaptation and by 14 different horses for Steven Spielberg's film.

    Fun fact: Regarding the film version - it's the second time David Thewlis has acted in a movie whose star was a horse. The other was the 1994 version of 'Black Beauty'.
  • 4
    The Pie from 'National Velvet'
    The stuff of every horsey girl's dreams: the story of a 12-year-old girl who wins "a race called the Grand National", disguised as a boy, riding a horse called The Pie.

    Fun fact: The 1978 sequel to the film version - 'International Velvet' - starred Tatum O'Neal as a girl competing in the Olympics on a horse called Arizona Pie.
  • 5
    Mister Ed
    Altogether now! "A horse is a horse, of course, of course..." Yes, long before people were voicing animals on YouTube videos, Mister Ed ruled the roost. Or at least the stable.

    Fun fact: Mister Ed was played by a horse called Bamboo Harvester and an actor called Allan Lane.
  • 6
    The "lord of all horses", Gandalf's steed in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy can run faster than any other horse in Middle-earth - and no one but Gandalf can ride him.

    Fun fact: His name means 'shadow-mane' ('fax' being the Old Norse word for mane).
  • 7
    Thelwell's ponies
    A group entry for Norman Thelwell's creations: adorable, rotund little horses owned by often less adorable, rotund little girls.

    Fun fact: Norman Thelwell only ever rode once in his life. He said that horses were "great windy things that'll grab your coat off your back as soon as look at you".
  • 8
    Silver (The Lone Ranger's horse)
    Yes, it's those three little words that mean so much. "Hi-yo, Silver, away!"

    Fun fact: According to an episode of the early radio show, The Lone Ranger saved Silver's life from an enraged buffalo and, in gratitude, Silver chooses to give up his wild life to carry him.
  • 9
    Maximus from 'Tangled'
    "He's nothing but a big sweetheart," says Rapunzel upon meeting Maximus. And of course, she's right. Sort of.

    Fun fact: The actor who voiced Maximus also voiced Pascal, Rapunzel's pet chameleon.
  • 10
    The Black Stallion
    "The story of a legendary horse who could only be tamed by a young boy's love" - as portrayed in the classic children's novel (by Walter Farley) and the 1979 film (by Francis Ford Coppola).

    Fun fact: Mickey Rooney plays a former jockey in the film version - just as he did in 'National Velvet'.
  • 11
    Captain from '101 Dalmatians'
    The bossy horse who plays a small but vital role in the Disney adaptation of '101 Dalmatians' - not least because he fends off baddies Jasper and Horace with a boot of his hoof.

    Fun fact: Captain was voiced by Thurl Ravenscroft - who was also the voice of Tony the Tiger in Frosties adverts.
  • 12
    Tornado (Zorro's horse)
    The steed that carries the masked swordsman - and the purveyor of possibly the most famous horse silhouette in TV and film history.

    Fun fact: The horse chosen to portray Tornado in 'The Legend Of Zorro' was a Friesian - a breed that isn't too large as Antonio Banderas isn't a very tall man.
  • 13
    My Little Pony
    The first one appeared in 1983 - and as well as toys and spin-off merchandise, it's spawned cartoon series, comics and a feature-length film. Not band for a tubby, pastel-coloured plastic equine.

    Fun fact: The little symbol on a My Little Pony's rump is known as a 'cutie mark'.
  • 14
    A Horse With No Name
    As embodied in the song by America. Altogether now: "Laaa la, la la la la la, la la la, laaa la..."

    Fun fact: Its original title was 'Desert Song'. Bonus fun fact: Walter White sings along with this on his car radio in season three, episode two of 'Breaking Bad'.

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  • When It Starts

    The 15-day festival, which starts on January 31 this year, is <a href="" target="_hplink">based on a combination of lunar and solar movements</a>. It starts with the first new moon of each calendar year and ends on the full moon.

  • The Treats

    <a href="" target="_hplink">Food is a big part of Chinese New Year celebrations</a>, and many meals are eaten with family and friends. Some traditional dishes for the holidays are <a href="" target="_hplink">nian gao cake</a>, steamed rice pudding, long noodles, and dumplings.

  • Cleaning Season

    Homes are cleaned top to bottom before the beginning of the new year, and all cleaning equipment is put away before New Year's Eve because it's believed that good fortune may be swept away if cleaning is done on New Year's Day.

  • Family Gifts

    The Chinese New Year's Eve and New Year's Day holidays are very family-centered celebrations. Many dinners are held with family and friends, deceased relatives are honoured, and children receive gifts and participate in traditions like cleaning ahead of the celebration and the Lantern Festival.

  • Decorative Food

    Before New Year's Day, homes are decorated with trays of oranges and tangerines (which are also brought by visitors during the holiday), a candy tray with eight kinds of dried sweet fruits, and live plants and vases of fresh flowers. Wishes for the new year are written on red paper.

  • Communal Dinner

    There is a focus on ancestors and family members who have passed during the festival. On New Year's Eve, a dinner for ancestors is arranged at the family banquet table, so that all family members, deceased and living, <a href="" target="_hplink">can ring in the new year with a communal feast</a> (called weilu), according to Nations Online.

  • Why Dragons?

    Legend holds that the Chinese New Year began with a battle against a mythical beast called the Nian, who would come on the first day of the new year to eat children, livestock, and crops. In order to protect themselves from the Nian, villages put food in front of their doors believing that the creature would eat that and leave everything else alone. It was believed that the Nian was afraid of the colour red and firecrackers, so people would hang red lanterns outside and set off firecrackers.

  • New Year's Eve

    Firecrackers are set off on New Year's Eve to send out the old year and welcome in the new. In China, <a href="" target="_hplink">officials are trying to discourage fireworks displays this year</a> in order to reduce air pollution, reports The Guardian.

  • Day One

    There are different traditions for each day of the New Year celebration. Many people abstain from meat on the first day, as that is believed to bring good luck for the year. Instead they <a href="" target="_hplink">eat a vegetarian dish called jai</a> (shown here) which contains ingredients like lotus seed (signifying having many male children), dried bean curd (representing wealth and happiness), and bamboo shoots, explains Fresh tofu is not included, as the white colour is considered bad luck and representative of death and misfortune.

  • Day Two

    On the second day, the Chinese pray to both their ancestors and to all of the gods. It's believed that this day is the birthday of all dogs, as well, so canine friends get a lot of love (and food!) on day two.

  • Days Three And Four

    On days three and four, sons-in-law are expected to pay respects to their parents-in-law.

  • Fifth Day

    The fifth day of the Chinese New Year is <a href="" target="_hplink">called Po Woo or Po Wu</a>, reports, and on that day people stay home to welcome the god of wealth. It's believed that visiting family and friends on this day will bring bad luck.

  • Days Six To 10

    Visiting is back on from days six to ten, where the <a href="" target="_hplink">Chinese also visit temples to pray for wealth and health</a> in the coming year.

  • Day Seven

    On day seven, farmers display their harvest and make a celebratory drink from seven types of vegetables. As day two is considered the birthday of dogs, day seven is the birthday of human beings, and long noodles (for longevity) and raw fish (for success) are eaten as part of the celebrations. Check out <a href="" target="_hplink">this recipe for long life noodles with chicken</a>.

  • Day Eight

    The Fujian people have a family reunion dinner again on day eight, with midnight prayers to Tian Gong, the god of heaven (and <a href="" target="_hplink">the namesake of China's first space station</a>).

  • Day Nine

    Offerings to the Jade Emperor are made on day nine. In Chinese mythology, the Jade Emperor <a href="" target="_hplink">is the ruler of heaven and the creator of the universe</a>, according to

  • Days 10 Through 13

    On days 10 through 12, friends and relatives receive dinner invitations. That means that on the 13th day, people eat rice congee and <a href="" target="_hplink">mustard greens</a> to recover from days of rich meals. <a href="" target="_hplink">Check out the recipe for congee here</a>.

  • Day 14

    The 14th day is spent getting ready for the Lantern Festival on the 15th night. On the fifteenth day, <a href="" target="_hplink">when the moon is full, the Lantern Festival is held</a>. As part of the festivities, children carry lanterns in a nighttime parade.

  • Wearing Red

    Red is a key colour for New Year's celebrations, as it symbolizes a bright and happy future. <a href="" target="_hplink">People wear red clothing during the festivities</a>, explains Colour Lovers, and children, unmarried friends, and close relatives are given little red envelopes (lai see) with money inside for good luck.

  • Year Of The Horse

    This year will mark <a href="" target="_hplink">the beginning of the Year of the Horse</a>: this animal signifies surprises in adventure and romance, and people born during this year are believed to be good communicators, kind, talkative, independent, and impatient.