A guide to the genders of horse characters in Spirit: SOTC
Before I start; I’m going to be referring throughout this article to the part of a horse’s anatomy called a ‘sheath’. Since this part of Spirit is clearly shown throughout the movie, I see no reason not to refer to it for the purpose of identifying a character’s gender. Please don’t be offended by this.
Also, I know the term ‘gender’ isn’t quite what I’m talking about in this article, but it is euphemistically better than using the term ‘sex’. Therefore, every time I use the word ‘gender’ I am referring to whether the character is genetically and anatomically male or female.
Click on the red links throughout this article to see screenshot images of what I'm talking about
Ok, so this article is intended to identify which horse characters in the film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron are male or female, and how you can identify them. Please note; these are my own opinions, so there’s more than likely going to be someone who disagrees with them. I am not stating these as fact; for the most part, the character’s genders in the move are ambiguous, so without Dreamworks actually coming forward and stating ‘X is male’ and ‘Z is female’, chances are we will never have sold facts about the genders of most of the characters from the movie. What I’m talking about in this article are my opinions of which characters are male and which are female, and why I believe them to be so.
Some of the characters’ genders are very obvious, normally because we are told in the film itself. So, let’s have a look at these characters, to give us a base to start from:
Spirit: Definitely male.
Not only is Spirit repeatedly referred to as a stallion throughout the film, but he is voiced by a man (Matt Damon), and, in numerous shots throughout the film, his sheath is clearly visible. Therefore, we know Spirit is male.
Esperanza: Definitely female.
We see Esperanza give birth to and nurse Spirit, and at one point he even calls her his ‘mother’:
‘But at least my mother and the herd were safe…’ - Spirit
Therefore, we know Esperanza is female.
Rain: Definitely female.
Like Esperanza, Rain has very feminine eyes and eyebrows. But we also know she’s female because both Spirit and Little Creek refer to her in the feminine:
‘Ok, I admit it; she was charming, in a stubborn, irritating sort of way…’ - Spirit
‘Mares!’ - Spirit
‘Look after her, Spirit, who could not be broken…’ – Little Creek
Therefore, we know Rain is female.
Ok, so let’s have a look at these three, shall we? Notice how much thinner Rain and Esperanza’s eyebrows are than Spirit’s? And notice how the mares’ eyes are more almond shaped than his?
For these two reasons, I have come to the conclusion that mares have thinner eyebrows and more almond shaped eyes than stallions/geldings in the film.
Right, so let’s have a look at some of the other horse characters in the film, and see if we can assign them genders/back up this statement with more evidence.
The horses of the Cimarron Herd: Probably female
Normally, wild horse herds have only one stallion, although some young colts may stay with the herd until their father kicks them out/they leave to form their own herds. In addition, no other stallion takes over the Cimarron Herd whilst Spirit is away, which might have happened had there been any other stallions in the herd before he was captured. Therefore, we can assume that the other adult horses in the Cimarron Herd are all mares. This is supported by their feminine faces, thin eyebrows and almond shaped eyes.
The Lakota Horses: Probably males
We know that the grey horse with the blue painted circle around his eye is a male, as evidenced by his sheath in these screenshots. Notice he has thick eyebrows, as do the other two horses with him. In addition, all three are put into an open train car with Spirit. Now, whilst the Lakota may not have been worried about stallions wandering freely amongst their mares, the white men who captured these four horses certainly would have been, especially as the work they were intended for would not have gone very smoothly had the horses been pregnant/had foals at their feet. For this reason, coupled with the horses’ thick eyebrows, we can assume they are all males, and most likely stallions.
The Cavalry Horses: Probably males and females
It is very difficult to tell definitively which Cavalry horses are males and which are females. So far, I have been unable to find any screenshots of cavalry horses with sheaths, but that doesn’t mean they’re all mares, necessarily. The sheer number of Cavalry horses in the film suggests that they are a mixture of geldings and mares. In addition, the Colonel’s horse is a difficult horse to determine a gender for, although it’s most likely a male, since it has a masculine face and this screenshot seems to suggest it has a sheath.
The Cowboy’s Horses: Probably males and females
Again, it’s very difficult to tell, definitively, with these horses whether they’re male or female. I know that at least 3 of them are male: 2 as shown by this screenshot, and one that is ridden by the larger man, as shown here. The other two horses; I have no idea. They could be males or females, but since they all have thick eyebrows, I’m guessing they’re probably all males. Still, there might be 1 or 2 mares in the group of 5.
The Foals: Probably males and females
There are 6 foals shown in the film in total; 1 is Spirit when he was a baby, 3 are his childhood friends, and the other 2 are the twins when he’s an adult. All 5 of the other foals are very hard to determine genders for, since we have no direct evidence of a filly in the film to compare them to. We know Spirit is a colt, so we know what colts look like, but we have no idea if fillies look different to colts. For one thing, none of the foals are shown with sheaths, but that in itself isn’t evidence that they’re all female; because Spirit didn’t have a sheath as a foal. So we could argue that all the foals are colts, since they all have eyebrows that are the same thickness as Spirit’s eyebrows as a foal. In reality, the most logical argument is that the foals in the film are a mixture of colts and fillies.
The problem most of the time is that horses we know are males are sometimes shown without a sheath. Even Spirit’s sheath is occasionally missing, and we know for certain that he’s a stallion. So the absence of a sheath in the screenshot is not always proof that the character is a mare. That is why I look at the face, especially the eyes and eyebrows to determine the gender of the character. But, in all honesty, it’s always possible you could get thick eyebrow-ed mares and thin eyebrow-ed geldings, so this article is in no way a definitive guide to judging a character’s gender. Even so, this is the system I use to guess whether a character is male or female.