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Toronado (Zorro's horse)

Toronado / Tornado is a horse ridden by the character Zorro in several movies and books. Toronado is referred to as a black Andalusian in the movie The Mask of Zorro, however in filming a Friesian plays the role. Toronado is said to be very intelligent and very fast. His name is pronounced in the Spanish way, "tor-NAH-do" (except in The Mask of Zorro). Being as jet-black as Zorro's costume enables horse and rider to more easily elude capture at night.


Over the decades and the many stories, there have been several Toronado/Tornados all specific to their Zorros.

In Isabel Allende's novel Zorro, Toronado is given to Don Diego de la Vega upon his return to California, by his milk brother, Bernardo, and Bernardo's wife, Light-in-the-night, who trained it. During Bernardo and Diego's Indian initiation ritual before leaving for Spain, Bernardo notices a black foal tentatively following him while he is alone in the woods. Gradually, he befriends the horse, and names him Toronado (pending the horse's approval). He plans to tame Toronado and give him to Diego, but when he wakes up after three days the horse is gone (only to show up again later). Instead of a gift, he[clarification needed] takes it as a sign that the horse is his spirit guide, and plans to "develop the horse's virtues: loyalty, strength, and endurance" (76).

In The Mask of Zorro, when Diego returns to his home after being imprisoned for twenty years he finds that everything, including the original Toronado is gone. (The novelization states that Toronado probably stayed in the area for as long as possible for love of his master before wandering away.) His successor, Alejandro Murrieta, finds himself his own horse which he names Toronado after the first horse. (The novelization suggests that it may be the son of the earlier Toronado.) It is an intelligent animal, but was at first poorly disciplined and seemed to deliberately make life difficult for his would-be master. For example, when Zorro prepared to jump from a building onto his horse's back, Toronado walked a few steps forward so his master fell on the streets when he jumped. In this film's sequel, The Legend of Zorro, Toronado changes from obeying to disobeying Alejandro at various times, explained in the film as the horse's inability to correctly interpret English commands.

The horse in The Legend of Zorro was actually a Friesian horse, named Ariaan [1] and was chosen because he wasn't very big. ("Antonio Banderas, who plays Zorro, isn't a very tall man. If he had to ride a big horse he would have looked tiny on the silver screen") [2]. Another horse, the Friesian gelding Tonka, was also used in the movie as a backup. He was used in some galloping scenes and when Ariaan, a stallion, didn't want to cooperate.



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