Maybe less unexpected than you'd think, like so many others I was once a horse-nut little girl with all the "but I want a ponyyyy!" drama of a 8-year old. I suppose it's a remnant of that adoration that I've never particularly liked Disney's way of making hippopotamus-faced horses (often with the mannerisms of dogs) so wanted to re-draw them all with a slightly more realistic take.
I agree, I think the worse horse cartoon Disney had were the ones, in their early short films. i.e. Sleepy Hollow and The Winds in the Willows. Phillipe was probably the most realistic one out of them all. And he didn't act so much as a dog. You know, I would really like to see you draw more. I know Cinderella had a horse and Pocohontas, Snow White, and Ariel even at one point(in her series). Just suggestions. I really love these paintings.