horse movies

Best Horse Movies

Horses have been galloping onto the silver screen for decades. Not only do they steal our hearts in the real world, but also on the screen. I’ve compiled a list of my favourite horse movies for all the horse lovers out there.

These horse movies have been carefully handpicked to suit different genres, ages, and those who want a variety of old classics or recent tear-jerkers.

Whether you’re a seasoned equestrian, a casual rider, or just someone who appreciates the magic of cinematics, we made sure that there’s something for everyone.

1. Seabiscuit (2003)

  • Genre: Inspirational
  • Fun fact: Seabiscuit was named after a cracker brand that was very popular amongst sailors.
  • Director: Gary Ross
  • Actors: Tobey Maguire, Chris Cooper, Jeff Bridges, Elizabeth Banks

Looking for a horse movie to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Seabiscuit is at the top of my list for one of the best movies of all time.

During the great depression, an undersized racehorse became a beacon of hope to many. This movie is based on a true event of how Seabiscuit, despite all odds, ended up overcoming his circumstances and triumphing.

2. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002)

(Animated adventure)

If you’re into animated adventures, or you have littles that just can’t sit still, this equine escapade is sure to bring anyone to a halt. I guess you could even call it a “mane” event.

Spirit is a young Mustang who embarks on a journey across the breathtaking wilderness in an attempt to rescue his native land and reclaim his freedom. On his journey he meets a young Lakota called Rain, together they outwit an entire army and eventually find love.

Fun fact: The main themes of this film are environmental preservation and animal rights, especially horses.

Director: Kelly Asbury and Lorna Cook

Voice actors: Matt Damon, Daniel Studi, Chopper Bernet, James Cromwell

3. War Horse (2011)

(Historical drama)

The War Horse transports us to the frontline of World War I, where a young boy (Albert), and his horse (Joey) develop an unbreakable bond. Joey gets sold to the army to serve in the war, and it’s up to Albert to rescue him and bring him home safely.

Fun fact: a total of 14 horses ended up playing Joey in the movie War Horse.

Director: Steven Spielberg

Actors: Jeremy Irvine, Tom Hiddleston, Emily Watson, Benedict Cumberbatch

4. National Velvet (1979)


For those that appreciate a good classic horse movie, National Velvet is as timeless as they come.

This movie tells a tale about a young girl (Velvet Brown) and her spirited horse (Pie) on their quest to win the win the Grand National steeplechase. It’s a heartwarming story about goals, tenacity, and the unique love between a young girl and her horse.

Fun fact: Pie was a seven-year-old thoroughbred gelding that was called King Charles.

Director: Bryan Forbes

Actors: Tatum O’Neal, Sarah Brown, Christopher Plummer, John Seaton

5. Buck (2011)


If real-life stories intrigue you, you might want to give Buck a watch.

Buck tells a true tale of a real-life horse whisperer/horse trainer. Buck Brannaman has an uncanny ability to communicate with horses. This film documents Bucks’ life growing up, showing us how his hardships helped him build amazing bonds with his horses, and healed his childhood wounds in the process.

Fun fact: Buck has seven horse clinics that help train and aid horses.

Director: Cindy Meehl

Actors: Robert Redford, Mary Brannaman, Betsy Shirley, Bibb Frazier

6. The Black Stallion (1979)

(Adventure/sports drama)

The Black Stallion is a classic movie that offers a cinematic experience for the whole family.

Alec, a young boy, becomes intrigued by a black Arabian stallion while sailing with his dad on a ship. The ship sinks, but Alec and the thoroughbred horse survive and land on a deserted island. Alec and the horse build a strong bond and end up getting rescued together. Henry Dailey, a former successful trainer approaches them and offers to coach them for horse racing. Soon they start training the stallion to compete against the fastest horses in the world.

Fun fact: None of the black horses that were used in this film would swim. The producers had to find horses that were raised in regions that had rivers for the scenes. When the horses arrived, they were cream-coloured horses.

Director: Caroll Ballard

Actors: Kelly Reno, Mickey Rooney, Teri Garr, Hoyt Axton

7. Secretariat (2010)

(Racing drama)

Secretariat will have you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.

Penny Chenery accepts to take over her sick father’s Meadow Stables in Virginia. Being a mother and housewife with no prior experience in horseracing, she manages to navigate the business originally dominated by men, producing the first Triple Crown victor in 25 years.

Fun fact: Secretariat was dubbed horse of the year twice in a row.

Director: Randall Wallace, John Malkovich, Kevin Connolly, Graham McTavish, Dylan Baker, Eric Lange, Nelsan Ellis, Wynn Reichert, Kate Ward

Actors: Penny Chenery, John Malkovich, Margo Martindale, Diane Lane

8. Dreamer (2005)


Do you have the tissues ready?

Based on a true story, this horse movie follows the journey of a racehorse named Sonador. After suffering an injury, the family is determined to defy the odds and help her reach her full potential. Sonador helps to bring father and daughter closer together in the end.

Fun fact: This story was loosely based on Mariah’s Storm, a filly that broke her canon bone but went on to race when she healed.

Director: John Gatins

Actors: Kurt Russell, Dakota Fanning, Elisabeth Shue, David Morse

9. Black Beauty (1994)

(Family drama)

Get ready for a tearjerker that will leave hoofprints on your heart.

Black Beauty is a beautiful tale told from the horse’s perspective. Black Beauty leads a relaxed life in the countryside under the care of farmer Grey, but later in his life, he is forced to do labour as a taxi horse in London. Black Beauty returns to his original owners after years of hardships and victories.

Fun fact: The barn fire scene fire retardant gel coated Black Beauty to ensure that he was protected from the flames.

Director: Caroline Thompson

Actors: Alan Cumming, Andrew Knott, Ian Kelsey, Sean Bean

10. Hidalgo (2004)

(Action adventure)

This movie is sure to get your blood pumping.

Hidalgo follows the incredible journey of long-distance rider Frank and his horse (Hidalgo) that’s set against the Arabian desert. Frank depends on Hildalgo to help him compete in the Ocean of Fire, a long-distance horse race, as his life could depend on it.

Fun fact: The final horse scene that was filmed in Browning, Montana used 550 different horses for that one scene.

Director: Joe Johnston

Actors: Viggo Mortensen, Frank Hopkins, Omar Sharif, Sheikh Riyadh, Zuleikha Robinson

11. The Horse Whisperer (1998)

(Romantic drama)

Have you ever seen someone being able to communicate with an animal as if they have some sort of hidden language? That is exactly what happens in the horse whisperer.

After a riding accident severely injures teenage Grace, her mother (Annie) realises that Grace won’t be able to recuperate unless her horse (Pilgrim) heals. She takes them to a remote ranch, where well-known horse whisperer/horse trainer Tom Booker starts to heal the horse. During this time feelings develop between Annie and Tom.

Fun fact: Three different horses play the aggressive and traumatized Pilgrim: Cash, High Tower, and Maverick.

Director: Robert Redford

Actors: Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Booker, Scarlett Johansson, Diane Booker

12. Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken

(Historical Drama)

One of the best horse movies of all time has to be this one, and it is based on a true story. If you are a daredevil yourself, or an adrenaline junkie, you don’t want to miss out on this movie.

Sonora Webster, is a young rider who becomes a diving horse performer in the 1930s. She strives towards her goal with the help of Al Carver. Following the injury of celebrity rider Marie, a gap opens up and Sonora finds herself on the diving platform. Senora and Al end up falling in love, but Sonora is going to enter a very difficult phase in her life. This is one of a few great horse racing movies.

Fun fact: To ensure the safety of the horses, the dives the horses took were no more than ten feet.

Director: Steve Miner

Actors: Gabrielle Anwar, Michael Schoeffling, Cliff Robertson, Dylan Kussman


What is the oldest horse movie?

The first horse movie was called “The Horse in Motion”, and was released in 1878. The movie was produced to settle a bet. The bet was to prove that all four of the horses’ hooves were off the ground when they galloped. The movie was based on a true story, and the horse that was featured in this movie was called Occident.

What are the most recent horse movies?

The three most recent horse movies are:

  • The Mustang (2019)
  • Lean on Pete (2017)
  • Wild Horse (2015)


Whether you’re in the mood for heartwarming family tales, thrilling adventures, or historical dramas, there is a horse movie for your every mood. So, grab your popcorn, don your cowboy hat, and check out these horse movies when you have a second to relax. Perhaps you’ll find a tale you can relate to.

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