Over the years, Hollywood has churned out hundreds of flicks that feature horse themed plots. I loved watching and rewatching many of them over and over again. As a parent, I really enjoy sharing my favorite childhood horse movies with my kids! Check out this list of classic horse movies and see how many of them you can watch with your family!
I grew up spending my summer days riding horses and basically being obsessed with any books, movies, or other entertainment that included horses. To say that my friends and I were a bit horse-crazy would not be an exaggeration. Over the years I have enjoyed introducing my kids to the horse movies that I loved when I was their age. As you might imagine, some of these movies were not super easy to find!
My childhood in the 1980s meant that many of the movies we watched were copies that my mom had dubbed from the local VHS rental store. Thankfully, the age of streaming video has led to many of these classic movies becoming accessible again.
Best Classic Horse Movies
In no particular order, here are the horse movies that got the most airtime in our house. I have personally watched many of these movies a dozen times or more each. They are perfect to share with your family on your next movie night!
This movie was based on a true story. Set in the 1930s at the start at the Great Depression, it follows a runaway orphan who ends up training to be a “diving horse girl.” Her ultimate dream is to dive horses off a platform on the Atlantic City Steel Pier. She is met with many challenges, some small and some huge, as she works towards her dream.
Talk about a classic horse film! Watch Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney pair up in this tale set in England in the 1940s. The two work together to train her horse to compete in The Grand National horse race.
Follow up your National Velvet viewing with the sequel that released decades later, International Velvet. This movie starts Christopher Plummer, Tatum O’Neal, and Anthony Hopkins and follows the story of Velvet Brown’s niece, Sara, as she struggles to cope from the loss of her parents. She hopes to train her horse and to qualify for the Olympics.
A boy, a gorgeous black horse, and a shipwreck… this movie packs action with stunning cinematography. I loved this movie as a kid and let me tell you: it still holds up! The story is interesting, dramatic, and totally entertaining.
This Disney flick is SUCH a fun movie! Helen is a teenage girl who wants a horse of her own more than anything in the world. This movie is a hilarious story about the lengths her dad goes to in order for her to get a horse. p.s. Look for a young Kurt Russell in this one!
If I had to choose my very very very favorite horse movie from my childhood, it would be HARD. Any one of the movies on this list would be serious contenders. But I will always hold a soft spot for Danny. This movie defines hard work and heart, from both horse AND rider. Follow the arrival of Danny, a cute gray pony, who arrives at Andrea’s farm only to go lame and be cast aside for her new, flashier horse. Enter Janie, teen girl who earns money to pay for her lessons by cleaning stalls, who loves Danny from the second he arrives. Janie spends every spare minute working Danny through his rehabilitation in the hopes that he is ride-able once again.
Another Disney flick, Horsemasters is a fun and upbeat story about equestrians who travel to England to train at a prestigious horse academy. They all hope to become “Horsemasters” – but will they all make the final cut? Annette Funicello stars in this movie.
You might already be familiar with the famous wild ponies of Assateague Island and Chincoteague. Perhaps the most famous of them all was a pony named Misty. The real life story of Misty was portrayed in Marguerite Henry’s novel, Misty of Chincoteague. The screen adaptation of that book, Misty, is an enjoyable story to share with the whole family.
This movie might be the classic underdog tale! Take a horse and a jockey who are told they are “too small” and not up to horse racing and watch them try to defy the odds. This is a great movie about getting knocked down and getting back up again.
Keeping with the race horse themed movies… Secretariat is another great family-friendly horse movie. It follows the racing career of Secretariat, a triple crown winner in 1973 and the Chenery family, owners of Secretariat. This movie is a classic, feel-good story that is based on real events.
More horse movies to add to your watch list:
- War Horse
- Black Beauty
- Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
- The Horse Whisperer
- Ride Like a Girl
- Racing Stripes
- Harry and Snowman
No matter which movie or movies you choose from this list, you are in for an entertaining time. As I said above, many of the movies in this post were among my most-watched videos throughout my childhood. I can’t count how many times I watched them, but I know that I have the majority of them memorized! It has been a lot of fun to share these films with my own kids. Between streaming video and DVD/Blu-Rays, it is easier than ever before to find classic movies to revisit and enjoy. It is hard to believe, but some of the movies on my list are more than 80 years old!
Take a look at some of the other horse products we have written about.
Do you have any favorite horse movies that aren’t on our list? We would love to hear about them! Drop us a comment and let us know what movies you love!