1.The Black Stallion.
This classic, epic film follow a shipwrecked man and a wild stallion that he befriends and eventually races when the two are rescued.
Based on a child’s novel of the same name, most of the scenes were filmed using a champion Arabian named Cass Ole.
A story about a cowboy distance rider racing his mustang against purebred Arabian horses.
Although there has been some controversy about how factual the finer points of the plot are, the film is nevertheless a classic Hollywood action film about a man who has a real bond with his horse.
3. War Horse.
Directed by Steven Spielberg and adapted from a novel, War Horse follows the story of a young man who finds, tames and befriends a horse until they are unwillingly parted. The story then follows the horse as it travels through the war, meeting and leaving an impression on everyone it meets.
The film is long, though, at 2 and a half hours, so that’s something to keep in mind before your commit yourself. The story was also told through a stage play that was well received.
This film centres on the actual racehorse named Seasbiscuit, an undersized thoroughbred that was never expected to have any success in racing.
The story captured the heart of the world during the Great Depression, when stories of underdog success were something the people needed. Decades later, the story remains inspiring, and has become one of the most famous equestrian films ever created.
5. The Horse Whisperer
Directed by and starring the ultimate Hollywood star Robert Redford, this is another timeless classic.
Redford plays the part of a horse trainer with an uncanny ability to understand horses. He is called in to help a teenager (played by Scarlett Johansson) and her horse get back to riding fitness after they suffer a tragic accident.
An animated film starring Matt Damon as a wild mustang, the story is all about a horse that cannot be contained. Although defying the human’s attempts to break him, Spirit is still willing to develop a close friendship with the humans he cares about most.
7. The Silver Brumby.
Filmed in Victoria, Australia and starring Russel Crowe, the film tells the story of Australia’s wild brumbies. When released overseas, the film was renamed The Silver Stallion, as it was believed international audiences wouldn’t recognise the term ‘brumby.’
8. Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken.
A film unlike any other on the list, the story follows a woman who rider diving horses; horse that run up large platforms and jump off them into water. Diving horses were a popular attraction in the 1930s.
The film is based on a memoir by the rider depicted in the film. She lost her eyesight after a riding injury, but continued to ride while blind.
A Disney film about the life and experiences of the thoroughbred racehorse Secretariat. The film’s cast is largely made up of unknown actors and actresses, but the film was very successful on its release.
Based on the classic children’s novel My Friend Flicka, the story had been transformed into a film in 1943, and also into a 39 episode television series in the fifties.
The story has always resonated with young readers and viewers and is one of the original, classic equestrian stories.
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How Quarantine & Television Is Ruining Australia’s Equestrian Sports
Megan Jones, 36 at the time, rides Flowervale Maserati, a powerful horse with a dark coat. As rain begins to fall, the pair of them continue to push themselves, hoofs beating ground and throwing grass into the air.
A variety of interesting jumps have been set up; huge logs balanced over low stumps, trimmed hedges and neatly crafted wooden huts. For this moment, Megan’s entire focus is paired with her horses. Their speed and their movements counterbalance each other’s as they hurtle over obstacles.
The exhilaration of the ride drives them both forward to win the event; a trial held in Ballarat. The skill it requires of the two of them is enough to take Megan to the Olympics, where she won a silver medal in Beijing in 2008. If that skill fails, the risk is severe – with injuries and fatalities occasionally appearing in the news. While Megan has suffered from the intensities of riding (she has a stress fracture in her back that required a 12 week rest from riding), others have lost their lives in the controversially dangerous sport. It is, by any sense of the word, an extreme sport.
With so much danger, intensity, skill and tradition, what kind of an audience does equestrian riding have in Australia? SBS made news recently for scheduling coverage of some of the top international equestrian events, including jumping and eventing. It’s a break from Australia’s surprisingly reticent history of equestrian sport coverage, which rarely makes news unless in the context of the Olympics. Yet equestrian events alone make up a $362 million dollar contribution to the Australian economy, and the equestrian industry in total contributes $6 billion. World-class athletes are being trained in Australia, and a nearly $1 billion a year goes into breeding high class horses.
So why isn’t the equestrian industry covered by television programming? It has everything; excitement, interest, an existing market – there seems to be no reason why equestrian events shouldn’t be all over our screens. And there’s one big reason; quarantine.
Horses coming into Australia are required to be in quarantine for 3 weeks in their country of origin and then for another 2 – 3 weeks when then land in Australia. That’s a potential total of 42 days of quarantine. Horses going into American, as a point of comparison – require only 3 days of quarantine, and 7 days for a small selection of limited countries. Australia is already geographically distant from Europe, where horse riding is more popular, but delays like this make it near-impossible for international competition to take place in Australia.
That means Australia ends up isolated and it becomes much harder to increase the quality, value and competition of the industry. There are no five star events held in Australia, only the four star Adelaide three-day event. Australian riders can become successful; Edwina Tops-Alexander of Australia was the first person to earn over $2 million in an equestrian event. But, much like Tops-Alexander, they move overseas to a European base in order to reach that kind of success.
What Australia is doing is exporting all of our equestrian talent. We’re not completely without hope. Grand Prix rider Lone Jorgensen moved to Australia from Germany and set up base here; proving again that the country has promise in the equestrian field.
The only way to invigorate the already solid industry is to modify quarantine laws to allow more efficient imports. If we can encourage world class internationals to compete in Australia, events will grow and television coverage will follow, unlocking the potential the market already has.
8 Fictional Horses You Wish You Owned
How many times have you been watching a movie or reading a book and thought “that’s a horse I would love to own”?
It doesn’t matter how fictional or unrealistic they are, you can’t help but fantasise about owning one of these amazing creatures. Often, they’re the characters your childhood dreams were built on.
Let’s take a look at the top 8 fictional horse characters.
1. Mr Ed.
Horse riding is all about communication. But don’t you just wish you could actually speak to your horse. It would make things so much easier.
The famous Mr Ed could talk – in fact, he could barely stop talking!
Gandalf’s noble horse from The Lord of The Rings. Shadowfax is perhaps the most noble and dignified of any fictional horse character.
Shadowfax was ‘foaled in the morning of the world,’ the original and perfect horse.
In fact, he’s almost the most dignified character ever written, animal or human. It’s not so much that you’d like to own Shadowfax, but that you’d like to know him.
A thoroughbred with too much spirit for ploughing fields, Joey is the storied character of War Horse, the wildly successful book, film and stage play.
The best-natured of all the horses on the list is Bullseye, from the Toy Story films.
More like a puppy, Bullseye is full of enthusiasm and friendliness.
The colourful, beautiful flying horse from RainbowBrite, the 80s cartoon series.
Starlite was able to fly on rainbows, and her colourful mane and tail made her an excellent horse to fantasise about.
The horse from The Neverending Story who, in the novel, is actually a speaking character.
A complicated character, Artax’s death was a difficult one for most readers, but reminds us of the emotional complexity of the horses we love.
A horse capable of talking, but hiding his gift from his war-mongering owners, Bree is another complex character from the Chronicles of Narnia.
8. Black Beauty.
For some of us, this might have been our first horse love.
The novel does an excellent job of stokes the fires for a horse lover, reminding us of the need to treat every animal with love and respect.
READ MORE: The 10 Best Horse Movies of All Time