15 Old Songs About Horses: Timeless Equestrian Anthems

If you’re interested in old songs about horses, you’re not the only one.

Horses are brave, strong, and majestic animals, so it’s no surprise many artists immortalize them in songs, poems, and stories. 

But since it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the available tracks, I’ve selected 15 of my favorite songs about horses, horse themed songs, so you can enjoy riding and listening to their catchy lyrics! 

Just keep reading.

Key Takeaways

  • Songs about horses come in various genres, from country to rock to folk. 
  • Artists often use horses as metaphors to express their desire for freedom. 
  • Horses also enjoy listening to music. 

15 Best Old Songs About Horses

Most people think about country songs about cowboy life when they hear the word “horses.” But you can find songs filled with stallions and wild mustangs in almost any genre – rock, pop, folk, etc.

Digging deeper into music history, many old songs about horses may not be as popular today but certainly hold a charm of their own. For instance, “Wildfire” by Michael Martin Murphey tells a haunting story of a horse in the midst of a winter storm.

Then there’s “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” a classic cowboy ballad, sung by many including Johnny Cash, about ghostly cowboys chasing after red-eyed cattle in the sky.

And who could forget “Run for the Roses” by Dan Fogelberg, a beautiful tribute to the Kentucky Derby?

And while you probably know about Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” or Taylor Swift’s “White Horse,” revisiting these older tracks can provide a nostalgic trip down memory lane, full of galloping rhythms and tales of equine companions. Some of these old tracks will take you by surprise!

#1 Ballad of a Runaway Horse

Do you love lengthy songs about horses? Then you’ll quickly fall in love with this country song and the singer’s expressive vocals. 

The catchy song is about a cowgirl chasing her runaway horse until the rider and horse are reunited and galloping together. The lyrics are full of meaning – about love, freedom, and choices. 

It’s part of Emmylou Harris’s seventeenth album Cowgirl’s Prayer, released in 1993. But the original lyrics are written by Leonard Cohen. 

 #2 Live Like Horses

Elton John has created several unforgettable songs, but I bet you don’t know he ever paired with the famous opera singer Luciano Pavarotti.  

In their 1996 song Live Like Horses, these amazing artists sing about their desire for freedom, breaking away from the “old iron fences.” 

#3 She Rides Wild Horses

Kenny Rogers was a country legend, inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013, so it’s no surprise he created an amazing piece perfect for horse lovers.

“She Rides Wild Horses” was the title track of his 23rd studio album. It tells about a bartender girl living an ordinary life and dreaming about riding wild horses.

As you can guess, the artist uses horse imagery to express one’s desire for adventure and freedom. 

#4 Wild Horses

If you’re a fan of rock music, you can’t go wrong with “Wild Horses” by Rolling Stones. It’s a stunning piece filled with heartbreak, frustration, devotion, and a sense of longing.

As the author Keith Richards says about the origin of the song, “It was one of those magical moments when things come together.” (1)

Unsurprisingly, this hit song reached number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart when it was released in 1971 as a single in the USA. 

#5 Hi-Yo Silver

“Hi-Yo Silver” is one of the oldest recorded horse songs you can find on YouTube. It was created in 1938, making it over 80 years old. 

And it has a classic plot. The singer/actor Roy Rogers sings about the cowboy’s best friend – a horse named Silver, galloping fast to catch criminals.

#6 Tennessee Stud

“Tennessee Stud” is a favorite horse song of mine. Jimmy Driftwood recorded it for the first time in 1959 and tells about a green-eyed stallion and his rider’s adventures. 

This emotional song has several covers, including one from Johnny Cash, Doc Watson, and Billy Strings. 

#7 Mister Ed

Mister Ed was a popular TV show in the 1960s, telling the story of a mischievous talking horse and his owner. And while its title song isn’t a masterpiece, it has a catchy hook that you can’t resist! 

#8 Back in the Saddle Again

“Back in the Saddle Again” is the signature song of the singing cowboy Gene Autry. It was released in 1939 and featured in Gene Autry’s film Rovin’ Tumbleweeds.

#9 The Old Gray Mare

You may think that “The Old Gray Mare” is a children’s song, but it’s a folk song dating back to the 1840s and the horse Lady Suffolk. (2)

Recently, the song has been featured in an episode of The Simpsons

#10 A Horse With No Name

The  folk rock band America has a great old song about horses called “A Horse With No Name.” It goes back to the 1970s and topped the charts with infectious beats and catchy lyrics.

Interestingly, some radio stations banned the song because they thought the horse was a metaphor for drugs. 

#11 A Horse in the Country

“A Horse in the Country” by Cowboy Junkies is an emotional song that touches your soul and makes you feel the singer’s pain, longing, and regrets.

It’s about the artist’s desire to escape from ordinary life one day and have an adventure with her horse in the countryside.   

#12 Wildfire

If you’re looking for a sad song about horses, try “Wildfire” by Michael Martin Murphey. The track first appeared in 1975 and became number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Its lyrics tell the story of a girl that freezes in the snow while looking for her favorite horse Wildfire. 

#13 Wild Horses

Garth Brooks’ “Wild Horses” is a classic country song. It’s about a guy that breaks a promise to his girl never to take part in rodeos again. But he can’t resist the call of the wild horses. 

#14 Heavy Horses

“Heavy Horses” by the rock band Jethro Tull is the title track from their eleventh studio album, released in 1978. Ian Anderson wrote it as an ode to horses and a rebellion against the music trends of that time.

#15 Three Horses

Joan Baez’s “Three Horses” is an emotional song about a white horse that tells about his past, a red mare that talks about the present, and a black horse with no tongue, representing the future. 

FAQs

1. What kind of music do horses like?

According to a study from Hartpury University, horses like classic and country music and dislike rock and jazz. So, if you’re a country fan, your horse will enjoy listening to the same songs. (3)

2. Do horses like when you sing to them? 

Some horses can enjoy it when you sing, but it depends on what songs your pick and how good you are at it. 

3. What is the song that sounds like horses?

Rossini’s overture to ‘William Tell’ is the tract most people connect with galloping horses.

Conclusion

You’ve got many old beautiful horse songs to add to your playlist, each with a unique message that can touch your soul.

And your horse can also enjoy them! The right song can relax your horse, improve its mode, and make it more obedient! So, it’s worth trying music if you’re having a hard time with your animal. 

What do you think about these old songs about horses? Which is your favorite song? Share your thoughts in the comment section. 

Resources:

1. Beviglia J. What is the Meaning Behind The Song: The Rolling Stones, “Wild Horses” [Internet]. American Songwriter. 2019 [cited 2023 Aug 24]. Available from: https://americansongwriter.com/behind-song-rolling-stones-wild-horses/

2. Available from: 2. https://harnessmuseum.com/content/lady-suffolk

3. Available from: 3.https://www.researchgate.net/publication/249339705_Auditory_stimulation_of_the_stabled_equine_the_effect_of_different_music_genres_on_behaviour

Grigorina S
Grigorina S

Grigorina grew up surrounded by animals – dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses and that has shaped her into what I am today – a crazy cat lady who always has a place for one more cat (or a dog). She has two female cats – Kitty and Roni, and two tomcats – Blacky and Shaggy, but she also feeds her neighbors’ cats when they come for a visit. I just can’t say no to them. Follow her on FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM
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