39 Songs About Horses
My parents used to live in Kentucky horse country, so when visitors came they would often take them to a local farm to ride horses. We still laugh about the time when my sister brought home a college boyfriend and my mother took them for a horseback ride.
They all mounted their horses and took off on the trail at a leisurely pace. Every time my mother's horse hit a bump, however, my mother peed a little. Unfortunately, horses bump a lot, and as her horse started to gallop, the floodgates burst open.
By the time they had returned to the stables, both the horse's saddle and my mother's tan britches were completely urine-soaked. She was mortified, especially to have peed her pants in front of strangers. The farm hand pretended not to notice as he took the wet saddle. However, she did have to face my sister's boyfriend for the rest of the weekend.
If you like to ride horses (hopefully without wetting your pants) or simply admire them, why not celebrate these majestic, beautiful animals with a playlist of pop, rock, and country songs? We have a long list of songs about horses to start you out.
1. "Wildfire" by Michael Martin Murphy
This haunting soft rock song from 1975 describes a disillusioned homesteader captivated with the tragic story of a girl and her lost horse. The Nebraska girl died in a blizzard one year searching for Wildfire, her beloved horse that had broken out of his stall. Now their ghosts wander free, and the farmer, having lost his crops to weather, imagines joining them in death.
2. "Wild Horse" by Raelynn
The girl in this 2016 country song is a free spirit who doesn't want to be fenced in or tamed. She needs the wind ripping through her hair, riding straight through the open wide, free like a wild horse.
3. "Wild Horses" by Natasha Bedingfield
If you've ever been held back by fear of the unknown, you know what the woman in this 2004 pop song longs for. Rather than letting caution and all of the "what ifs" constrain her, she wants to feel the freedom of wild horses. She wants to jump head first into challenges and open up her heart to love:
Oooh, wild horses I want to be like you
Throwing caution to the wind, I'll run free too
Wish I could recklessly love like I'm longing to
I want to run with the wild horses.
4. "Let That Pony Run" by Pam Tillis
Sometimes there's nothing you can do but let go of the reins. This country tune from 1993 describes a woman who was living a perfect suburban life until her husband confessed that he was in love with a barmaid. The wife divorced him and let him run off, then she moved to West Virginia where she could feel reckless and young atop a beautiful horse.
27 Horse-Related Idioms and Their Meanings
1. don't put the cart before the horse
don't do things in the wrong sequence; prioritize correctly
2. get off your high horse
stop acting as if you're better than others
3. don't look a gift horse in the mouth
don't be ungrateful for something freely given
4. horseplay (or horsing around)
roughhousing, rowdy play
5. straight from the horse's mouth
from an authoritative or reliable source
6. one-trick pony
skilled in only one area
7. eat like a horse (or I'm so hungry I could eat a horse)
eat a large amount of food
8. stubborn as a mule
to be very determined and unlikely to change one's mind
9. hold your horses (or whoa, Nelly)
hold on; wait
10. wild horses couldn't drag (him/me) away
determined to stay; unstoppable; unable to be persuaded
11. dark horse
a contestant who seems unlikely to succeed; a little known entrant in a contest or competition who rises to prominence
12. you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink
you can give someone an opportunity, but you can't force them to take advantage of it
13. one horse town
a small town that is dull and boring
14. donkey's years
a very long time
15. a horse of a different color
that's a completely different subject
16. to back the wrong horse
to make the wrong choice
17. chomping at the bit
to be impatient, eager
18. charley horse
an involuntary muscle spasm, typically in the back of the calf
19. no horse in this race
you don't have a vested interest in the matter; you have nothing to gain or lose
20. beat a dead horse
to waste energy on a lost cause
21. a dog and pony show
an elaborate display as a part of a promotional campaign
22. to put out to pasture
to force someone to leave a job because they're too old to be useful
23. horse sense
24. pony up
to pay money that is owed
25. ride the white horse
to routinely do heroin
26. horse sense
sound practical judgment
27. horses for courses
people and things have different qualities and skills, thus they are differentially suitable for situations
5. "Dark Horse" by Katy Perry (featuring Juicy J)
A dark horse is an underestimated or little known candidate in a competition who defies expectations and performs exceptionally well. In this 2013 pop song, Katy Perry is a woman who warns a potential lover to treat her right because she's capable of anything and everything. She's a woman who is underestimated for her powers yet so enchanting that men can become addicted to her.
6. "Wild Horses" by Garth Brooks
The cowboy in this 2000 country tune keeps making promises to his girlfriend that he'll quit the rodeo, but he's not a man of his word. He explains that wild horses keep dragging him away.
There are also insinuations of his infidelity. Although the girlfriend keeps forgiving him, he knows that one day, her patience will run out:
Wild horses keep draggin' me away
And I'll lose more than I'm gonna win someday
Wild horses just stay wild
And her heart is all I break
Wild horses keep draggin' me away.
Don't you want to tell his girlfriend to let this bucking bronco go?
7. "Runaway Horses" by Belinda Carlisle
Some people soothe our souls while others re-energize us, providing mystery and a whirlwind of excitement. The narrator in this 1990 pop song has found a partner who is so exhilarating that he makes their ride through life feel like an adventure—just like runaway horses.
8. "No Reins" by Rascal Flatts
Held back too long by a no-good lover, the protagonist in this 2007 country song has finally broken free and left him in a cloud of dust. Like a painted wild mustang, she can run free and live her life with no fear, no fences, and no reins.
9. "Red Headed Stranger" by Willie Nelson
An intriguing story of love and loss is at the heart of this 1975 country song. A cowboy comes into town atop a black stallion with a bay pony trailing behind them. The grieving man is looking to pay respects to his deceased wife who is buried nearby. The pony is precious to him, as it belonged to his dead wife.
When a woman in a bar attempts to steal the pony, the stranger fatally shoots her. However, he escapes punishment:
For you can't hang a man for killin' a woman
Who's tryin' to steal your horse.
10. "Just Like Them Horses" by Reba McEntire
Reba wrote this 2015 country song about her father when he died, and it's bound to leave a lump in your throat. It describes letting go of someone you love dearly. She likens it to opening up the gates when the time has come and allowing horses to run free beneath the sun.
11. "White Horse" by Taylor Swift
Having been disillusioned by promises her ex-boyfriend made, the narrator in this 2008 pop tune lets him know that she sees him for what he is. The guy who tried to paint himself as Prince Charming turned out to be an unapologetic liar.
Smarter now, the narrator cautions him that he's blown his chance at love with her:
I was a dreamer before you went and let me down
Now it's too late for you
And your white horse, to come around.
12. "The Horse Nobody Could Ride" by Joey + Rory
When toughness fails, try tenderness. In this 2010 song, a wild young mustang is labelled "the horse nobody could ride" because she refused to break for any of the cowboys. She threw each of them off.
Then along comes a man who uses a kinder approach. He gains her trust and promises not to hurt her, and she rewards his patience. Together they ride away.
13. "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" by KT Turnstall
This enigmatic rock song from 2004 is about looking back on the choices you've made in your life and reconciling the consequences with your feelings. The black horse may be a symbol for death. The songwriter has remarked that it's a song about having to dig deep to find out who you want to be.
14. "Three White Horses" by Andrew Bird
In this bluesy 2012 tune, the relationship between the narrator and his lover is ending. White horses symbolize vulnerability and purity, and he thinks about the impact of saying farewell. Even though they are separating, their spirit and the relationship they share will always be with them.
15. "The Horses" by Daryl Braithwaite
This tender 1991 pop song is a cover of a Rickie Lee Jones song that she wrote for her young daughter. The narrator is a watchful parent who comforts their child by telling them that even when they are no longer together in person, they'll always be together in spirit:
That's the way it's gonna be, little darlin'
You go riding on the horses, yeah
Way up in the sky, little darlin'
And if you fall I'll pick you up, pick you up.
16. "Ballad of a Runaway Horse" by Emmylou Harris
This 1993 version of Leonard Cohen's "Ballad of the Absent Mare" tells the story of a cowgirl and her horse. He has escaped the stall that pens him in. Worried, she searches for him, not knowing that he is hiding nearby watching her. The horse is no longer tame and yearns to be wild and free. The girl decides to go with him.
17. "Another Horsedreamer's Blues" by Counting Crows
Margery, the protagonist in this 1996 rock song, is a lonely girl with an unfortunate home life. She bets on horses and self-medicates as a means of escaping her sad situation. She dreams of one day being free like horses.
18. "Beer for My Horses" by Toby Keith (featuring Willie Nelson)
At age 70, Willie Nelson became the oldest person to top the country music charts with this 1993 hit. Lamenting that there are too many gangsters and bad guys on the street these days, the old timer narrating this song advocates handling evildoers like they did in the old days.
He wants the law to round them all up and deliver swift and decisive justice old the way they did it in the Old West. Then all the good guys can meet back at the local saloon where there will be whiskey for the men and beer for the horses.
19. "Run for the Roses" by Dan Fogelberg
The unofficial theme for the Kentucky Derby, this 1981 soft rock song describes a colt who was born to compete in the famous horse race. The horse uses all of his breeding and training to reach his full potential and fulfill his fate.
20. "A Horse with No Name" by America
Every fan of oldies rock music knows this iconic 1971 ditty, but many ponder what it's about exactly. Some say it's about drugs (which led it to be banned by some radio stations). However, that's been disputed by the songwriters.
The tune describes a journey through the desert on a nameless horse. The narrator eventually allows the horse to go free when they reach an oasis after nine days. In the solace of the desert, the narrator notices the nature around him and feels happy to escape both people and the rain.
Even More Songs About Horses
20. Girls & Horses
21. The Wild Horse
22. Chestnut Mare
23. Fallen Horses
24. All the Pretty Ponies
25. American Horse
27. Live Like Horses
28. Wild Horses
The Rolling Stones
29. Dark Horse
30. Jenny's Got a Pony
31. Which Way Does That Old Pony Run
32. Only the Horses
33. Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)
Big & Rich
34. Back in the Saddle Again
35. Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?
36. She Rides Wild Horses
37. Crazy Horses
38. Tennessee Stud
39. Run Wild Horses
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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