7 Heartwarming Horsie Movies To Enjoy On Disney Plus
Anyone who's spent much time scrolling through Disney+ will know that there's a huge variety of TV shows and movies on there, especially if you look past the "big" titles. The service truly delves into Disney's past, with releases going all the way back to the first half of the 20th century. Unsurprisingly for a studio with such a reputation for great family viewing, there's a lot of animal movies in there. Dogs and cats feature heavily of course, but there's also a whole load of films about everyone's favorite odd-toed ungulate mammal (thanks, Wikipedia!)--the horse.
Yes, Disney has been making horse movies for several decades now, and for equine film fans there are definitely some must-sees. They mostly revolve around the friendship between a human--often a kid, though not always--and their beloved steed. Sometimes it's a champion racing stallion; other times it's a misunderstood horse that only a child sees the true potential in. But without fail, these movies deliver the heartwarming and crowd-pleasing goods that you'd expect from a Disney horsie movie.
So for Disney fans who ever dreamed about charging across a prairie or winning a horse racing championship, we've picked the best horse movies to check out on Disney+. And once you've had your fill of inspiring horse drama, why not check out our thankfully horse-free list of suggestively titled but perfectly innocent movies streaming on Disney+.
1. Justin Morgan Had a Horse (1972)
Marguerite Henry is the godmother of children's horse fiction, with more than 50 books about stallions, mares, and foals written over her 50-year career. Justin Morgan Had a Horse is one of her best-known works, and Disney turned it into a movie in 1972. It's about the titular legendary horse breeder, and the establishing of the Morgan, one of America's first and greatest horse breeds. It's a wholesome and inspiring tale, featuring wholesome and inspiring people (and their horses).
2. Horse Sense (1999)
Sadly, having Horse Sense isn't like Spider-Sense--it's a 19th century phrase about someone's intelligence (or lack thereof). It's also a weird title for this otherwise uplifting movie about a young, arrogant rich guy called Michael who visits his cousin's Montana ranch, which is under threat from foreclosure. Luckily, it turns out that looking after horses in the great outdoors can turn even the most arrogant money-obsessed city-dweller into a better man.
3. Secretariat (2010)
One of the highest-profile horse epics to be found on Disney+, Secretariat has an A-list cast (Diane Lane and John Malkovich) and tells the true story of the legendary race horse, who won many awards and races over his career. Much of the focus of the movie is on his owner Penny (played by Lane), who believes in her steed when no one else will. No inspirational, uplifting cliché is left untouched here, but in the world of horsie cinema, that can only be a good thing.
4. Ready to Run (2000)
If you ever wanted to see a horse racing while wearing headphones, Ready to Run has you covered. It follows a 14-year-old girl named Corrie, who wants to follow her late father and become a jockey, much to her mom's disapproval (her dad died while racing). Corrie helps her trusty but nervous steed TJ overcome his fear of racing but placing headphones over his head and playing terrible anthemic soft rock to relax and inspire him. It's all going well until TJ is accused of "cheating." Naughty TJ.
5. Flicka (2006)
Flicka is a wild horse who is adopted and tamed by (who else?) a plucky teenage girl called Katy in another stirring ranch-set melodrama. While most of the horses on this list only have to contend with being nervous or a bit excitable, poor old Flicka gets attacked by a mountain lion in one scene and almost has to be put down because of her injuries. Possibly not one for easily scared, younger horsie fans.
6. The Young Black Stallion (2004)
This 50-minute feature was made for IMAX, so inevitably some of the big screen horse action will suffer when viewed at home. It's still a visual treat though--it's a prequel to the 1976 classic The Black Stallion and follows a young girl in 1940s Africa who befriends a beautiful black colt and must win a race in order to help her grandpa. While this does seem to be the plot of 67% of all horse movies (including the first Black Stallion), this one does it with some impressive photography and incredible scenery to accompany the predictable plot.
7. Gus (1976)
OK, this one is cheating slightly, as Gus isn't technically a horse--he's a mule. But if you love horses, there's a good chance you love mules too. Gus is also a football player, having been taught how to score amazing field goals by the desperate owner of a failing team. It hardly needs pointing out that this extremely silly comedy is not based on a true story, but fans of both sports movies and horse movies might get an, erm, kick out of it. Sorry.