Horses hold a significant place in human civilization, with their domestication dating back to 5,500 years ago in Kazakhstan. Originally kept for milk and riding, they revolutionized the way we lived and propelled human progress.
Their introduction empowered people to travel farther for hunting and mining, opening up new trade opportunities. Over time, horses became instrumental in transportation, and agriculture, and played a pivotal role in warfare. Even today, these magnificent creatures continue to serve us in drafting work, transportation, and as a source of pleasure and competition riding.
For those with a fascination for horses, there are 12 horse documentaries, exploring various aspects of these remarkable creatures and our deep-rooted connection with them.
Directed by Cindy Meehl, the 2011 documentary film “Buck” portrays the extraordinary life and work of Buck Brannaman, a renowned horse trainer and cowboy. Brannaman emphasizes mutual respect and understanding and takes center stage in this captivating film.
Brannaman travels across the country, conducting clinics and fostering remarkable connections between horses and their owners. The film delves into Brannaman’s profound philosophy, technique, and personal transformation.
“Buck” was awarded the Audience Award at the prestigious 2011 Sundance Film Festival. An exceptional documentary for horse enthusiasts and those fascinated by equestrian psychology.
#2 My Heroes Were Cowboys
Robin Wiltshire’s immigrant childhood is portrayed in this 23-minute Netflix original documentary. His transformation through horse training and pursuit of his dreams on the big screen takes the spotlight.
#3 Dark Horse
Dark Horse is an extraordinary and captivating documentary film from 2015, directed by Louise Osmond. It centers around the journey of Jan Vokes, a barmaid and part-time cleaner. She embarked on an inspiring endeavor with her friends to breed a racehorse.
This incredible horse, named Dream Alliance, defied all odds and triumphed by winning the prestigious Welsh Grand National. Dark Horse offers an intimate glimpse into Dream Alliance’s life through interviews with Vokes and other key figures.
This moving and uplifting film, received the Audience Award at the 2015 Sundance Festival. He showcases the sheer resilience and determination of its characters, making it a must-watch for all.
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#4 The Path of the Horse
“The Path of the Horse” is a thought-provoking documentary. His central thought is the study of the relationship between humans and horses. We witness a transformation in Stormy May’s perspective as she learns from renowned horse experts. This captivating film highlights the importance of a new ethos in horse-human relationships – one that embraces empathy and understanding.
#5 Harry & Snowman
A remarkable tale reminiscent of Cinderella, Harry & Snowman chronicles the journey of Dutch immigrant Harry deLeyer and his extraordinary companion, Snowman, a rescued Amish plow horse that was initially bound for a glue factory. In a mere span of two years, this remarkable duo, defying all odds, triumphed in the prestigious Triple Crown of show jumping, outshining the nation’s top contenders. Their awe-inspiring accomplishments swiftly captured the media’s attention, making them darlings of the American public. Transcending from an $80 rescue horse to an acclaimed champion show jumper, the documentary film of Harry and his beloved Snowman stands as a truly exceptional and inspiring masterpiece.
Unbranded tells the extraordinary tale of four men embarking on a 3,000-mile journey from Mexico to Canada, accompanied by sixteen wild Mustangs. Their awe-inspiring trek serves as a catalyst, motivating individuals to adopt the 50,000 wild horses and burros currently in government captivity. Immerse in the breathtaking landscapes of the American West as four recent college graduates embark on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure alongside magnificent Mustangs. These awe-inspiring horses were lovingly adopted through the Bureau of Land Management’s program. From the untamed beauty of the American West to the indomitable spirit of the Mustang, this documentary is a deeply moving and enlightening experience.
#7 Down the Fence
Down the Fence is a captivating documentary that delves into the captivating world of reined cow horse competition. It provides an intimate insight into the lives of the trainers and competitors. This film takes viewers on a journey through the preparation and participation in the esteemed National Reined Cow Horse Association’s Snaffle Bit Futurity.
#8 The Horse Whisperer
Jean Francois Pignon takes the spotlight in this captivating 5-minute documentary about horses. As a French equestrian, he shares the heartwarming story of his profound connection with Gazelle, a stunning white horse. This extraordinary bond paves the way for Jean to establish deep connections with numerous other equines. With his remarkable horse-whispering skills, Pignon astounds audiences of tens of thousands in each mesmerizing performance.
#9 All the Wild Horses
All the Mysterious Wild Horses captures the challenging yet mesmerizing journey of the Mongol Derby, the world’s most grueling and extensive horse race. This extraordinary event spans 650 km across Mongolia’s unforgiving landscapes, ranging from rugged mountains to endless deserts. The captivating film portrays numerous remarkable horses and skilled handlers, testing their endurance to the limit.
#10 Listening to the Horse
Listening to the horse brings together 70 of the world’s top horse enthusiasts who share captivating stories about individuals and their equine companions. This seven-part course covers a wide range of topics including dialogue, young horses, groundwork, collection, mobility, and mental health. The miniseries is not only informative and uplifting but also offers a diverse collection of real-life stories and professional insights from horse enthusiasts worldwide.
#11 The Horse With the Flying Tail
An oldie but a goodie, “The Horse with the Flying Tail” is a captivating 1960 horse documentary featuring Nautical, a remarkable palomino racehorse who defied all odds to claim the gold. Nautical, though born to a Quarter Horse with predominantly thoroughbred bloodlines, was portrayed as a humble stock horse. In his journey, he progressed to become an acclaimed open jumper, showcasing his talents in the prestigious US national horse show circuit.
Before his extraordinary Olympic success, Nautical faced challenges as an erratic jumper, often hesitating at the ditch and water jumps. However, when Nautical unleashed his brilliance, he soared over barriers with finesse. The film captures the distinct sight of Nautical lifting his tail in a unique manner after flawlessly clearing each jump—an iconic feat that captivated audiences at state fairs who relied on these signals rather than official scores.
Under the guidance of Hugh Wiley and with the expertise of Bertalan de Nemethy, the renowned trainer of the US Equestrian Squad, Nautical was meticulously groomed and transformed into an outstanding open jumper of Olympic caliber. With this awe-inspiring tale of determination and triumph, “The Horse with the Flying Tail” immerses viewers in the captivating world of equestrian excellence.
#12 Equus: Story of the Horse
Are you curious about the fascinating history of horses? Look no further than “Equus: Story of the Horse” – a captivating documentary series that takes you on a remarkable journey. Explore the diverse range of horse breeds across the globe and witness their incredible ability to adapt to new environments. Prepare to be enchanted by our remarkable equine companions. Embark on an exploration across 11 countries on 3 continents as we unravel the origins of the human-horse relationship. This extraordinary film appeals to both seasoned equestrians and newcomers to the world of horses, inspiring a deep admiration for this magnificent species. Don’t miss out on this exceptional and enriching viewing experience.
Whether you’ve been devoted to horses for years or simply have a soft spot for these majestic creatures, you’ll undoubtedly find delight in the horse documentaries featured in this compilation. Naturally, these are just a handful of the remarkable films and documentaries available on our beloved topic—horses. If you have a cherished horse documentary that hasn’t made the cut, please share it with us in the comments! We’re constantly seeking fresh and captivating avenues to delve into the past and heritage of our equine companions.