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Image by Kateřina Hartlová from Pixabay

By the EIE Editorial Staff

Horses have earned their fame for a multitude of reasons, both for their contributions to human history and for their inherent qualities that have captured our imagination. Here's a list of our most memorable horses.

1. Black Beauty: This fictional horse is the star of the beloved children's novel of the same name by Anna Sewell. The story tells the tale of a black stallion who is mistreated by various owners but ultimately finds a happy ending. Black Beauty's story is a powerful indictment of cruelty to animals and remains a popular choice for young readers.

Black Beauty (1994)
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The fates of horses, and the people who own and command them, are revealed as Black Beauty narrates the circle of his life. Director: Caroline Thompson, Writers: Anna Sewell (novel), Caroline Thompson (screenplay), Stars: Sean Bean, David Thewlis, Docs Keepin Time

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
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2. The Black: “The Black” is the name of the stunning fictional Arabian stallion from the book series from Walter Farley which was later made into a beautifully filmed masterpiece in 1979. In the movie, this powerful black stallion forms a unique bond with a young boy, Alec Ramsay, when they are both shipwrecked on a deserted island. The boy later races The Black against the best racehorses in the country.

The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
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The Black Stallion (1979)
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While traveling with his father, young Alec becomes fascinated by a mysterious Arabian stallion that is brought on board and stabled in the ship he is sailing on. Director: Carroll Ballard, Writers: Melissa Mathison (screenplay), Jeanne Rosenberg (screenplay), Stars: Kelly Reno, Mickey Rooney, Teri Garr

3. Man o' War: Nicknamed "Big Red," Man o' War was another champion racehorse who dominated the early 20th century and is widely regarded as one of the greatest racehorses of all time. He won 20 of his 21 starts, established seven track records for speed over various distances, and raced at odds as short as 1–100. He died on November 1, 1947, at age 30 after an apparent heart attack. He was so popular that his funeral was broadcast live on NBC Radio.

Man o' War (Thoroughbred Legends) by Edward Bowen
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4. Mister Ed: The talking palomino horse of the 1960s sitcom was "Mister Ed." The talking palomino horse, Mr. Ed, was played by a talented horse named Bamboo Harvester. His voice was provided by actor Allan Lane. The show centered around Wilbur Post, the owner (played by Alan Young), who was the only one who could understand Mr. Ed's witty and often sarcastic remarks.

Mister Ed and Me by Alan Young
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5. Misty of Chincoteague: Misty was a fictional horse from the children's novel “Misty of Chincoteague” by Marguerite Henry. The book is inspired by the real-life Chincoteague Pony Swim, a tradition where Chincoteague Island ponies are rounded up and swim across a channel to Assateague Island. In the story, two siblings, Paul and Maureen, befriend a wild mare named Phantom and her foal, Misty.

Misty of Cincoteague
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6. Phar Lap: An Australian racing champion, Phar Lap wasn't just fast; he had a powerful physique. Standing at 17 hands tall with a massive heart (later discovered to be unusually large), his physical attributes contributed to his racing prowess. Phar Lap wasn't just a winner; he was dominant. He won a staggering 37 races out of 51 starts in the 1920s and early 1930s, often beating competitors by significant lengths. His versatility was impressive too, excelling in both long-distance and sprint races. Coinciding with the Great Depression, Phar Lap's victories provided a much-needed morale boost for Australians. His death at a young age from alleged poisoning remains a mystery.

Phar Lap: A True Legend by Michael Reason
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Phar Lap (1983)
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7. Seabiscuit: The undersized racehorse who became a national sensation during the Great Depression. Seabiscuit wasn't a horse owned by the elite. His owner, Charles Howard, wasn't a wealthy man either. Their success story resonated with ordinary people who felt overlooked or underestimated. The bond between Seabiscuit and his jockey, George Woolf, was another captivating aspect of the story. Woolf himself had overcome injuries and setbacks, further mirroring the spirit of resilience. Their teamwork became a source of inspiration. The book by Laura Hillenbrand entitled “Seabiscuit: An American Legend” tells the story of Seabiscuit's transformation from a struggling racehorse to a champion, beating triple crown winner War Admiral in a 1938 match race.

Seabiscuit: An American Legend
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Seabiscuit (2003)
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True story of the undersized Depression-era racehorse whose victories lifted not only the spirits of the team behind it but also those of their nation.
Director: Gary Ross, Writers: Laura Hillenbrand (book), Gary Ross (screenplay), Stars: Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, Elizabeth Banks |

8. Secretariat: Another “Big Red!” This chestnut thoroughbred won the 1973 Triple Crown in which his record-breaking times for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes still stand today. Race caller Chic Anderson announced Secretariat was moving like a “tremendous machine” on the way to winning the Triple Crown and Belmont Stakes by a remarkable 31 lengths. Upon his death, it was discovered his heart was twice the size of a normal horse. Many consider Secretariat to be the greatest racehorse of all time.

Secretariat by William Nack
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William Nack (Author). “Secretariat is an elegantly crafted, exhilarating tale of speed and power, grace and greatness, told with such immediacy that the reader is lost in the rush of horses and the clatter and ring of the grandstand.” —Laura Hillenbrand, bestselling author of Seabiscuit. Updated with a new preface by the author. In 1973, Secretariat, the greatest champion in horse-racing history, won the Triple Crown. The only horse to ever grace the covers of Time, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated in the same week, he also still holds the record for the fastest times in both the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes. Paperback: 480 pages Publisher: Hyperion; Reissue edition (August 31, 2010) KINDLE EDITION Available

Secretariat (2010)
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Penny Chenery Tweedy and colleagues guide her long-shot but precocious stallion to set, in 1973, the unbeaten record for winning the Triple Crown. Director: Randall Wallace, Writers: Mike Rich, William Nack (book), Stars: Diane Lane, John Malkovich, Margo Martindale

9. Silver: The Lone Ranger's loyal white steed, Silver is one of the most recognizable horses in American pop culture. He was a constant companion to the masked hero and helped him fight for justice in the Wild West. Actually, Silver wasn't actually a single horse! While the character of Silver is always a white stallion, multiple horses have portrayed him in the television show. The most famous Silver was likely played by two different horses. The first horse's real name was White Cloud, and the second was named Tarzan's White Banner, later renamed Hi-Yo Silver (after the show's famous catchphrase).

The Lone Ranger (The Classic TV Series)
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10. Trigger: Roy Rogers' golden palomino Trigger was another famous television horse. He appeared in numerous films and TV shows alongside Roy Rogers and was known for his gentle temperament and athletic ability. Trigger’s original name was Golden Cloud. Reportedly after riding the horse just 100 yards, Roy never looked at another, and purchased Golden Cloud on a time payment plan for the amazing sum of $2,500. As Roy recalled, "He would turn on a dime and he'd give you 9 cents change." We thought it was an ecumenical opportunity to see Trigger prior to selling at Christie’s in New York City for the amount of $266,500.

Happy Trails: A Pictorial Celebration of the Life and Times of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Happy Trails: A Pictorial Celebration of the Life and Times of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans
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Which one is your favorite? Did we miss any? Let us know! Send us your article ideas at We look forward to hearing from you!

You can find more interesting stories in our section on Recreation & Lifestyle.

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