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10 Songs About Horses

Music is a diverse form of expression that takes in many styles. It's a popular field that can only be briefly sampled in a short article.

Wild Horses

The Wild Horses of Nevada, a 1927 painting by Maynard Dixon

The Wild Horses of Nevada, a 1927 painting by Maynard Dixon

Horses

Before the automobile, horses were a big part of our lives. Since other means of transportation have been developed, horses have not disappeared. They are still around to be enjoyed for riding, racing and as occasional employment as a work horse.

On a similar note, songs about horses have not disappeared either. They are still being written and enjoyed by music lovers, everywhere. Following are ten songs about horses with all but one being composed in the modern era. Many of these samples focus on the wild beauty of a horse in motion.

An American Paint Horse

A Paint Horse has color patterns similar to the one pictured here. This color pattern is known as an Overo style.

A Paint Horse has color patterns similar to the one pictured here. This color pattern is known as an Overo style.

Ridin' the Ol' Paint

I Ride an Old Paint is a song that's been around for a long time, probably dating back to the 19th century. Carl Sandburg discovered the western ballad, while traveling around the West in the 30s. Reportedly, he learned the tune from an old Western cowpuncher, somewhere in the vicinity of Santa Fe.

Carl recorded and released the.song in 1938 and since that day it has been recorded by a long line of noted folksingers and C&W performers. The singerwriter's last wish to have his saddle and bones tied to a paint horse and then set free on a journey towards the setting sun is pure Western Americana poetry.

I Ride an Old Paint

A Lifetime of Chance, a Chance of the Lifetime

Horse racing is just as popular as ever, and among all the major horse races, the Kentucky Derby has the largest following..

In 1981, ABC Sports commissioned Dan Fogelberg to write a song for the Kentucky Derby. In two days, Dan just did that. The song premiered the following year on the eve of the Derby and has been associated with the May running of the horses in Louisville ever since.

Run for the Roses

The Remuda

This Maynard Dixon painting is simply titled Remuda, which is a Spanish word, describing a herd of horses that has been broken. Normally, ranch hands would choose their mount for the day from this herd.

This Maynard Dixon painting is simply titled Remuda, which is a Spanish word, describing a herd of horses that has been broken. Normally, ranch hands would choose their mount for the day from this herd.

Written for Broadway

The Byrds song, "Chestnut Mare", was actually written by Byrds stalwart, Roger McGuinn, and Broadway musical composer, Jacques Levy, for a country-folk musical, which was never staged. Fortunately, the song about trying to catch a wild mare found its way onto the next album by the Byrds.

I'm Gonna Catch That Horse If I Can

Words from a Living Cowboy Poet

Michael Murphy Martin is a genuine dyed-in-the-wool Cowboy poet, who has written about the West and the Cowboy way of life quite a bit. However, "Wildfire", which is perhaps his biggest hit, just features a horse, a young girl.and the songwriter, who loved her.

Wildfire

The Osmonds Rock Out with Crazy Horses

About the last people, you would expect to rock out with a wild tune about "crazy" horses would be the Osmonds. Yet, here they are back in the early 70s, borrowing a bit from Motown and bringing the house down with an unlikely tune called, "Crazy Horses".

Crazy Horses

A British Hankering for C&W

Though primarily known for their rocking and sometimes raunchy rock'n roll lyrics, the Rolling Stones on occasion would venture into a Country and Western tune. Wild Horses, which was written by the Stones in 1971, definitely shows a bit of their Country Western influence. The list of performers, who have recorded or performed this tune is quite long, even including a few Nashville performers like Garth Brooks and Willie Nelson.

An Acoustic Version of Wild Horses

Beer for Strength???

This whimsical photo from the British Isles, actually has an ounce of truth in it.

This whimsical photo from the British Isles, actually has an ounce of truth in it.

Is Beer Really Good For Horses?

A while back Toby Keith put together this nifty little tune that besides railing against the commonality of lawlessness, also suggests that beer is good for horses. One place that this practice is quite common is Ireland, where horses are occasionally fed a Guinness Stout along with their solid food.

Many an old-timer (and not just in Ireland) has known for years that horses really do like beer. And if you look at the ingredients that go into a brewski, it's not hard to figure out why. Yet, just because horses like beer, this does not equate to beer being good for the large equestrian animal.

And for those of you who insist on sharing a (warm) beer with a horse, here is one professional, who believes that the practice is OK.

Beer For My Horses

Beer For Your Horses???

A Country Classic

The song called the Tennessee Stud has been around since 1959, when a Country singer and songwriter by the name of Jimmy Driftwood, put together this amorous tale of a Tennessee stud and a Tennessee mare. Like most songs with the mention of Tennesse in the title, this musical number features some very good Appalachian style singin' and pickin'.

The Tennessee Stud

A Montreal Native Writes a Classic Cowboy Song

Montreal-born Leonard Cohen is about the last person you would expect to write a memorable song about a man and a horse. Yet, that's just what he did,when he wrote and composed Ballad of an Absent Mare back in 1979. Even stranger, is the fact that Leonard never spent any time around horses. He was just the son of a haberdasher in urban Montreal. And finally, the inspiration for this song came the Buddhist storytelling tradition and not the open range.

Nonetheless, the song has become quite popular, especially with the Cowgirls, who have changed a few words to make it friendly to the female gender. This video features a rather unknown Leah Taylor, recording at the also unknown Tractorgrease Studios in British Columbia, Canada.

A Canadian Ballad

A Singing Horse

No sampling of songs about horses would be complete without a singing horse. Bizarre and unnatural, as this may sound, I did not have to look any further than Sesame Street, where Buffy Sainte Marie does a wonderful duet from with a singing horse, named Fred.

Goin' Up Cripple Creek

© 2018 Harry Nielsen