Festive flicks
Horse & Hound|November 25, 2021
Brew up the mulled wine, tuck into the mince pies and settle back to enjoy these brilliant classic films that we think rank among the best horse movies of all time…

WHEN do riders ever get a chance to watch an entire movie except for Christmas Day? With the nights at their longest, the horses cosily tucked up in their stables chomping hay, there’s a little bit more time to hunker down and enjoy our favourite films.

The Grinch, Elf and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang may be required viewing in some households, but some of us just like to watch horses even when we spend most of the day with them, and every waking hour thinking about them. Here’s to a bit of escapism…

Black Beauty

THERE have been several film versions of the 1877 novel by Anna Sewell, which tells the story of Black Beauty’s early days as a carefree colt, to his hard life pulling hackney cabs in London, to his happy retirement in the country, all from the horse’s point of view. Anna Sewell wrote the book to raise awareness about animal welfare and it was an instant bestseller. It’s since sold 50 million copies.

The 1994 film version stars Sean Bean and David Thewliss, with Alan Cumming as the voice of Black Beauty. Emotionally harrowing, although ultimately uplifting, watch it with a box of tissues to hand.

National Velvet

IN this 1944 classic, a young Elizabeth Taylor plays 12-year old Velvet Brown, who dreams of winning the Grand National on her spirited stallion, The Pie. Aided by a young drifter called Mi (Mickey Rooney), she trains Pie for the big race – but how can she ride him to victory at a time when women jockeys were banned? This was the film that shot Elizabeth Taylor, aged 12 herself, to stardom. It’s a must-see for every pony-mad girl (or grown-up) who dreams of equestrian success.

International Velvet

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM HORSE & HOUNDView All

Dujardin Excels

The ever-adorable Gio scores a personal best under Charlotte Dujardin, on an inspiring evening at the show’s new home

10+ mins read
Horse & Hound
December 23, 2021

Happy Christmas, everyone

The festive season brings mixed feelings for Tessa Waugh, although the school nativity play proves a hit and Father Christmas makes an unexpected appearance in a local town

2 mins read
Horse & Hound
December 23, 2021

Sameh El Dahan

The former Egyptian showjumper has rocketed up the rankings since making the career move to Ireland, and is now in the running for future British teams having swapped nationalities. Jennifer Donald meets him

8 mins read
Horse & Hound
December 23, 2021

Cobwebs blown away to victory

A “buzzy” type cruises to victory, while one jockey breaks his duck on his 35th attempt

3 mins read
Horse & Hound
December 23, 2021

Showman proves fifth time's a charm

Forty finalists, four judges and one overall supreme title scored by a seasoned Welsh section C stallion conclude the M&M pony showing scene’s 2021 season

4 mins read
Horse & Hound
December 23, 2021

In the right hands

When used correctly, the double bridle is a useful tool which gives the rider a huge range of options to refine the rein aid. Leslie Bliss discovers how

6 mins read
Horse & Hound
December 23, 2021

‘I was the laid-back one'

Having seemingly hung up his horn for good, respected master of foxhounds Trevor Adams is lured back into hunt service, reveals Tessa Waugh

7 mins read
Horse & Hound
December 23, 2021

‘A paradise for foxhunters'

The hard-working Wexford hounds provide plenty of entertainment for a gutsy field – who don’t turn a hair at some very famous visitors

9 mins read
Horse & Hound
December 23, 2021

Stardust sprinkles her magic

“Olympia” is warmly welcomed into its new home, with the London show producing a dazzling showcase for young British talent – none more so than double grand prix victor Harry Charles

10+ mins read
Horse & Hound
December 23, 2021

‘Old friend' Champ takes the Ascot crown

Nicky Henderson’s star recovers from an op to win the Long Walk Hurdle and patience pays offfor Richard Newland

5 mins read
Horse & Hound
December 23, 2021