From the bizarre to the beautiful, the meaningless to the metaphorical, we’ve rounded up our favorite samples of horses in music videos for your viewing pleasure.
Best Slow-Motion Rearing Sequence
This video is one long chain of metaphorical images after another–Rihanna playing with diamonds, Rihanna floating in water, Rihanna crying, Rihanna running from something in headlights, Rihanna taking her clothes off under the aurora, and so on. Thankfully the horse portion of this video, starting around 2:21, makes a little more sense–a horse gallops onto the scene and through a slow-motion series of rears manages to symbolically revive his sleeping friend, and they gallop off together into the hills, while Rihanna looks on in windswept awe. Metaphorical or not, the horse scenes are beautiful.
Most Epic Riding Sequence
Beyonce: “Run the World (Girls)”
Ok, so the actual horseback riding part is only the first 18 seconds of the video, but it’s Beyonce on a rearing Friesian, clearly running the world. I’m not sure any further explanation is needed.
Most Inexplicable Horse Sequence
Jewel: “Foolish Games”
Jewel’s got pipes, to be sure, but you’ve gotta question the wisdom of lunging a horse over dead trees with the stirrups a-flapping. Also, she obviously stole this horse from Beyonce (see above.) Beyond the mysteriously-angled jumping scenes the video gets a little weirder (any guesses what the three silent dancers are symbolizing?) I’m not really sure why Jewel’s ambling around the desert on this horse in the first place but it gives a point of interest to an otherwise confusing music video.
Best Performance by a Pony
Kacey Musgraves: “Follow Your Arrow”
The true star of this video makes his first appearance at 1:54 and does an excellent job of standing still. In his next appearance (3:08) he attempts to run over country starlet Kacey Musgraves, and in his final appearance at 3:15 he succeeds in dragging her over to a hay bale and eating his heart out. Well done, pony. You’ve earned it.
Best Use of Horses in an Urban Setting
Rudimental: “Feel the Love”
While there is some less-than-spectacular horsemanship in this video, the concept of having horses in the inner city in this sort of setting is unique and fascinating. View the video and suspend any criticism of the way these guys are actually riding, and it’s a beautiful look at how different life could be for young people growing up on rough city streets–my favorite scene is around 2:30 when a man shows his son photos of himself as a kid with his horses on the streets. Fun fact: this video was filmed using actual horses and riders from Fletcher Street Stables on location in Philadelphia; the stable runs a program for inner-city youth to provide them with a connection to animals and associated therapeutic benefits.
Prettiest Equine Sequence
Lifehouse featuring Natasha Bedingfield: “Between the Raindrops”
The combination of upbeat ballad and slow-motion shots of white horses galloping through a rainstorm makes this simply a beautiful experience. The metaphor of horses-representing-people-running-between-raindrops is so apparent that it’s not even really a symbol, but it’s pretty to watch so we don’t almost don’t even notice.
Most Moving Use of Horses
Miranda Lambert: “Over You”
Ready your tissue boxes, because this one is a tear-jerker–this song was written by Miranda’s husband Blake Shelton in memory of his deceased brother, but he was unable to ever record it. Miranda does the song justice and then some in a video rife with symbolism, not the least of which includes a majestic gray who alternately gallops, rears, bows, and walks quietly through the woods with the singer. Miranda reportedly forged such a connection with this horse that she intended to take it on tour with her (sources were unable to confirm if this ever actually happened.)
Best Equestrian Music Video
Whistlejacket: “We Get This Feeling”
Horse Nation first brought the band Whistlejacket and its outstanding video to light in April which stars horses and riders performing in an arena, including jumping over speakers in epic fashion. While perhaps most of us don’t actually ride in crop-top tanks for maximum sex appeal, you’ve got to appreciate the use of equestrians in pop culture that’s flattering to everyone involved and focuses on people actually RIDING. The comments on this video are just as entertaining as the video itself, including praise from a veterinary clinic commending the “super footing.” Horse people–all across the internet, we’re really all the same.