60 of the Best Horse Quotes of All Time


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When you love horses, you love a good quote that helps you express your passion for these beautiful animals. There’s truly nothing like the partnership between a horse and her rider, and very few people can truly express the depth of that bond.

Even for those of us who are writers, who have tramped through the wilderness with a wild mustang, or run with a herd, the words are just out of reach. But there are many who have gotten close in their writings. And here are some of the most memorable, funniest, and most beautiful horse quotes of all time.

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Who doesn’t love a celebrity who loves a horse? Over the centuries, well-beloved public figures have made their love of these beautiful animals known, and often written about them, and been quoted on the remarkable relationship between horse and rider.

We thought we’d dig around for the best horse quotes from celebrities in all walks of life, and here are the best of the best we could find.

1. From newscaster and journalist Clare Balding – “If you are fearful, a horse will back off. If you are calm and confident, it will come forward. For those who are often flattered or feared, the horse can be a welcome mirror of the best in human nature.”

2. From the American historian Gordon Wright – “Every time you ride, you’re either teaching or un-teaching your horse.”

3. The sculptor Veryl Goodnight is known to have said, “To me, horses and freedom are synonymous.”

4. The seventeenth Earl of Warwick, Edward Plantagenet is attributed as having said, “Men are better when riding, more just and more understanding, and more alert and more at ease and more under-taking, and better knowing of all countries and all passages; in short and long all good customs and manners cometh thereof, and the health of man and of his soul.”

5. John Solomon Rarey, the horse whisperer from the 19th Century is known to have said, “A horseman should know neither fear nor anger.”

6. From actor Will Rogers – “Money, horse racing and women: three things the boys just can’t figure out.”

7. The ever-entertaining Roy Rogers was heard saying, “When you’re young and you fall off a horse, you may break something. When you’re my age, you splatter.”

8. The former Prime Minister of England, Benjamin Disraeli, said, “A canter is a cure for every evil.”

9. From American comedian W.C. Fields – “Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.”

10. From the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln – “I can make a general in five minutes, but a good horse is hard to replace.”

11. Welsh journalist and broadcaster Wynford Vaughan-Thomas wrote: “Again the early-morning sun was generous with its warmth.  All the sounds dear to a horseman were around me – the snort of the horses as they cleared their throats, the gentle swish of their tails, the tinkle of irons as we flung the saddles over their backs – little sounds of no importance, but they stay in the unconscious library of memory.”

12. From singer/songwriter Gerald Rafferty – “A horse loves freedom, and the weariest old work horse will roll on the ground or break into a lumbering gallop when he is turned loose into the open.”

13. The Duke of Edinburgh is credited with saying, “A horse which stops dead just before a jump and thus propels its rider into a graceful arc provides a splendid excuse for general merriment.”

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Novelists and poets have been writing on the subject of these majestic creatures as far back as time records. The Bible, the Koran, and other religious works have beautiful passages about these creatures, as do many modern novels and poetry collections.

14. From novelist Robert Smith Surtees – “There is no secret so close as that between a rider and his horse.”

15. American author John Steinbeck once said, “A man on a horse is spiritually as well as physically bigger than a man on foot.”

16. From author Herman Melville – “No philosophers so thoroughly comprehend us as dogs and horses.”

17. The Scottish-Australian poet and horseman, Will H. Ogilvie wrote this delightful poem:

“The hooves of horses!

Oh! Witching and sweet

Is the music earth steals from the iron-shod feet;

No whisper of lover, no trilling of bird,

Can stir me as much as hooves of horses

Have stirred.”

18. From novelist and playwright John Galsworthy – “I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse.”

19. From Marguerite Henry, author of Misty of Chincoteague – “It excites me that no matter how much machinery replaces the horse, the work it can do it still measured in horsepower, even in this space age. And although a riding horse often weighs half a ton, and a big drafter a full ton either can be led about by a piece of string if he has been wisely trained. This to me is a constant source of wonder and challenge.”

20. The Danish author Johannes Jensen wrote, “The horse through all its trials has persevered the sweetness of paradise in its blood.”

21. The American novelist, journalist and commentator Mark Helprin once wrote, “The horse moved like a dancer, which is not surprising. A horse is a beautiful animal, but it is perhaps most remarkable because it moves as if it always hears music.”

22. From writer and Nobel prize laureate William Faulkner in the National Observer – “There is something about jumping a horse over a fence, something that makes you feel good. Perhaps it’s the risk, the gamble. In any event, it’s a thing I need.”

23. From author Ted Berkman in the Christian Science Monitor – “Words are as beautiful as wild horses, and sometimes as difficult to corral.”

24. Author Marion C. Garretty once compared an expensive car to the horse: “Even an E-type Jaguar looks merely flash beside a really smart pony and trap.”

25. From author Dale Carnegie in his book How to Win Friends and Influence People – “Did you ever see an unhappy horse? Did you ever see a bird that had the blues? One reason why birds and horses are not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses.”

26. The author and philosopher Dagobert D. Runes said, “You cannot train a horse with shouts and expect it to obey a whisper.”

27. From a singer/songwriter John Denver, in Eagles and Horses, we find:

“Horses are creatures who worship the earthas they gallop on feet of ivory.Constrained by the wonder of dying and birth,

the horses still run, they are free.”

28. In Discoveries Made Upon Men and Matter and Some Poems, in “Illiteratus Princeps,” Ben Jonson wrote, “They say princes learn no art truly but the art of horsemanship.  The reason is the brave beast is no flatterer.  He will throw a prince as soon as his groom.”

29. Poetry from author Bonnie Lewis offers us the delightful imagery:

“My horse’s feet are as swift as rolling thunderHe carries me away from all my fearsAnd when the world threatens to fall asunder

His mane is there to wipe away my tears.”

30. An Australian poet named Pam Brown gives her perspective of these intelligent creatures, “A horse can lend its rider the speed and strength he or she lacks, but the rider who is wise remembers it is no more than a loan.”

31. From the science fiction author, Piers Anthony, we read: A horse is wonderful by definition.”

32. We agree with essayist, poet, and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion.”

33. The poet and playwright, Ronald Duncan, wrote, “The horse. Here is nobility without conceit, friendship without envy, beauty without vanity. A willing servant, yet never a slave.”

34. Samuel Johnson, the poet and moralist said, “A fly may sting a stately horse and make him wince, but one is an insect, and the other a hose still.”

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Many of the best quotes in the world you’ll find are wrapped in the context of a good book or film. We found a good number of great horse quotes, but you’ll find tons more if you read some of the classics like King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry, National Velvet by Enid Bagnold, or My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara.

35. From author Carly Kade in the book Cowboy Away – “I don’t usually drink alcohol around my horses. They are all the buzz I need…”

36. Rudyard Kipling, the novelist who gave us The Jungle Book and various others wrote this in his novel The Ballad of the King’s Jest:

“Four things greater than all things are,
Women and horses and power and war.”

37. In one of the most famous novels that nearly every American high schooler must-read comes this amusing note – Catcher in the Rye – by J.D. Salinger: “I’d rather have a goddamn horse.  A horse is at least human, for God’s sake.”

38. From William Shakespeare’s Henry V – “When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest of horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes.  

39. From author Laura Hillenbrand in Seabiscuit: An American Legend – “It’s easy to talk to a horse if you understand his language. Horses stay the same from the day they are born until the day they die. They are only changed by the way people treat them.”

40. Another piece from Shakespeare on horses can be found in Henry V: “He’s of the color of the nutmeg.  And of the heat of the ginger…. he is pure air and fire; and the dull elements of earth and water never appear in him, but only in patient stillness while his rider mounts him; he is indeed a horse, and all other jades you may call beasts.”

41. Author James Sheridan Knowles wrote in The Love-Chase:

“What delightTo back the flying steed, that challengesThe wind for speed! – seems native more of airThan earth! – whose burden only lends him fire! -Whose soul, in his task, turns labor into sport;Who makes your pastime his!  I sit him now!He takes away my breath!  He makes me reel!I touch not earth – I see not – hear not.  All

Is ecstasy of motion!”

42. From author John Lubbock in “Recreation,” The Use of Life – “There is nothing so good for the inside of a man as the outside of a horse.”

43. From author Anna Sewell in one of the most beloved children’s books ever written, Black Beauty – “He has known joy and violence. Felt the warmth of children and the cruelty of abuse. He has nearly died saving lives and nearly been killed by a drunken act. He has known the finery of grand estates and filth of stinking slums. He has survived fire and flood, starvation and torment. And nothing could break his spirit or his great love. This is his life. He is called the horse.”

44. Another brief, but poignant quote from Shakespeare, this from his play set in ancient Britain, Cymbeline – “O! For a horse with wings!”

45. From Lord Byron, XVII, we have in Mazeppa:

“A thousand horse and none to ride!With flowing tail, and flying mane,Wide nostrils never stretched by pain,Mouths bloodless to the bit or rein,And feet that iron never shod,And flanks unscarred by spur or rod,A thousand horse, the wild, the free,Like waves that follow o’er the sea,

Came thickly thundering on…”

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Whether Olympic medalists, breeders, or jockeys, those who will probably know the most about expressing the passion of equestrian and riding are those who do this wondrous work professionally.

46. From thoroughbred breeder, Frederico Tesio – “A horse gallops with his lungs, perseveres with his heart, and wins with his character.”

47. Thoroughbred breeder and philanthropist Paul Mellon is known to have said, “The horse is an archetypal symbol which will always find ways to stir up deep and moving ancestral memories in every human being.”

48. From jockey and horse trainer Diane Crump – “A horse doesn’t know whether the rider on his back wears a dress or pants away from the track.”

49. One of the co-founders of the modern natural horsemanship movement said, “When I hear somebody talk about a horse or cow being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that the animal has outfoxed them.”

50. Equestrian Olympic gold medalist Reiner Klimke has said, “My horses are my friends, not my slaves.”

51. From the Olympian level champion, Lendon Gray, sadly unable to compete in the 1980 Olympics due to America’s boycott that year we understand that, “It is the difficult horses that have the most to give you.”

52. From horse expert and author of The Ultimate Horse Book, Sharon Ralls Lemon: “The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and fire.”

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Many of the best quotes come from a wide variety of people with no specialty in writing or equestrian, including these several horse quotes below.

53. An unknown author wrote, “Horses – If God made anything more beautiful, he kept it for himself.”

54. From a Montana Rancher – “If God had intended man to walk, he would have given him four legs. Instead, he gave him two: one to put on either side of a horse.”

55. Another unknown author penned these words about the creatures of our focus: “In my opinion, a horse is the animal to have.  Eleven-hundred pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs – it’s something you just can’t get from a pet hamster.”

56. From an unknown author, we read this bit of wisdom: “Feeling down?  Saddle up.”

57. A well-known psychology professor, Peter Gray, once said of horses: “We have all forgotten how strange a thing that it is so huge and powerful and intelligent an animal as a horse should allow another, and far more feeble animal, to ride upon its back.”

58. Another wise tome from a wise author unknown: “If you want a stable friendship, get a horse.”

59. Another unknown author has said, “There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it.”

60. This unknown author knows the truth: “All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he’ll listen to me any day.”

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So, whether you need a reminder to get back out there on your beloved horse, a few great thoughts to share with others that might possibly express a hint of what your life in the saddle is like, or just need your spirit uplifted, these horse quotes should satisfy your needs.

There are, of course, thousands more which may be found in novels like The Silver Brumby by Elyne Mitchell, or Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. You may find them in plays, films, books on horses, horse magazines, or collections of proverbs.

But wherever you find the quotes, you’ll be that much closer to being able to share your reality of horse love with those who just don’t get it.

Featured Image via Pixabay

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