The 17 Best Documentaries About Horses (Ranked)

I see that many blogs merge together documentaries about “Horses” with ones about “Horse Racing”. I believe the 2 topics are different enough that they merit their own articles.

Below is my list of highest ranked docs about horses (no horse racing). If you want horse racing, please check out The 14 Best Horse Racing Documentaries (Ranked)


1) Wild Horses and Renegades

Note: IMDB shows this documentary as 1 hour and 18 minutes but I can only find this 11:31 length version and it does appear to be an entire documentary (e.g. starts normal and ends with credits)

“Wild Horses and Renegades” is a 2011 wild ride into America’s soul. Directed by James Anaquad Kleinert, it’s not about taming the wild; it’s about saving it.

Picture this: America’s wild horses, symbols of freedom, roaming the West.

But here’s the twist – they’re under siege. It’s like a Western, but the cowboys are the bad guys, rounding up horses for reasons ranging from land development to livestock management.

Kleinert’s lens turns this into a David vs. Goliath story, but it’s the horses playing David.

Kleinert doesn’t just show these majestic creatures galloping into the sunset. He dives deep into the politics, the controversy – it’s a tangled web of government policies, corporate interests, and environmental concerns.

It’s like watching a chess match, but with wild horses as pawns.

Kleinert interviews several notable figures, including celebrities who are vocal advocates for the protection of wild horses. Among them are:

  • Viggo Mortensen: Known for his roles in movies like “The Lord of the Rings,” Mortensen is also a passionate advocate for environmental and animal rights causes.
  • Sheryl Crow: The famed singer-songwriter has been a vocal supporter of wild horse preservation efforts, using her public platform to raise awareness about their plight.
  • Daryl Hannah: An actress and environmental activist, Hannah has been involved in various wildlife conservation and sustainable living initiatives.
  • Willie Nelson: The iconic musician’s involvement in animal rights and advocacy for wild horses adds a significant voice to the cause.

Watch Wild Horses and Renegades for free on YouTube at

2) Buck

Editor Note of September 29, 2023: I’m such a huge fan of the “Buck” documentary that I dedicated a page to it here:

Buck Brannaman’s journey astounds. This doc unveils the “real-life horse-whisperer” – Buck. Growing from traumatic childhood, he turns mentor… for both horses and humans.

Directed by Cindy Meehl (“The Dog Doc”), “Buck” (88 min.) reveals a raw, emotional narrative. It’s not just about taming wild horses… It’s life. It’s challenges. It’s rising above adversity.

Buck’s philosophy? Understand. Connect. His technique revolutionizes horse training… no cruelty, just compassion.

2011 saw its release, captivating audiences globally. Sundance hailed it – a testament to its impact. The backdrop? Varied American landscapes… from lush ranches to dusty rodeos.

You can watch Buck for free on:

Other options (including renting it on Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and might be here:

Note: I streamed Buck on Netflix but it’s not on there any more (as of September 29, 2023).

3) The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses

Redford. Springsteen. Mustangs. Icons of America. Music? Bruce Springsteen, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, plus an original from Diane Warren and Blanco Brown.

“The Mustangs…” showcases hidden America. Over 80,000 wild horses roam freely; 50,000+ are in corrals.

Journalist David Philipps notes, “Mustangs symbolize fierce independence… the bedrock of America. Everywhere… from ads to mascots. Yet, their future’s uncertain.”

Redford declares, “Wild horses face their last stand. Resource competition endangers our wilderness, horses, wildlife. Horses weave America’s fabric. Their threat is ours.”

This doc? Reveals America anew. Advocates wild horse and public land protection. Worth every fight.

Right now, I don’t see anywhere to watch “Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses”. For streaming options, check back here:

4) Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West

The majesty of 100,000 wild horses, spanning vast landscapes… breathtaking.

Ashley Avis, the mind behind Disney’s Black Beauty, leads her crew on a years-long quest to spotlight the vanishing wild horses before they’re gone for good.

Soundtrack? Stellar. Emmylou Harris’s music is a great choice

Watch Wild Mustang Beauty: Spirit of the West on Amazon Prime Video at or (with ads) at Vudu, Tubi and Plex (check for more details).

5) Equus Story of the Horse (2-Part Series)

From PBS Nature.

Anthropologist Dr. Niobe Thompson takes us on a ride through history in “Equus Story of the Horse”. It’s a two-part journey—epic in scope. The age-old bond between man and steed unfolds.

Filmed over 18 months, three continents, with stunning aerials and slo-mo shots. Embark to Saudi Arabia, Kentucky, Siberia. Meet Sable Island’s horses, returning to ancestral wilds.

From the start, horses shaped our world. They conquered distances, built empires, and stood beside us. Why this unique bond? “Equus” delves deep.

Witness a 3D fossil rise, evolving into today’s majestic horse. Understand their 360-degree vision and single-toed gallop.

Speed? It’s science, unveiled by top trainers. Horses aren’t just physical marvels… their emotional depth is profound.

Watch part 1: “Origin” for free at

Watch Part 2: “Chasing the Wind” trailer (I can’t find the full doc anywhere) but here’s the trailer:

6) Harry & Snowman

Heart. Grit. Redemption.

“Harry & Snowman” shines… Directed by Ron Davis (of “Miss You Can Do It” fame), this doc captures a tale unlike any. Harry deLeyer, a Dutch immigrant and former WWII soldier, takes center stage. 1956 – the year Harry rescues Snowman, a plow horse bound for slaughter. For $80 (a bargain!), Snowman becomes family.

The bond? Inseparable. Insights? Profound. From their backyard to the elite show jumping circuits, they rise.

Against million-dollar horses, Snowman (just 8) jumps hurdles – literally. Top reason you’ll love this? The underdog spirit. Harry’s teaching moments, Snowman’s unexpected leaps, and the raw moments in between… All here.

Watch Harry & Snowman for free on YouTube at It’s also available with ads on Freevee, Tubi, PlexTV, Roku, Vudu and Filmrise. You can also rent (ad-free) on Apple TV, Amazon and Vudu. See those options at

7) Down the Fence

“Down the Fence” shines… Horse lovers rejoice. This doc dives into the world of horse reining, showcasing dedicated trainers. These trainers work tirelessly, aiming to reach the coveted championship.

Director MJ Isakson… You might remember her from “Beyond the Gate.” In this doc, her lens captures the bond between horse and human… palpable, real, and deeply emotional.

It’s not just about competition. It’s about connection, trust, and shared ambitions. A harmonious dance of discipline and freedom.

Watch Down The Fence on Amazon Prime Video at It’s also available with ads on Peacock, Vudu, and Tubi. You can also rent it on some big streamers. See for details.

8) Unbranded

From the start, Unbranded rivets you. Directed by Phillip Baribeau, this doc showcases an ambitious endeavor: four young men, 16 wild mustangs, 3,000 miles from Mexico to Canada. These aren’t just any landscapes, but the rugged trails of the American West, stretching through five states.

These college grads, led by Ben Masters, took on a challenge few would dare. As they traverse iconic sites like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, we not only witness the external journey but the internal transformations of both man and beast. The mustangs, freshly trained, have histories as varied and poignant as the terrains they cross.

Yet, Unbranded isn’t just adventure. The documentary sheds light on the pressing issue of wild horse management, delving into the delicate balance of preserving wildlife and responding to the needs of modern civilization.

Notable moments? A heart-pounding descent down Utah’s slick rock and the exhilarating gallops across Montana’s vast plains. Such scenes solidify Unbranded as a cinematic marvel, painting an authentic portrait of the American frontier.

Watch Unbranded for free on YouTube at or on Kanopy (with library card or University ID) at It’s also available with ads or ad-free for rent on Amazon, Peacock, Freevee, Apple TV et al (see for details).

9) National Geographic’s “Horses”

Horses, descendants from the small multi-toed Eohippus, have evolved over 45-55 million years into the majestic creatures we admire today.

By 3000 BC, their domestication was widespread. Though some domesticated horses exist as feral, the true wild horse remains the endangered Przewalski’s subspecies.

Intricate equine vocabulary spans anatomy, life stages, and more.

Built for speed, horses possess a keen sense of balance and a potent fight-or-flight instinct.

Some factoids from the doc:

  • Horses can sleep upright and lying down.
  • Mares carry foals for about 11 months, with the young ready to run soon after birth.
  • Training typically starts between ages two and four.
  • They live 25-30 years on average.
  • Categorized into “hot bloods”, “cold bloods”, and “warmbloods”, over 300 breeds exist globally.
  • Derived products include meat, milk, and pharmaceuticals. In return, horse processors argue humans offer them care, shelter, and professional attention.

Watch it for free on YouTube at

10) The Wild Horse Redemption

“The Wild Horse Redemption” captures a poignant tale of both man and beast seeking redemption.

This doc gets into the lives of inmates at a Colorado prison, who partake in a rehabilitation program training wild mustangs. The synergy? Both groups, prisoners and horses, have known confinement and yearn for freedom.

Directed by John Zaritsky, the film isn’t just about taming horses; it’s about transformation. As these men grapple with their past, they find solace in training these wild creatures, illustrating an evocative dance between man’s desire to mend and the horse’s untamed spirit.

Some moments tug at your heart, watching a hardened prisoner find a spark of hope through a horse’s eyes.

Yet, beyond the heartwarming narratives, the doc raises questions about freedom, penance, and second chances.

Watch it on Amazon Prime Video at You can also rent it on Apple TV and Amazon (see here for options:

11) Wild Horse, Wild Ride

“Wild Horse, Wild Ride” is a cinematic journey, beautifully marrying heart and spirit. This doc offers a gripping view into the world of wild mustang taming.

Over 100 days, riders transform these untamed creatures into trusting companions, culminating in a thrilling competition.

Directors Alex Dawson and Greg Gricus brilliantly capture the essence of challenge and transformation. Riders aren’t just taming horses; they’re discovering depths within themselves.

As the days count down, you witness tears, laughter, frustration, and breakthroughs.

Every scene echoes with passion, capturing the raw emotion of this Herculean task.

For the riders, it’s not just about winning, but understanding and connection. The landscapes, vast and untamed like the mustangs, add a visual splendor, making it visually arresting.

Watch it ad-free on PlutoTV, Tubi, Roku and others. You can also rent it on AppleTV. Check here for all the options:

12) The Horse Boy

“Journey. Healing. Connection.”

In “The Horse Boy”, we trail the Isaacson family… a journey sparked by desperation. Autism grips their son, Rowan. Traditional methods fail. But Mongolia… its shamans and horses beckon. Could this be their salvation?

Director Michel Orion Scott (Over the Hills and Far Away) brilliantly captures this trek. We’re taken, heartstrings tugged, as Rowan bonds with horses. Remarkable scenes? Rowan’s first full sentence uttered on horseback. Raw, real. Moments of pure, undiluted connection.

A vital statistic: 1 in 54 kids in the U.S. are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This doc makes you rethink therapy. Horses aren’t just majestic creatures; they’re healers.

“ROWAN: I want to ride more.”
FATHER: “You’ve found your bridge.”

One drawback: A slightly dragging midpoint. But stay. The climax… it’s worth it.

Watch The Horse Boy for free on Kanopy (with library or University card) at Horse Boy is also available for rent on Apple TV and possibly other streaming options. Check here for details:

13) Herd

“Herd” dives deep. It’s a raw, unflinching look into the world of equine therapy. Centered around therapist Bruce Anderson, the doc explores his unique approach—Natural Humanship.

Through real-life cases, we witness powerful transformations. One standout? Lisa—a war vet battling PTSD. Her journey with a mare named Luna resonates deeply.

The doc shines in detailing therapy intricacies. It shows the horse-human bond’s strength, emphasizing mutual respect and trust. The visuals? Captivating.

Drone shots of vast pastures juxtapose intimate therapy sessions. Cinematography captures each emotion—from pain to breakthrough.

Challenges? They’re addressed. Not all sessions go smoothly. But these moments of tension heighten the film’s authenticity. The doc’s message? Clear. Horses heal. They mirror our emotions, bridging gaps traditional therapies might miss.

The final takeaway? It’s profound. You’re left reflecting on relationships, trust, and the healing power of connection.

Watch Herd for free on YouTube at or rent it on Amazon (see for options).

14) Horses of Gettysburg

“Horses of Gettysburg” plunges into the Civil War’s vital yet often overlooked equine dimension: the 72,000 horses in the fight (joining the 162,000 humans).

Battles… changed, riders fell, and steeds galloped.

We see, through meticulous reconstructions and expert insights, how cavalry operations were executed, and the bond between riders and their mounts.

The number of horse casualties (1,500) underscores the intense warfare.

Narrated by Ronald F. Maxwell, director of epic films like “Gods and Generals”, it paints a detailed image of these unsung war heroes. Their endurance, speed, and loyalty become the pulse of this war tale.

As hooves thundered and battles raged, these creatures proved indispensable. Watch this on PBS to unravel a different dimension of Gettysburg—one where man and horse fight, endure, and sacrifice together.

Watch Horses of Gettysburg for free on YouTube at Other options such as Tubi and Amazon might be found at

15) My Heroes Were Cowboys

“My Heroes Were Cowboys” paints a vivid portrait of the rodeo’s allure and the influence of Western cinema.

It tells Robin Wiltshire’s tale, a dedicated horse trainer whose love for the cowboy ethos brought him from Australia to America. This doc delves into his life with striking precision.

Robin’s transition from a challenging childhood to mastering horse stunts for renowned Budweiser commercials is masterfully captured. The scenes reveal meticulous details – from the flick of a horse’s tail during training to the weathered lines on Robin’s hands. His Wyoming ranch, Turtle Ranch, stands out as a character itself, with its sprawling landscapes and wild spirit.

Beyond the stunts, the documentary examines Robin’s healing journey. Overcoming past traumas, he finds solace in the trust and bond he shares with his horses.

Their synchronized movements during performances attest to countless hours of dedication.

Treat yourself to this doc on Netflix. It’s more than just horses and stunts – it’s a profound exploration of resilience, redemption, and rediscovering oneself through passion.

Watch My Heroes Were Cowboys on Netflix at

16) All The Wild Horses

All The Wild Horses… A gripping race, raw nature, sheer endurance.

This doc follows international riders in the Mongol Derby, the world’s longest horse race.

Spanning 1,000 km across Mongolia’s wild terrain, the riders rely on 25 semi-wild station horses.

The race traces Genghis Khan’s ancient horse messenger system, a tribute to endurance and tradition. The racers battle fatigue, disorientation, and the elements, but it’s not just about winning. It’s about the bond with the Mongolian horses, known for their strength and spirit.

Director Ivo Marloh rides the race twice, ensuring authentic insight. You witness heart-pounding horse changes at the stations, every decision crucial. From close-knit camaraderie to the vast, lonely landscapes, the visuals stun.

Watch All The Wild Horses for free on Kanopy (with library or University card) at It might also be on Tubi and Roku (see for details).

17) The Horse With The Flying Tail

The Horse With The Flying Tail (1960) .

This 48-minute film unravels the story of Nautical, a gold palomino jumper.

Unknown lineage? Sure.

Olympic-level dreams? Absolutely.

With determination, Nautical proves that with the right training, any horse can soar.

This doc showcases the bonds of trust, underscoring how unexpected champions can emerge from the most humble beginnings. A visual treat, this film offers a poignant reminder: It’s not where you come from, but where you’re going.

Watch The Horse With The Flying Tail for free on YouTube at

Thank you for reading!

-Rob Kelly