Last Updated: May 25, 2021
For the horse obsessed, you can never get enough equine influence. So, while you’re riding in your car, wishing you were riding your horse instead, you can turn on any of the following 32 tunes to get your equestrian fix for the moment. Granted, not all of these songs are actually about horses, but they all have something to do with horses and the cowboy life, making them the perfect tracks to listen to when you can’t be mounted on horseback. While they can’t replace the time you spend with your horse, these songs might just get you through until your next ride.
1. Horse With No Name – America
One of the quintessential songs ever written about a horse, “Horse With No Name” is a song about being lost in the desert, surrounded by nothing for so long that you no longer even remember your own name. It’s an epic ballad and a timeless classic that we’ll never grow tired of hearing.
2. Wild Horses – Garth Brooks
Garth Brooks’ version of “Wild Horses” is a true cowboy ballad, all about a man who promised his lover he’d no longer ride in rodeos, but continued to do it anyway. The wild horses keep dragging him away, as the chorus tells, and by the end of the song, he admits that he’ll have to lie again because he can’t stay away from the rodeo. A song for the real cowboys.
3. Wild Horses – Teena Marie
“Wild horses can’t keep you away” is the chorus of “Wild Horses” by Teena Marie croons. It’s a slow tune that’s not really about horses but uses the idea of wild horses as a metaphor.
4. Wild Horses – Perry Como
No doubt, this song is quite dated. It’s nearly 70 years old, having been first released in 1953 on vinyl. It’s a love song that claims the singer wouldn’t be kept from his lady even if a pack of wild horses was pulling her wagon away.
5. Wild Horses – Natasha Bedingfield
As you’re starting to realize, “Wild Horses” is an incredibly popular name for songs, and each artist uses the phrase in their own way. Natasha Bedingfield admires the wild horses for their freedom, and she longs to be like them, able to run free and face the fears that are currently holding her down.
6. Wild Horses – The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones echo the chorus “wild horses couldn’t drag me away.” The song speaks of a lover that the singer just can’t let go of. He’s saying that nothing could pull him away from her, and it would take more than a pack of wild horses to accomplish the feat.
7. Wild Horses – LaBelle
The Rolling Stones recorded the original version of their song “Wild Horses” in 1971. Later that same year, LaBelle covered the song, recording her own rendition, which has a more soulful, gospel feel.
8. Heavy Horses – Jethro Tull
Jethro Tull’s “Heavy Horses” might be the most sonically interesting song on this list, in typical Tull fashion. If you don’t know, Jethro Tull is one of the most unique rock bands ever, featuring a flute player that leads the band! Their songs are quirky, layered, and full of depth, and this tune is no different.
9. Beer For My Horses – Toby Keith (featuring Willie Nelson)
This is a vigilante anthem about cleaning up the streets and removing the gangsters and criminals. After all the work is done, the singer wishes to gather up the boys and sing about their victory at the local saloon, in true cowboy style, singing “Whiskey for my men, beer for my horses.”
10. Tennessee Stud – Johnny Cash
“Tennessee Stud” is performed by none other than the man in black himself, Mr. Johnny Cash, a true legend. It’s a song about an incredible horse that pulls the singer through many close calls, always seeing him through safely to the other side of danger.
11. No Reins – Rascal Flatts
“No Reins” by Rascal Flatts, is a song about a woman finally breaking free from a man the singer dubs as a loser. She’s done crying, and now she’s “Flyin’ out across the open range.” With no reins and no fear, she’s now free to do whatever she wants and live her life on her own terms.
12. Chestnut Mare – The Byrds
Chestnut Mare tells the tale of a beautiful mare that’s always on her own. The singer wishes to catch her and make her his, but after weeks of chasing, he’s had no success. Finally, he manages to get close enough to lasso her with his rope. He finally gets on her and they go flying but end up falling into a crevice. After falling into the water, the horse got away, but the singer swears he’s going to try to catch her again.
13. Back In The Saddle Again – Gene Autry
Another cowboy classic, this Gene Autry song is about being back out on the range, riding your horse, toting your gun, and sleeping out every night. It’s a song for the loner in each of us, who wants to be out on the range, living that cowboy life.
14. Live Like Horses – Elton John
“Live Like Horses” comes from one of the most prolific songwriters of the modern era, Elton John. It’s about wanting to live like horses that break out of their stalls and away from the iron fences that hold them in to live a free life; a common theme among songs based on horse metaphors.
15. White Horse – Taylor Swift
A song about heartbreak and realizing that fairy tales don’t exist, Taylor Swift’s “White Horse” is a bit of a sad song, but also a tale of strength, as she finally finds the courage to walk away, proclaiming that it’s now too late for him to come back on his white horse.
16. The Headless Horseman – Joe Satriani
Joe Satriani is widely considered to be one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time, and this track, “The Headless Horseman” shows off just a little bit of the chops that made him famous. While it’s not really a song about horses, it does capture that cowboy on the rails feel, earning its place on this list.
17. Appaloosa – Gino Vanelli
As you might guess, “Appaloosa” is a song about Appaloosa horses. The song states that freedom’s not an illusion and it can’t be bought. It seems that the singer is in love with Appaloosa horses, as he keeps repeating the name Appaloosa and equates them to angels.
18. Ballad of a Runaway Horse – Emmylou Harris
At first, “Ballad of a Runaway Horse” sounds like it’s about a cowgirl whose horse has run away, leaving no trace of its whereabouts and no tracks to follow. She chases after the horse, and finally, she finds it. But by the end, the song sounds like it’s actually about a person, and the horse is just a metaphor.
19. Bring On the Dancing Horses – Echo & the Bunnymen
“Bringing on the dancing horses wherever they may roam,” sings this song by Echo & the Bunnymen. It’s hard to say for certain what this song is about, though it could be about a love that the singer knows is wrong, but doesn’t want to hurt his partner because she has a “brittle heart.”
20. Wildfire – Michael Martin Murphey
“Wildfire” tells the story of a girl whose pony broke out of its stall during a wicked winter storm. She ran out into the blizzard, calling the horse’s name, but when she couldn’t locate the pony named Wildfire, she ended up dying out in the cold Nebraska storm.
21. Let That Pony Run – Pam Tillis
This song starts out about a woman who ends up letting her husband go after he gets drunk and confesses that he’s in love with another woman. The chorus speaks about hanging on as long as you can, then finally letting go when you must, letting the pony run, so to speak.
22. Runaway Horses – Belinda Carlisle
“Runaway Horses” is about a major life change in the form of a new lover, breaking down her fences and “cutting the reins” of her life. The runaway horses carry the pair away through the night; a metaphor for the exciting rush she feels from the whirlwind of emotion and change that accompany her new lover.
23. Red Headed Stranger – Willie Nelson
“Red Headed Stranger” tells the tale of a cowboy whose love has just been buried on the hillside. He rides into town on a stallion with a bay behind him. A lady eyes the bay and goes to make a move to take it, but the man shoots her without a pause. Make sure you don’t cross the red-headed stranger!
24. The Horse Nobody Could Ride – Joey + Rory
A classic tale of a horse that everyone tries to ride, though nobody can until a single man tries something new and shows that he won’t hurt the wild Mustang. Of course, the horse is most likely a metaphor for a woman, as these songs often are.
25. Another Horsedreamer’s Blues – Counting Crows
Margery, the main character in “Another Horsedreamer’s Blues,” bets on the horse races, and it’s all she can think about as it’s her escape from an awful home life full of drunken fathers and cheating boyfriends. She turns to abuse and gambling, dreaming of horses while popping pills.
26. Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy) – Big & Rich
A modern cowboy’s party anthem. This is a song about riding into town up on your high horse and throwing down cowboy style, going after the pretty ladies, and buying rounds for the whole bar.
27. American Horse – The Cult
Like many songs that talk about horses, “American Horse” by The Cult is a metaphor. The horse is a stand-in for Native Americans. Ian Astbury, the band’s frontman, said that while writing the song, his mind was holding an image of a black stallion draped in an American flag being whipped by a dark figure. There’s a lot of dark imagery in this one.
28. Fallen Horses – Smash Mouth
Sticking with the dark themes, Smash Mouth’s “Fallen Horses” is a song that deals with death. The singer is searching for answers, and the fallen horses are likely his friends that have passed. He fantasizes about leaving this life to join the fallen horses, searching for one in particular whose wings have just arrived, alluding to a close friend that has recently passed.
29. The Wild Horse – Rod Stewart
“The Wild Horse” by Rod Stewart is about a man living the life of a wild horse, running free forever. It tells of the singer’s exploits, riding trains to Cleveland with gypsy friends and traveling across the plains of Utah. The man even falls in love, but like a losing gambler, he just “kept on rolling.”
30. Run For The Roses – Dan Fogelberg
One of the most famous horse races of all time, the Kentucky Derby, also goes by the name of the “Run for the Roses.” That likely gives you a good clue about this song’s subject. It’s a song that tells of a young horse who will be raised specifically to run the Kentucky Derby.
31. Three Horses – Joan Baez
Joan Baez sings of a white horse who is the horse of ages past. The kids all bring him apples and clover, and the horse tells them his stories of the past. But when the sun is high, a red mare comes who reflects the present moment, and the kids are all frightened. A black stallion comes at night, but luckily for the children, he has no tongue with which to talk. The song is an allegory, but you’ll have to interpret the meaning for yourself.
32. Horses – Tori Amos
Tori Amos’s “Horses” is a beautifully sung ballad that she performs while playing the piano. The lyrics are rather deep and seem to discuss several subjects, disguised in the form of metaphors, just like many of the songs on this list.
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay
An avid outdoorsman, Dean spends much of his time adventuring through the diverse terrain of the southwest United States with his closest companion, his dog, Gohan. He gains experience on a full-time journey of exploration. For Dean, few passions lie closer to his heart than learning. An apt researcher and reader, he loves to investigate interesting topics such as history, economics, relationships, pets, politics, and more.