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Horses In The Zeitgeist: The Beautiful Beasts Of American Popular Culture

Whether in magazines or at movies, horses have always found a way into America's collective imagination.

Westworld
HBO series 'Westworld' features artificial intelligence-driven horse robots. (HBO)

You might remember the feature saratoga living did last year about horses in Hollywood. We wanted to expand on that list. Where else have horses been represented in American popular culture and to what extent or extreme? So this time around, we collected all the best examples from the worlds of media, movies, television and art that we could find. While we’re sure there are many, many others, these are the ones that struck our fancy. How do you think we did?

Magazines

The October 2016 US edition of Harper’s Bazaar features model Gigi Hadid in a white and blue lace dress accompanied by a white horse with the cover line “Unbridled Style.”

The March 13, 1971 cover of The New Yorker features an illustration of seven horses and jockeys, each in a different color, neck-and-neck in a race.

Time’s June 11, 1973 cover features Triple Crown winner Secretariat, in his racing garb, with the cover line, “Super Horse.”

Movies

Black Beauty is a 1994 film based on the same-named 1877 novel written by Anna Sewell. The film follows the life of Black Beauty, an English horse, and is narrated by none other than the horse himself.

Secretariat is a 2010 film based on the true story of the eponymous Thoroughbred, who rode to Triple Crown glory in 1973.

Another book-turned-film is 1979’s The Black Stallion, which is adapted from Walter Farley’s 1941 book of the same name. Executive produced by Francis Ford Coppola and nominated for two Academy Awards, the movie follows a boy, shipwrecked on a deserted island, who befriends a stallion.

Television

Gunsmoke, which aired from 1955-75, was one of the longest-running, prime-time series in television history, focusing on gritty Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness) keeping the peace in Dodge City. His favorite mount? A horse named Buck.

Mister Ed was an iconic American sitcom that aired from 1961-66 and followed Wilbur Post and his talking horse, Mister Ed.

Westworld is a hit science-fiction series on HBO set in a futuristic Wild West theme park inhabited by cowboys and horses that look exactly like the real McCoy but are, in fact, complex, artificial intelligence-driven robots.

Horse Art
Eugene Delacroix’s ‘Horse Frightened by Lightning.’

Art

One of Pablo Picasso’s masterworks, Boy Leading A Horse, hangs in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

A classic of the Romanticism era, French artist Eugène Delacroix’s Horse Frightened By Lightning was completed nearly a century ago and currently hangs in the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest.

Famed German painter and printmaker Franz Marc’s 1911 painting The Large Blue Horses leaves nothing to the imagination, as it, quite obviously, showcases two large blue horses.

Hannah Sacks
Hannah Sacks

Hannah Sacks is an editorial assistant at saratoga living.

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