If you’ve checked out our recent posts about the Canadian TV series Heartland and its characters, you might have felt inspired to rewatch every Heartland season. If you’re looking for something new, it might be time to check out other horse shows out there. This post is all about the best horse TV shows like Heartland.
Let’s face it — horse owners have a massive amount of responsibility. Sometimes, it’s just plain exhausting. That’s why it’s important to have a good old binge-watching session every now and then to unwind after a long day mucking out, riding and pampering your horse. Put your feet up with one of our top horse show picks!
Best Horse TV Shows Like Heartland
Everyone reading Simple Horse Life has one thing in common — their love of horses, of course. That said, not everyone has the same tastes in movies and TV shows. For this reason, we’ve tried to go for a variety of genres in the hope that you can find something you’d really love to watch. These are in no particular order — they all have pretty solid reviews!
PG-rated Wildfire ran from 2005 to 2008 and is highly reviewed by audiences on imbd.com, where it holds a 7.6/10 rating. The main character Kris Furillo is a troubled young girl who has served time in juvenile hall for grand theft auto. She begins work at a family’s horse ranch as a condition of parole.
Wildfire follows Kris as she faces taking her first steps towards responsibility. She falls in love with a horse called “Wildfire”, who was originally sent for slaughter. Fortunately, Kris rescues him in time. Wildfire is available on Amazon Prime Video.
The Adventures of Black Beauty
For the old souls among us, The Adventures of Black Beauty is a beautiful British series that ran between 1972 and 1974. It may surprise you to learn that it was not actually based on the events of the book Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. Rather, it shows what happened afterward and takes us on adventures with Black Beauty and his adoptive family.
We chose The Adventures of Black Beauty as one of our best horse TV shows because of its old-fashioned charm and timeless quality. The creators originally had just a children’s series in mind, but it was popular with children and adults alike. Imagine watching this wonderful series on a cold Sunday afternoon with a nice cup of hot tea — heaven!
Bojack Horseman is likely the most risqué of our best horse TV shows collection. Despite being an animated series, this is one for adult eyes only. Bojack Horseman’s titular character is a 50-something horse-man hybrid struggling with alcohol addiction and drug abuse.
He was “in a very famous TV show”, as the theme song goes, in the nineties called “Horsin’ Around”, a fact he clings to as a marker of his success and popularity. As he ages, he finds himself dealing with the fallout of a painful childhood, his precarious popularity and his rocky reputation as a result of his poor choices.
Despite being completely different from any horse show you’ve ever seen before, Bojack Horseman has intelligence and dark humor in stores and is moving on an entirely new level.
A 2016 Canadian teenage drama based in the UK, Ride is about a teenager, Katherine ‘Kit’ Bridges, who moves to a boarding school in the UK. Not just any boarding school, of course — an equestrian one. Kit’s father is offered a job at Covington Academy as a teacher and Kit accompanies him, but has a fear of horses herself.
Ride is all about Kit’s adventures at her new, posh school and the steps she takes towards shedding her fear of horses. Her friendship with one of the horses, TK, develops into a passion for horses and riding against her expectations. This teenage equestrian drama is a fun, light-hearted option for kids and teens.
Free Rein is a Netflix original series that ran from 2017 to 2019. Like Ride’s protagonist, Kit, Zoe Phillips is a 15-year-old American girl spending time in the UK. She spends the summer in her mother’s English hometown, making new friends both human and equine.
The horse-human connection in this series is between Zoe and a wild horse called Raven, who she finds on the beach. Raven is a stunning pure black Friesian cross and Zoe understandably falls in love with him pretty quickly.
Free Rein is one of our best horse TV shows because, with a healthy dose of drama thrown into the mix and likable characters whose passion for horses is keenly felt, this is a show that horse-loving children, teens and adults can enjoy.
Spirit Riding Free
Dreamworks’ animated adventure series is another that you can find on Netflix. Kids who love horses are no doubt familiar with Spirit, a Kiger Mustang and the hero of 2002 film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. Spirit has become a much-loved animated equine character, so much that Dreamworks decided to continue his story with a series!
The series tells the story of a young girl called Fortuna “Lucky” Esperanza Navarro Prescott. Lucky’s mother, a renowned stunt rider, died when Lucky was a little girl, so she lives with her father. Spirit Riding Free focuses on Lucky’s relationship with Spirit’s son, Spirit Jr, who she frees after wranglers capture him.
Spirit Riding Free is a magical viewing experience for young equestrians. Get ready to see their love for horses stoked more than ever by the end of this series!
The Adventures of the Black Stallion
Another classic horse TV show for our list, The Adventures of the Black Stallion was first aired in 1990 and ran until 1993. Fifteen-year-old Alec Ramsay lives with his mother, on Hopeful Farm. Henry Dailey, played by celebrated actor Mickey Rooney, trains Alec and his black stallion for the races.
If you’re looking for some good, old-fashioned nostalgia, The Adventures of the Black Stallion might be the best horse TV show for you. If Mickey Rooney isn’t enough to sway you, viewers are treated to appearances by guest stars like Lucy Lawless and Margot Kidder.
The oldest and most classic of our picks for best horse TV shows, Mister Ed started in 1961 and stopped airing in 1966. There are 143 episodes in total and the series is entirely in black and white. Allan Lane voices Mister Ed — a talking palomino horse. Mister Ed was played by Bamboo Harvester.
While the idea of a talking horse may sound absurd, Mister Ed still to this day has the power to get you chuckling at the title character’s dry wit. His affable but clumsy owner, Wilbur, is the only one that Ed talks to, which ensures plenty of opportunities for hilarious mishaps.
Mister Ed is still celebrated as one of the funniest shows of the sixties, even in 2021. You can find some episodes on YouTube.
My Little Pony
This next pick very likely needs no introduction, but here we go! My Little Pony is a beloved animated series that originally ran from 1986 -1987. The original My Little Pony was aired for two seasons, but later series have been running all the way up to 2021. Later TV series are My Little Pony Tales, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and My Little Pony: Pony Life.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is currently available on Netflix. It is set in the Kingdom of Equestria, around which the pony characters go on adventures. My Little Pony conjures up images of fantasy, friendship, glitter and sparkles, which is wonderful if you’re looking for a touch of magic this weekend.
One of the lesser-known horse shows in this post, Rough Diamond might still be worth digging out. It is an Irish TV series by BBC Ireland with a focus on horseracing and family dynamics. As with many TV shows and movies based on animals, the titular character is a colt named “Rough Diamond”.
The lead character is a man called Aidan Doherty, who had originally planned to sell his stables to a wealthy neighbor and emigrate. A spanner flies swiftly into the cogs of Aidan’s plans when an unknown boy comes looking for him.
Rough Diamond may be a little tricky to track down as it isn’t at all well-known, but if you’re a horse lover, you’re likely to love it if you manage to!
Best Horse TV Shows Like Heartland: Final Thoughts
Whew… and so, we’ve reached the end of our top picks for best horse TV shows like Heartland. That said, some of these are markedly different from Heartland, exploring different themes and narratives. Some are pretty dark, others are a bit more lighthearted and some are downright hilarious. We’ve really gone for a diverse range of shows, here, it must be said!
Most importantly, they each have in common one thing — they’re all about horses! We really hope you’ve found something you enjoy here. Here’s to a cozy winter evening with a fantastic horse TV show. Cheers!