Nicole Kidman has been riding since she was a child — but even so, she had to use up all her skills (and all her courage) to film Australia, the Baz Luhrmann’s film where she played Sarah Ashley, an English lady who tries to save the cattle station she inherited from her dead husband and falls in love with cattle drover High Jackman. Kidman had to learn how to herd cattle while on horseback and spent hours riding in extreme heat — so much so that she once fainted and fell off her horse. But this didn’t put her off riding: she and her husband, Keith Urban,ride regularly and keep horses at their Australian farm. The actress was also back in the saddle for her role as Grace Kelly in the 2014 Grace of Monaco biopic.
Madonna took up riding when she settled in the English countryside after marrying Guy Ritchie. The marriage didn’t last — but her passion for horses did. When she turned 47, she had a nasty fall and broke several bones, but six months later she was back in the saddle. Ten years on, she’s watching her son, David, beginning to showjump. She’s recently posted a picture of herself taking riding lessons, which she captioned “back to school.”
The Big Bang Theory star is an accomplished rider. She has been riding until she was 15 and regularly takes part in showjumping competitions: last Autumn, Cuoco and teammate Tracy Wade won the Charity Pro-Am Style & Competition at the Longines Masters in Los Angeles, where she rode dressed up as Luke Skywalker (Wade was Darth Vader). She owns a string of bay horses — plus a lovely grey named Poker Face, which she got in April.
Johnny Depp grew up with horses in his native Kentucky but his love affair really ignited on the set of Sleepy Hollow where he rode one-eyed horse Goldeneye, which he later adopted. The actor even did his own riding stunts in several film scenes, although things didn’t always go well for him. Once, when filming The Lone Ranger, the 2013 western by Gore Verbinski, he was thrown off his horse and nearly “horrifically mangled.”
Katie Price’s passion for horses began when she was a child, although her mother only allowed her to get a hors eon loan once Price had proved she could “look after and control a horse properly.” The model, who doubled as a stable hand for a time before her career took off, now owns five horses — Jelly, Sally, Tyke, Duke and Rosie — and runs her own equestrian clothing collection.
Actress Bo Derek has been passionate about horses since she was a child and is now the International Ambassador of the Lusitano Horse. She is also a vocal advocate for horse welfare and is a spokesperson for the Animal Welfare Institute, which campaigns to end horse slaughter. Derek, who serves on the California Racing Board, was Chair of the Jury in the 2015 edition of the FEI’s annual awards.
Robert Redford has played dozens of roles on horseback, from Sundance Kid in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to Tom Booker in The Horse Whisperer, but his love of horses predates his acting career — he did a stint as a groom at Estes Park, in Colorado, when he was a teenager. Redford bought his first horse in the early 1960s and now Redford has also campaigned vigorously to end horse slaughter and to preserve America’s wild horses.
Viggo Mortensen is not only a famous actor but also a successful author with almost 20 books to his name— including one, The Horse is Good, which is a celebration of his love for horses, with stunning equestrian pictures from around the world. Mortensen, who has played many equestrian roles in his films, bought Uraeus, the horse he rode when he played Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings, which passed away last year, and one of the horses he rode when playing Hidalgo. He also gifted Florian, a grey Andalusian that appeared in The Lord of the Rings, to Jane Abbott, who was Liv Tyler’s equestrian stunt double in the film.
Captain Kirk was all about spaceships but, in real life, horses are the lifelong passion of actor William Shatner. As a young boy, he hanged out at his local stables and learned to ride but he didn’t have a hors of his own. That came later, after he perfected his riding when filming Alexander. According to what the actor told American magazine Horse Nation, he bought the horse by accident—raising his hand at an auction without meaning to. Since then, Shatner has bought many more horses, acquired two ranches and won many championships alongside his wife, Saddlebred trainer Elizabeth Martin. He also runs the Hollywood Charity Horse Show.
The oldest of the Jenner sisters, Kendall started riding as a child and became an accomplished equestrienne—but quit when she was a teenager because of the pressures of her burgeoning modelling career. she has recently started riding again and is often seen in the saddle, sometimes alongside her younger sister Kylie.
Leona Lewis once told an interviewer that “horses are 100% better than people.” The singer, who was made honorary president of the Horse of the Year Show in 2014, loves hacking and “hanging out” with her horse — despite suffering a facial injury when riding in Los Angeles in 2009. Once, for her birthday, she even got to ride Valegro. Lewis is also a very active animal welfare champion and supports Hopefield Animal Sanctuary.
Actress Linda Blair started riding at six, bought her first horse at 10 and began competing soon after that. A successful Young Rider, she decided she’d become a veterinarian despite having had success as a child actor. But then she landed the role of possessed child Regan in The Exorcist and, with an Academy Award Nomination, a Golden Globe and People’s Choice Award, there was no turning back from acting. Despite her phenomenal career, Blair continues to find time for riding and championing animal welfare: her Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation rescues abandoned or abused pets and seeks to find them new, welcoming homes.
Anyone that has ever looked at Justin Bieber’s Instagram account will know he’s big on horses. The Canadian star often posts pictures of himself and his friends out hacking—many speculations of his love life, particularly during his on and off relationship with Selena Gomez, were based on who went with him. Once, he even caused an uproar when he went riding bare-chested in Burbank, California (and was filmed by a local).