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Equine partnerships in the frame
By Jiang Xinhua

While horses can come across as big and intimidating creatures, they are in fact usually faithful companions.

“Horses are one of the best friends of human beings. If you take care of them, they will come to rely on you and remain faithful,” says Wang Xu, owner and trainer at Shanghai Hengsha Island Jingfan Horse Riding Club.

“They will not be swayed by strangers — they’re only for you.” The connection between humans and horses goes deep into the past, and is a popular theme in novels and films.

Here are some famous films dealing with the relationship between human beings and horses.


Lump Sugar

Director: Lee Hwan-Kyung

Stars: Lim Su-jeong, Yu Oh-seong, Baek Il-seob

This South Korean film tells of the friendship between a girl, Si-eun, who dreams of becoming a jockey and who realizes this dream with her beloved horse. Having lost her mother while a child, Si-eun treats a horse like a brother. However, her father doesn’t support her dream and sells the animal. But when Si-eun and the horse are reunited, they create a miracle.



Director: Gary Ross

Stars: Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, Elizabeth Banks

The film is a biographical sports drama based on the non-fiction book “Seabiscuit: An American Legend” by Laura Hillenbrand. An undersized and overlooked race horse, Seabiscuit, succeeds with the help of three jockeys. Set during the Depression Era, the horse not only lifts the spirits of the team but also the nation. Red, one of the team, says: “You know, everyone thinks that we found this broken-down horse and fixed him, but we didn’t. He fixed us, every one of us. And I guess in a way, we kinda fixed each other too.”


War Horse

Director: Steven Spielberg

Stars: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch

Directed by Steven Spielberg, this 2011 movie is adapted from a British children’s novel of the same name and set before and during the World War I. The film features a touching story of a boy, Albert, and a horse, Joey. They are friends since Joey was born. When war breaks out, Albert enlists to serve after his beloved horse is sold to the cavalry and Albert and Joey are destined to meet again. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, two Golden Globe Awards and five BAFTAs.


The Horse Whisperer

Director: Robert Redford

Stars: Robert Redford, Kristin Scott Thomas, Sam Neill, Scarlett Johansson

This 1998 film is based on the novel by Nicholas Evans. Director Robert Redford also plays the title role of Tom, a talented trainer who has remarkable gift to understand horses. He helps an injured girl and her horse back to health following a tragic accident. The film’s popularity led to the word “whisperer” being coined as a term for anyone with a strong affinity for a particular animal.





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