Amber Marshall isn't horsing around: The Heartland star picks her 5 favourite horse movies

Yay or NEIGH? The Heartland star gives us her picks and, spoiler, they will all make you cry.

Yay or NEIGH? The Heartland star gives us her picks and, spoiler, they will all make you cry

Amber Marshall in a scene with her co-star, Stormy. (Courtesy of CBC)

If anyone is an expert in the field of on-screen horses, it's Amber Marshall. She's been acting alongside them for the last 13 years starring as Amy Fleming on Heartland.

"They are just living the way that they feel is right in the moment," she says about her four-legged co-stars. "As an actor working with horses, I feel like my real performances come from a scene with a horse because I know that looking into their eyes, they're not involved in the script process. They don't know really what we're doing here...they're just giving me full truth." 

She has a passion for all things equestrian in real life, too — she has six horses of her own on her ranch in southern Alberta. So when it comes to horses on film, we were excited to know the rein-ing queen's picks. 

Amber Marshall's five favourite horse films:

Amber Marshall's favourite horse films

3 years ago
Duration 3:23
The Heartland star gives us her 5 favourite horse movies.

5. War Horse (2011)

Directed by Steven Spielberg. Starring Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson and David Thewlis.

"They just create that feeling. There's Joey the horse that starts in a lovely relationship and then the hardship that he goes through throughout the movie."

A still from War Horse (Photo by Andrew Cooper, SMPSP - © 2011 - DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC.)

4. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002)

Directed by Kelly Asbury and Lorna Cook. Starring Matt Damon and James Cromwell.

"How they were able to get the emotion that they did through those cartoon horses is beyond me. But I tell you, every time I see Spirit running in the field with the music behind him, I get a tear."

A still from Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (© 2002 - Dreamworks LLC )

3. My Friend Flicka (1943)

Directed by Harold D. Schuster. Starring Roddy McDowall, Preston Foster and Rita Johnson.

"Now this is the original Flicka back in the '40s. This is a movie that I watched as a child growing up. As a story it was so heartwarming, and I remember being a child and thinking, 'I wish that I could have a relationship like that with a horse.'"

A still from My Friend Flicka (Walt Disney Television via Getty)

2. The Horse Whisperer (1998)

Directed by Robert Redford. Starring Robert Redford, Kristin Scott Thomas and Scarlett Johansson.

"You dive into the roles and you just feel like there is this connection that is beyond horse and human. We see these moments that horses look to humans for guidance and direction, and at the same time, humans look to horses for that same thing."

1998 Robert Redford stars in "The Horse Whisperer." (Getty Images)

1. The Black Stallion (1979)

Directed by Carroll Ballard. Starring Kelly Reno, Mickey Rooney and Teri Garr. 

"There's a scene where the Black Stallion is running on the beach with young Alec, the child. And I think everyone who watches that movie wants to recreate that moment in their own life. I know I sure did. As someone who loves horses so much, seeing that connection between horse and child...it's a magical thing."

A still from The Black Stallion (© 1979 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.)

Heartland airs Sundays at 7 p.m. (7:30 NT) on CBC and CBC Gem


Mercedes Grundy is a producer for CBC's Unscripted division. She has played an integral role in the creation of series like Exhibitionists, The Filmmakers and Canada's a Drag as well as special projects like Superqueeroes and The 2010s: The Decade Canadian Artists Stopped Saying Sorry. Collectively, these projects have won Grundy 5 Canadian Screen Awards. She has an educational background in photography, and produces film and theatre when not busy here at the CBC.