14 celebrity equestrians: Bella Hadid, Russell Crowe, Kaley Cuoco and more

From Olympic dreams to competing under aliases, actors, models, presenters and media personalities share their love of horses and riding

One of the most famous jokes in Hollywood is that if a casting agent asks an actor if they can ride a horse, they say yes, then figure it out later. But for these stars of big and small screen, plus a catwalker or two, there’s no need for subterfuge on their resumes, as riding is their biggest passion.

Among the stars who have professed their love of horses, some have taken their passion to professional heights.

24 actor Kiefer Sutherland is a two-time US Team Roping Champion, while actress-turned-designer Mary-Kate Olsen recently placed second at the Longines Global Champions Tour in Rome, riding her impressively named steed, Iowa Van Het Polderhof.

Supermodel sisters Bella and Gigi Hadid regularly ride at their family’s Pennsylvania farm, and Bella had been working her way to representing her country at the 2016 Rio Olympics before Lyme disease struck.

Another famous horse enthusiast, Lady Gaga, says of her passion: “Riding has forced me to be fearless pretty quickly.”

From Kendall Jenner to Jamie Foxx, here are 14 celebrities who are seriously skilled in the saddle…

Mary-Kate Olsen

Olsen balances her love of fashion, running design label The Row with her twin sister, Ashley, with her love of horse-riding. The former actress, 35, recently placed second and third in two events at the Longines Global Champions Tour in Rome on September 18.

“I was 6 when I first fell in love and it was with a pony named 4x4,” she told Horse Shows in the Sun of her enduring love of riding. “Having horseback riding as an outlet was super important because it allowed me to have another life and outlet outside of work and school.”

Kaley Cuoco

The ranch owned by the Big Bang Theory actress is home to 25 horses, and she has been a keen equestrian for years. Cuoco, 35, admits her fame has sometimes gotten in the way of her passion, telling Jimmy Kimmel about competing at shows: “I actually started showing under a secret name... I have a little bit of an alias. I've been trying to steer clear of being super noticeable, but it's hard when you're being followed around. I just tried to come up with something simple because it's always up on a big board so people walk by and they see the name.”

Jeremy Irons

The Oscar-winner has been riding since he was a child, and describes himself as a “keen rider”. The British actor, 73, also wrote the foreword to the book England on Horseback: “Make your way into the open air… watch as the shadows of the clouds move across the face of our Earth. And just maybe, peace might creep into your soul. Best of all, if you can, get out on horseback. Being at one with an animal can be the beginning of being at one with all things.”

Kendall Jenner

Regularly posting photos on Instagram of herself at the stables, the model, 25, has ridden since she was a child, and was bought her first pony at the age of 12.

Keeping her horses at a stable in Bell Canyon near her Calabasas home, she told The Cut: “I grew up riding horses. So for my whole entire life I would beg my parents to please get me a pony. I wasn’t just some little girl who was like: ‘I need a pony for no reason.’ It was my life. I ate, breathed, and slept horses. And I wanted one so bad.”

Kiefer Sutherland

The actor, 54, was first introduced to horse riding when he starred in the 1988 film Young Guns and ended up spending months in the saddle. Since then, he has not only competed professionally in events, but has also won the US Team Roping Championships twice.

Kacey Musgraves

The Grammy-winning country music star showed her love of all things equestrian by wearing a Ralph Lauren-designed paean to the American horsewoman at the recent Met Gala. Off the red carpet, the Keep Lookin’ Up singer took to Facebook to share that her dream had come true when she bought her first horse, Mismo.

“Today marks a day I have dreamed of my entire life,” she wrote. “I finally have my own horse! I was the little girl who drew pictures and poems about horses and snuck them under her parent’s pillows – always begging for them to let me have one.”

Jamie Foxx

The Oscar winner’s undeniable horseman skills aren’t just reserved for the big screen as Foxx is a real-life equestrian too. In the Quentin Tarantino-directed Django Unchained, the actor rode his own horse, a chestnut gelding named Cheetah. The horse, which was given to the actor for birthday present in 2009, was what inspired him to learn to ride, a passion he has since passed onto his daughter.

Katie Price

The British model and reality TV star admits: “Riding is my passion and always has been.” In addition to owning many horses and competing on the British dressage circuit, Price has also released her own range of equestrian clothing, children’s books focused on riding, and hosted a reality show in 2016 called, Katie Price’s Pony Club.

Viggo Mortensen

Unsurprisingly for a man who spent the best part of three years in the saddle while filming the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Mortensen became a huge horse fan. Following up his starring role as Aragorn in LOTR, he then appeared in Hidalgo, a film about a man and his horse.

Mortensen later bought the horse he rode during filming, telling FilmForce: “I had no intention of buying a horse off of this movie. But with TJ he was... I don't know, I just got to really, really like him. He's got such a unique, strong personality.”

Richard Hammond

The horsepower the Top Gear presenter craves isn’t just to be found under the bonnet of a car. “The Hamster” as his fans call him, comes from a family of equestrians and is a regular famed at British racing venue, Cheltenham, along with his horse-loving wife, Mindy.

Bella Hadid

The model, 24, who has ridden since childhood, had dreamt of competing in equestrian events at the 2016 RioOlympics. However, symptoms of the Lyme disease she suffers from put paid to her hopes. Hadid started riding at the age of 3, and regularly posts photos of her and her family’s horses at their Pennsylvania farm.

“Bella had to give up her lifelong dream of having a professional riding career and a shot at the Olympics due to her severe symptoms and inability to ride,” her mother Yolanda Foster wrote in her blog. “This was the biggest heartbreak of her life and an extremely sensitive subject for her.”

Madonna

The singer, 62, first discovered a love of horse riding when she threw herself into the English country lifestyle while married to English film director, Guy Ritchie. A serious accident in 2005 in which she broke several bones in a fall from a horse, resulted in the singer taking a break from her hobby until her recent return to the saddle.

“I love horses,” she said. “I think I may have been one of Henry VIII’s knights in another life, riding through a great forest.”

Russell Crowe

The Oscar winner, 57, owns and operates his own horse ranch in Nana Glen, a few hours drive from Sydney.

“I’ve fallen in love with most of the horses I’ve worked with,” he wrote on Twitter. “It takes a certain temperament to be a great movie horse, but believe me they know when it’s show time and that they are in show biz.”

The Australian Gladiator star has also said that horses are “just like people”.

Lady Gaga

The Poker Face singer came to riding later on in life when her record label gifted her a mare for her birthday after she first moved from New York to California.

“I had never taken a horse-riding lesson. I literally did not know how to ride a horse,” she told V magazine. “But I just grabbed her by the mane and rode her bareback.” Adding: “Riding has forced me to be fearless pretty quickly.”

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Updated: September 25th 2021, 7:06 AM