A question for horse people who like horse movies (I would not presume that all horse people like horse movies): Where does The Man From Snowy River rank among horse movies?

I have no frame of reference, but the franchise really seems like a premium horse cinema experience.

My 3-year-old is really into horses (unicorns, but horses can sometimes scratch the unicorn itch). I want to make sure that, as she grows up and ventures out into this world, I am providing her with a strong foundation of taste in horse cinema.

When I watch The Man From Snowy River and particularly Return to Snowy River (in which Brian Dennehy has been casually swapped for Kirk Douglas without acknowledgment), my immediate reaction is: This seems like a LOT of impressive horse depictions.

I would estimate that 80%+ of shots in this these films include horses, and some of the shots include (no exaggeration) HUNDREDS of horses. The horse-to-shot ratio is extremely high.

The acting and acrobatics performed by these horses exceeds what I understood to be possible.

I’m no horse expert and have not done a comprehensive survey of horse cinema, but it’s hard for me to imagine there are other films with this many horses of this quality.

The films also have what should be an iconic score.

I approach this judgment with caution, however, because I don’t want my daughter to one day be rejected by a horseclique because of her father’s pedestrian understanding of horse cinema culture.

In addition to amazement at its pure feats of coordinated horse athletics, Return To Snowy River makes me also question whether there could be a story more rich in horse drama.

Spoilers ahead.

The death of Danny the Horse as he demonstrates a second time his ability to run down a steep hill is more devastating than the death of Artax in The Neverending Story, and to say that Jim’s relationship with The Stallion is dramatically complicated would be an understatement.

The Stallion “kills” Jim’s father. Jim’s “taming” of The Stallion marks the moment he becomes a man (The Man). In the end, not only does Jim befriend The Stallion and ride him to victory, but The Stallion saves Jim’s life thanks to his wild instinct. Jim then sets him free.

If there are any horse cinema connoisseurs out there who can give me any recommendations to vary my daughter’s horse cinema palate, I welcome recommendations.

And thank you.