There are a fair few horse-loving celebs that we all know about — Martin Clunes is president of the British Horse Society; Katie Price has dabbled in dressage in between all the babies, husbands and drama; Jennifer Saunders has appeared in TV programmes about showjumping and eventing, as has Sara Cox. Some other horse riding celebs are a bit more of a surprise, though…
1. Lady Gaga (pictured, above)
In a recent interview with V Magazine the American singer revealed her passion for horses — which all started when her record label gave her a mare for her birthday. She now has a stallion called Tigger. “When I ride him, it always makes me feel so powerful, because he is so powerful. There’s no pressure. I just get on the horse and go,” she said. “Riding has forced me to be fearless pretty quickly,” she explained.
2. Richard Hammond
We associate him with four wheels rather than four legs, but former Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond has been seen in the saddle on numerous occasions. He took riding lessons in 2008 ahead of an episode of Top Gear where he chased Jeremy Clarkson in a mock hunt. He had hoped to take part in the Ledbury’s famous Golden Button Challenge in 2009, but a fall in the run-up to the ride ruled him out. Richard’s wife is a keen rider and they have a number of horses at their home in Herefordshire.
3. Leona Lewis
An east London girl — not a part of the country famed for its equestrian opportunities – the pop star’s success has allowed former X Factor winner Leona Lewis to indulge her love of horses. A vegetarian and vocal animal activist, whose tweets about racing and particularly the Grand National have made her incredibly unpopular with some in the equestrian community, she’s ridden on holidays in Wales since she was six. She now owns a Friesian gelding called Ritske Fan Una State, enjoys dressage — and has even ridden Valegro.
Madonna famously took up riding while married to British film director Guy Ritchie and living on his country estate in Wiltshire, during which time she spent some time training with William Fox-Pitt and eventer Daisy Trayford who even flew out to the US to teach Madonna when she wasn’t in England. The love affair with both Guy and England didn’t last, but the love of horses remained — like it always does! She currently owns two horses.
5. Amy Winehouse
The late, great singer/songwriter is better know for her tumultuous marriage, drug and alcohol abuse, fabulous music and tragically early death than her love of horses. But during her split from Blake Fielder-Civil in 2009, Amy fled to the Caribbean island of St Lucia where she was regularly photographed riding. Perhaps, for a while, she was able to experience the pure joy of connecting with these beautiful animals, rather than the endless heartbreak that seems to have characterised her short life.
6. Anthea Turner
Famous for her love of cleanliness and tidiness, TV presenter Anthea Turner seems an unlikely candidate for equestrianism – but apparently she’s not as fussed by having hair that smells faintly of manure as one might expect, as she owns and rides several horses. Ever the ‘perfect housewife’, she does, however, admit to washing her stallion Caramello’s tail with Daz.
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7. Jamie Foxx
He’s too cool for school, and has appeared in hip-hop videos by the likes of Pitbull and Chris Brown, but the actor and musician Jamie Foxx actually rode his own horse, Cheetah, in the Quentin Tarantino film Django Unchained. He started riding when he was given Cheetah for his birthday a few years ago, and there’s been no stopping him since — although he admits to unbridled terror while galloping Cheetah bareback, hanging off him and brandishing a gun (as was required from him while filming Django Unchained). And Tarantino wasn’t happy with the take and made him do it again.
8. Linda Blair
It takes quite a large mental leap to associate the head-spinning, pea-soup-vomiting possessed child of iconic horror film The Exorcist with riding, but actress Linda Blair owns several horses and is in fact a keen showjumper. Her head doesn’t really spin all the way round, either. Disappointing.