Written By: TIME Staff

Horses are majestic creatures who have played many roles in American culture. They’re athletes (Seabiscuit), movie stars (National Velvet), military troops, and farm workers—not to mention beloved companions. In one 1952 gimmick, a horse that supposedly possessed clairvoyant powers even composed a headline for a LIFE story about herself. (She was clairvoyant, but not creative: the headline was “Talking Horse.”)

To celebrate horses now and then, here’s a look back at 25 of the most memorable horses in LIFE’s pages.

Polo ponies at the Peachtree Ranch in Texas, 1939.

Polo ponies at the Peachtree Ranch in Texas, 1939.

Carl Mydans The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Championship horse Seabiscuit after winning Santa Anita Handicap, 1940.

Championship horse Seabiscuit after winning the Santa Anita Handicap, 1940.

Peter Stackpole The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Doctor listening to horse's heart beats with stethoscope and recording them on Stetho-Cardiette at University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine, 1940.

A doctor listened to a horse’s heart at University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine, 1940.

Alfred Eisenstaedt The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Moroccan soldier of the French expeditionary force, holding the General's Arabian horse, at garrison in the great citadel, 1940.

A Moroccan soldier of the French expeditionary force held the General’s Arabian horse, 1940.

Margaret Bourke-White The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

A stallion tried to make friends with a barn cat, 1943.

A stallion tried to make friends with a barn cat, 1943.

Hansel Mieth The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

These horse didn't need anyone to make him drink, 1944.

A man watched his work horse drink from a water trough, 1944.

Fritz Goro The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Elizabeth Taylor posed with a saddle horse after her smash movie debut in "National Velvet," 1945.

Elizabeth Taylor posed with a saddle horse after her smash movie debut in “National Velvet,” 1945.

Peter Stackpole The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Boys riding a horse to schools, 1946.

These boys rode their horse to school, 1946.

Bernard Hoffman The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Lucky horse playing roulette in Las Vegas, 1947.

A lucky horse joined the roulette action in Las Vegas, 1947.

Jon Brenneis The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

Gene Autry astride his horse Champion surveying his Ranch, 1948.

Gene Autry, astride his horse Champion, surveyed his Ranch, 1948.

Loomis Dean The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Foreman of the JA Ranch Clarence Hailey Long sitting in shade of his horse on prairie, 1949.

The foreman of the JA Ranch, Clarence, Hailey Long, sat with his horse, 1949.

Leonard McCombe The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

Mrs. Mary Breckenridge who runs Frontier Nursing Service, petting her horse. Leslie Country, Kentucky, 1949.

Mary Breckenridge ran the Frontier Nursing Service in Leslie Country, Kentucky, 1949.

Eliot Elisofon The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

"Lady Wonder," a clairvoyant 27 year old talking horse, can count and spell its name by tipping over lettered panels, 1952.

“Lady Wonder,” a clairvoyant 27 year old talking horse, could count and spell its name by tipping over lettered panels, 1952.

Hank Walker The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Child standing beside a miniature horse, showing size comparison, 1952.

This child could look his miniature horse in the eye, 1952.

Ed Clark The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Baby horses scampering down the stretch at Los Alamitos track, 1952.

Baby horses scampered down the stretch at Los Alamitos track, 1952.

George Silk The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

In mid air the horse sails gracefully toward the tank, 1953.

The horse sailed gracefully toward its tank in Atlantic City, N.J., 1953.

Peter Stackpole The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Midget thoroughbred filly, Big Bertha, and her mother on Woodland farm, 1954.

Midget thoroughbred filly, Big Bertha, and her mother on Woodland farm, 1954.

Lisa Larsen The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

6 year old cowboy learning how to shoe a horse, 1954.

A six-year-old cowboy learned how to shoe a horse, 1954.

Allan Grant The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Young girl riding her pony as colt follows, 1956.

This young girl rode her pony as a colt followed, 1956.

Robert W. Kelley The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

"Misty of Chincoteague" wild horse at farewell party before returning home to Chincoteague Island, 1957.

“Misty of Chincoteague,” a wild horse, indulged before returning home to Chincoteague Island, 1957.

Grey Villet The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Harness racing at All-Russia horse show at the Hippodrome, 1958.

Harness racing at the All-Russia horse show at the Hippodrome, 1958.

Howard Sochurek The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Trader Horn nuzzling young friend in stall at Roosevelt Raceway, 1959.

Trader Horn nuzzled a young friend at Roosevelt Raceway, 1959.

Donald Uhrbrock The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

Israeli children of Habad sect, frolic with horse and cart at farm village, 1960.

Israeli children of the Habad sect at a farm village, 1960.

Paul Schutzer The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Troika race at Hippodrome, 1963.

A troika race at Hippodrome, 1963.

Stan Wayman The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Jimmy the horse rollerskating down road in front of its farm, 1963.

Jimmy the horse rollerskated in front of his farm, 1963.

Joseph Scherschel The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

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