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The Horsemasters: Follow Your Heart 

A 16-week course in horsemanship has a group of students learning the finer points of sportsmanship, jumping, horsecare, dressage and riding to hounds under stern and exacting teachers.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Dinah Wilcox
Danny Grant
Janet Hale
Tony Britton ...
Major George Brooke
David Lawford
Harry Lockart ...
Mr. Ffolliott
Hardy Cole
Lisa Madron ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Himself - Host


A 16-week course in horsemanship has a group of students learning the finer points of sportsmanship, jumping, horsecare, dressage and riding to hounds under stern and exacting teachers. Written by Kathy Li

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Release Date:

1 October 1961 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Annette Funicello's horse-riding character harbors a fear of jumping, and this extended off-camera as well. Funicello writes that her horse obviously sensed her fear and threw her many times during filming. Funicello got scant sympathy, unfortunately, from director William Fairchild, who didn't want Annette on the film and snidely referred to her as "Walt Disney's pet". See more »


Featured in The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

Wholesome but too cute adaptation of a worthy equestrian novel
28 May 2006 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

I saw this Disney movie some decades ago during my own teenage years. It might have seemed a great movie to me back then, had I not previously read and absolutely loved the novel by Dan Stanford. Unfortunately the movie version failed to live up to its book but was instead dumbed down and made too cute.

The movie chronicles the adventures and struggles of a group of international students at a 16 week British horsemanship riding course, primarily as seen through the eyes of an American student, Dinah Wilcox. It's an exacting program in which the young people are taught jumping, dressage, horse care, and basic vet tips.

I normally love the star Annette Funicello who plays Dinah, though having read the book, she seemed too bubbly and perky to me for the role. I have forgotten many of the details these many years later, but note that names must definitely have been changed. Where is Bee Bye, Dinah's best friend? The idea of Dinah singing the little ditty, "The Strummin' Song" was a HUGE turn off to me at the time. Believe me, there is no such occurrence in the novel. Even worse, the students' ludicrous tune "We're poor little lambs that have gone astray. Bah bah bah". I wince at the thought.

This movie is adapted from a horseback riding book which features absolutely NO little musical ditties. It focuses on both the overall camaraderie of shared hard work and struggling to meet exacting demands, as well as the rivalry between the two very competitive school teams, Blue Ride versus Red Ride. Also, in the book the students are indeed competitive and sometimes even temperamental, but they do exhibit enormous effort to accomplish a lofty horsemanship goal and would merit genuine respect. They are definitely NOT a "Brat Pack", as one reviewer describes them in the movie. I don't remember, but in the film version they probably do resemble just that.

The novel has compelling drama revolving around the riding instructor Janet (?) Hale, but I have quite honestly forgotten how well it is captured in the movie. I do note another comment wishing that there had been more focus on her story and less on this Brat Pack of students. In the cast list, instructors Major Brooke and Captain Pinski are listed as expected. However, it should be MERCY Hale, not JANET Hale. Another name change.

Somehow the story just didn't come off as in the novel, which I found quite genuinely informative about horsemanship, as well as telling its engaging personal story of young Dinah and her classmates. Disney obviously succeeded in turning this worthy equestrian tale into a cute flick with popular young teen appeal. However, though I was personally extremely disappointed back years ago when I originally saw it, I would definitely recommend this movie for modern family viewing, especially for young girls. It's certainly infinitely more wholesome and inspiring than practically everything else the cinematic world offers young people these days. Just don't read the book before you see the movie.

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