1. Is the main character’s horse black or gray (white)?
2. Is it born in compromising circumstances? In the wild?
3. Are its owners rich, snobby and completely unethical?
4. Does it have a name that connotes nature or weather like “Shadow” or “Thunder”?
5. Is its trainer an alcoholic? Does he fall off the wagon at least once in the movie?
6. Is the main character a child or teen who has no money and has never ridden before but passionately loves horses?
7. Does the main character have a deceased parent? Was this parent an awesome equestrian?
8. Is the main character troubled or rebellious in some way?
9. Is the horse at first completely unsuited for whatever it’s trained for or improperly trained?
10. Does the horse get injured in some horrific manner prompting the snobby owners to get rid of it?
11. Does the main character learn to ride in an amazingly short time, such as a couple of months? Is this whole process kept completely secret?
12. Does the horse take off and jump a huge jump on its own, thus making the main character realize it’s destined to be a champion?
13. Does the main character train by galloping around, jumping random jumps? Does she mostly train at night by the light of the full moon?
14. Does the main character suffer a really bad fall, but nothing happens, even though she’s helmetless the entire time?
15. For her first ever competition, does her trainer decide to enter her in the Kentucky Derby/Olympics, etc.?
16. Does she wind up competing against the horse’s original snobby owner who has an amazing new mount?
17. Does the nemesis or horse’s original owner get anxious and try to kidnap/harm the horse?
18. Does the horse appear able to communicate telepathically with its rider, such as nodding its head when asked a question?
19. Does the horse injure itself or colic sometime before or during the Big Competition?
20. Does the horse wind up winning the championship, gold medal or its equivalent?
The more “Yes” answers you have, the more clichéd your horse movie will be. But given that only riders will realize this, it usually isn’t necessary to aim for realism.