Taylor Swift’s “White Horse” Lyrics Meaning

Within the context of this song, what the “white horse” actually symbolizes is fairytales. Fairytales, as you likely already know, are often centered on a princess who gets ‘swept off her feet’ by some handsome hero. And afterwards the two of them go on to live happily ever after.

Singer is Disillusioned

This is the impression which the singer was initially under when hooking up with the addressee of this song. In other words, she saw herself as said “princess” and him as the personification of her romantic fantasies come true. But as time progressed, she came to realize that “this ain’t Hollywood”.  Or another way of stating that sentiment is that she came to the understanding that fairytales, in regards to how they depict romance, are indeed fantasies. And how she became enlightened to such is that as time progressed her prince charming turned out to be more or less an average dude who mistreats his partner.

“White Horse” is Autobiographical

Now what he did exactly to offend her is never actually mentioned. In fact Taylor Swift based the lyrics of this song on one of her real-life failed romances. But the way the lyrics read are as if he abused her emotionally in some way, shape or form.

So in actuality the sentiments expressed therein are post-breakup. Tay Tay is disappointed with the way things have turned out. She’s so much disappointed that she is calling it irrevocably quits.

So now dude is ‘on his knees, begging for forgiveness’. But she is not privy on giving him a second chance. Rather the idea that romance can be hell is now firmly entrenched in Taylor’s mind. So whereas she does venture forth into singlehood hoping to meet someone who will ‘actually treat her well’, her expectations are a lot more realistic now. Or let’s say that she entered the relationship at the center of this song as a naïve girl who believed in bedtime stories. But now walking away from it, she now knows that in the realm of romance, the narrative doesn’t tend to play out as ideally as it does in fairytales.

Music Video

The music video to this song co-starred actor Stephen Colletti. It was directed by one of Taylor Swift’s regular collaborators, Trey Fanjoy.

Writing Credits

Another individual she worked with regularly, Liz Rose, helped Taylor Swift to write “White Horse”.

Tay Tay also produced the track alongside Nathan Chapman.

Release Date of “White Horse”

Big Machine Records released “White Horse” on 7 December 2008 as the second single from Taylor Swift’s sophomore album, “Fearless”. However, the song premiered prior to that, on the 25 September 2008 episode of the television show “Grey’s Anatomy”. In fact it was its feature on this program which prompted Swift and co. to include “White Horse” on “Fearless”, as she had originally intended to delay its release until her third album.

Success of “White Horse”

The track went on to become one of Swift’s most-successful tunes. Its chart showing may not have been overly impressive, with “White Hours” peaking at number 2 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs and number 13 on the Hot 100 proper, in addition to charting in a few other countries. But it did go double-Platinum in the United States and also won two Grammy Awards. It won in the following categories:

  • Best Country Song
  • Best Female Country Vocal Performance

This is on top of winning a couple of BMI Awards that same year and a SESAC Nashville Music Award the year prior.

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