“The Horses” by Daryl Braithwaite

“The Horses” is an indisputable classic as far as Australians are concerned. Daryl Braithwaite has attributed that surprising phenomenon to the song “be(ing) liked by so many people for so many different reasons”. That’s another way of saying that the wording is poetic enough that it can be interpreted in imaginative ways.

But that observation is not to imply that there isn’t some type of concise narrative embedded therein.  

For instance, the addressee is clearly identified as “little darling”, insinuating that she is a female loved one of the vocalist who, in the very least, wouldn’t be his elder. Also to note, Daryl Braithwaite did not write this, his signature hit.  

The original version of “The Horses”, as rendered by Rickie Lee Jones, didn’t make any noise. 

But apparently, Braithwaite did get close enough to the actual writers to ascertain that as penned, the inspiration was the writer’s daughter.

So interpreting it from that perspective, this song serves as an ode to a dad’s love. He understands that his daughter has her own personal destiny, a notion that the title of this song alludes to, in a way. But he is also wise enough to know that sometimes, making it in the world can be hard. So Daryl is here to let her know that he will respect her independence. But let’s say also being an experienced horse rider himself, he remains supportive should she find herself in need.

Lyrics for Daryl Braithwaite's "The Horses"

Release of “The Horses”

Daryl Braithwaite’s “The Horses” is actually a cover. It is a cover of a song originally dropped in 1989 by one its writers, Rickie Lee Jones.  

Braithwaite experienced a notable run of success in his homeland of Australia from the late 1980s and into the early 1990s. It was during that era, i.e. on 28 January 1991, that his version of “The Horses”. The song came out through Columbia Records as part of Braithwaite’s third studio album, “Rise”.  

And to reiterate this is a major hit down under. There, it reached the pinnacle of the Australian Singles Chart. It has since been certified, as of this writing, 10 times ARIA-platinum.


Rickie Jones penned the tune alongside the late Walter Becker (1950-2017) of Steely Dan fame.

This track was produced by Simon Hussey, who helmed the entirety of “Rise”. And Braithwaite has interestingly noted that when he first introduced “The Horses” to Hussey, Simon was not impressed at all.

The Horses

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