However, few have jumped a marauding World War One tank, dodged a shower of artillery shells and cantered between enemy lines and lived to tell the tale.
Trot forward Joey (actually played by 14 horses), a fiery hunter whose fate carries an old-fashioned story of loyalty, honour and heroism.
In Steven Spielberg's adaptation of the award-winning stage play (itself based on Michael Morpego's novel) the life of the courageous nag is chronicled from birth in a Devon field to his brush with fate on the battlefields of France.
A foolish auction purchase by sozzled tenant farmer Peter Mullan, it's up to his son Albert (Irvine) to tame and train him, eventually having to release him to the British army as war looms.
Fortunately, he's the chosen steer of English officer Tom Hiddleston, a good sort who takes him across to France where German Maxim guns - aka The Devil's Paintbrush - make short work of an anachronistic cavalry charge.
Spielberg opts for the straighforwardly chronological which - on the plus side - features a visually stunning canter through the trenches - and, less so, a dramatically inert section where Joey and his equine buddy are billeted with a French farmer.
Still, it's a solid affair which thankfully avoids any Disney-style anthropomorphism and - bearing in mind its mainly teen audience - avoids graphic bloodletting. In other words, it's not Private Ryan riding The Black Stallion in the 4.40 at Ypres.
Billy Elliot scribe Lee Hall and Blackadder and Four Weddings writer Richard Curtis provide an efficient if rather flat script and manage to create an unlikely conversation where a South Shields Tommy refers to a German opponent as "pet".
Fortunately, the real pet here is Joey...and he's a cinematic thoroughbred.