White Horse is a song performed by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. The song was written by Swift and Liz Rose and produced by Nathan Chapman, with Swift's aid. The song was released on December 7, 2008 by Big Machine Records, as the second single from Swift's second studio album Fearless (2008). Swift and Rose composed the song about one of Swift's ex-boyfriends, when Swift discovered he was not what she had perceived of him. It focused on the moment where Swift accepted that the relationship was over. "White Horse" is, musically, a country pop song and uses sparse production to emphasize vocals. Lyrically, the track speaks of disillusionment and pain in a relationship, drawing references to fairytales.
Critically, "White Horse" garnered generally positive reception. At the 2010 Grammy Awards, "White Horse" won the Grammy Awards for Best Country Song and Best Female Country Vocal Performance. The song also performed well commercially, although it did not duplicate the success of its predecessor, "Love Story". In the United States, it peaked at number thirteen in the Billboard Hot 100 and number two on Hot Country Songs. It was later certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The song's accompanying music video was directed by Trey Fanjoy, who directed the majority of Swift's prior videos. The video features Swift as she decides to end a relationship via phone call. In the video, Swift recalls multiple memories with her love interest, both positive and negative. Swift promoted "White Horse" via live performances, including numerous during the Fearless Tour (2009–10).
August Brown of The Los Angeles Times compared the song with Dolly Parton's "Jolene" (1973), saying Parton would have recognized her own predicament in "White Horse" and may have congratulated Swift for attempting to move on. Jonathan Keefe of Slant Magazine called "White Horse" a "lovely ballad" with a prominent hook and deemed it "easily the best song" on Fearless. However, Keefer stated, "Even 'White Horse' [...] makes use of a well-worn, clichéd image that Swift doesn't use in any novel way." Josh Love of The Village Voice thought "preternatural wisdom and inclusiveness" shined through the lyrics and theme of "White Horse"; Love also mentioned that it was one of Fearless' "great songs". Lucy Davies of the BBC said it demonstrated how repetitive the lyrical themes on Fearless were. She noted Swift recycled the phrase "face of an angel" from the album's previous track, "Hey Stephen". An uncredited review from Billboard stated, "The second single from Taylor Swift's top-selling CD is a beautiful, understated ballad that showcases her skill with a lyric and shines a spotlight on her signature tender, heart-on-her-sleeve vocals." The review stated that the latter was accomplished by the song's production, which made Swift's vocal performance more palpable and emotive. The review also complimented the song, as something everyone could relate to. Kate Kiefer of Paste recognized it to be one of Swift's best songs. Sean Dooley of About.com attributed the track's effectiveness to be in how Swift captured the heartbreaking moment. While reviewing Fearless, Dooley selected "White Horse" as one of the best tracks on the album. At the 52nd Grammy Awards, "White Horse" won the Grammy Awards for Best Country Song and Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
On the week ending November 29, 2008, "White Horse" debuted and peaked at number thirteen on the Billboard Hot 100. Its appearance, along with six other songs, on the chart tied Swift with Hannah Montana (Miley Cyrus) for the female act to have the most songs charting on the Billboard Hot 100 in the same week, a record later surpassed by Swift herself when she charted eleven songs at once in 2010. The following week, the song dropped to number fifty-six, and, on the week ending April 25, 2009, it spent its last week on the Billboard Hot 100 at number forty-four, after a total of twenty-two weeks on the chart. The song is one of thirteen songs from Fearless charted within the top forty of the Billboard Hot 100, breaking the record for the most top forty entries from a single album. The single was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipments exceeding one million copies. As of November 2014, "White Horse" has sold 1.9 million copies in the United States.
The single debuted at number thirty-seven on Billboard Hot Country Songs on the week-ending December 12, 2008. It jumped at number twenty-six on the following week, the biggest jump of the week. On the week ending February 14, 2009, it entered the top ten at number ten, scoring Swift's seventh consecutive top ten hit on the chart. It peaked at number two on the week-ending April 4, 2009 and held there on the following week before dropping at number seven. It charted for a total of twenty weeks on Billboard Hot Country Songs.
"White Horse" debuted at number twenty-seven in Canada on the week ending November 29, 2008. On the week ending January 24, 2009, "White Horse" peaked at number forty-three in Canada. It was certified gold by Music Canada for sales of 40,000 digital downloads. In Australia, the track entered at its peak at number forty-one on the week ending February 22, 2009. In United Kingdom, "White Horse" debuted and peaked at number sixty on the week ending March 21, 2009. It stayed on United Kingdom for two weeks.