Lady Gaga was drawn to horses early in life, but never owned one until her record company gave her an Arabian mare for a birthday present. They have made music ever since.
“When I was a little girl, I wasn’t sure what to make of horses and ponies, especially horses,” Lady Gaga recalls. “I thought they looked beautiful and had nice eyes, but I was kind of ‘down there’ and they were ‘up there’ and I really liked them but was a bit scared of getting too close.
“That didn’t stop me being fascinated by them though, and I always wanted to get close but just couldn’t quite manage it. I guess I must have talked about them a lot because one day I was bought a horse as a gift and that was it. I was grown-up by then, of course. I was hooked when I was a little girl, hooked even more later on and then when I had my own horses I was totally hooked.”
Indeed, Lady Gaga’s love of her horses is as legendary as her international fame as a singer and actress. She is an unabashed animal lover who has a family of dogs as well as her horses. “Yes, I love dogs too and at home the equines and the canines get on pretty well together,” she enthuses. “They accept that they are all part of the family.”
She casually mentions “at home”, which is actually often referred to as an equestrian estate near the beach in Malibu, California. “We do have nice stables and plenty of space,” she agrees. “I love it and I love being able to just be outside with the horses and dogs in the paddocks or just hanging out together.”
Born in Manhattan in March 1986, Stefani – her real name – took to music from a very early age. “My parents were not from the business but they liked music and encouraged me to learn the piano,” she says. “I didn’t need much encouraging, I loved music and singing as soon as I knew it existed. Music becomes a friend and I think I needed one when I went to school at the Convent of the Sacred Heart. There was a lot of bullying, especially if you didn’t fit in with the crowd. I didn’t, I probably never have.”
As well as playing the piano, Stefani used to sing and by the time she was 14 she had started playing, singing, telling jokes and dancing in clubs. “I was learning what worked very fast,” she says. “I liked writing songs as well and used to try them out. Some went well, others not so well, but I never stopped learning. I went to the New York University Tisch School which taught the arts. I was only 17 and it was okay, but I wanted to get on with doing rather than just learning, so I started a band and things began to happen.