Seventeen years ago today, on Aug. 18, 2004, Big & Rich had something special to celebrate: Their debut album, Horse of a Different Color, was certified platinum, for sales of one million units.

Horse of a Different Color, which was released on May 4, 2004, contains Big & Rich's platinum-selling hit "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)." Despite the song's success, however, not everyone was a fan of that particular single: “When your dad’s a preacher and you have a song on the radio called "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)," that makes for an interesting conversation,” John Rich explains.

Big and Rich Horse of a Different Color album cover
Warner Bros. Nashville

The music video for "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)" was directed by David Hogan, the same person who directed Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman" video. Wilson, Cowboy Troy and Sarah Darling all appear in the "Save a Horse" clip, which features dancers, marching bands and horses and was filmed on the Shelby Street Bridge in Nashville. The video shoot cost an estimated $23,000 in repair, mostly from the horses.

"We had to put the camera and the lights on the back of a semi-truck trailer, and we would drive it around, across the other bridge down river, and then come around and circle, and then start the parade again," Hogan recalls. "That was the only way to do it ... It's a walking bridge, and I'm sure it wasn't designed to hold a semi."

Two other singles released from Horse of a Different Color, "Holy Water" and "Big Time," both landed in the Top 20 on the charts. "Holy Water," which peaked at No. 15, was inspired by Rich and Big Kenny's sisters, who were both victims of domestic violence.

Rich and Kenny co-wrote all of the songs on Horse of a Different Color, which includes guest appearances by Wilson, Cowboy Troy and Martina McBride. To date, the record has been certified triple platinum, for sales of 3 million copies, and it remains Big & Rich's best-selling record.

This story was originally written by Gayle Thompson, and revised by Annie Zaleski.

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