Horses of Mythology

From the Wild West to medieval battlefields to modern racetracks the horse has galloped alongside its human companions through many stages of evolution.

Horses of Mythology

Discover the power of the spiritual steed


From the Wild West to medieval battlefields to modern racetracks the horse has galloped alongside its human companions through many stages of evolution. With its mix of grace and strength, the beauty and power of horses has captured the imagination and hearts of humankind throughout the centuries. Horses have helped people travel, farm and conquer the world, so it's no surprise that a wealth of myths and legends have sprung up around this awe-inspiring four-legged creature.


Myth & meaning

Imagine a horse in full gallop and it's easy to see why steeds are considered symbols of freedom and power. If you've ever ridden a horse, you'll know it can feel like flying, as if you've become unbound from the earth. So horses are the free spirits of mythology, these divinely beautiful animals are sometimes seen as a link between heaven and earth. The horse represents the spirit of freedom. But in some spiritual traditions, the horse represents the spirituality itself because, although this animal can be trained, it will always be free when it canters across a field.

The Celts held their steeds in high esteem as symbols of good fortune. Often a warrior would be buried alongside his horse so it could accompany him to the afterlife.

Pulling the chariot of the sun god Helios across the sky every morning, horses helped bring light to the world, according to Roman myth.

Horses can also be symbols of strength in battle, especially to Native Americans, and other horse warriors, such as the Mongols and Huns. For Medieval knights, battles would be lost or won on the sure-footedness of their horses.


White horse

With snow white velvety hair coats and silky manes as pale as ice, pure white horses have long been considered sacred by many cultures, from Norse to Hindu to Christian or Buddhist. Combining ideas of purity, strength, sacrifice and wisdom, their appeal cuts across cultures. A devotional image of a giant white horse was carved into the hillside at Uffington in the UK by an ancient culture living 3,000 years ago. The Celtic goddess Epona, sometimes appeared in the form of a white horse.


Your spirit animal

Do you feel an affinity with horses? Perhaps you often dream of horses? Or maybe you like to have images of horses on the walls at home? If so, the horse could be your power or spirit animal. This idea is taken from the Native American tradition that people have an animal protector in spirit. The belief says that if you are respectful and honour your spirit animal, you will be blessed with the attributes of that animal. So horse spirits animals would bestow strength, speed, stamina and a desire for freedom in people. Horse spirit animals can:

*Motivate you

*Renew your vitality

*Inspire bravery

*Be a protector

*Unlock repressed sexual energy

*Help you find your passion in life



Mythological horses

Here are the top six most famous steeds from myth



With its spiralling horn projecting from its head, this most spiritual snow white horse is a symbol of wisdom, innocence, purity and grace. Said to have the power to heal disease, the unicorn is a shy creature and, according to myth, can only be seen by the pure of heart.



Most recognisable of animals, this heavenly horse had great wings on its back so it could fly through the sky. Greek heroes Bellerophon and Perseus flew mounted on Pegasus as they saved princesses from dragons, slew murderous monsters and deposed tyrant kings.



Half man, half horse, the centaurs were a mythical race of creatures. Representing the contrast of wisdom and wildness. A number of their race were wise teachers without equals, but most were licentious and wild. The centaurs perhaps symbolise the battle between nature and civilisation.



This splendidly strange steed is depicted in heraldic imagery as well as in statues around the world, including the Trevi Fountain in Rome. As half horse, half fish, it bears a strong resemblance to the imagery of Capricorn, the astrological sign.


Trojan horse

Not a living creature but a horse carved out of wood. This hollow horse was given to the Trojans by the Greek invaders. Greek warriors sprang out of the horse once inside the walls of Troy and conquered the city. The fact a horse was offered as such an important gift shows how this animal was revered. The Trojan horse lives on in the digital age, having given its name to a computer virus which will invade your laptop just as sneakily as the Greeks invaded Troy!



King of horses in Norse mythology, so it is fitting that this eight-legged steed is ridden by one of the most important gods, Odin. Considered more a spirit creature than a physical beast, Sleipnir helps Odin travel between the realms of earth and spirit.


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