Horse – Spirit Animal, Totem, Symbolism and Meaning

The most noble of all animals, horse has a special place in human cultures all around the world. Horse is probably the most beautiful animal humankind had domesticated long time ago.

Since prehistory, until modern times, horses have been considered magical, amazing and inspiring creatures.

Domesticated horses do not only serve humans, but they also represent a subject of worship, honor and admiration.

Horses have powerful spiritual and symbolical meaning to all humankind and they are present in different cultural and religious systems.

Generally, these magnificent and gracious animals represent strength, endurance, beauty, elegance, freedom and power. Horses were particularly important to nomadic people and they still are.

Cultural depiction of horses

Horses are featured in numerous legends and mythological stories, as well as in folktales of different peoples. You all know about wonderful Pegasus, a winged horse from Greek mythology.

Pegasus was flying by the speed of the wind, he had mighty wings and strong hoofs and one of his divine tasks was to fetch lightings to the almighty Zeus. Pegasus was loyal companion to Greek mythological hero Bellerophon.

One of the most popular historical examples is the famous Trojan horse, which was, in fact, a wooden construction in a shape of the magnificent animal. We are all familiar with the purpose of this tricky horse statue.

Horse statues are a special artistic category in sculpture art. Every important historical figure, such as powerful rulers or military commanders, has their horseback sitting depiction, either sculpted or painted, or both. Horses symbolize nobility and high social rank, as well.

Let us remind you that medieval knights were tightly bound to their four legged companions. In fact, you could never become a knight if you do not have your own horse. During medieval times, poor knights to be would sell all of their possessions, just to buy a strong, marvelous, warrior horse.

  • The original, French word for a knight is ‘chevalier’, and ‘cheval’ means horse, so the association is quite obvious;

Horses are present in Slavic mythology, Nordic peoples’ traditions, nomadic Asian cultures, Native American folklore, shamanic traditions and so on. Native Americans have rich horse related tradition and they have always thought of horses as amazing spiritual beings.

Some of their most notable chieftains were named after this beautiful creature, even in a strange way. One of the most popular Oglala Lakota Indians’ historical figures was the famous Crazy Horse.

  • The original name of Oglala Lakota famous chieftain should actually be translated as ‘His Horse Is Crazy’;

Far Eastern societies also have positive interpretations of horse meanings. They honor the mighty animal and find it beautiful, powerful and endurable. Chinese think of horses as ultimate Yang-energy spiritual animals. The Horse has its honorable position in Chinese zodiac; it is the seventh sign.

It is believed people born in this sign have great qualities; they are thought to be endurable, strong both mentally and physically, endurable, vital and long lasting. Japanese also admire and honor these amazing animals. They associate them with strength and longevity, above all else.

Everything we have mentioned in this brief horse symbolism overture leads to a logical conclusion. Merging all of these cultural concepts and interpretations together, we could say horses are extremely positive spiritual beings and very important to humans in their real life.

They stand for domination, power, strength, beauty, longevity, triumph, longevity, leadership and so on. If you want to be fortunate in your life, everyone dealing with spirituality and mysteries of animal power and symbolism would gladly suggest to get yourself a horse talisman, figurine or even a lucky horseshoe.


Mythological horses

This section reveals to you some of the most powerful horses from different mythologies, religious and belief systems. Horses take a great part in humans’ life, since prehistoric times until modern day.

Even now, while technological uprising makes our life dependant on electronics and such and we have loosen our bonds with Mother Nature, horses are still considered mighty, beautiful animals, worth of every respect and admiration. Let us travel back to time and discover some amazing legendary horses.

Tulpar – Tulpars are actually a category of Inner Asian mythological creatures. This term refers to winged horses, featured in different Inner Asian societies’ legends. This amazing creature reminds us of Greek Pegasus and it is important to Central Asian peoples. Mongols are nomadic people, who travel vast steppes of Central Asia on horseback.

Winged horses, tulpars, are a part of cultural identity in these areas. Mongolia and Kazakhstan standards both feature a tulpar creature.

Kanthaka – Kanthaka is a legendary horse from Buddhist tradition. According to their teaching, it was a marvelous, white beauty, a loyal friend of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha. As the story tells, it was the horse Buddha was riding while escaping his family’s home. Another interesting story about Kanthaka say the horse was reborn as a wise man.

Chollima – Chollima is Eastern Asian mythological horse, appearing in different stories from the area. Its name could be translated as a ‘horse of thousand li’. Having in mind ‘li’ is an unit of distance, the name stands for this amazing creature’s incredible speed and endurance.

According to Chinese legends, Chollima could travel a thousand li in a single day. Chollima tradition is ancient and it originates from the third century BC. However, in recent times, this mythological being has become infamous, because North Korean government uses this motif as a symbol of their progress.

Horses of the Apocalypse – Of course, there are many legendary horses in Christian tradition, as well. Four Horses of the Apocalypse are an interesting example. They represent their riders and also symbolize the main phenomena riders embody, the War, the Famine, the Death and the Conquest. They are depicted in different colors, red, black, pale and white.

Sleipnir – Sleipnir is probably one of the most popular legendary creatures from Norse mythology. This strange horse has eight legs and it is so powerful that it is able to travel to dreadful places of Underworld. Sleipnir’s father is a trickster and powerful Loki.

This magnificent beast, the ‘greatest of all horses’ serves Odin himself. Sleipnir is the only horse so mighty and magnificent that the supreme Nordic deity could ride it.

Pegasus – Okay, you all know about Pegasus, but this beautiful mythological being is certainly worth of mentioning. Pegasus is a winged horse who served the hero Bellerophon in his attempt to defeat the dreadful Chimera. Pegasus was sired by Poseidon and transformed into a constellation by Zeus, after death. Pegasus has been having variety of symbolic meanings over time.

This winged creature usually stands for wisdom and glory, but it is also associated with poetry and inspiration.

Al-Buraq – Al-Buraq is a magical horse from Islamic tradition. Its name means ‘the lightning’ and the creature was responsible of carrying the prophet Muhammad in his spiritual travels. Al-Buraq is sometimes portrayed as a horse with a human head. Description of this creature says it is of white color and that it has two wings.

Horse colors interpretations

Horse symbolism is so abundant that we would need a book to completely cover it up. However, there are interpretations and stories that are perhaps the most interesting and inspiring.

For example, different horse colors hide some amazing ideas.

Let us see what this means.

White horse meaning

White horses have significant importance in many cultures around the world. They are always ascribed some magical properties or features (for example, wings or horns). White horses are usually associated with wisdom and divine power.

They are linked to heroic figures, gods and heavens. They were sacred to many people, but also offered as a sacrifice, for similar reasons. Overall, white horses are always associated with some higher or heavenly power.

However, it is important to mention interpretations vary; for example, in Christianity, white horse represent death, since the Death, as one of the Four riders of the Apocalypse, rides a white horse.

Spiritually and simplified, we could associate white horses with general interpretations of white animal meanings. White animals and objects usually stand for things, concepts and ideas that are pure, innocent, delicate, beautiful and light.

White horses bring light in our lives and outshine the shadows. For example, Celtic mythology teaches us white horses bring power and wealth, representing free spirit, good fortune and spirituality.

Let us just name several mythological white horses you could search more about:

  • Rhiannon’s horse, Nordic mythology
  • Magyar Steppe Tengriism
  • Uchaishravas, Hindu seven-heads horse
  • Al-Buraq, Islamic
  • Bach Ma, Vietnamese
  • Aisoyimstan, Blackfoot Native American tradition
  • Pegasus, Greek mythology
  • Kanthaka, Buddhism

Dark horse meaning

Dark or black horses are usually associated with forces of night, death and mystery. In Celtic mythology, black horses also represent strength and power. Celts associated black horses with the concept of maturity and personal development.

Black horses are associated with esoteric and mystical forces, just as other black animals. It is believed they are guardians of secrets and deeper knowledge, not so easily reachable by common people. There are interesting Celtic folktales about black horses.

  • Celts tradition tells about tricky creatures named pooka. This creature was a shape shifter and it would often use the form of a black horse with chains! Pookas are tricky creatures, either helpful or harmful, depending on their mood. It is believed no one but the legendary Irish king Brian Boru was able to ride a pooka;

Black horses are associated with lunar energy, with sea and chaos. They symbolize great ambition and strength. Black horses also stand for freedom and pride. Just imagine a magnificent black stallion, the animal’s shiny fur, long legs, elegant shape and muscular body.

A black stallion prancing with a mighty call is a sight that simply takes your breath away.

Horse symbolical traits and spiritual meaning

Thinking of horses, we could say these animals are indeed the most noble of all. They are beautiful and fascinating in many ways. These are some of the most common traits people ascribe to horses as spiritual animals.

Power and strength – Horses are commonly associated with the idea of strength. These animals are physically strong, indeed. They have well built muscular bodies, strong legs and hoof, they grow large and are heavy. However, even the largest species, except, maybe, towing horses, have an athletic manner of moving around. They are fast and agile and their every single step is breathtaking.

If well fed and nurtured, horses walk proudly and simply emit their strength around.

Horses know they are strong, especially that they are stronger than humans are. They might appear tamed, but you never know. Horses are intelligent animals that know how to use their strength for their own good. This is probably one of the traits people find so inspiring and worth of admiring, besides of simply using horses strength for our own purpose.

Freedom and infinity – Horses have been living with people since times forgotten. Even prehistoric paintings show some of the earliest connections we had made with these beautiful animals. However, one could hardly think of horses as dull and docile.

Even in captivity, horses represent freedom. Their posture and behavior remind of vast plains and steppes they had once ran freely. Their spirit is never defeated, never beaten or tamed.

Horses symbolize infinity of space and time, the freedom of spirit if not a physical kind of freedom. Horse motifs are often used to represent these concepts, in modern times, as well. Horses represent the power to go beyond our own limitations; they remind us everything is possible if you only try.

The goals are changeable, because the life changes. You must run with it, just as horses dream about running the valleys of their past. Moreover, they never give up dreaming.

Longevity and vitality – In almost all of societies and cultures around the world, horses are animals that represent the power of the life itself. They are true embodiment of life force that flows through us all, only in horses that force is multiplied, one could say. Chinese associate it with pure Yang-energy, for example. Horses literally breathe life, in spiritual sense.

These strong and beautiful animals also represent longevity and vitality. Many societies believe horse blood, flesh brings strength and power, and horsemeat is considered the most nutritional one, in modern society.

Sensitivity and elegance – In addition to being so strong, mighty and powerful, horses are true example of elegance, grace and sensitivity. These animals are gentle and they are perhaps able to feel more than some other animals. People value and honor them for that. That is the reason why our historical connection with horses is so strong and powerful.

There are many examples of unconditional love between humans and horses. For example, one of the most popular historical commanders, Alexander the Great himself, had a special bond to his beloved and faithful friend, the horse named Bucephalus.

Loyalty and honor – Horses are our best friend. They are loyal and much attached to their owners. It is amazing how much love could develop between a horse and a human being! Horses are also some of the animals that proved extremely effective in animal therapy healing. They are amazing to work with rehabilitation processes and are amazing with children.

Horse as totem and spirit animal

Having a horse as a totem animal is a true gift. We have seen how much honor, praise and love people have for these beauties.

Horse totem is strong and powerful, but gentle and gracious teacher. It would lead you through your life with grace and lifted spirit. Horse totem people are open minded, caring, loyal and stubborn. Let us analyze their main traits.

  • Free spirited and self reliant
  • Proud and demanding
  • Strong and active
  • Independent and influential

Horse people are extremely confident and self-reliant. They are never easily manipulated or influenced. If they put their proud guard down, they are able to listen to others, but, honestly, they would always do what they want. This could be very good and very bad, at the same time.

However, Horse people charisma is so strong they easily seduce others.

They are charming, outstanding and intelligent. Horse people are sometimes hard to deal with, because their expression is strong, even intimidating, but those are certainly individuals one could learn a lot from. They are enthusiasts and they have great ambition.

If they let other people get closer, Horse personas are extremely loyal friends, passionate lovers, supporting parents or family members. They are kind of people who would give away everything for the sake of people they love and support.

Sometimes they do go to extremes, but their self-importance keeps them from being harmed. They care a lot about themselves, but never on behalf of others. They are honest and honorable.

  • Extraordinary and standing out
  • Elegant and beautiful
  • Stubborn and strong willed

Horse people are active and they put a lot of effort to their material life goals and their body, mind and soul development.

They are remarkable and easy to spot and that is not something they need to insist on. Horse people are energetic, they love to engage with big projects and they are hardworking.

There are not many things that could make Horse people feel down.

From time to time, Horse individuals get so unbearable stubborn and really tough to have them around. They have to learn to control and manipulate the enormous energy they naturally possess.