The horse is a powerful creature, both in terms of the being itself and as a symbol. Wherever we turn, the horse is an ever-present figure. Historically, horses have been one of mankind’s most trusted allies during the progression of the human race. In addition, the horse is one of the domesticated animals that, according to many, could be considered to be man’s best friend, next to the dog. With that in mind, it is no coincidence that we love to depict horses in so many different ways and circumstances.
Horses are everywhere
Throughout history, the horse has always been a prominent symbol within culture, religion, mythology, and literature. Athletic teams, car brands, families, etc. have all used, and still do use, horses on their crests and as emblems on their flags. Today, the horse is even used as a symbol in some video slots online (you can find an extensive list of NZ Casinos here), as well as over and over again in films, TV series, and in music.
There’s no question that the horse is seen as a powerful symbol, but what does it represent? Let’s find out.
A symbol with many meanings
Commonly, horses are associated with power, beauty, freedom and fertility, but also pride, nobility, friendship and war. These interpretations seem to be applied to the horse, in some way or another, in most cultures around the world. However, there are some variations in interpretation based on circumstances, location and even the colour of the horse in question.
White horses have famously been depicted as bringers of hope, light, salvation and victory, which partly comes from them being described as magical beings (such as the pegasus or the unicorn). Also, in more than one mythology, white horses have been the ones to pull the chariots of the Gods dragging the sun across the sky, and thus literally making them bringers of light.
Black horses have often been associated with death and misery, which could very well stem from the third of the biblical four horsemen, who rode a black horse and brought with him famine. Additionally, the second horseman rode a red horse that represented war and destruction – a symbolism that very much is associated with fiery-red horses to this day.
In wartime, the horse has often been the foremost symbol for honour, pride and heroism – both on its own and with the rider controlling the powerful animal. The cultural community, and especially painters during the renaissance, have contributed to this representation of the horse by painting a lot of prominent individuals, triumphantly on their horses.
Considering the significance of horses throughout history, it is hardly a surprise that it has been such a popular symbol for mankind. The horse has been instrumental in the spread of civilization, helping us travel and helping us with agricultural challenges, but it has also been there as a tool for war and as a companion. Therefore, it has naturally become one of the most potent symbols out there.