Horse Symbolism & The Spiritual Meanings Of Seeing A Horse

Understand this powerful and majestic animal.

brown and white horse Vasilisa Shtapakova / Shutterstock

Horses are not only beautiful, majestic creatures, they also represent a driving force that feeds off courage and strives for freedom. There is no animal that possesses such power and stamina as the horse.

Horses were not always used as someone's pet or farm animal. In ancient times, horses roamed free and wild. Now, man has domesticated and used horses for practical purposes. Horses are thought of as riding animals or used in service, gaming, outside work, and pleasure riding.


With these changes came a certain level of tameness. However, a horse's desire is to roam and be free of constraint.

Horse symbolism centers around this contradiction — they are tame but still wild.

Horse Symbolism & Spiritual Meanings Of Horses

Horses are symbols of freedom, endurance, majesty, spirit, determination, and courage.

They are creatures known to push themselves and don't give up easily. No matter how challenging a distance, horses can travel up to 100 miles per day carrying a person.

Horses have a need to run wild and free, and despite being used for sport and as domestic animals, they are powerful and peaceful.


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Horse Encounters and Omens

When you encounter a horse — whether it's in the wild, the waking world, or in your dreams — consider it a good omen, and a sign that you will soon break free from restraints that hold you back.

Other luck and good omens are said to come from horseshoes, horsehair, and even horse feces!


Anyone who is compared to a horse is believed to have their same bravery and strength. Capable of overcoming the odds and persevering to achieve the goal in mind, horses prove their worth over and over again.

They are also unafraid to make quick decisions about the direction in which they’re going. Life is a journey and the spiritual significance of horses reminds us of that. It’s okay to change course and let your mind, body, and spirit be free of all that you want to leave behind.

What Horses of Different Colors Symbolize

Horses come in many colors, including black, brown, reddish-brown, white, gray, and shades in between. But to see a horse of a certain color has a specific meaning attached to it.

White Horse Meaning

White horses are considered to be masters of knowledge and faith. They symbolize spiritual progress and controlling emotions. For many, the white horse is a symbol of hope and reminds us of the vision we want to one day possess.


Black Horse Meaning

While the color black can symbolize death, a black horse speaks to the essence of rebirth and promises a new beginning. It is both a positive and negative omen to the loss and death of life — when one door closes, another will open.

Gray Horse Meaning

Gray horses tend to symbolize the silver lining in life’s troubles. Throughout even the worst moments, it’s important to see the gray horse as a reminder that conflict will be resolved in the end.

Brown Horse Meaning

A brown-colored horse acts as a symbol of abundance. It reminds us to rid ourselves of materialistic things and trust that we will always be provided with what we need.

Spotted Horse Meaning

A black and white spotted horse, for example, signifies the balance of life. We need both the good (white) and bad (black) to fully appreciate all that we have.


Stallion and Mare Symbolism

There’s a difference between male and female horses. Male horses who have not been castrated are referred to as stallions, while female horses are known as mares.

Similar to the difference between male and female humans, stallions tend to be stronger because of their testosterone levels. These are usually the horses that are found in competitive horse racing. Mares can be ridden but they are typically used in more relaxed settings.

Stallions symbolize endurance, victory, and focus; mares symbolize carefulness, sensitivity and reverence.

Horse Symbolism in Dreams

Dreaming of a horse has significant meaning in your life. But be sure to pay close attention to how these dreams make you feel, and in what circumstances the horse appears.


Dreaming of a white horse

When you dream of a white horse, although they are symbols of hope, it means there is someone inside or outside of your life who is trying to get in the way of you accomplishing your goals.

Dreaming of a black horse

A black horse in your dream is related to your relationships. Dreaming of a black horse means you are detached in your romantic relationships and need to put in the work to have a successful partnership.

Dreaming of riding a horse

If you dream of riding a horse, it's symbolic of the power and ambition you have in life, whether it's over a person or a circumstance. But this dream also means you may have sexual urges that can get out of control.

Dreaming of falling off a horse

When you fall of a horse in your dream, it means you are currently venturing into an unknown part of your life. But this isn't a bad thing; rather, it's a wake-up call to gain control of your life.


Dreaming of an injured horse

An injured horse in your dream symbolizes your feelings of weariness and low energy towards achieving your goals. It's a warning to find some relaxation and give your mind a chance to reset.

Dreaming of a dead horse

To dream of a dead horse isn't a positive message; in fact, this dream indicates bad luck that will surface in the future in your waking life. But it's also a reminder to stay strong and power through.

Dreaming of a horse attacking you

If you dream of a horse attacking you, it's a warning that something in your own life is out of control; just like wild horses, you don't quite have the perception towards the urges you act on. This dream also means you must confront a harsh truth you've been avoiding.

Dreaming of a talking horse

When you dream of a horse talking, it means your subconscious is trying to convey a message to your conscious mind. That message may be a warning to find your inner voice and seek the knowledge you yearn to know.


Dreaming of being kicked by a horse

Being kicked by a horse in your dream is a bad omen that there is something awful occurring in your waking life, whether it's related to your career, relationships or health. Be sure to take this into consideration and make changes to fix your situation.

Horse Spirit or Totem Animal

Spirit animals are our guides, meant to keep us on the right path and teach us lessons along the way. Totem animals are also spirit guides, but are those we call upon when we need help. Both spirit animals and totem animals protect, guard, and help us find our higher purpose.

You can't choose your spirit animal; however, you'll know if you have a horse as a spirit animal if you've had a profound experience with this creature, or resonate with them in some way.

Those with a horse spirit animal are determined, confident, social, affable, competitive, and truly free-spirited. Having a horse as your spirit animal means you face your challenges head-on, won't back down if it means personal growth, and get along with almost everyone.


But a horse spirit animal also indicates that you may be holding yourself back from achieving what you set out to do; instead of setting limitations for yourself, be sure to realize that the sky's the limit, and your accomplishments mean sticking to your guns.

A horse totem is for individuals who need more freedom and expression in their lives. A horse totem gives you the courage to push past the challenges you face, and helps you appreciate the beauty in the world around you.

horse symbolism and meaningsPhoto: Pixabay


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Meaning of Horses in Christianity and the Bible

In the Bible, horses represent power and courage, as seen in Habakkuk 1:8: "Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat."

This passage is about God commenting on the Chaldeans, who serve as a punishment for the people of Judah.

Horses are also a major part of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, from the Book of Revelation. Each of the horsemen ride a different colored horse — black (famine), gray (death), red (war) and white (Christ) — and are meant to symbolize the welcoming of end times.


It was also believed that Jesus would return riding on a white horse.

Meaning of Horses in Metaphors

There are metaphors and phrases that capitalize on the symbolism of horses.

For instance, the expression "hold your horses" comes from the 1800s. During this time in the United States, horses were the main form of transportation, so if the stagecoach was asked to hold his horses it would imply being patient or waiting.

Another common metaphor for horses is that of something being "straight from the horse's mouth." While at the horse races, it's smart to get advice on the horse you’re betting on.

So, you might look to the trainer, jockey, or groomer to get information on the horse’s form and skill. This bit of information is said to come straight from the horse’s mouth since they know the horse best.


Meaning of Horses in Film

Horses as symbols of power, spirit and freedom are evident in the 2003 film, "Seabiscuit."

Based loosely on true events, the movie follows the underdog story of an undersized thoroughbred rising to the top of horse racing charts during the Great Depression.

It was not until his jockey, Red Pollard, came along that Seabiscuit found his full potential. In this film, the horse is used to symbolize the importance of determination, connection, and setbacks.

Horse Symbolism in Mythology and Folklore

Native American Horse Symbolism

Native Americans saw horses as symbols of their victory and power.

Many Native American tribes were considered to be more powerful if they had many horses. Typically, they would win more battles and find territorial growth with the help of horses.


Horses were also used in hunting and travel, and it's known that the Spanish actually taught Native Americans to ride these creatures, rather than only seeing them as a source of food.

Celtic Horse Symbolism

In Celtic mythology, horses were associated with goddess Epona, also called the horse mother, who was the protector of cavalries and horses. Rhiannon, another goddess, was said to ride on a horse so quickly that nobody was ever able to catch up and reach her.

Because both Epona and Rhiannon were goddesses of the afterlife, horses were said to be a link between the waking world and the afterlife, serving as transportation.

Another myth includes the story of demi-god Cuchulainn and his two horses, Liath Macha and Dub Sainglend, who pulled his chariot. Liath Macha and Dub Sainglend were created in a magical pool, at first running wild and free, but eventually helping Cuchulainn in battles.


Norse Horse Symbolism

Just like the Celts, horses were believed to be transporters between the living world and the afterlife, and the world of gods and humans. Odin's horse, Sleipnir, had eight legs, special powers, and could travel between worlds.

In the legend of Arvakr and Alsvior, these two horses were attached to a chariot containing the sun, pulling it across the sky every day.

There's another legend of two horses, Skinfaxi and Hrimfaxi. Skinfaxi pulled the day across the sky, and Hrimfaxi pulled the night across the sky, giving us a full day and night cycle.

Chinese Horse Symbolism

In Mongolia, horses were greatly respected and believed to be a link to spirituality. Mongols had a horse god, Kisaγa Tngri, who was said to protect the souls of mortals; another god, Ataγa Tngri, was the protector of horses.


In China, the horse is seen as a relative to the dragon, and held in high regard. A popular Chinese legend is about longma, a dragon horse; its body is a horse, but it has claws and scales like a dragon.

In the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of the Horse occurs every 12 years in the cycle. People who are born in the Year of the Horse are optimistic, sociable, and energetic.

Hindu Horse Symbolism

In Hinduism, horses were seen as gifts from God; these creatures were symbols of power, the sun, and nobility.

The god Kalki rode on a white horse and punished those who were evil while rewarding good people; Kalki's name is said to come from the word "karki," which means white.


One Hindu myth is about Uchchaihshravas, a seven-headed horse who could fly, reaching the worlds of the gods.

Buddhist Horse Symbolism

White horses are extremely revered in Buddhism and were considered sacred.

Siddhartha, before he became Buddha, had a horse, Kanthaka. Kanthaka took Siddhartha on a ride outside of the palace, where he had a revelation that the truth of the world was suffering.

Ancient Greek Horse Symbolism

Pegasus is perhaps the most famous flying horse-like creature in mythology, born from a beheaded Medusa, who delivered thunderbolts to Zeus and could make water burst when it put its hoof down.

Another mythical creature is Centaurus, a half-man half-horse creature, known for destruction.


And, of course, there is also the mythical unicorn, who had a horn on its head.

Ancient Egyptian Horse Symbolism

Egyptians viewed horses with the utmost respect and saw them as symbols of nobility and bravery. For that reason, horses were never used to work in the fields, were owned only by the wealthy, and Pharaoh Ramses even drank and ate with horses over his own noblemen.

African Horse Symbolism

An African tradition includes men riding on horses during weddings and huge festivals, called Fantasia. In this practice, men wear traditional garb, ride in unison on their horses, and hold guns.

In Guinea, traditions include cutting a horse's tail and making an offering for a good year in the fields.


Horse Tattoo Meaning

Just like a horse is a symbol of spirit, freedom and courage, getting a horse tattoo means you are a free-spirited individual. Perhaps you love to travel the world or simply express yourself creatively.

Getting a horseshoe can symbolize good luck, while a white horse is symbolic of nobility and honor.

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Isabella Pacinelli is a writer who covers relationship, self-love, spirituality, and entertainment topics.