Horse symbolism could be on your mind for several reasons. The most common is seeing a horse in a dream or encountering one in an unlikely place.
This doesn’t have to be an actual horse. You could keep seeing movies or TV shows with horses in them, driving down unfamiliar roads with names like Palomino, Appaloosa, and Clydesdale, or finding yourself on the highway with an unusually high number of Ford Mustangs.
Horses are beloved animals and have been revered by many cultures and religions. They have appeared in music, art, and books and have represented many things to many people.
In this article, we’ll discuss the different horse symbolism meanings and help you determine why they might appear or what you could hope to channel by inviting them and their symbolism into your space.
What Does a Horse Symbolize?
Freedom is one of the most common associations with horses. It isn’t difficult to understand why.
These beautiful animals are often depicted running in fields and valleys. It is the most common depiction of horses in art, including photography, music, film, and television.
It is also the reason so many sports teams are called The Mustangs. Horses symbolize strength and endurance that can only come from freedom.
So seeing one might mean you’re feeling a bit claustrophobic or overly constrained in your current circumstances. It might be time to make a change, perhaps a significant one.
Horses are also often used as a symbol of endurance. This likely dates back to when they were used for traveling across the country and pulling carriages.
They were the workhorses of journeys like the Oregon Trail. Healthy horses can travel as far as 100 miles daily while carrying a rider. And certain types of horses can run up to 55 miles per hour.
If you’ve seen horses lately, it could indicate that you are in the middle of a struggle and need to stick with it for the long haul. It might also be a sign that you are heading in the right direction, but you still have a long way to go and must endure.
Like endurance, the horse is often used as a symbol of determination. This determination is why horses had to be “broken” to accept humans as riders.
Spirit is something horses, particularly the younger ones, are used to symbolize. It’s common to see colts and even some older horses frolicking and playing out in the fields where they live in the wild or are out grazing.
Horse Totem Animal
If the horse is your totem animal, you can quickly jump over life’s hurdles.
A totem animal is a person’s guide or protector. It stays with you your whole life, and you often find your connection to it through dreams, visions, common characteristics, or shared energy.
Besides finding it easy to conquer challenges, people with the horse as their totem animal is determined, focused, and unlikely to find themselves stuck in situations they don’t want to be in.
If you’ve been seeing horses lately, it could be a sign that you must move forward, maybe changing jobs or moving to a new location. Horses are also a symbol of freedom, so if the horse is your totem animal, you may find it easy to express yourself or to make changes.
Horse Spirit Animal
If, instead, the horse is your spirit animal, it is simply one you relate to that helps guide your path forward. Those with the horse as a spirit animal are fiercely independent and value their freedom. They enjoy adventure and travel and are quick to make friends.
But, as with all things, there are both positives and negatives to having the horse as your spirit animal.
Pros of a Horse Spirit Animal
- Because of your sociability, you work well with others
- You’re welcoming and the life of the party
- You get along with everyone, but bond with small groups
Cons of a Horse Spirit Animal
- You may be reckless because you don’t want to be tied down
- You might take your need for freedom too far, pushing people away
- Like a horse, you could be stubborn and unwilling to make changes
- You may be domineering and unwilling to accept defeat
Are Horses a Good Omen?
Seeing horses can be a good omen, though what horses mean can be different for different people. Most cultures associate the horse with strength, freedom, and intelligence, making it a good omen to see one.
They are powerful, enduring, sensitive animals. They often signify progress or moving forward.
Eastern cultures consider the horse divine, a conqueror of evil. But other depictions aren’t so favorable.
For instance, the four horsemen of the apocalypse. And while horses could signify a blossoming relationship, a black horse could indicate unrequited love.
The appearance of horses in your life could indicate that you are on your way to self-mastery. Horses are determined and enduring but understand how much they can carry and refuse to take on unnecessary burdens.
Seeing a horse might mean you need to prioritize only what’s most vital for you to carry.
Horse Color Meaning
The color of the horses you’re seeing is as important as the animal’s appearance. Different colors have very different meanings.
Brown Horse Symbolism
If the horses you’ve been seeing are brown, it could indicate you’re too invested in the material aspects of life. Brown horses signify you need to trust the universe to provide everything you need.
Roan Horse Symbolism
If you’re unfamiliar with horses, you might not know what a roan horse is. Quite simply, they are dark horses with lighter hairs interspersed. Consider old dogs with gray muzzles if you still can’t picture this.
Seeing horses with a roan color indicates you are stuck and something is blocking your progress. Often, seeing these horses signifies that you have become complacent, thinking superficially that you are happy while knowing you are not.
The Symbolism of Black Horses
Seeing a black horse could have a few different meanings. It could mean you are seeking death, taking risks that put your life at stake. But it can also signify rebirth.
If you’ve seen black horses and you’ve been contemplating your place in life, it may indicate that one door is closing so another can open. It might be a sign that it is time to move on from where you are to where you should be instead.
Palomino Colored Horses as Symbols
Palomino horses are pretty common, but if you’re not a horse person, you might not realize that they are golden in color. Seeing palominos or gold-colored horses indicates that the sun is rising on a new day, and you need to rise with it.
Trust yourself to know the right path to move forward into the light and seek the life you desire.
White Horse Symbolism
White horses typically indicate faith, spirituality, and purity. But it isn’t the only interpretation of this majestic animal.
They also signify knowledge, reason, and justice. Seeing a white horse means mastering one or more of these skills. You may be called upon to teach these concepts to others.
The Symbolism of Gray Horses
Like the black variety, gray horses can have multiple meanings. They could indicate it’s time to look for the silver lining in cloudy skies.
Gray horses could mean you should keep hope because things are about to improve. But they can also indicate that you are involved in shady dealings with nefarious people.
Reflect on what is happening in your life. Take stock, determine if some questionable things are happening in your life, and evaluate them as impartially as possible.
Bay Colored Horses as Symbols
Another standard horse, but perhaps unfamiliar term. A bay horse is brown with a black tail and mane. The variegation in color is significant.
Seeing a bay horse could mean you are progressing toward your goals and moving in the right direction. It’s a sign that you should keep moving forward on your path.
The Symbolism of Red Horses
Like most red things, the red horse signifies anger and danger. If you’re seeing red horses, it may be a sign you are combative or vengeful.
It might also mean you are dealing with someone who bears you ill will or is jealous, and you should exercise caution.
Black and White Horse Symbolism
A black and white horse can indicate a balance between extremes or indecisiveness. You shouldn’t change for others, but seeing a black and white horse could also suggest that you are not being true to yourself.
Consider all the options, and determine the best way to move forward. Take stock of your life and determine whether your path is correct.
And determine what’s best based on what you want out of life and not what anyone else is telling you should be the path you’re taking with your life. At the end of the day, you have to live with yourself, and you are who you come home to.
Dead Horse Symbolism
Dead horses can have several meanings, but it usually indicates that something is ending. Seeing or dreaming of a dead horse can also signify regret, nostalgia, or trauma.
You may have missed opportunities now lost to you, and you are mourning that they are no longer available.
They can also mean you are longing for the way things used to be, even if you recognize that it is no longer a possibility. But it could also indicate that there is something in your past you haven’t yet dealt with.
You may be facing a literal or figurative death, the loss of a loved one, a significant relationship, or just a way that you wanted that you now realize cannot be.
Horse Tattoo Meaning
The meaning of a horse tattoo could simply be that the person wearing it likes horses, but there are other possible implications. They can represent a free spirit, independence, or wildness. It can indicate a desire for freedom.
But you might also see it on people who favor a goth lifestyle as a reflection of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
It may also signify wealth, success, or achieving a goal. And, as we’ve already mentioned, the horse’s color is significant. This is true of horse tattoos as well.
What Does a Horse Symbolize in the Bible?
Horses symbolize several things when they appear in the Bible, but they typically indicate strength. Whether that strength is good or evil depends on the particular passage of the Bible.
They are seen as fearless, mighty avengers. But they are also depicted as bringers of the end times.
What Does Seeing a Horse in Your Dreams Mean?
What a horse means in your dreams depends on how that horse appears to you. If it is moving fluidly, it could indicate you are on your way to success. But if it is immobile, it could mean you are pursuing something that is better left behind.
If, on the other hand, the horse you are seeing is a toy, it could indicate a Trojan horse, someone or something in your life being artificial, or a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
And a horse that talks to you is there to impart knowledge. Multicolored horses indicate you may have a different outcome than you anticipated.
How to Interpret a Horse Encounter
As with many aspects of horses, how you encounter them matters as much as the encounter itself. Let’s take a look at a couple of the options.
Interpretation 1: Embarking on a New Journey
Seeing a horse could mean it’s time to take on something new. Consider where you are, where you want to be, and how you might get from Point A to Point B.
Where do you want to go, and what prevents you from getting there? How can you overcome it?
Interpretation 2: It’s Time to Break Free
Horses symbolize freedom. So, if you’ve seen them and feel trapped, it’s a sign that it is time to break free of your restrictions.
However, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t act recklessly when breaking free of your boundaries. Recognize the need to move on, but consider how best to do so without burning bridges.
Interpretation 3: You Need to Be Resilient and Stay the Course
Horses are determined and carry on with resilience. Contrary to the prior interpretation, this horse encounter means you should stick to your actions and stay the course.
This is why you need to carefully evaluate where you are in your life and where you genuinely want to be before deciding the best path to take to end up where you want to be.
What Should You Do When You See a Horse?
Handling a horse encounter depends on a couple of things, the most important of which are whether the horse is wild or domesticated. If you encounter wild horses somewhere, you should steer clear, as much for their sake as for yours. It could be frightening for you and terrifying for the horses.
The situation is different if you are hiking on a trail and encounter a horse and rider. Domesticated horses are familiar with people and can be approached much more readily.
But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use care when approaching them. According to American Trails, horses are prey animals and are likely to spook if rapidly approached by bikers or runners.
When encountering horses on a trail, stop or slow as you approach, and communicate with the horse and the owner. If your encounter with its owner is friendly, you are less likely to be deemed a threat by the horse.
Look for additional direction from the rider, who knows their horse better than you do. And if you can, avoid approaching a horse from behind since the horse cannot see you, and they are likelier to react negatively.
Horse Symbolism and Spiritual Meanings
Buddhism and Horse Symbolism
In Buddhist culture, horses represent effort and energy and are indicative of one of six major positive emotions in Buddhism. As wild horses can be tamed, so can the mind, according to Buddhist beliefs.
But remember that what you want to happen may not be where you are guided spiritually. Horses are risk-takers, and you may need to leave your comfort zone to move forward.
Horse Symbolism in Chinese Mythology
The horse is one of Chinese mythology’s most commonly depicted animals, second only to the dragon, and they signify wealth, nobility, prosperity, military prowess, and success.
Other Asian cultures also revere the horse. Koreans associate it with strength and bravery. And in Japan, it’s considered a sign of strength and success.
Native Americans and Horse Symbolism
In Native American cultures, horses are considered medicinal animals. Believing horses are medicinal has a practical reason as well as a mythical one.
The burdens became lighter when populations could tame and ride horses. Travel was far less demanding, taking days instead of weeks.
And Native American legend tells a tale of different colored horses visiting a medicine man, delivering the message that the value is not in where we end up but in the journey taken to get there, and what we learn along the way.