Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Horses in Folklore

A white horse standing in the shadows of a green field with a pale blue sky

We see this friendly boy regularly. It got me thinking about horses in folklore, and some of our local superstitions regarding them.

Here in the Midlands counties, spitting was considered to avert all evil consequences, and to meet a white horse face-to-face without spitting (usually over the left shoulder) was considered very unlucky indeed. Some have suggested that this negative association with white horses is because much of the Midlands was laid waste by Saxon hordes, who poured in under a banner emblazoned with a white horse, but I don’t know how true this is.

To dream of a white horse meant that death was coming. This superstition might have come from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, as one of the riders sits upon a white horse. Another local superstition indicating death was to dream of riding in a cart “being greased with bacon”- weird!!

At Snelston - a medieval village near here now deserted - a witch would run out of her house and cling on to cartwheels as horses made their way up Galley Hill, on the way to Uppingham. Other stories regard her as a supernatural entity, living in the trees ready to pounce on any horses and carts that might pass by.

In nearby Lincolnshire, it was believed that if you saw a white dog, you should stay silent until you saw a white horse. I don’t know what the consequence of not staying silent was, or not seeing the white horse, because with all the superstition surrounding white horses, I don’t think seeing one was likely.

I’m pleased to report we do not spit at this lovely boy, he much prefers a cuddle.

Do you know of any strange horse folklore or superstitions? What about other animals?

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

1 comment:

  1. Well, a cart greased with bacon...happy to say I have had not had that dream. lol. This is a beautiful horse:)


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