Horse Tattoos Meaning, Design & Ideas

Horse images and designs are extremely popular with equestrians and horse enthusiasts who spend countless hours riding and caring for horses. There is a unique bond that is constructed between a horse and rider that is only understood by equestrians.

Horse riding is particularly popular in more rural areas where riding is a serious sport and competition that requires endurance and years of training. Images of horses for many represent a dedication to equestrianism.

Additionally, horses can be a representation of wild and unbridled freedom, a connection to the natural, undomesticated world.

People love horses and the love for this majestic animal leads to many tattoos. These tattoos represent respect for an animal that has played a big role in the lives of humans.

About the Horse

Horses are mammals with hooves and therefore called ungulates. In addition, they have short hair, long tails, long and thick necks, and strong torsos. Horses were once found in specific places in the world but because they are domesticated now, you can find horses everywhere.

It’s no surprise these animals have become domesticated. They’ve been around for around 50 million years getting the data from the American Museum of Natural History. They were first found in North America but were then found in Europe and Asia.

According to Oklahoma State University, it was between 3000 and 4000 BC the first horses were domesticated in Asia. At the time, horses were used primarily for meat and milk. Soon after, the horse started being used as a source of transportation and working animal.

Horses are large animals and when looking at the close to 400 different breeds of horses, they can be as big as 2,200 pounds and 69 inches tall from shoulder to hoof. The smaller breeds can be as short as 30 inches from shoulder to hoof and around 120 pounds.

People love horses but horses also love each other. They are extremely social and live and roam in groups called herds. When found in the wild, horses live with three to twenty other horses and are usually led by a stallion (mature male horse). Most of the other members of the herd are female and their young.

After the mating process has occurred, the females are pregnant for around 11 months. Baby horses are called foals and not ponies believe it or not. Ponies are actually adult horses that are short in stature.

Horse Tattoo Meaning

Horse tattoos that seek to symbolize equestrianism usually include an item or items of equipment that are used in horse riding. A bridled horse will symbolize the power of the rider over the horse and their ability to control and direct the animal. Saddled horses represent much the same, showing the connection between humanity and animals. There is generally a tone of respect for the great beast, tamed by a skilled trainer.

Wild horses convey a different message that celebrates the undomesticated animal in nature. The wild horse represents a creature who is not able to be tamed and remains true to their inherent nature. Galloping horses are a symbol of a break from the rigidity of modern society and a return to primal roots.

White horses are prevalent in mythologies of cultures around the world, generally symbolizing fertility, purity, celestial bodies, as well as power and majesty. Black horses are nearly as ubiquitous, often symbolizing mystery and the unknown.

The black horse can be a representation of a “Darkhorse” or a mysterious and introverted personality that is not easily identified. White, red, black, and pale colored horses, either imaged as the four together or on their own, are symbols of the apocalypse outlined in Revelations of the Christian Bible. It is a representation of the ultimate fall and judgment of humanity.

Horses can also be a powerful sign of war, battle, and ultimate victory as horses have been used as devices of war for countless centuries. War horses are rendered as enormous, brute beasts, with or without armor or equipment. They are a timeless image, integral to human development throughout all known history.

In Native American tribes, the horse was also an important image and animal. Tribes that rode horses were known to win far more battles than those tribes without horses. Tribes with horses had more territory and were considered to be wealthier than other tribes with fewer horses.

The horse was a major image in mythology. Horses were linked to Mars by the Romans. Mars was the god of the fury of war. Horses were also in the imagery of the sun god, Helios, and pulled his chariot across the sky. Horses were symbols of good fortune and good luck in Celtic mythology.

In addition, the white horse was even more symbolic in Celtic lore. It has a strong association with Epona and Rhiannon and is sacred. If many horses are seen standing together, it symbolizes a storm on the front when referring to folk wisdom but this isn’t necessarily a myth as horses stand in a group to protect themselves from harsh approaching weather.

Horse Tattoo Variations

There are many variations of the horse tattoo and depending on how this animal is depicted will tell the story of the meaning for the person with the tattoo. Below are a few examples of horse tattoos and the symbolism surrounding the tattoo. We hope you can take a few ideas from this and apply them to your next tattoo.

Rearing Horse Tattoo

The rearing horse tattoo is a representation of a horse standing on its two hind legs. The horse rears for multiple reasons. It is said the horse has feelings of aggression, excitement, fright, pain or disobedience. However, this is a very powerful image and is usually involved with a triumphant moment in a movie or book. The horse rearing in a tattoo is usually representative of power and aggression. It is a really cool-looking tattoo as well.

Running Horse Tattoo

The running horse is an image that is used far and wide from sports logos to car logos, it represents power and stamina. The image of a horse running is one that is a powerful image and when you see it, you understand the gravity of the image. Even engines are graded in terms of horsepower so you can understand why people get this tattoo to represent strength and speed.

Herd of Horses Tattoo

A herd of horses is a popular way to get a horse tattoo. Because the herd of horses is symbolic of a storm on the horizon, this tattoo might represent the same thing. The storm is always headed for us so we have to be prepared for it. Horses stand in groups for protection so the image of the herd of horses is not only a sign of withstanding the storm but it also represents the sheer power all of these horses are capable of.

Cowboy and Horse Tattoo

The cowboy and horse go hand in hand and have long been the symbol of American western movies. The hero would come galloping into town on his steed to thwart the evildoers while saving the girl. Horses were used for travel, pulling wagons and working back then so they were a major part of the cowboy’s story. For fans of westerns and the “good ole days”, the cowboy and horse tattoo might be the option for you.

That being said, there are many more ways to have the horse tattooed on your body and we’ll leave it up to you to decide what is going to be the best one for you. Just make sure you do your research when looking for the right match in a tattoo artist. Many people stop in the first place they see to get their tattoo.

This might work here and there but it is usually a safe bet to research artists that do the kind of work you are looking for. If you are having trouble deciding on the artist you want to use, we can make recommendations to help you in that area.

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