Horse Superstitions & Wive's Tales...
Superstitions, good luck, bad luck, and wive's tales related to horses and donkeys.


A cowboy hat on your bed is very, very bad luck. In fact, one year during the NFR (National Finals Rodeo) a cowboy's mother had accidentally placed his hat on the bed. The next day he showed up to compete in a smashed hat -- he was superstitious you see, and superstition has it that you have to throw your hat outside and stomp the bad luck out of it if someone places it on your bed.

It was widely believed that a horse that stepped in a wolf print would be crippled.

The "Nail Test" is supposed to predict what sex foal a mare is carrying. You take a hair from the mare's tail, and tie a nail to it. Then you hold it above the mare's hips... and if it doesn't swing, she's not pregnant. If it swings in a circle, she's carrying a filly; if it swings straight, a colt.

Horse brasses were used to protect horses from witches.

Changing a horse's name is bad luck.

Inhaling a horses breath is cure for whooping cough.

Eating a hair from a horse's forelock is cure for worms.

Horses standing with their backs to a hedge mean it's going to rain.

If you put a bit of hoof in the microwave it will turn into bubblegum.

Placing three hairs from a donkey's shoulders in a muslin bag worn around the neck - cure for whooping cough or measles

Sitting backwards on a donkey - cure for snakebites and toothache

A pregnant woman seeing a donkey - the child will grow wise and well behaved

If you see a white dog you should be silent until you see a white horse.

If you put horse skulls under the floor of a house they improve the tone of a piano that was above them.

If a horse neighs at the door of a house it bodes sickness for the inhabitants.

If you break a mirror the misfortune can be averted if you lead a horse through the house. Same applies if you spill salt in the kitchen.

Horse brasses protect the wearer from the evil eye.

Seeing a grey horse on the way to a church is considered lucky for the bride and groom.

Carrying a rowan-wood whip prevents witches from casting a spell on your horse.

If you walk inder a ladder it is considered bad luck but you can avoid the bad if you keep your fingers crossed until you have seen 3 horses.

A horseshoe nail is frequently used as a talisman (bent by a blacksmith into a circle)

The tail of a horse was plaited with ribbons to keep it safe from witches

The deeper a horse dips his nostrils while drinking, the better sire he will be.

When it's master dies, a horse will shed tears

In Wales a gray horse is considered to be a death omen.

In England and Germany dreaming of a white horse is considered a death omen.

Gray horses and horses with four white feet are considered unlucky in racing.

A circular ring made from an iron horseshoe nail gives the same protection against evil as the horseshoe itself.

The horseshoe or crescent moon shape was seen as a sign of good fortune and fertility.

Witches fear horses, so they are also turned away by a door with a horseshoe mounted on it. The horseshoe must be hung with the points up to keep the luck from spilling out.

A horse's tail, if placed in water, will turn into a snake.

Copper pennies in a tank will prevent moody behavior in mares.

One legend of the horse shoe says that the Devil called on St. Dunstan, who was skilled in shoeing horses. St. Dunstan recognized him and fastened him to a wall. He then set to work with such roughness that the Devil roared for mercy. St Dunstan turned the Devil loose after making him promise never to enter a home on which a horseshoe was fixed. Witches fear horses, so they are also turned away by a door with a horseshoe mounted on it, The horseshoe must be hung with the points up to keep the luck from spilling out.

A white horse could warn of danger, and lived longer than a dark horse, so was considered a living amulet against early death. Spotted horses are magical. Grey horses and horses with four white socks are unlucky.

If you lead a white horse through your house it will banish all evil.

If you wear a black stallions hair from his tail on your wrist you'l be protected from witches.

It was once thought that whooping-cough could be cured by going to the stables and inhaling the breath of a horse; being breathed upon by a piebald horse, or riding upon its back, was another supposed cure. Horse-hairs, chopped very finely and fed to a child in bread and butter, were thought to be a certain cure for worms, and the horse-spurs (an old word for horse's chestnuts on their legs) were believed in the eighteenth century to be a cure for cancer if dried, ground and drunk frequently with new milk.

In some places it is lucky to meet a white horse; in others, unlucky; either way, tradition states that upon meeting a white horse one should spit and make a wish, or cross one's fingers until a dog (usually a white dog) is seen. In many places it is lucky to lead a horse through the house; this belief may stem from the association of horses with fertility and crops, which has lasted in form of hobby-horses which were originally part of Beltane (May Day) revels.

Horseshoes are considered lucky for their healing powers (cures hiccups) and for their protective influence (specifically against witches). It resembles the crescent moon and is thought to protect against the evil eye. Similar-shaped charms were used among the Chaldeans and the Egyptians. Related to animal worship, it approaches the form of a serpent biting its own tail-a universal symbol of eternity. There is a time-honored belief in the magical power of iron. Blacksmiths were often identified as sorcerers and the efficacy of fire as a bane to demons supported this idea.

A horseshoe, hung above the doorway, will bring good luck to a home. In most of Europe protective horseshoes are placed in a downward facing position, but in some parts of Ireland and Britain people believe that the shoes must be turned upward or "the luck will run out."
Source: Old Wives Tales

A horseshoe hung in the bedroom will keep nightmares away.

A strip of sheepskin on a horse's collar was once used as a prevention against the evil eye

Mythful cure for Founder -- Pour turpentine into a saucer, and hold it against the horse's navel. It'll suck it right up, and the founder'll be gone."

It was thought that warts could be cured by circling them in horse hair.

The shape of a pregnant mare's belly is thought to predict the foal's sex.

If a woman is pregnant and her the heart beat of her baby sounds like a
horse it is said to be a girl, however if it sounds like a train it is said to be a boy.



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