Sunday, February 2, 2014

Horse Related Superstitions and Wives Tales

     I'm sure you all have heard about hanging a horse shoe over a door with the ends up to keep the luck from running out.  We all have a few sayings that have been carried down from generation to generation, and some have us wondering.  For instance, if a person were to buy a horse in Europe the saying goes something like this:  "One white foot, buy a horse; two white feet, try a horse; Three white feet, look well about him; four white feet, do without him."   Here in the USA, cowboys have said that a red mare will either be crazy or mean.
    The whorl or swirl on the forehead of a horse would indicate its personality.  Many people believe a horse with two whorls on its forehead will be more difficult.  Swirlology is the study of hair swirls or whorls in horses.  For some believers, this would affect the purchase or selling of horses.
      Some folks believe that changing a horse's name is bad luck, and I've also heard that the deeper a stud dips his nostrils into the water he is drinking, the better the sire he will be. Here in the Ozarks, the old timers would often castrate their own stock. When doing so, they would  just "throw" them and cut them right there in the pasture. I was told growing up that when you cut a horse, throw one testicle to the east, and one to the west and don't look where they fall, or he will be proud cut.
     Supposedly you can predict the sex of an unborn foal by tying a horseshoe nail to a tail hair of the pregnant mare. Hold the nail above the mare's hips. If it does not swing, the mare is not pregnant, if it swings in a circle, she's carrying a filly, if in a straight line, a colt.
     One of the best known superstitions is that it is bad luck to place a cowboy hat on a bed.  There has been a story told about a cowboy who showed up at the National Finals Rodeo with a smashed hat, because the night before his mother laid it on a bed.  According to the superstition, the only way to get rid of the bad luck is to throw the hat outside and stomp all the bad luck out of it.   .
     Another favorite of mine is one the old folks used to tell us kids back in the day. When we would see a horse rolling over in the pasture, they would say that he's only worth as much as how many times he can roll over in a row. Another variation on this was the saying that only a good horse could roll all the way over. If he couldn't roll all the way over, he was no good.
     There are a myriad of superstitions worldwide, each with their own variation.  It is fascinating to read and hear these wives tales carried down for so many years.  And some do actually have a foothold on the populace as fact.  Do you have a horse related superstition? If so, share it here!

Brooks Gaited Horse Training

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