41 Horse Tattoos - Meanings, Photos, Designs for men and women


Our ancestors gave special symbolism to natural phenomena, plants and animals in ancient times. These ideas are so firmly entrenched in the human mind that even now we see a symbol of freedom and witchcraft in the depiction of a cat, and the dog is associated with friendship and devotion. This ancient symbolism is reflected in all forms of contemporary art, and the art of tattooing is not an exception. Today we will talk about a horse tattoo, the meaning of which is especially interesting.


Near East

The solar god Marduk was often portrayed riding in a chariot drawn by four horses in ancient Mesopotamia. The horse was originally associated with an aggressive male principle, physical strength and endurance, solar energy, giving life to everything on earth. Later, the horse became a female lunar symbol, which was one of the reasons why this image is more popular in female tattoos.

Ancient Greece, Rome

The symbol of the horse was present in the funerary traditions, this animal, sacrificed, was considered a most valuable gift to the gods. The goddess Demeter was often portrayed with a horse’s head or in the form of a mare in the art of the era of antiquity, and the god Poseidon could take the form of a stallion. You can find many stories about how the heroes tame the stubborn horses among the Greek myths. Also, the horse was considered a symbol of war, because the fighting cavalry played a decisive role in the outcome of the battle in most cases.


The horse is a messenger of the gods, a guide to another world in the Scandinavian tradition. Valkyrie descends from heaven on horseback and forwards the souls of fallen heroes to Valhalla. Special attention is paid to the octopus Odin’s horse — Sleipnir. Legend says that this is the fastest stallion that the god Loki gave birth to, when he assumed the look of a horse. The horses were also often sacrificed to the gods.

The myth of the Wild Hunt, which tells of ghostly horsemen, led by the queen or king of elves (according to some versions of the goddess or god) was spread among the Germanic peoples in the Middle Ages. They kidnapped people, forcing them to serve themselves. The most interesting this myth was beaten by Andrzej Sapkowski in the cycle “The Witcher” in modern literature.

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In the mythology of the Gallic Celts, one of the central places in the pantheon was occupied by Epona, the goddess of the horses. She was usually portrayed as a woman riding a horse. Such reverence for the goddess was not surprising, because the horses played a very important role both in agriculture and in war.

A night mare in English literally means “a nightmare” (in this case it is written together). It was believed that the goddess of death comes to the sleeping in the guise of a horse, taking their souls to another world. The mare is an attribute of the Great Mother, a symbol of fertility, love, but at the same time a divine punishment.

In Scottish mythology, one can meet the spirit of water Kelpy, who takes on the form of a beautiful horse, capturing travelers who happened to be in his possessions to the bottom of the lake.


A horse is one of those symbols, the meaning of which can differ depending on gender. The reason for this was the ancient cults in which this animal was identified with the female or male principle, respectively, and its symbolism was different. So, what does a horse tattoo mean for women and men?


  • Maternity. The mare is an attribute of the Great Mother, the parent of all living things. Therefore, the meaning of the horse tattoo for girls can be reduced to the desire to give the world a new life, to become a loving and caring mother. Such a tattoo personifies this desire and is suitable for women who love children very much.
  • Home hearth. The image of a mare indicates a girl who pays much attention to maintaining a cozy and warm atmosphere in the house in a broad sense: from banal decor and providing comfort to preventing conflicts between family members. Her house is her fortress, she is a mistress, she sets her own laws, which must be followed.
  • Life force. The mare is a symbol of life and the strength that the mother has. It is capable of bringing peace and harmony, but at the same time, the punishing hand of the mother does not overwhelm those who sow discord in her possessions.


  • Physical strength. A horse is a strong and hardy animal. Our ancestors believed that a physically weak man can’t live a full life and be a full member of society. A tattoo depicting a horse indicates that its owner has enough strength and stamina to survive in any conditions.
  • Aggressiveness. The masculinity implied aggressive behavior in ancient times. It was a necessary condition for survival at those times. A horse tattoo on its hind legs can say that the logic of modern man is juxtaposed with primitive instincts, destructive power in its owner.


This symbol also has meaning that can be relevant to both sexes:

  • Freedom. The image of a mare or stallion rushing towards the wind indicates a freedom-loving nature that does not accept strict limits and limitations, zealously guarding its personal space, which does not suit the circumstances.
  • Unruly and rebellious spirit. A tattoo with a kicking wild horse, standing on its hind legs, speaks of self-will, non-conformism.

The image of a horse in a tattoo will be perfectly combined with mythological subjects. For example, if the owner of a tattoo is interested in Scandinavian mythology, a good choice will be a sketch of Odin with Sleipnir, a Valkyrie sitting on a battle horse, a horse with a bridle decorated with runes. The tattoos with horses harnessed to chariots, the decoration of which indicates belonging to a particular culture look really great. A special role can also be assigned to a rider — a valiant warrior or a freedom-loving young person racing at a gallop horse, a hero of an ancient legend or a modern film.


The images of horses look realistic if made by talented artists specializing in this extremely complex style. It allows you to accurately convey the smallest details of the image, make the picture “alive” regardless of the color palette used. Color works, of course, look more impressive most often, but the color tattoo requires more accurate care and more frequent correction.

Horse portrait in the style of new school is always vivid and memorable, clean lines and rich colors will attract admiring glances. The head of a horse is often depicted in this style, enclosed in an oval vintage frame, decorated with roses.

Watercolor work will help to convey the ease and rapidity of animal, bright streaks of paint, stretching like a plume become a symbol of speed.

There are a lot of options for images, you can see this by simply searching the horse photos of the tattoo. It can be mythical unicorns or winged Pegasus, racers of riders of the Apocalypse, fighting horses in a steel armor or the ceremonial richly decorated harness. There are images of horse skull, which was considered a talisman in ancient times, a horseshoe is a symbol of good luck, even a chess piece. An interesting solution — reproductions of famous paintings with horses. The inspiration can serve as a canvas by Levitan, “Heroes” by Vasnetsov, “Automedon with the horses of Achilles” by Regnault, “Rider” by Bryullov, “Rider in Jaipur” by Vereshchagin and even cave paintings of the famous Lascaux caves – “Sistine Chapel” — of primitive art.

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