HI Spy: Do you have any horse-related superstitions?

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Akhal TekePlenty of otherwise-rational people find themselves
being extra cautious on Friday the 13th or averting their path after
a black cat has crossed it. Even pragmatic horse people may find themselves
holding on to some seemingly silly superstitions. In fact, horses are at the
center of many superstitions.

For example, there is the classic good-luck charm,
the horse shoe. Superstition dictates that when you hang a horse shoe, you must
put it with the rounded part facing down to prevent the good luck from spilling
out.

In some cultures, white or gray horses were considered a bad omen and were
avoided at all costs. Dreaming of one meant your death was close at hand. But
then, in other cultures, a white horse was good luck and making a wish when you
see one was a sure way to make it come true.Tradition is similarly fickle about black horses, so it’s hard to know which is your better bet.

And then there’s this folkloric bit of horse-shopping
advice.

“One white foot, buy him;
Two white feet, try him;
Three white feet, look well about him;
Four white feet, do without him.”

Of course, these days, horse people are far more
logical about their horse buying. Or are they? Have you ever been warned
against a chestnut mare, or a horse with double whorls?

Even if you are a logical judge of horseflesh
without resorting to superstition, do you have a favorite pair of boot socks
that you are sure to wear during important shows? Did you consider renaming
your horse after you brought him home, but thought better of it because you’d heard it
was bad luck to do so? Is there a routine you feel compelled to follow before or after
every ride?

‘Fess up. Click submit a comment below and tell us
about your horse-related superstitions.Some of the responses may be published in a future issue of Horse Illustrated!

One selected response may be selected by the editors to win a monthly prize! If you would like to be eligible for the prize, please include your email address in the comment form (email addresses are not publicly displayed.)

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93 COMMENTS

  1. This is such a great question! If I get bucked off a horse or something similar, whatever I am wearing, I will never wear again. Whether it was those blue socks, or that black shirt, they are put in storage!! Other than that, I probably come upon superstitions that I do not know about. Maybe I should pay more attention!!

  2. I’ll do a great job on say, a course. I’ll say good boy to my horse, and say I think I can do it again. But I then say, I’m not jinxing it, because usually, I’ll do everything the same, and yet mess up somehow.

  3. I always make double sure to praise my horse after every ride. I know she appreciates it, but it feels to me like not brushing my teeth if I don’t!

  4. Every time I ride my horse I use the same whip that I have practiced with and accomplished so many things. It may not have anything to do with how we do in the ring or in a lesson, but it’s something I always do. That’s my crazy superstition. 🙂

  5. Before every ride i read an article in Horse Illustrated and i always seem to ride better even if it was not a riding article.Every now and then i will forget and a always don’t ride has well! So i always read at least one article before i ride!

  6. I will never name or buy a horse with a name like ‘Devil’ or something like that. To me, that means the horse can’t be trusted or has a bad temperment.

  7. I always give my horse a treat before I tack him up and after I get done riding him. If I forget, he doesn’t seem to ride very well the next time I get on him.

  8. When I’m at the hotel before the show I have to brush my teeth WITHOUT toothpaste, wear mismatched socks and eat fruitloops for breakfast. Also, I have to pay close attention to which color of fruitloop is left last…purple is a bad omen!

  9. I’m afriad to I dream about a white horse, because I’m afriad someone I know will die. Some of my dreams actually happen, so I don’t want to dream about a white horse.

  10. I have horseshoes nailed above my doors due to the tale of St. Dunstan to keep evil spirits out. They are also hung right side up to keep the good luck from spilling out.

  11. At my barn, we believe the superstition that chestnut mares are more likely to be catty and mareish. This has been proven right many times! However there is a sweet little chestnut mare named penny, so I don;t know how true the myth is!

  12. The only “superstition” we have at our barn is the rule that our instructor is not allowed to tell us, “That’s a great trot,” or, “He looked really nice over that line!” At that moment the horse is sure to start misbehaving!

  13. I was at a rodeo once and saw a cowboy spit on his horse, then it appeared he rubbed the wet spot 3 times. I jokingly asked him if it was ‘good luck’ later and he said, “I don’t know if it’s good luck, the horse just happened to be in the way and I didn’t see him, then I tried to wipe it off.” A few days later, after thought about it awhile, he said “Y’know, some people do consider it good luck to spit on a horse.” I had no idea…

  14. My horse related supersition is that I can’t rename a horse! I don’t think their name should be changed because it’s bad luck. I refuse to buy a horse thats name has ever been changed!

  15. My horsey superstition is about my bay Quarter Horse mare named Babe.It seems that every time Babe is good in her stall she is awful in the arena,and every time she is bad in her stall she’s perfect in the arena. Babe is rarley good in her stall so she only has a bad every now and then. It’s a good thing too, because I ride a lot!

  16. My horse superstition us that I use to
    have this purple saddle-pad. Everytime
    I jumped using my purple saddle-pad I
    Would fall of. So this spread around the stable
    And I believed my purple saddle-pad was cursed.
    I never used that saddle-pad again.

  17. At the stables that ride at, I always scratch a horse between the eyes for good luck. I don’t actually believe in luck, good or bad, but it is purely comforting to do this, because I used to own a horse, before I had to sell her, and this was her favorite spot to be scratched. I miss you so much, girl!

  18. About 2 years ago, we had a severe blister betles epidemic travel through our barn. Not even a week later we realized that the goat that we usually shooed out of the barn for trying to eat the horses hay hadnt tried once to eat the hay shipment that had been infected. Since then, the goats become as spoiled as a dog, and I refuse to let any of the horses touch their hay before the goat inspects it.

  19. At every show I go to I chew a pice of gum before every class. My first show I went to with my new horse I chewed a pice before my showmanship class and we won first so I continued too all day, and I won every class (but one, but that’s another story)!

  20. Before a show, I always run around the length of the arena. It helps my nerves calm down, and I can handle my mare WAY better if I’m not jumpy, too!

  21. I dont really believe in superstitions but I always make sure I ride on January first. I figure the best way to start the new year with lots of good rides to come is to ride on the first day of the new year.

  22. My worst horsey superstition is pure black horses. Like the black cat superstition, I refuse to ride when I see an all black horse were I will be riding! I have walked out of an arena before because I’m so afraid about my horses safety!

  23. I will not lunge my horse on competition grounds. It makes me think that it will get my horse more wound up-when in reality it does the opposite!

  24. My horse superstitions involve those with white horses. I hear that they are very moody and don’t have very good health records. Which would prevent me from ever buying a white horse.

  25. I am not a very supersticious person but i do believe that you need to bond with your horse before and after riding. Trust starts from the ground and works its way up. I also believe in treats after my pony has a good day of riding and/or tricks.

  26. I will never get on a horse without a helmet. Even if just for a few seconds or my horse is standing still I am terrified that the one day I leave it off something bad will happen.

  27. I don’t have a superstition, but I do listen my gut. Sometimes you get your horse out and ready to ride and something just doesn’t feel right. I put my mare back in the pasture and just enjoy brushing her or chalk the experience up to higher powers.

  28. I’ve heard the superstition on piebald horses. If a piebald horse breathes on you when you have whooping cough, or a bad cough, it will cure you. When I got stuck with a cough, being fairly superstitious and believing in karma, I went up to the piebald horse and blew in his nose so he’d breath back. I still cough, but not as bad!

  29. I will be perfectly healthy until I sign up for a horse show. Then I will get sick. It can be anything: 24-hour fever, cold, allergies, stomach flu, you name it, but only close to the show date. Any other time and I’m perfectly healthy

  30. When you jump that oxer just one more time! You seem to get the perfect distance, equitation, takeoff and landing but decide since it was so good that you should do it just one last time! And then you fall off! I’ve learned to call it quits and end on a good note instead of trying one more time!

  31. I have a lucky saddle pad. It’s nothing remarkable- white and fluffy, but the first time I cantered Pogo English was in that saddle pad, and the first time I galloped I used that saddle pad. Pogo also started bucking like mad when we galloped, so it was insanely lucky that I stayed on!

  32. I like to make a wish, touch my horses tail, then put my helmet on and mount. Then I emergency dimount and get back on and I won’t get hurt during my ride. One time I forgot to do this and fell. I almost broke my neck, but I got away with a broken arm, a sprained ankle, and a broken hand.

  33. My horse superstitions are if I fall off when I am riding for whatever reason normally the clothes I wore go in the closet and never come out! My mom always tries to make me wear them but I always think they are cursed and if I ride in the clothes again I will fall off.

  34. If you peel a chestnut off your favorite horse and it comes off intact, carry it with you for good luck. I have one from my favorite horse that I carry everywhere I go

  35. My friend and I always had this superstition that Paint Horses with two blue eyes were trouble, and ones with a single blue eye were as sweet as can be. Scooby, Noah, and Missy are all Paints, each having two blue eyes, and each having caused a number of injuries to their riders in a span of a few weeks. Then there’s Gracie, the Paint filly with a single blue eye that wouldn’t hurt a fly.

  36. The first superstition that I follow is that if you take the shoes off your horse and you hang them on a wall, you should always keep the rounded part facing down, so that the bad luck doesn’t run out of it.
    Another superstition that I always hear is that horses with two blue eyes are feisty and unpredictable, but horses with one blue eye are very sweet. I have had only one experience with a horse with two blue eyes, and she was only a few months old, but she was so sweet!

  37. I always make sure my lucky stuffed pony is is on my grooming bag. I got for my birthday the same year I got my horse, if I have my grooming bag near I have never gotten hurt. I always rub it when I groom also. I always scratch my horse under his cinch before I ride to, if I forget he gets grumpy.

  38. When I showed my horse, I had a set of earrings that when I wore them we either won or placed in our classes. When I bought new earrings and wore them, we didn’t do well, so I went back to wearing the old ones to win!

  39. I have always been superstitious about riding Arabians because I have seen how high strong they are and I have heard a lot of scary things about them.

  40. I’m superstitious about wearing a certain pair of socks at my horse shows. The only time I didn’t wear them, I didn’t place in my class.

  41. I’m not a superstitious person so I don’t take much stock in those types of things. I do however pray many times with my horse before we ride. It gives me peace and I believe the calmness I get from praying is also felt by my horse and we always then have a relaxing ride.

  42. I am a 3rd generation horse crazy person. Some of my grandfathers advice on horses is, “An ear of corn a day keeps the dentist away,” “Four white feet just throw it to the dogs.” Before every show my mother would ‘talk’ to my horse telling her to behave and look pretty. And before and after every ride I use 3 different brushes(curry comb, hard bristled, and dandy brush) to groom my horse to make sure there would be nothing that would itch or hurt while I rode.

  43. It may sound weird, but sometimes I feel like my horse, Passion, can read my mind. Once time while I was riding him, I simply thought “trot”, and I didn’t prepare him for it or move in the slightest. He just picked right off. Maybe we just know each other too well!

  44. When I braid my horse for shows I will NEVER let the braids come out to an uneven number, if they are going to be uneven I will split the last one so it is an even number or just not add another braid.

  45. when the owner of the barn i ride at gave me a quarter horse gelding named Reggie i learnd that his orignal name was “Lucky” but was changed becaus nameing a horse Lucky is just asking for bad luck! 🙂

  46. On the morning of my horse shows, I have to sing at the top of my lungs with my friends before we enter a class or else, we have not done our “good yet iritating deed” of the day!

  47. I always give my horse a peppermint right before I put his bridle on and tell him “Lets to have a good ride and give it our best!”. If I forget I take his bridle off to give it to him. I feel like if I forget we will have a bad ride together or I will even fall off!

  48. When I was 10, I bought a shirt from Goodwill. It was light pink and had a picture of a cowgirl barrel racing. I wore it to my riding lesson the next day, where I was bucked off my pony, earning a bloody nose, scraped face, a messed-up neck and a ripped zebra helmet cover. To this day that shirt still sits in my closet, un-touched. It is being shunned.

  49. I have watched people do the nail test on horses. The test is supposed to determine the sex of the foal. You tie a nail to a piece of hair from the mare’s tail and dangle it over the horse. If it does not swing the horse is not pregnant or the foal will not survive. If it swings in a circle it’s a girl. If it swings straight its a boy. It seems to be accurate.

  50. I am not by nature superstitious. I do however follow routines that fit both my horses and myself. I prefer to wear the same boots for jumping since they have served me well everytime.

  51. There’s the superstition that chestnuts are hot-headed. So far, I haven’t seen that to be disproven. Both my aunt’s chestnut TB mare and my own Holsteiner/QH/App gelding are approaching elder status (she’s 18, he’s 14) and they are still pretty hot-headed!

  52. I always pick my horse’s feet in the same order–right fore, right hind, left hind, left fore. If I break from that pattern I feel “off” for my entire ride.

  53. I have a couple of weird superstitions. One of my superstitions is getting dressed in the same order the mornings of a show. This order is down to even which sock or boot I put on first. Another one of my superstitions has to do with my old show horse. I had to hum him a certain song in the warm up ring before our class- I don’t know if this just calmed my nerves or what, but it seemed to work for me. I also have one pair of socks that I like to wear when I’m riding in the jumper ring. This may be gross, but if I am doing the jumpers at a rated show, I will wear those same socks all week underneath my boot socks. They may be disgusting and smelly, but they always bring me good luck!

  54. I always give my horse a hug before I get on, and after the ride, I give her a hug and tell her how good she did, and that I love her. No matter how the ride went.

  55. I have no horse-related superstitions, especially when it comes to horses of certain colors. I think that every horse should be considered for their potential, not their appearance.

  56. My biggest superstitions have to do with showing. Im a big show person, and my best friends Shelby told me this one : ” Always wear your lucky socks the day before yourshow, don’ wash them, and then wear them to the show.” I know it is nasty, but it always works for me!

  57. I have been told to beware of horses with two or more whorls and ones that show the whites of their eyes, as these horses are apt to be very wild. This is kind of backwards because my horse is a (nearly) perfect angel and has “white” eyes!!! I’m not sure how much I believe this!!!

  58. Everyone has said to stay away from those “red head” chestnut horses. They are supposed to be “hot” but they always end up being my favorite!

  59. Before me and my friend go for a ride we always have to have a strawberry banana smoothie. I was out of supplies once and my horse decided to spook at everything. I think its one of the most delicious superstitions!

  60. Mine is about the whorls on a horse’s face. My riding teacher says that the higher up a whorl is in the face, especially above the eyes, the less sense and the hotter they are. The more whorls they have, the more they have of that quality.

  61. I THINK MY RIDING INSTRUCTERS HORSE,MONTY IS BEWITCHED.WHEN I GROOM MY HORSE GINGER HE WATCHES AND HIS EYES ARE SOO CREEPY! BIG AND DEEP.HE FOOLS EVERYONE,BUT NOT ME I KNOW HOW HE IS.

  62. I always have to ride with my stirrup necklace… in fact, I have to wear it everywhere for good luck! Everyone asks me why I never take it off, and I tell them it’s like a good luck horseshoe, but better!

  63. I don’t have any horse related superstitions. I tend to avoid them. I believe that if I listened to them, I’d be convinced, and it would affect my riding. Limiting my opinions makes it harder for me to have fun on the horse!

  64. I usually ride a black Friesian mare at my barn, but lately I have been riding a Icelandic, and whenever I ride past the Friesian, I feel as if, she feels as if she’s giving me the stink-eye!

  65. I ALWAYS wear my Epona necklace! It is a circle with three dancing horses horses circling it. I think it brings me luck, and sometimes it makes me feel secure. I even wear it to bed

  66. I only have one horse superstition. Before I put a halter on my gelding, Dan. I have to tell him how handsome he looks. I can’t say pretty unless I’m haltering a mare. I always have to say handsome when I’m haltering a stallion or gelding. The few times I called Dan pretty he was terrible in the arena!!

  67. My superstition is kind of sad: Always tell your horse how much you love him/her before you leave the barn. You NEVER know when their last day will be as anything can happen. I learned this lesson the hard way and now I always make sure to remind my horse, Milo, how much I love him despite how bad our day could have been!

  68. My biggest supetstition is that if it is possible for something bad to happen the horse will always find a way to have it happen to them!

  69. I have to sing shes coutry by jason aldean every time I show my horse. And I have certian color socks for each horse I show.

  70. I worked with foaling mares for 13 years, and I was always told that hanging a pitch fork up with straw on it would bring bad luck to the barn. So now (many years later) I “work” with horses for pleasure, and I still make sure my tools are free and clean of straw.

  71. I heard from a friend many years ago, that it was bad luck to wear someone elses helmet. I ride a very spooky horse, so no one try’s on my helmet!

  72. Everytime I ride i have special black crop. I never really use it, but i always have to ride with it. Whenever I don’t ride with it, I always fall off. So now my instructors know to never take away my black crop.

  73. Every time im on Youtube watching videos of people falling off and im laughing (i know thats sooo bad, but im sorry) i always think hey you know oneday your gunna fall off and people are going to laugh at you like that. well the last day at county fair we all raced before we walked them out to end the day and after me and my horse won we were turning to stop well he turned sharp and i fell right off. i dont know if everyone else was laughing but i was!:)

  74. A common superstition is to throw salt over your left shoulder – but I still have yet to see an equestrian haul a fifty pound salt lick over their shoulder!!!!
    😀

  75. I have a black long sleeve shirt from freedom for wild horses that I always feel best in for riding. I also won’t eat anything starting from about 45 minutes before I tack up, I find everytime I do I’ll need to hop off or can’t wait to untack to use the bathroom…
    I also tell the horse Im riding that if they’re good they’ll get lots of treats, not sure why it’s just something I’ve always done and probably always will even though the horse gets lots of treats no matter what lol

  76. i aleays tell my horse that if there good they get lots of treats and i grade them like your being a B roght now go to an A really weird but

  77. When I showed western pleasure I carried a small piece of leather from my aunts show saddle. She was very good at western pleasure, breaking/training (especally problem horses and horses at any age), and riding in general. My aunt was everything to me, she had me on a horse before i could even walk. I learned so much from her and i really looked up to her. In August, 1993, cancer took my aunt to heaven. She was my best friend, and hero. I <3 & Miss You <3

  78. I had a special blue and rust plaid pad given to me as Valentine’s Day gift from my sweetheart. He
    also gave me my horse the September prior as the best birthday present ever! I never rode my horse without this special pad. It also was never used on any other horse.

  79. I fell off of a horse a couple weeks before my first rodeo. I bought a necklace at the rodeo and haven’t taken it off. I haven’t fell off my horse since.

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