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The Meaning of Horses in Dreams: An In-depth Guide

September 30, 2023


Dreams, those mysterious narratives of the night, often serve as windows into our deepest thoughts, desires, and fears. Among their rich tapestry of symbols, the horse often emerges, galloping through our mind's eye. Whether seen as a wild stallion racing across open plains or a docile pony grazing peacefully, its presence can stir a wealth of emotions and questions.

In our collective psyche, the horse often carries associations of speed, elegance, and a developed consciousness. At times, it may even hint at unexpressed sexuality. Yet, such dreams also beckon deeper introspection: How do we perceive our own power? What natural forces do we suppress or express? Join us on this enlightening journey as we delve into the profound symbolism of the horse, exploring the myriad interpretations and feelings it evokes in our dreamscapes.

General Interpretations

The horse is among the most multi-faceted symbols in dreams. In general, it represents instincts, drives, passions, desires, sensuality, body awareness, and sexuality. The mare also stands for femininity, gentleness, and the need for harmony. Depending on the accompanying circumstances, one can identify the following specific meanings:

  • A free-running horse generally signifies inner independence and a longing for freedom.
  • A horse in a stable suggests prosperity.
  • A saddled horse indicates increased prestige and professional advancement.
  • An untamed horse can signal successes that come after overcoming many obstacles.
  • A breaking-out horse generally warns of danger.
  • A jumping horse suggests that obstacles will be easily overcome.
  • A shod horse can be understood and interpreted as a general symbol of luck.
  • A trained horse points to patrons and loyal helpers.
  • Leading a horse by the halter warns against acting hastily in a specific matter.
  • A horse pulling a simple cart announces hard work and effort, while in front of a grand carriage, it promises success, prestige, and honors.
  • Harnessing or saddling a horse stands for the auspicious beginning of an endeavor.

Medicine Wheel Interpretations

Fast, fleeting, inspiring, powerful, balanced, masculinity, hero, older brother.

The horse is a large four-legged mammal with a flowing mane and a long tail, capable of running at high speeds. Its beauty and strength have long captivated the human imagination. By domesticating the horse, humans gained a significant degree of speed. Many people come to recognize the vast power of the animal kingdom through horses. They have long played an important role in mythology, sometimes portrayed as beings that carry humans from this world into other realms.

General Meaning:
The power of your natural being, sensuality, speed, escape velocity, agility, the ability to work more efficiently, the sexual nature, fighting a battle, enhancing skills.

The catch or hidden drawback in a situation (akin to the English idiom “the horse’s hoof” referring to a hidden flaw), the Trojan Horse that harbors destruction.

Transcendent Meaning:
An ally that can lead you into other realms of creation.

Psychological Interpretations

The relationship between horse and rider was probably the closest human-animal bond ever. The horse not only served humans as a means of transport but also warmed, protected, and nourished them.

In legends, myths, and fairy tales, the horse represented vitality. It signifies the primal, elemental life force of humans, an archetypal symbol of both the maternal feminine and the masculine intellect.

In its course, it is wild and unrestrained, and thus also a symbol of impetuous temperament, which appears not only in sexual dreams. When the horse forms a unity with its dream rider, there are hardly any difficulties for him in the emotional or sexual realm. If the animal is well-treated in the dream, it stands for a balanced life and for the control of one’s own passions. But if it is poorly maintained, it chases through the dream as a ghostly figure of our disturbed desires, proving that our Eros is capricious.

Horses that shy away or run wild indicate fears that life force is waning, or potency is threatened. In dreams, a horse can even speak, advising the dreamer to stay calm in a particular situation.

The color of the animal also plays a role. A fiery black horse compensates for the dreamer’s attitude, suppressing his vitality to the detriment of his soul. White horses have something ghostly about them, pointing to a lack of community spirit, and something self-destructive (for horses in other color shades see under individual colors).

If the horse had reins or was harnessed, it refers to limitations in waking life, whether self-imposed or by others, which prevent full personality or emotional development.

Did the horse want to run in a certain direction? Did it carry a rider? Was it indifferent, patient, or phlegmatic? The dream surely reflects one’s own attitude to the problem it symbolizes but can also indicate ways to solve it.

According to Artemidoros, the beautiful horse that a man mounts equates to romantic happiness, while for Phaldor, it represents the woman one desires physically.

The stallion, through its power and speed, embodies male potency and vitality. The mare is a mother symbol. In the Christian Middle Ages, the positive meaning of the horse changed. It suddenly became a symbol of the threatening and dark. The black horse was seen as the mount of the devil, thus representing dark, magical forces.

It’s known that horses have a kind of supernatural intuition, so horse dreams should always be taken seriously. Folk belief sees the horse as a messenger of death; therefore, a horse that runs wild and crashes to its death in a dream is always a warning signal.

Artemidoros Interpretation

Labor and Burden Animals:
Labor and burden animals, such as donkeys and plow animals, symbolize workers and subordinates. Animals that perform work but do not allow themselves to be harnessed, such as bulls, cattle in the herd, pasture horses, and wild donkeys, resemble rebels and presumptuous individuals.

Now I will speak in turn about horse racing and athletic competitions. Riding a racehorse that obediently follows the reins and rider brings luck to everyone without exception. For the horse has the same meaning as a wife and lover, because it takes pride in its beauty and carries its rider. It is also comparable to a ship. Poets call ships the horses of the sea (Homer: Odyssey 4,708), and we call Poseidon ‘Hippios’.

Just as the horse relates to the land, so does the ship to the sea. Furthermore, it’s comparable to an employer, a friend who provides support, and anyone who carries burdens. Just as the horse carries the dreamer, so will the wife, lover, employer, friend, and ship relate to him.

Two and Four-Horse Teams:
A two-horse team is no different from a racehorse, except for the sick. It prophesies their death, as does the four-horse team, which otherwise means the same as a racehorse.

For athletes competing in heavy athletic disciplines, it promises luck and victory, but it predicts a loss for runners. The dream vision tells them they are not capable of using their own feet.

Women and Virgins:
I declare explicitly that it is good for free and rich women and virgins to drive through the city with a carriage. It grants them prestigious priestly offices. However, for poor girls, it predicts harlotry if they ride through the city on a horse.

It promises freedom to slaves, for only the free have the privilege of riding through the city.

Dream Interpretation:
Note the following: Things not seen in the right place predict the opposite of what they usually mean. For instance, someone dreamt that a friend sent him a horse, but the stable boy led it up two flights of stairs into the bedroom where he was lying in bed. Shortly thereafter, access to his lover was denied to him. The horse signified the woman, but the location indicated the end of the affair.

Ibn Sirin

Muhammad Ibn Sirin (Arabic: محمد بن سيرين) (born in Basra) was a Muslim tabi’ who lived in the 8th century CE.

A governor of the Caliph Mamun posed the following question to Sirin: “I dreamt that I rode an Arabian light-bay horse for a mile, and then the horse was on top of me.”

Sirin asked, “At what hour did you see this?”

He replied, “At the hour of the morning prayer or at dawn.”

Sirin responded, “Since you rode only a mile, you will lose your life in a rebellion before this month ends.”

It transpired that the Arabs started a rebellion, and the dreamer was killed.

Cultural Interpretations

Arabic View

  • The noble Arabian stallion in dream interpretation is equated with a high position and dignity, accordingly, the mare represents a noble lady; ordinary horses signify lower descent and lesser esteem, just as ordinary mares represent women of lower status.
  • If one rides a swift, stampeding Arabian stallion, a great name, majesty, and noble posture among the people will distinguish him. If the dreamer is the emperor, he will take delight in the empress and his imperial court according to the beauty of the stallion; an ordinary man will excel in his profession.
  • If someone dreams that he rides such or a similar horse and spurs it sharply, he will be ennobled and elevated, and according to the course of the horse, he will achieve luck and success.
  • If one rides armed on an Arabian stallion, he will gain power and a good reputation, provided the weapons and armor are splendid.
  • If he rides with a shield, he will be fearless against enemies and, like the stallion, full of strength. If the emperor dreams this, he will win a brave general to fight against his enemies. The shield represents his general. If he thinks the shield is black or blue, his general will be brave and competent because dirt is not easily seen on these colors. If the shield is white, he will be cowardly and fearful, because this color easily attracts dirt; if it is red, the emperor will rejoice in his servant; a purple shield represents the emperor’s son or brother; a golden or yellow one signifies a malicious and ill-willed person.
  • If one rides a saddled, long-tailed Arabian mare, he will, according to her tail, marry a distinguished woman and rise with her help; if the mare is black, the woman will be wealthy.
  • If someone dreams that he dismounts the mare voluntarily, he will voluntarily accept a reduction in his power; if he falls involuntarily due to the horse’s stubbornness, he will suffer terror and torture or make way for a successor in his position.
  • If one dreams of riding a thoroughbred horse that is saddled and bridled, he will win a noble, beautiful woman, assuming the horse is his; if it belongs to another, he will experience power and joy through a foreign woman.
  • If a great lord or the emperor dreams that he freely gifts someone a princely bridled horse from his stable, he will bestow one of his women upon him; if someone mounts his horse against his will or without his knowledge, this person will commit adultery with one of his women and be caught in the act.
  • If one dreams he rides his horse straight at a sharp gallop and climbs a mountain, with the horse obediently following, he will find joy and obedience in his home and office, provided the horse has climbed the mountain quickly and at full gallop.
  • If someone dreams of playing a ball game on horseback or polo with the emperor or a magnate, he will gain favor and esteem from them depending on his accuracy in the game and the skill of the horse.
  • If the emperor dreams he plays polo, he will have good luck and success in his rule, as long as he knows how to hit the ball skillfully; if not, it signifies the opposite. If another person watches the emperor play polo, he will likewise share in the emperor’s joy.
  • If the emperor dreams his horse stumbles during this game and falls, he will fall seriously ill and face difficulties in his rule; if it doesn’t fall, his difficult situation won’t be as severe and will be short-lived.
  • The emperor’s riding horses represent his wives and his empire; as for the people’s horses, soldiers’ horses represent their weapons and fortune, the common people’s their profession; the empress’s horses unmistakably indicate her dignity and rank.
  • The white horse in the emperor’s dream signifies his consort. The dapple-gray, if it is the emperor’s mount, denotes a woman who is not the equal of the Augusta; if someone dreams he owns this horse, his power will be of a lesser degree.
  • If the emperor’s saddle horse is rose-colored, it represents a graceful woman, whereas the black, due to its color, indicates a wealthy but bothersome woman. Simply put, in a dream, all the emperor’s saddle horses signify his wives.
  • If someone receives one of the emperor’s riding horses, he will receive joy, power, and a wife from him; if someone rides one of his horses without his knowledge and contrary to his custom, he will secretly commit adultery with one of his wives.
  • If someone dreams of a black mare, carrying bundled arrows on both sides, entering his house, he will marry a wealthy woman, and many household members will perish at his feet according to the number of arrows.
  • If someone dreams a young Arabian mare, not yet tamed, enters his house, he will marry a noble virgin.
  • If the emperor or a powerful person thinks he brings a noble mare into his house, it points to a noble woman, but if a common mare, to a maid; as common mares represent maids to nobles. For a common man having this vision, it refers to his wife. Anything good or bad happening to the mares should be interpreted concerning the mentioned female persons.
  • If someone eats horse meat, he will gain a great name and be ennobled.
  • If he drinks mare’s milk, he will find favor and goodwill with the person in power.
  • In general, seeing: looking into a happy future,
  • White: wedding and baptism; also: signifies spiritual creativity and leadership and points to high spiritual goals,
  • Piebald: a joyful journey to a celebration,
  • Red-brown: signifies simple, human-animal instinct,
  • Black: sorrow, death, and mourning,
  • Seeing in a pasture: desire for freedom and independence,
  • Seeing grazing: peace and wealth,
  • Seeing wild ones in full freedom: the unrestrained pleasure, which often causes offense, will cost you dearly,
  • Seeing someone riding it: becoming arrogant,
  • Owning: wealth and happiness are certain,
  • Offering for sale: you should better control your feelings,
  • Saddling: you will be invited to a big celebration,
  • Mounting a wild, unsaddled one: getting into danger due to arrogance,
  • Mounting a tame, saddled one: you will achieve great honors,
  • Riding yourself: starting major projects,
  • Seeing oneself riding: one should hold the reins firmly and maintain a good posture to succeed in a particular matter,
  • Feeding: you will achieve great profit,
  • Seeing skinny ones: getting into food troubles,
  • Rearing: an unexpected obstacle arises,
  • Running wild: don’t lose control over your nerves,
  • Seeing taming: you need to discipline someone,
  • Buying: expected happiness will not materialize,
  • Selling: unexpected financial loss,
  • Seeing fighting: you have nasty adversaries,
  • Being bitten by: getting out of a difficult situation only with much difficulty,
  • Shooting or being killed: you will experience deep sorrow or lose an intimate friend,
  • Pulling a wagon: you will achieve something with much work and effort,
  • Seeing lying dead: a good friend will pass away.

European View

  • Order of the emotional and usually also sexual-erotic life,
    announce happiness and joy, usually dreaming of horses means honor, wealth, and success,
  • Pegasus, the winged white horse: symbolizes one’s own imagination and indicates that one has transformed instincts and drives into creative energies,
  • bridling and harnessing one: you will start something new,
  • seeing a black horse: stands for growing wealth, but one will resort to deceptive means and become guilty. If a woman dreams of a black horse, it is to be feared that her husband is cheating on her,
  • chestnut horses: mean simple and sure instincts,
  • dark horses: are considered a sign of wealth in connection with dissatisfaction. Fleeting pleasures are imminent,
  • seeing a gray horse: one can hope for prosperity and pleasant encounters with friends and beautiful women. Wealth,
  • dirty and emaciated gray horse: a jealous friend could abuse trust,
  • spotted horses: promise profit in various ventures,
  • seeing running: all your wishes will come true,
  • seeing a white one: you long for or promise more freedom and independence in life,
  • seeing it free in the paddock: you regain your independence and strive for professional independence,
  • seeing it run by: quiet, lazy days are on the horizon,
  • if it runs away with others: you will hear from sick friends,
  • catching one, bridling and saddling or harnessing: great business successes are imminent,
  • catching one and letting it escape again: you are unlucky,
  • seeing one in the stable: means prosperity,
  • draft horses: stand for prosperity, but various obstacles precede it, also in love difficulties are to be expected,
  • noble stallions: announce success and high standard of living, but also indecent passion,
  • seeing breeding mares: are considered a sign of sincere feelings between lovers, married or not,
  • race horses: express an excess of debauchery and luxury. For a farmer, they signal prosperity,
  • riding one in a race yourself: you will become rich and happy,
  • seeing a trained one in the circus: you will have a powerful patron,
  • seeing a young one (as a foal): promises a very happy event,
  • seeing a saddled one without a rider: promises high ascent in life,
  • seeing a saddled one with a rider: you should take the reins firmly in hand and maintain a good posture so that a matter can be successfully concluded,
  • seeing one fall: unexpected misfortune,
  • seeing the horse’s tail: award,
  • someone comes to visit you on horseback: you will get news from afar,
  • mounting a devout one and riding it: certain success. Means good and smooth progress,
  • riding a restless, untamed, rearing one: after overcoming many obstacles and difficulties, especially beautiful and lasting successes are in prospect,
  • riding a stubborn one: desires will be difficult to realize,
  • not being able to cope with a restless one: you will not achieve your goal,
  • wanting to mount and not getting up: you are an unlucky person,
  • seeing a rearing or kicking one: means threatening difficulties, but you can cope with them,
  • seeing one going through: existence or prosperity is in danger,
  • running away with one: losses are threatened by the inability of a friend or employer,
  • sitting on a runaway without falling down: you will happily survive a very dangerous situation,
  • riding a beautiful chestnut: you can hope for growing wealth and passion. Women should beware of intrusive advances,
  • riding through a ford: luck is beckoning. If the river has a strong current or carries murky water, a minor disappointment is on the way,
  • riding uphill and falling with the horse, but still reaching the summit: you will make your fortune, but also have to fight against enemies and jealousy,
  • riding uphill and reaching the summit with the horse: hoping for a fantastic ascent,
  • riding downhill: you expect a disappointment,
  • riding without a saddle: acquire wealth and find satisfaction through hard work,
  • riding in the company of men without a saddle: honest people will stand by your side. If women are also present, feelings come into play that can cost a lot of money and even lead to financial ruin,
  • jumping with one over a ditch or an obstacle: you will energetically clear all obstacles out of the way,
  • swimming with a horse through a clear, picturesque river: promises the highest bliss. Businessmen can expect a huge profit,
  • being thrown off one: announces danger. Also: you probably have a competitor who wants to ruin lucrative business for you. You should quickly take your hands off a project, otherwise a crash is inevitable,
  • seeing one fall: a serious mishap threatens,
  • a wounded horse: can express that a friend is in trouble,
  • a lame horse: is seen as an omen for unexpected inconveniences under otherwise favorable circumstances,
  • a pushing one sniffing for sugar or bread: promises a loyal friend and comrade,
  • a biting one: you will experience joy,
  • a kicking horse: you will receive a rejection from a loved one. Poor health can stand in the way of happiness,
  • leading one by the halter: only after careful consideration should you start something and then lead it slowly but surely to the goal,
  • a rearing one on the halter: means laborious success,
  • one tearing itself away from the halter: despite all effort and caution, there will be a failure,
  • seeing your own being ridden or guided by someone else: means a betrayal in the family,
  • seeing one with simple harness in front of an ordinary wagon: announces a life full of toil and work, which, however, will ultimately be very successful,
  • pulling a wagon: you would like to free yourself from the dependency of a certain person,
  • seeing one with precious harness in front of an elegant wagon: promises much prestige and high honors,
  • seeing one run away with a wagon: existence and household are seriously threatened,
  • seeing one fall and overturn the wagon: loss of existence and domestic happiness,
  • having found yourself on an overturned wagon: means a desolate end,
  • seeing one being shoed: success is certain. For women, it promises a good and faithful husband,
  • shoeing one yourself: you might be able to secure something that was previously uncertain,
  • trying to shoe a horse with a broken or too small iron: you will be held accountable.

Persian View

A horse is considered a messenger of upcoming comforts. You are now entering a very pleasant time in your life and should try to enjoy it without, however, carelessly relying on it.

Indian View

  • Horses represent different people.
  • If someone dreams that they are riding slowly and calmly on an Arabian stallion that obeys the reins, they will achieve office and dignity and a great name, corresponding to the beauty and obedience of the animal.
  • If someone rides a horse with a thick and long tail, they will find followers of his power in accordance with its thickness and length.
  • If the horse has two or more tails, the number of his servants will be even greater. If the horse has a short or thin tail, worries and loss of power threaten him according to the sparsity of the tail hairs. If someone who is a free man or ruler dreams that he rides a horse with a thick and long tail, and this tail is cut off, he will lose his freedom or rulership soon.
  • If one rides a noble but limping horse, they will get into distress and encounter severe obstacles in their dealings.
  • If the horse is of good breed but stubborn and hard to rein in, the dreamer will commit a serious sin and get into serious trouble according to the stubbornness of the horse.
  • If the animal is without riding equipment, the aforementioned evils will be even greater.
  • If the horse belongs to another known man, the dreamer will receive honor and joy from the horse’s owner or from someone with the same name. If the horse belongs to an unknown person, he can hope for unexpected joy.
  • If someone dreams that a splendid horse trots into their house, field, or country, and if the horse is unknown, unsaddled, and without bridle, a powerful prince will come there according to the appearance of the horse. If it has white nostrils and four horseshoes, the power of the prince will be even more formidable.
  • seeing a horse: you will lose your beloved,
  • owning: prosperity,
  • taming: you will quickly find your luck,
  • beautifully saddled: you will become acquainted with high-ranking individuals,
  • mounting: you will achieve offices and honors,
  • riding: you will gain prestige,
  • seeing it graze: you will be promoted by a high-ranking person, worry-free position,
  • running wild: misfortune,
  • seeing it rear: great honor,
  • shoeing: you will achieve high prestige, you will reach a high position,
  • seeing it shod: you will have unprecedented luck,
  • well-fed: you have or will get a good housewife,
  • thin: obstacles stand in your way,
  • white: joy and happiness,
  • black: sorrow,
  • falling: your enemies will triumph,
  • seeing it stabbed: you will lose your sweetheart,
  • a dead horse: sad news from afar,
  • dead horses: you will have to struggle hard for your daily bread.


In the rich tapestry of dream symbolism, horses emerge as powerful symbols embodying both our individual and collective consciousness. Across various cultures, and particularly in Germanic traditions, horses in dreams are not merely animals but represent different facets of human life, from power and prestige to obstacles and distress.

Dreaming of a horse might signal a forthcoming rise in status or conversely, impending challenges. The horse's attributes—whether it's the state of its tail, its behavior, or even its color—provide nuanced insights into one's current life situation and future prospects.

While specific interpretations may vary, the recurring theme is the horse's intimate connection to human experiences, aspirations, and fears. As with all dream symbols, while traditional interpretations provide a roadmap, the most authentic meaning arises from introspection and personal reflection.

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