Horse myths go back to ancient times when Helios and his chariot, pulled by four stallions, charged across the sky, dragging the sun along behind them. Horse cults spread throughout Britain and Ireland, including those who worshiped the goddess Epona.
These wild creatures have served man for thousands of years, carrying our warriors into to battle and safely home again. Yet not all ponies are created equal. One of the most famous creatures of Celtic mythology is the water horse known as Kelpie. Kelpie are usually beautiful young mares or stallions discovered calmly grazing by rivers or lakes. Weary travellers are fooled by their gentle appearance and once upon the backs of these beasties…the Kelpie goes dark side - bolting for the water and to drown their unwanted riders in its depths.
It's said you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Or can you? Legend has it if you fasten a bridle around a Kelpie’s neck, you can bend the beast to your will. If the bridle is removed, however, watch out…the Kelpie will seek vengeance!
SURVIVAL TIP: Identification in this instance can save your life. The timid, wandering horse you stumble upon may appear innocent enough...BEWARE... if it has a dripping wet mane or tail – let this dark horse RUN – without you.
BONUS: Combining last week’s post about witches with today’s horse mythology, the folksong “Witch of the Westmorland” featuring the artwork of Matthew Westberg and performed by the late, great, Canadian folksinger, Stan Rodgers: