Horse Goddess

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Jun 262012

In Celtic mythology Epona was a horse goddess.  Other names she is known by are the Equine goddess and the Divine White Mare.  She is often associated with horses and fertility.  As the early Roman Empire spread, the Celtic speaking Gauls were introduced to the Roman and Hellenistic religions under Roman Imperial rule.  As a result many of the Gaulish gods were used as by-names for Roman gods.  Some of their female gods were also paired with a male Roman gods. The Celtic goddess Epona though was outright adopted by the Romans.  She was eventually incorporated into the Imperial cult by being invoked on behalf of the Emperor, as Epona Augusta.

To the Romans Epona was commonly seen as a protector of horsed, donkeys, and mules.  This was especially true among the Roman cavalry.  As the Roman Empire continued to spread, the Roman cavalry continued to spread the cult of Epona.  Eventually Epona’s sovereign role evolved into a protector of cavalry.  Small images of Epona have been found at many of the location where Roman stables and barns once stood.

Epona’s influence today

  • Some believe that Epona’s influence may be why many cultures do not eat horse meat.
  • The Legend of Zelda a once very popular video game had a horse in it named Epona
  • In the novel The Horse Goddess by Morgan Llywelyn, an American born Irish author, Epona is a Celtic woman with Druidic powers.
  • The novel Sun Horse, Moon Horse, the White Horse of Uffington was written as an invocation to Epona.
  • There is a song titled Epona by the Irish songwriter and singer Enya.
  • There was an experiment named Epona by the Irish Scientist that was a part of the European Space Agency’s Giotto Mission to Halley’s Comet.
  • In the United States on Mackinac Island, Michigan, personal cars are prohibited so horses still remain a primary source of transportation.  Every June Epona is still celebrated with a blessing of the animals, stable tours, and a parade.

Click here to go to the Epona main page.

Jun 262012

Here are some fun horse facts.  Anyone not familiar with horse information should find this a fascinating read. This is actually a very short list so if you find yourself wanting more try doing a search for the following: iquana facts, horse history, or wild horse facts.  This list below is not really organized though some are sort of themed together.  Enjoy

  • Horses have been found in cave paintings that date back to around 15000 B.C.
  • Asian nomads probably domesticated the first horses some 4,000 years ago, and the animals remained essential to many human societies until the advent of the engine
  • Chariot racing was the first Olympic sport in 680 B.C.
  • There are around 400 different breeds that specialize in everything from pulling wagons to racing
  • Feral horses are the descendants of once-tame animals that have run free for generations
  • The Przewalski’s horse is the only truly wild horse whose ancestors were never domesticated.  The last wild Przewalski’s horse was seen in Mongolia in 1968
  • A breed of horses called Akhal-Teke from Russia can go for days without water or food
  • One of the few breeds of horses that live in North America is called Mustangs
  • Falebella of Argentina, is the smallest breed of horse
  • Wild horses generally gather in groups of 3 to 20 animals
  • A group of horses is led by a stallion (mature male).  The stallion will drive away any young male when it becomes a colt at around the age of two
  • Female horses are called mares
  • The strongest leading female in a group of horses is called the alpha mare
  • A young baby horse is called a foal
  • A donkey mare is known as a jenny
  • A young female horse is known as a filly
  • The father of a horse is known as a sire
  • The mother of a horse is known as a dam
  • A fully grown small horse is known as a pony
  • Most foals are born at night
  • When first born, foals cannot eat grass because their legs are too long to reach the ground
  • All horses are grazers
  • Dogs and cats drink by lapping water with their tongues while cattle and horses make use of a sucking action
  • Horses eat short, juicy grass, and hay. Foods like barley, corn, oats and bran are good for working horses
  • Horses cannot vomit
  • Equine, a term used for things dealing with horses, came from the Greek word “equus” which means quickness
  • The height of a horse is measured using the unit, “hand”, where one hand equals four inches.
  • Equinophobia, is the fear of the horses
  • A horse is able to drink 10 gallons of water per day
  • A horses stomach should always make gurgling noises
  • If you hold your hand out to a horse and it approaches you and blows warm air onto your hand it wants to be friends
  • A horse can sense its owner’s emotions and will mimics his mood.  If you are in a bad mood, your horse will likely be in a bad mood also
  • A horse’s mood can be determined by watching their facial expressions and the positioning of their nostrils, eyes, and ears
  • Horses have 16 muscles in each ear, allowing them to rotate their ears 180 degrees
  • Horses use their tails to send signals to each other horses about how they are feeling
  • Horses will mourn the passing of a companion
  • If kept alone horses will get lonely
  • Horses have a better sense of smell than humans
  • The hoof of a horse is like a fingernail; it keeps on growing and needs to be clipped
  • Horses’ teeth never stop growing
  • Horses generally live for 20 to 25 years but many have lived into their thirties
  • A horse has two blind spots; one is located directly in front of them while the other is located directly behind
  • A small indent in a horse’s skin (usually on the neck or shoulder) is called a prophet’s mark and is considered good luck

Click here if you would like to learn about the horse goddess

Click here to learn about the Celtic cross