The bond between humans and horses has been particularly intimate throughout recorded history.
As a result, the presence of different types of mythical horses in myths and stories from different cultures should not come as much of a surprise.
In this article, we will look at 21 different types of mythical horses and the stories behind them.
This excursion will take us all over the planet, spanning countless civilizations and countries and into the distant past.
Since the beginning of time, people and horses have had a special relationship. Horses have been important to the development of human society ever since the earliest times.
They have served not only as modes of transportation for us but also as components of our military.
Nowadays, it’s common for young girls to fantasize about owning a pony.
However, many years ago, horses were very significant for all of us. There are many tales about horses, and you can certainly consider them to be creatures from mythology.
The Sleipnir is one of the types of mythical horses from Norse mythology. He was Odin’s horse. He had eight legs, which made him stand out.
Legend has it that Loki, the son of Odin, had mated with Svailifari, a stallion and that this individual was their progeny.
History stated that Sleipnir, a gray horse, was the greatest horse the gods or humans had ever had.
Hermór, one of Odin’s offspring and the messenger of the gods, is said to have ridden on him in one of the stories.
Hermór rides Sleipnir all the way to Hel, and the two make a huge leap over the gates of Hel on their journey to retrieve Baldr, the god of the underworld.
On the Swedish island of Gotland, carved pictures of an eight-legged horse have been discovered.
People engraved these pictures in stone. Sculptors made these masterpieces in the seventh century.
Gringolet is possibly the most well-known horse associated with the Arthurian legends. Records show that this white horse with striking red ears belonged to Sir Gawain.
He was famous for being a formidable war horse, but Sir Gawain was riding him when the enemies killed him in the heat of battle. However, his adversaries had every reason to be ashamed of their actions.
Sir Gawain was seething with rage after learning that his much-loved steed had died.
The intensity of his rage amplified his already formidable physical capabilities, and he rampaged through the opposition until darkness fell.
3. Liath Macha
The Liath Macha is one of the types of mythical horses in Irish folklore. The meaning of his name is “Gray of Macha.”
History states that the hero Chulainn discovered him in a pool in the mountains alongside another horse named Dun Sainglend. The pool was in the mountains.
Liath Macha refused to be hitched into the hero’s chariot on the day the hero died in battle. He did so only after Cuchulainn had taken the harness, but he did it while crying bloody tears.
During the conflict, Liath Macha was pierced by a spear and forced to retreat to a body of water in the mountains.
Dun Sainglend continued to chase after them, but another spear ended up killing Cuchulainn.
Liath Macha eventually made his way back to the fight and began defending Dun Sainglend by mowing down enemy warriors with his fangs and hooves.
In later years, he was the one who directed the hero Conall Cernach to the body of his dead master. Conall went on to seek revenge for the death of Cuchulainn.
Bayard is one of the types of mythical horses that appears in French songs from the eleventh century. He had a bay coat and the remarkable power to alter his size to fit the rider.
Renaud de Montauban was his owner at the time. Because of his capacity to change the size, he was able to carry Renaud in addition to his three brothers at the same time. Additionally, he had the ability to comprehend human speech.
In the end, Renaud didn’t have much choice but to give Bayard to Charlemagne, who was the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and his biggest rival.
Charlemagne told Bayard to be strung up with a stone around his neck and then thrown into the river to drown.
But Bayard was too powerful to be treated in such a manner. He used his hooves to break the stone, and then he ran away to live out the rest of his days in peace in the forest.
There are references to Morvarc’h in Breton folklore. Even though these stretch back several centuries, most of the information concerning him is found in a document written by Charles Guyot in 1926.
Morvarc’h is said to possess unique abilities as a result of his ancestry in the supernatural in this description.
He is the product of a union between a siren and an undine, both of which are fundamental sea creatures.
There are stories that tell of him rescuing a king and princess from a storm at sea by swimming over large waves.
He has a deep connection to the ocean. Art depicting Morvarc’h dates back hundreds of years.
The earliest depiction known to exist is a statue made of lead that dates back to the fifteenth century and is displayed on the top of a cathedral in the town of Quimper.
During the French Revolution, it was tragically destroyed; nevertheless, Sculptors created a replica based on a piece that had survived.
Uchchaihshravas is one of the types of mythical horses connected to the Hindu pantheon. He is also known as the king of horses. He is a majestic white steed with seven heads and the ability to fly.
Uchchaihshravas came into existence as a result of the churning that took place in the milk ocean. He rose from the waves and got claimed by the god Indra as his mount.
According to certain versions of the myth, Brahma, the god of creation, brought him into being as a consequence of a sacrifice, and Bali, the king of the demons, laid claim to him.
Legend has it that the two sisters Vinata and Kadru placed a wager on the color of Uchchaihshravas’ tail to win some money. While Vinata was confident that it was white, Kadru was confident that it was black.
Kadru deceived everyone by directing the serpents to hide the horse’s tail so it would seem black.
In this instance, the cheater was successful, and Kadru came out on top of the bet. As compensation, Vinata had to work for her sister.
7. The Kelpie
The Kelpie is a legendary animal from Scotland and one of the types of mythical horses that live in various bodies of water.
When submerged, it takes on the appearance of a formidable black horse. On the other hand, it can assume a human form while it is on land.
However, even while it is on land, a clue to its magical origin is thought to remain: its feet are said to retain their hoof-like appearance.
Kelpies adopt distinct forms in different bodies of water. The Kelpie that lives in Aberdeenshire is said to have a mane made of serpents.
The Kelpie in the River Spey is white instead of black. In addition, it possesses a lovely singing voice, which it employs to coax its prey onto its back.
The Pegasus, the winged horse of Greek mythology, is widely considered the most well-known of all the types of mythical horses.
Pegasus was the son of Medusa, according to Greek mythology. At one point in time, she, like many other figures in Greek mythology, assumed the form of a horse.
In some alternate retellings of the story, Pegasus was born from Medusa’s blood when Perseus severed her head from her body.
And further down the line, it is documented that Poseidon is Pegasus’s father. In addition to its ability to fly, Pegasus possessed various other abilities.
Legend said that a spring would immediately emerge wherever he struck the ground with his hoof.
He was an ally to the hero Bellerophon in his fight against the Chimera. After that, Zeus had him carry lightning bolts for him.
In recognition of the many years of service that he had provided, Zeus bestowed upon him the honor of transforming him into a constellation.
This explains the existence of mythological creatures such as Pegasus, unicorns, centaurs, and many other types of mythical horses.
The Greek epic poetry known as The Iliad makes reference to Arion as the horse that Adrastus rides. He has incredibly lightning-fast reflexes and a thick, glossy mane of jet-black hair.
However, Arion was different from your average speedy horse. He was a supernatural being, the product of a union between two gods.
There are a few variations on who his parents were, but the one that seems to be the most widely accepted is that his mother was the goddess Demeter.
According to the tale, Demeter transformed herself into a horse in order to flee from the god Poseidon.
She hid among the horses that belonged to Oncius, who was the king. Poseidon, however, was cunning enough to turn himself into a horse so that he might mate with Hera and produce Arion.
The hero Heracles was the one who initially received the horse, and he was the one who rode him into combat before handing him over to Adrastus.
At Thebes, once adrastus lost the fight, Arion rescued Adrastus from certain death by carrying him away from his pursuers.
10. The White Horse of Kent
The White Horse of Kent is an unusual mention on our list of types of mythical horses because it is not an actual horse but rather a historical representation of one.
A white horse running rampant against a crimson background serves as a representation of the white kent horse, and it is a symbol connected with the English county of Kent.
Horsa, a Kentish king who ruled during the fifth century, used this as his insignia. Both the flag of Kent and the coat of arms for the county feature this device in some form.
Since Horsa’s time, Kent’s boundaries have undergone several shifts. As a direct consequence of this, the White Horse of Kent features on the coats of arms of a number of the boroughs that make up modern-day London. Bexley and Bromley are two neighborhoods that fall into this category.
The hippocampus is a peculiar creature with the upper body of a horse and the tail of a fish. Its name comes from the Greek word for “horse head.
There have been several mentions in the mythology of ancient Mediterranean societies, including that of the Phoenicians, Etruscans, Greeks, and Romans, among others.
Paintings sometimes depict the hippocampus as having wings, such as in tomb reliefs and wall paintings found in Etruscan tombs.
In addition, if you go to Rome in modern times, you can look for flying hippocampi amid the engravings on the Trevi fountain.
12. Mares of Diomedes
In Greek mythology, there were four ferocious horses known as the Mares of Diomedes.
The King of Thrace, Diomedes, was the one who possessed them, and because of this, they earned the name ‘Mares of Thrace.’
These types of mythical horses subsisted on a diet of human flesh while being confined to a bronze manger for their whole lives.
Heracles took them from Diomedes and fed their master to the horses after he had captured them from Diomedes.
Their food had a calming effect on them because Diomedes was able to clamp their lips shut. Following that, he delivered the horses to King Eurystheus.
There are multiple interpretations of the narrative; some see the mares living peacefully in and around Argos. In some stories, Zeus is the one who puts an end to them.
Historians thought that Alexander the Great’s magnificent horse, Bucephalus, sprung from the mares owned by Diomedes.
13. Trojan Horse
The story of the horse that led the Trojans astray is among the most well-known from Greek mythology.
The Greeks had been besieging Troy for ten years before the events of this story, which takes place during the Trojan war.
Odysseus, a crafty Greek, gave the order for a wooden replica of a horse to be created and placed outside the city gates.
After that, the Greeks acted like they were sailing away. The Trojans, who were under the impression that the horse was a present, took it into the city and then celebrated with it.
They were completely unaware that the horse was hollow and contained a number of Greek soldiers, one of whom was Odysseus himself.
The city was asleep as the soldiers emerged from their hiding places and opened the city gates, allowing the remainder of the Greek army to enter. The invaders were able to take control of Troy immediately.
The story is so well-known that the phrase “Trojan horse” has become common because of its notoriety.
Any tactic that encourages a target to invite its enemy into a place of sanctuary is known as a “sanctuary invite,” This term characterizes such a tactic.
Additionally, it is common in the field of computing, where the term “Trojan” refers to a specific strain of virus.
In the folklore and mythology of the Orkney Islands in Scotland, these types of mythical horses play an important role in their culture. It’s a terrible demon that lurks in the depths of the ocean.
When it comes into contact with the ground, it assumes the form of a horse with some human characteristics.
According to other stories, it appeared to have the torso of a human being hooked to the back of a horse as if it were riding the animal. In addition, it has no skin, and its blood is dark.
The nuckelavee posed a significant threat because its breath could destroy crops, make livestock sick, and spread illness.
However, it would not come ashore while it was pouring because it was too slippery. Additionally, it was unable to pass through clean, moving water.
Anyone pursued by the nuckelavee would therefore have to cross a stream quickly and hope to find a safe haven on the other side.
15. Árvakr and Alsviðr
In Norse mythology, two horses known as rvakr and alsvir are quite popular.
People believed that each day, they were responsible for pulling the sun god’s chariot across the sky.
Being in such close proximity to the sun was strenuous labor, but the gods were kind enough to acknowledge the discomfort that this caused.
They placed bellows beneath the shoulders of the horses so that the animals would stay cool while they ran.
A man by the name of Sól, who had been kidnapped by the gods in order for him to complete the mission, was the chariot’s driver.
He was unable to pause for even a second at any point. A wolf by the name of Skoll, who, if given even a remote opportunity, would seize and consume the sun, was hard on the trail of the chariot.
Tulpars are types of mythical horses that can fly; they have Turkish origin and are typically either black or white.
The swiftness of their speed, not their ability to fly, was the trait most usually associated with their wings.
There are other references to Tulpars in Asain folklore, namely in the context of the creation of the fiddle from the remnants of Tulpars.
Bucephalus was one of the most well-known horses in history and was particularly beloved by Alexander the Great, who used him as his mount.
A white star crowned his head, and he was wearing a black cloak. Before the young Alexander tamed him and made him his reliable ride for combat, he had a reputation for being uncontrollable and wild, which caused people to be afraid of him.
Alexander claimed that Bucephalus was afraid of his shadow, so when he mounted him, Bucephalus would tilt his head to face the sun.
After his passing, tales began to circulate that this enormous horse, who was at one time untamable, also had a reputation for devouring humans.
Chollima is a mythological winged horse with great strength that originates in Korean culture.
The Chollima had the ability to cross hundreds of kilometers in a single day and was capable of traveling great distances at high speeds.
History stated that Chollima was too rapid for any mortal to ride him and that no man had ever been able to tame him.
You can find this horse’s appearance in several East Asian cultures. When translated into English, the name of the horse literally means “thousand-li horse.”
For your information, a “li” was the conventional unit of distance used in Chinese measurement.
In days gone by, that would be the equivalent of about 250 miles. The myth further states that this horse was capable of covering a distance of 400 kilometers in a single day.
Over the last few decades, the government of North Korea has come to see the horse as a symbol of progress and economic development in the country. Making it one of the most culturally acknowledged types of mythical horses.
The unicorn is undoubtedly the most beautiful of all types of mythical horses. Whenever a unicorn appears in an artwork, it almost always takes the form of a magnificent white horse with a spiraling horn.
However, over history, legends of unicorns have been passed down from one culture to another, and they haven’t always looked like the stunning creatures they are today.
The first accounts of unicorns come from the fourth century B.C. when the Greek physician Ctesias documents stories from travelers about a large white wild ass roaming India.
These travelers described the asses as having white bodies, redheads, piercing blue eyes, and horns that were a foot and a half long. In these accounts, the asses were free-roaming.
The first people in Europe told stories about magical creatures called unicorns, who resembled goats but had colorful horns and were said to have mystical abilities.
In Asian folklore, unicorns have a body similar to a deer but covered in scales similar to those of a reptile and possess a horn covered in signs and magical symbols.
In ancient Greece, the hippogriff was a representation of the god Apollo. Since then, the creature has undergone significant change.
The Orlando Furioso, an Italian epic poem written by Ludovico Ariosto, is where you can find the first mention of the beast in written history.
The author explains that the hippogriff is a creature that has an eagle’s head on its front and a horse’s body on its back.
You can learn more about it by reading “Legends of Charlemagne” by Thomas Bulfinch.
In one piece of literature, the monster has the body of a horse but the head of an eagle, with talons and feathered wings.
The author J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books feature the creature in its most recent iteration to date. Buckbeak was a memorable character for all of us.
The Centaur rounds off our list of types of mythical horses. This is one of the most prevalent and distinctive mythological horses.
The lower half of the centaur’s body is that of a horse, while its upper half is that of a human.
The Greek authors of the stories describe and portray them as barbarous and disorderly people. On the other hand, some accounts portray them as friendly creatures.
They have the ability to communicate with humans while also possessing the strength and speed of a horse.