Horses in Norse Mythology: Symbol of Wildness

Posted by Ms Elly on

Horses in Norse Mythology: Symbol of Wildness 

The most famous horse in Norse mythology is Sleipnir the Horse of Odin the Allfather. But in mythology, there were more horses that would draw our attention. 

Sleipnir Horse of Odin

Sleipnir was the name of Odin's favorite horse. Sleipnir was an unexpected child by Loki and a giant horse. And in this love affair, Loki mothered Sleipnir. 

When Sleipnir was born, he had a beautiful grey hair that any horse would envy. No horse in the cosmos could outrun Sleipnir. He could carry Odin to cross through the wind, across the waves, and gallop through any world. 

Sleipnir accompanied Odin in his final battle in Raganarok. 

Sleipnir the eight legged horse of Odin the Allfather

Helhest Horse of Hel

The horse was named as Helhest. While the horse Sleipnir of Odin had eight legs, Helhest of Hel had only three legs. “Helhest” simply means “Horse of Hel”.

One cool thing is that the horse of Hel appeared in many of the 19th Danish phrases. For example, ““han går som en helhest” means “He walks like the horse of Hel” depicting abnormal footsteps of the man.

In the folklore, Helhest carries Hel along anywhere in Midgard to fetch the dead.

Helhest horse of Hel

The three legged horse

Gullifaxi Horse of Magni

Originally, Gullifaxi was the horse belonging to Hrungnir the giant. His name means "the Golden Mane". 

When Magni managed to lift off the leg of Hrungnir proving himself the strongest god in Norse mythology, he was gifted with Gullifaxi. 

If Sleipnir came first in the competition, then Gullifaxi would be the second following up. 

And I will give thee,' he said, 'the horse Gold-Mane, which Hrungnir possessed.'
Then Odin spake and said that Thor did wrong to give the good horse to the son of a giantess, and not to his father.

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