Last Updated on March 22, 2023
There are several classic tattoo designs that are found all over the world – from variations of the cross to classic roses.
Horseshoe tattoos are another popular and traditional tattoo design, but they’re not always embedded into the skin of people who own horses. A lot of the time, these people aren’t even particularly enamored with horses, either.
So, if you’re not a budding equestrian or lover of horses, what’s the point in getting a horseshoe tattoo? If every tattoo is symbolic of something, then what do horseshoe tattoos symbolize?
Whether you’re looking to get a horseshoe tattoo or if you’re simply curious about the design’s origins and meaning, here is everything you need to know about what horseshoe tattoos symbolize!
What Do Horseshoe Tattoos Symbolize?
The general consensus is that horseshoe tattoos symbolize and work as a good luck charm and form of protection.
If the horseshoe tattoo is facing upwards, with the two separate ends pointing towards the sky, this is said to clear the individual of negative energies. If the horseshoe tattoo is facing downwards, this is considered unlucky.
The meaning behind this symbolization is interesting. Horseshoes are made of metal (and sometimes other synthetic materials) to protect the horse’s feet from wear and damage.
They are attached to the horse’s feet by a farrier, who will either drill or glue the shoe to the foot.
The majority of domesticated horses will have regular shoe fittings to prevent lameness and ensure they can work to the best of their ability – whether it’s for riding or work purposes.
Horseshoes are individually made to suit the shape of the horse’s feet and the intentions of the shoe, as the shoes can be made from a range of materials to suit particular purposes.
Not only do they work to protect the horse’s feet from wear, but horseshoes can also improve traction in riding sports such as dressage and jumping.
While this doesn’t explain why horseshoe tattoos symbolize luck, this is why horseshoe tattoos are said to symbolize protection.
As horseshoes provide a form of protection to a horse, the same is said to go for humans.
Origins Of The Horseshoe Tattoo
The symbolic meaning of the horseshoe dates far back to the Ancient Roman era, wherein anything shaped like a “U” was said to ward off evil.
Horseshoes and anything with a similar shape have since been kept as a talisman of sorts, working to protect its immediate surroundings and bring in positive energies.
Horseshoes have traditionally been nailed to the tops of door frames and on the walls of houses for centuries as a result of this.
One of the other reasons why horseshoes are considered a symbol of luck is because they mimic the same shape as a crescent moon.
The crescent moon has been a sign of fertility for centuries, thus enforcing an aura of luck around the individual nearest to the shape.
However, the horseshoe is only considered a form of good luck and protection when it is faced upwards.
This is because the horseshoe is said to hold the negative energies and bad luck kind of like a bowl, with the energies pooling into the bottom of the “U” shape.
Once turned upside down, those energies fall out, thus making the downward turning horseshoe a symbol of bad luck.
Why Get A Horseshoe Tattoo
So, it makes sense why someone would want an upward-facing horseshoe tattooed onto their body. In fact, there are several reasons why horseshoe tattoos are so popular.
If you’re a lover of horses or a keen equestrian, a horseshoe tattoo is a beautiful way of expressing your passion and enthusiasm for horses.
Not everyone will want an actual tattoo of a horse due to the risk of the horse looking a bit odd (depending on the artist, of course), so a horseshoe tattoo is an immediate signifier of that passion.
Also, if you’re a farrier or work with horses on a veterinary level, then a horseshoe is a good option for a tattoo to signify the passion of your craft.
However, you don’t necessarily need to love horses to have a horseshoe tattoo.
These designs are classic in the tattoo industry, and if you’re a fan of the traditional design, then it only makes sense to add a horseshoe tattoo to your collection.
People will mostly get a tattoo of the horseshoe facing upwards as a sign of good luck and protection, and it is often adorned with flowers and other pieces of art with their own symbolic meanings.
This is also because horseshoes have traditionally been worn as an amulet (such as a horseshoe necklace) as a charm of protection, which is why the shape often crops up in religions and spiritual practices.
In some cases, people will even get a tattoo of a horseshoe facing downwards. While this might sound risky amongst the superstitious as a downward-facing horseshoe is said to be a symbol of bad luck, these people will argue that they don’t need luck (good or bad) to get through life.
They handle whatever luck comes their way, and aim for their good luck with hard work and resilience.
The best thing about tattoos is that each tattoo carries a personal meaning to the individual.
Some will have a deep connection to their tattoos, while others might simply enjoy the design.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does The Upside-Down Horseshoe Tattoo Mean?
In traditional tattoo culture, upside-down horseshoe tattoos are said to be a sign of bad luck.
While this might sound like the exact opposite of what someone would want, the people with upside-down horseshoe tattoos will argue that they don’t need luck.
To them, an upside-down horseshoe tattoo means hard work, resilience, and not relying on luck to succeed.
What Is The Lucky Tattoo?
There are several lucky tattoos in tattoo culture, with one of them being an upwards-facing horseshoe.
Other lucky tattoos include four-leaf clovers, elephants, dice, axes, wishbones, dreamcatchers, and other spiritual symbols like the Ancient Egyptian ankh.
Is It Bad Luck To Get A Horseshoe Tattoo?
Whether a horseshoe tattoo is bad luck or not depends on the individual.
According to tattoo culture, it is only bad luck to get a horseshoe tattoo when it is upside down, as this allows the negative energies and bad luck to fall out from the “U” shape.
However, others will argue that a tattoo cannot symbolize bad luck, and therefore if they like the design of an upside-down horseshoe tattoo, then nothing will stop them from getting it.
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