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Horseshoes and Luck

With this guest blog feature Club Cavallo Italia provides a useful insight and explanation why horseshoes bring good luck and explain the many legends and myths associated with this interesting topic. Around the world, Horseshoes symbolise good luck however you have to be very careful to hang them with the tips pointing upwards, or else if they are facing downwards superstitious beliefs mean the luck could escape out! Also, with many traditional beliefs, they note that bad luck is held prisoner within the circle of the horseshoe preventing the evil spirit from escaping at the top opening, it must remain in the iron object, forever. However, please be aware many traditions and legends differ considerably when providing instruction on how to hang the horseshoe and whether the iron should be new or used, found or purchased and even if the object can be physically touched.

It must also be noted any beneficial outcomes, or harmful consequences will only affect the owner of the horseshoe and not the person who hangs the item onto the door. Traditionally when a horseshoe iron is stolen or found, it will only be the owner and not the person who found or stolen it, who’ll receive and benefit from any good luck. Many ancient beliefs state that a horseshoe after being found becomes a true lucky charm.

But of course, there are more Horseshoes and luck theories

During the time of the Ancient Romans, only officers went on horseback while the troops marched on foot and the loss of an iron horseshoe forced them to stop and rest. Due to this reason, troops turned searching for the lost horseshoes into a competitive game with the soldier who found the most is declared the luckiest person. Any additional horseshoes no longer in use would be hung on a soldiers wall with the ends facing upwards, to prevent any luck escaping. Also throughout the Roman period in history horseshoes would be hung on walls or doors to provide a superstitious defence against the plague.

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In the Middle Ages, the horseshoe was even used as a means of healing. With Christian religious followers believing that Horseshoes would bring them luck because the horseshoe resembled the letter C of Christ’s name. Throughout more recent past centuries horseshoes have been considered lucky because they resembled the crescent and the metal provides protection against ailments and the evil eye.

Horseshoes and Luck Myth from England

Another myth starting in England, notes that a knight, in his splendid cloak and armour, was forced to stop at the home of a poor farmer displaying a horseshoe on his front door. During this encounter, the farmer would provide the replacement horseshoe to the knight from his front door in exchange for generous remuneration.

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In Ireland, another ancient legend text reveals that one of the Pagan gods, who had lost a horseshoe that fell into Smeraldine Islands already flooded by the sea during horse riding turned into a miracle. According to the mythical story, all waters stopped and the islands were no longer submerged.

Horseshoes and Luck protecting against evil

According to other sources the origin of horseshoes and luck used for chasing away evil eye is the fact that they represent a female genital apparatus. It was commonly believed that the evil could easily be distracted by this sexual temptation and would no longer wish to enter the person's house. This belief from the Middle Ages meant that etch-reliefs containing very explicit female genitals were created on church exterior façades to capture the attention of demons whilst preventing the evil spirits from entering the religious buildings. Naturally all these very explicit etchings have been removed over time.

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Horseshoes and Luck in China & Turkey

Throughout China, it is said that Horseshoes bring good luck due to their resemblance with the curved body of the sacred Nagendra snake. Also, in Turkey, the horseshoe presents a close resemblance to the half moon, a symbol of the nation.

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Finally, we return to England where horseshoes and luck are closely linked in relation with the legend of Saint Dunstan, a blacksmith who later became archbishop of Canterbury in the year 959. It’s widely believed Saint Dunstan nailed a horseshoe to the devil’s hoof while he was shoeing his horse. Then only granted the devil freedom after he promised never to enter a place protected by a horseshoe on the door.

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