At one point in time, there were wild horses on every single continent on the planet. Now, we have domesticated most of them. Some of the earliest horses were as small as dogs. Because of the domestication of horses, civilization was allowed to spread over vast areas. Ted Andrews even says that no animal has contributed more to the spread of civilization as the horse. An important thing to remember about horses is that they are representative of the spirit, similar to freedom. The horse serves man, but can never be fully tamed by him. Information from Ted Andrews’s Animal-Speak, Jessica Dawn Palmer’s Animal Wisdom, and Steven D. Farmer’s Power Animals.
The symbolism of horses as told through horse photography.
Sometimes I look at my horse photography and realize that it embodies the horse symbolism of times gone by. I am thrilled to be a part of that and to carry it forward into new generations that are discovering horses and all that they have offered us over the years. Horses have not only been characterized in color – the white horse is always the one that will save the day and the black horse, or dark horse, is the epitome of the dark side that is going to be overthrown, but also in size and body shapes.
Tall, lean, long legs and necks are more than likely to be the racehorse in the bunch and the thick necked, stocky legged, heavy head will most likely be portrayed as the one to carry out the tough tasks – also known as the workhorse. As an equine artistic photographer I enjoy knowing some of these symbols when I take the photos so that I can think of how to market them or how to display them in the galleries. I am happy when people choose a photograph that I think represents certain symbolism, freedom, grace, connection, resilience of spirit, and becomes a gift to someone that they love. It’s a nice thought for me to feel that someone is going to have this reminder of those characteristics as close to them as their walls in their home or office.
Tweaking the symbolism of horse photography that has gone before.
I have quite a few photographs of black horses that don’t necessarily mean that the horse is representative of the dark side but instead they represent a dark horse that is nice to look at. Sometimes I have used a black horse to serve as an outline, or as a strong horse to carry a maiden. I have taken lots of photographs of horses that are not such a strong obvious color to represent strength, heroism, grace, freedom, and even fun. So in this way I like to tweak the symbolism lines and try something different in my horse photography.
Choose your horse.
Find the horse or find the symbolism you want the horse to represent for you first and then choose a photograph based on that, either way, you have a great connection to horses due to the history that they represent to your imagination almost immediately. It is a great way to remind yourself of the characteristics that you want to live out in your life. What a great way to enjoy horse symbolism in your daily life. I know that I am enjoying them in my own home and I hope you will too.
Jody Miller is a professional photographer specializing in Horse Photography, Equine Photography, and Equestrian photography. Her work can be viewed online here in her gallery section, and she is also featured at these Arizona Galleries: Arts Prescott Gallery, Sedona’s Village Gallery , Easy Street Galleria in Carefree and Dragonfly Arts in Cottonwood.