Tangled Mane

I’ve been researching a little about horses and witches for another post, and came across some great folklore that I wanted to share.

Another who has spent time around horses will know that their hair sometimes gets tangled. A horse that is allowed to be out in the field to enjoy their natural environment will rub against fences and trees and let the wind whip through their mane and tail. But it’s amazing how tangled their hair can become. In fact, sometimes, you’d wear it was other worldly and perhaps malevolent!

Boo’s mane tangles.

This is explained, thanks to some ancient folklore:

If a horse’s mane is knotted in the morning, the witches have ridden him during the night.

There is a whole host of superstitions involving witches and horses. But this one caught my imagination because my own pony is an expert at getting a tangled mane. And I can just imagine him giving rides to witches underneath the dark pine trees and through the woods.

And lest you think I’m alone in this, consider the recent article describing a rash of mysterious witch-and-horse-mane related activity in England. Blaming tangles and plaits in horses’ manes on supernatural beings is an enduring lore.

Horse and Fairies

(via Straight From the Horse’s Mane)

Fortunately, the lore doesn’t leave us at a loss. There are cautions that your horse will throw you if you ride them with these witches’ stirrups in their manes, but also some remedies:

Plait your horse’s mane with corn shucks, to prevent witches from riding him.

Thank goodness I bought some Indian Corn at the Farmer’s Market. Although it wasn’t the best braid in the world, I felt pretty confident that my corn shuck plait would keep witches from my pony.

And, wouldn’t you know it, I haven’t spotted a tangle in his hair since!