Many artists ranging from classic rock to country use Wild horses in their songs. Rolling Stones, Garth Brookes, Bruce Springsteen, Raelynn, and Natasha Bedingfield to name a few. Ranker even has a list of the best songs with horse in the title. Why do so many songs use these beautiful animals as metaphors? What connection do humans feel towards wild horses that inspires us to sing about them? And why are horses, specifically wild horses the visual for us when we want to feel free or evoke great emotion?
Did you ever stop to think about why the symbolism of Wild Horses is used so frequently by musical artists in their songs? The untamed equine symbolizes freedom, an unbridled desire for freedom. Because of the horse’s naturally wild and powerful spirit, they always want to break free. We feel the connection in our own lives to want to set our soul’s free, to go on our journey, jump over the hurdles in our personal life with strength and courage. Wild Horses represents adventure; escape from societal limitations.
Horses are symbols of travel, movement, and desire. The meaning of the horse seeks to remind us that we have the power and the motivation to carry through anything. We are full of life, and actually have the freedom to do whatever we want. Very few animals naturally convey such majestic power, pride, and nobility as the horse.
So it is no wonder that with all this power of emotion, feeling and connection to horses they are the most used symbols in music to help convey powerful messages by musical artists.
Let’s Talk about these songs
The chorus to one of The Rolling Stone’s most beautiful songs sings that ‘wild horses couldn’t drag me away’. These lyrics actually have a deeper meaning and symbolism for Keith Richards who wrote the first lines for his son and, the pain of leaving him while on tour. Richards says ‘Wild Horses was about… not wanting to be on the road, being a million miles from where you want to be.’ Bruce Springsteen’s 2019 song, “Chasin’ Wild Horses,” talks about the pain of living a life without the hope for something more. “Wild Horses” by Garth Brooks makes promises to his girlfriend that he’ll quit the rodeo, but he’s not a man of his word.
He explains that wild horses keep dragging him away, knowing that her patience will run out eventually. “Wild Horse” by Raelynn talks about being a free spirit who, ‘don’t want no fences around [her]’. She desires to be free, just like a wild horse. Natasha Bedingfield’s “Wild Horses” digs into the common fear of the unknown. Rather than letting caution constrain her, she wants to feel the freedom of untamed horses. She wants to jump headfirst into challenges and open up her heart to love, she wants to be free.
Other songs tackle topics such as looking back on the choices you’ve made, dreaming of freedom, and reaching your potential. Although all of these artists use equine motifs in their songs, each seems to create a different way to get to the same understanding of freedom. To be unencumbered from our self, and our problems, and to have the stamina and ability to conquer our fears.
Our history with the horse from a musical perspective
I think it is fitting to recall the history of the horse in relation to man so we can see how deep-rooted our connection to wild horses really is. The horse first appeared in Paleolithic cave art around 30,000 BC. Man has painted drawn and celebrated horses for as far back as has been documented. The inclusion of equines in mythology, songs, and folklore around the world continually advanced the connection of horses and men. In Native American tribes, the horse represented power and spirituality.
Tribes that rode horses often won more battles and had more territory and felt more connected to a higher power. Therefore, the number of horses a tribe possessed usually indicated wealthy, power and prestige. The horse hence became a figure to celebrate with ceremony and song. In Celtic mythology, Epona was a goddess of horses. The Festival of Epona was a time when worshipers paid tribute to horses, erecting shrines and altars in their stables, again with ceremony and song. In Norse mythology, Odin rides on an eight-legged horse named Sleipnir. Many scholars believe that Sleipnir represents the shamanic journey. But the ceremony, rituals, and song once again about the horse.
Clear to see….
Although times have changed and we have evolved into modern society, we are forever connected to the power, meaning, and energy of the Wild Horses. Their message and meaning is something that we will forever relate to and always need to be reminded of as we seek our true freedom. The power of music has always been the best way to feel the words and energy that the Wild horses bring us in their natural state. No matter which musical artist you choose or which generation of music you listen to, the message of the Wild Horses will always remain the same. We are forever grateful for their presence in our world and to the musical artists who bring the messages of the Wild horses to us.