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The Origin of the Lucky Horseshoe

lucky horseshoe clover


We’ve all seen a horseshoe nailed above a doorway.  Some are in homes while others in businesses. But has anyone stopped and considered why? What makes this simple piece of bent iron a lucky charm?

While there are several different origins that have traveled throughout history, the lucky horseshoe has one that is both practical and magical.

During ancient Celtic times, a belief in magical creatures and spells was widespread among the people of the time. With these magical beliefs, fairies and goblins were thought to influence many everyday occurrences of the time period.

lucky horseshoe celtic


Goblins were blamed for a multitude of problems such as cows not producing enough milk and chickens not laying eggs, just to name a few. Fairies also provided a number of more serious problems. While nowadays we associate fairies with beautiful tiny beings with happy and jovial dispositions, back then they had a much more malicious and sinister role. Fairies were thought to cause problems with infertility among couples and even blamed for the disappearance of children. To the Celts, these problems were simply unacceptable.

lucky horseshoe magicsource

It was widely believed that these creatures already had an intense fear of the swords and weaponry used at the time due to the iron that they were made from. Iron was considered to naturally ward off evil, so it was the perfect tool to scare off these creatures. Beyond the actual material it was forged from, the shape was also considered a deterrent to these nasty magical vermin. The crescent shape of the shoe was similar to that of the moon, which was a symbol of the protective moon goddess. Displaying a horseshoe above a doorway had a double effect to keep those inside safe.

While its use for modern times are much more fun and light-hearted, its origins are humbling and eye opening to a time that believed in magic and mystery.

lucky horseshoe door


However, there is still a belief about the horseshoe you can still utilize today, and that’s the way you hang your lucky charm. Facing up means the luck can’t flow out, while facing down mean the lucky flows down onto everyone who walks under it. Whichever way you choose is up to you!

So go ahead and give a little nod to ancient times while still giving your luck a little extra boost by displaying your very own lucky horse shoe.


Shop for your lucky horse at Mane ‘n Tail Equine!