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HORSE MEDICINE WAR PAINT
By The Great Spirit Wakan
(see picture on header above)
Symbols and colors used on the war horse.
(There were so many tribes of Native American Indians it is
only possible to generalise the most common meanings of the
and patterns of Horse War Paint.)
A circle around the horse's eye and nostrils for alert vision
and a keen sense of smell.
Arrow points in a line which brought victory.
Thunder stripes in the horse's front legs to please the Indian's
god of war.
Arrowheads on all four hooves made the horse swift and nimble-footed.
Fire Arrows would cause trouble for the enemy, which in turn
would add strength to the warrior.
Right/left hand prints were outlined upon the horse's chest,
which showed that he'd knocked down an enemy.
Hail Stones were a prayer for hail to fall on the warrior's
Two crossing bars meant that the horse and his rider had escaped
Hoof prints were drawn on the horses and stood for the number
of horses captured in raids.
The horse's Battle Scars (always painted red) and the Pat Hand
Print (left hand drawn on the
horse's right hip) were the highest honors. The Pat Hand Print
was always reserved
exclusively for the horse who had brought his master back home
from a dangerous mission
For the men who would be going on a do-or-die mission, the Upside-down
Handprint would be
used. It was the most prized symbol a warrior could place on
From the Apache and Comanche tribes, legends about this handprint
tell of a furious battle in
which a warrior was fatally wounded. Before the brave warrior's
death, he patted his horse on the
right shoulder, thus leaving a bloody handprint on his horse
for all his people to see his "message
of death" when the horse returned to camp.
War paint colors.
Red Color Symbolized war, blood, strength, energy and power
Black was used to symbolize victory and might be applied to
the horse before returning home to the camp
White Color Symbolized mourning but might also mean peace
Blue Color Symbolized wisdom and confidence
Yellow Color Symbolized the color of death. Yellow indicated
that the wearer and horse were
brave and were willing to fight to the death
Green Color Symbolized endurance, and is seen as a great healing
power and believed to
improve vision - green circles might be painted around the eyes
of a horse
Purple color Symbolized power, mystery and magic
The Great Spirit
Dragonfly (web designer):
Paint is also used on horses who are taking part in a Ceremony,
such as the Dakota 38 + 2 Ride in MN, and the Unity Ride from
Copyright: Cinnamon Moon & River WildFire Moon (Founders.)
All rights reserved.
constructed by Dragonfly