Horse War Paint

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Ever seen the old movies of pictures of Indian Painted Horses and wonder why and what it means? An Indian horse was often painted in preparation for battle, Native American Indians treasured their horses and held them in the highest esteem and going into battle was dangerous for both him and his horse. Because of this danger factor they painted their horses and themselves to indicate achievements and previous victories and they believed it held magical powers for protection in battle. Medicine Men often chose certain markings that passed magic through application to the rider and horse helping the warrior to believe himself and his horse invincible. They believed the use of certain symbols and colours afforded the wearer with ‘Magic’ for power and protection by drawing on natural powers and combining these with the power of the warrior and his horse. It was also used to recall meaningful events like Victory & Mourning and after a battle, when the battle was won, a warrior might apply paint to his horse so the tribe could see from a distance the outcome of the battle.

Some typical symbols that were used:zig-zag lines symbolize lightning

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Meaning of Horse War Paint Colours  
Red – War, blood, strength, energy and power

Black – Victory

White – Mourning / Peace

Blue – Wisdom and Confidence

Yellow – Death.

Green – Endurance and healing power, believed to improve vision – green circles might be painted around the eyes of a horse

Purple – Power, Mystery and magic