Across cultural boundaries and throughout history, few animals have carried as much symbolic weight as the horse. They can stand for unrestrained freedom and independence, loyalty, luxury and nobility, erotic potency. At the same time they can also be reminders of domestication and the bearing of heavy burdens; they can portend death and the ravages of time. The wounded horse in Picasso’s Guernica is an enduring symbol of agony and injustice.
People form deeply impassioned relationships with horses. While the dynamic between rider and steed can be powerful- inspirational, romantic, healing- there is also power in an implied absence of that relationship. Consider the riderless horse in a funeral cortege.