How to hang a horseshoe
At the Goodluck Horseshoe company, we take our good fortune seriously…
With that in mind, we’ve scoured the earth looking for the sage advice from experts in many fields, faiths and cultures.
From Russian With Luck
Andrei is a Russian born designer who lives and works in London.
What is the significance of the lucky horseshoe in Russian Culture?
Russia has a long history and during that time the nation has embraced many other cultures. In the countryside, where my ancestors lived this meant a mix of Russian orthodox culture and some pagan ideals. Horseshoes were one of the many more pagan tokens the Christians encompassed to make the transition into Christianity easier for the locals.
How would a Russian traditionally hang a horseshoe?
These days they are hung more out of respect for tradition than as genuine talismans but tell that to my grandmother. She hung a horseshoe proudly on the inside of the porch in the shape of a bowl to catch luck. She hung it inside to stop the devil from stealing it in the night… or maybe the local blacksmith.
The Physics of Horseshoes
Dr Luke Simkins is a physicist who teaches at Sussex university. When he’s not trying to explain the laws of physics, he’s using them to invent.
What is the significance of the lucky Horseshoe to a physicist?
Does luck exist? it's a hard thing for a scientist to comment on. Probability and luck are inexplicably linked. As a scientist, understanding probability is a key to the measurement of the universe, it is a fundamental part of science.
It is hard to measure luck. If you have "enough luck" to win the lottery, that’s pretty lucky, but if you're only lucky once, there is no way to measure if you are lucky or just won by chance. Science requires repeatability.
However, it can be said that we can make our own luck. This may venture away from physics, but the placebo effect has been scientifically proven to work. In terms of luck, it is hard to say if an object can improve your luck, but the belief that it could, might allow you to take chances that you may not otherwise take. It might be very unlikely to win the lottery, but if you don't enter, the probability of winning almost zero (you could be VERY lucky and find a lost lottery ticket). If your actions are changed by having a lucky item, then you may find your luck changes too. It’s clear that you have an influence on your luck, I prefer to increase my luck by being prepared. I can think of many situations where a horseshoe would come in useful. So, if I had a lucky horseshoe and the situation arose, I could happily say, "it's lucky I had this horseshoe."
How would a physicist hang a horseshoe?
This gives us a good opportunity to define our luck. One of the forces we take for granted every day, gravity can have a big influence here. Horseshoes, being made of iron, can have considerable mass. Gravity is the attractive force between anything with mass. If we hang the horseshoe up high and its support fails, we would be rather unlucky if it fell on our head. Thus, I would hang it lower and use a good strong fixture.
Aside from that, I can think of many situations where a magnet can come in handy, especially one shaped like a horseshoe. I would suggest making sure you magnetise yours before you hang it. It’s easy to do, just get a magnet and rub it in one direction over the surface of the horseshoe or wrap wire around it and hook it up to a battery. I’d also tie some thick string to it to ready it for dangling. (ideal for retrieving the keys that an unlucky person may have dropped in some hard to reach place.)
Our American Cousins
Caryse Mcqueen is an American born designer with years of experience in interior design and marketing. These days she sets up Pop-up shops and organises events.
What is the significance of the lucky horseshoe in American Culture?
If there’s anything we Americans love, it’s a tradition. Maybe it has something to do with the relative youth of our nation or maybe it’s because we were all immigrants once. Either way, the horseshoe is special to us for lots of reasons. We play games with them, we hang them as ornaments and without horses, we’d never have left New England. So, aside from the luck aspect, they’re a big part of our heritage.
How would an American hang a Horseshoe?
That’s a good question. My Grandpa may have said something different, but I think you should hang it where it makes the most sense. I think they are iconic and therefore you should put one where you think it looks good. In practice, I’d hang the horseshoe upwards with 3 nails or screws, depending on size. Two on the bottom outer side of the horseshoe, (1 on the bottom right, 1 on bottom left), and then one on the top middle inner part of the bottom of the ‘U’, (all 3 would form a shallow triangular pattern when in place). If the horseshoe was especially large/heavy, more screws or nails would be added to the base and or bottom of the sides, (inner and outer of the ‘U’), to keep it properly secured. I would do it right side up to keep the horseshoe lucky and would secure it firmly with screws and/or nails to keep it properly secure. Most horseshoes are typically placed over doorways, but I would put it wherever it makes the most sense, visually.
The Literal Approach
Linzi Cooke is a UK historian and novelist.
What is the significance of the lucky horseshoe in British Culture?
How long do you have? Seriously, horseshoes have been important to we human beings for as long as we’ve had iron and horses. In the UK, in particular, there’s a tonne of interesting folklore surrounding the humble horseshoe. Some folks say the shape of the horseshoe relates to gender. That’s prongs up (horns/God) for a man and prongs down (womb/goddess), but there are also stories of how a glinting horseshoe might mimic the crescent moon in twilight… a sight sure to scare off the wee-folk.
How would a novelist hang a Horseshoe?
Ha, let me think. If I were to get all scientific about it, I would say that Horseshoes, being made of iron, can be magnetised. Since we humans are comprised mostly of water, imagine how much effect the waxing and waning moon has on our gravitational pull. With that in mind, I’d hang a magnetised Horseshoe over my door, prongs up, to capture energy and protect me from the ever-shifting tides.
The Knight’s Tale
Peter is a fully-fledged member of the ancient order known as the Knights Templar (as well as being a member of other secret societies we shan’t name here…)
What is the significance of the lucky horseshoe in Templar Culture?
Wow, well, let’s just say the horseshoe is a significant token in a variety of cultures and has great relevance to many traditions. One common thread, however, is the connection between blacksmiths and the devil. This particular legend has travelled well, and you’ll find references to it throughout history and even today’s popular culture. If you look carefully, you’ll find references to this relationship in fairy tales and folklore. Even the film director Ridley Scott managed to sneak one such reference into his Alien movies. It’s said that the evil Weyland Corporation is named after one such blacksmith. Another tale is that of Dunstan, who is charged with making the devil a set of shoes for his cloven hooves. There are many variations, but usually, Dunstan tricks the devil by trapping his shoes by a chain to the wall of his forge. Eventually, the smith strikes a bargain and lets the beast go. In response though the devil vows never to set foot in a house sporting a horseshoe hanging the right way up on a wall.
How would a knight hang a Horseshoe?
I’m not one for such decorations myself, but if I were to hang one, I would most certainly ensure it was hanging up the right way. I mean you never know who might turn up.
The Scientific Method
Mark Bennet is a Canadian Filmmaker. Journalist and Paranormal Researcher. He was the editor of the respected tech mag Black Ice and makes an appearance in films like The Truth is Still Out There with the X-Files own Dean Hagland.
What is the significance of the lucky horseshoe in the scientific community?
I don’t know about lucky, but horseshoes are certainly powerful. To understand their significance, we need to step outside the box for a second. The most important thing about the horseshoe is not tradition or folklore… it is the shape and material composition. If you look at a horseshoe as an object, it’s an unbroken circuit. The crescent shape is like that of many other devices, gadgets and tokens that we use for specific reasons. Think of it in the same way as the magnetic bracelets people wear to ease their arthritis. Even if you don’t believe in their pain-relieving properties, I guarantee you’ll know someone who swears by them. The simple truth is we don’t know everything. Just like electricity, wireless, gravity and every other significant advancement in science, they were doubters right up the fact. It’s the same with the unbroken circuit shape of these bracelets and by proxy horseshoes. I personally believe it has something to do with the way the shape allows it to resonate energy. Just like the folks who swear by magnetic copper bracelets, I believe there’s a reason folks have been hanging horseshoes above their doors for centuries… it just maybe not for the reason they thought. Oh and here’s one for fun… if you’re so sure we know everything, just try this…
Next time you're out in the car, walk away from it until your remote key no longer triggers. Then take a few steps further back, raise your key to your temple and try again. I don’t know why it works, but it does and that’s just one example we can all try.
How would a Scientist hang a Horseshoe?
Well, I’d make sure they hung it in such a way as to allow it to vibrate. I don’t know if the orientation matters, but I’d make sure it wasn’t hard fixed to anything.
The Islamic Connection
Asif is the chairman of Brighton Mosque and a scholar of the Islamic faith. Outside of the Mosque, he is a telecoms engineer.
What is the Significance of the Lucky Horseshoe in the Islamic faith?
I don’t know about lucky; the Koran teaches us not to place faith in such talismans, but there are traditions and it’s good to honour those. In my role as chairman of the Mosque I would say that a horseshoe may be a nice decoration, but no more than that.
How would a Muslim hang a horseshoe?
As I said, I don’t think they have any relevance to the faith of Islam, but then many Muslims do hang them as ornaments. Our culture and faith are very old and some of the oldest mosques have arches which are reminiscent of a horseshoe shape. In this respect, there is no harm in hanging one for decorative purposes.
The Philosopher’s way
Ben Henderson describes himself as a full-time steampunk and amateur philosopher. Ben does not have a horse, but he owns several horseshoes.
What is the significance of the lucky Horseshoe to a Philosopher?
Interesting question. I believe the answer is that the relevance of the horseshoe lies not with the philosopher but with others in need of luck. A philosopher would gift it to someone who is down on their luck yet believes in luck.
How would a philosopher hang a horseshoe?
For maximum effect, a horseshoe should be hung horns up as if to form a cup. The idea being that luck would fall from above, fill up the cup and spill over the sides to fall over anyone who passed under it. Other opinions vary: but they are in my opinion incorrect.
Developing the Horseshoe
Marco is a successful property developer from right here in Hilversum.
What is the significance of the Lucky Horseshoe to a Property Developer?
Wait, these things are lucky? why didn't anyone tell me? That's why I keep seeing them on other people's houses... As a property developer I need all the luck I can get... do they work with planning departments? local authorities? and the refuse collection? If so I'm going to start including one in every project...
How would a Property Developer hang a horseshoe?
I don’t know about anyone else, but if these things really are lucky I think I will cement one into each foundation and then maybe I can hide one above each door and in hang another in the closets? I'm going to be rich!
Horseshoes and China
Lavinia Wong is a Chinese-born national living in Brighton, UK. She works in the Health care sector and know all about the importance of luck to the Chinese.
What is the significance of the Lucky Horseshoe in China?
Well, let me stop you right there. In China Horseshoes are not lucky. To understand that you need to know a little about Fengshui. In the tradition of Fengshui, shape and form are very important. The U shape of the horseshoe is a negative shape because it doesn’t not have four corners which represent the directions north, south, west and east. This means that energy cannot flow through the horseshoe and gets trapped. We could spend all night discussing the intricacies, but that’s it in a nutshell. It’s the same with a lot of other superstitions, we find the number 13 to be very lucky for example, but the number four is associated with death.
How would a Chinese person hang a horseshoe?
Bluntly put, we wouldn’t, but that doesn’t mean we don’t understand the significance to others. I’ve given horseshoes as gifts to my friends, because I know that they have the opposite opinion of them. I suppose if I had to hang a horseshoe for some reason, like maybe my partner was really into the idea, I would consider it if he let me paint the horseshoe red. Red is a very lucky colour in Chinese culture and this would allow me to counteract the bad luck with good.