The Lucky Horseshoe


“Horseshoe and devil” by Creator:George Cruikshank – The True Legend of St. Dunstan and the Devil by Edward G. Flight, 1871; image at Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons


The other day I purchased a lucky horseshoe charm. Why? I don’t particularly know why other than I was compelled by the design. I have also heard of “Lucky Horseshoes,” but I suppose I didn’t know exactly why horseshoes are considered lucky. I suppose I purchased the charm because I somehow believed it would bring me good luck. This then compelled me to do some further research on Lucky Horseshoes.

A standard horseshoe is a constructed device fashioned out of metal that is intended to protect a horse’s hoof from wear. The most commonly used materials are steel and aluminum. The shoes are attached to the surface of the hooves, and are nailed through a part of the horse’s foot that is insensitive. Horseshoes can also be glued to the horse’s foot. A farrier is a person whose occupation is the fitting of these devices. The farrier‘s job is to assess the horse’s hoof, design appropriate shoes, and apply the product.

Now, it’s believed that the origin of the tradition of the lucky horseshoe originated with the story of Saint Dunstan and the Devil. Dunstan, who would later to become the Archbishop of Canterbury in AD 959, was a blacksmith. One day, the Devil asked him to reshoe his horse, and Dunstan nailed a horseshoe – through the Devil’s hoof, which caused the Devil much pain. Dunstan agreed to remove the horseshoe and release the Devil if the Devil promised to never enter a place where a horseshoe was hung over a door.

As there is a specific production and application involved in creating a horseshoe for wear, there is a specific placement of a horseshoe for use as a talisman in the home. First, some believe that a true lucky horseshoe should be found, not purchased. Then, the horseshoe should be hung above one’s entry door. It’s then believed that a horseshoe should be hung pointing upwards. The ‘U’ shape is thought to hold good luck that passes by. Hanging it upside down is believed to be bad luck, as it is thought all of the good luck will fall out. However, there are some who believe that the horseshoe should indeed be hung pointing downward, as it allows good luck to flow into the home.  To some, it does not matter how the horseshoe is hung (pointing upward or down), as long as it’s hung above the door because it’s presence alone is believed to draw good luck.

Do you have a horseshoe hung over your door? Is it pointed upward? Or, is it pointed downward. Let us know at @burialdaybooks on Twitter.


Categories: Blog

Cynthia Pelayo

Cynthia (cina) Pelayo is the author of short story collection Loteria and the young adult horror novel Santa Muerte published by Post Mortem Press. Her short stories and poems have appeared in DM, Weird Year, Flashes in the Dark, SNM Horror Magazine, Seedpod, Static Movement, and more. Pelayo is the Publisher/Gravedigger of Burial Day Books and is a member of the Horror Writers Association. She is currently at work on two novels and a series of short stories and poems. You can find her on Twitter at @cinapelayo or at