...and on the eighth day God created the horse in perfect image, to romp, graze, gallop, play and make manure wherever it darn well pleases, in divine grace.
Folks, this one goes against my belief in the virtues of the Church of Rome, in more ways than one.
In Celtic lore, the Gauls, one of the Celtic tribes, honored Epona, Goddess of the Horse.
The Roman legions who came later didn’t adopt the gods or religions of the peoples they conquered, however, they took a liking to this particular goddess and brought her into their focus of worship.
Her feast day was marked annually every year on December 18th.
The Festival of Epona was celebrated by worshippers who sacrificed animals in her name, erecting altars and shrines inside their stables, and paying tribute to her with Pagan prayer.
Historians say the Romans took a fancy to her and adopted her as one of their own because they had a huge cavalry, and the Roman military really loved their horses.
Cavalry riders honored Epona with temples just for her.
The myth goes that Epona was the result of a man impregnating a white mare. The man is said to not have liked women very much.
His name was Fulvius Stella, according to Plutarch, the ancient Greek philosopher and historian.
Fulvius detested the company of women and focused his attention on the white mare instead.
This myth about the birth of Epona is a popular one, but it is unusual in that it was not the customary birth for a Celtic goddess.
Much art and sculpture was created to honor Epona. She is seen holding cornucopias full of fruit and grains, standing in the company of baby foals. She is represented by symbols of abundance and fertility.
Many times she is seen riding a horse, usually side-saddle, or also taming a wild horse. In Celtic or Roman households, especially those who kept donkeys and horses, statues of Epona sat at their private altars.
In Welsh mythology, the Mabinogion is a collection of 11 Welsh legends gathered from medieval Welsh manuscripts. Some historians say there were 12 or 13 legends.
The legends focus on tales of heroism and myth from Great Britain’s past, and were passed down through generations of story tellers.
Rhiannon was the Horse Goddess, very similar to Epona. Later, she evolved into a goddess of sovereignty who protected the king from deceit and treachery.
The name Rhiannon developed from Proto-Celtic roots, and means “great queen.” She is associated with the horse, which appears quite frequently in Irish and Welsh mythology.
Rhiannon was engaged to be married to Gwawl, but she had been tricked into it. This made her unhappy.
So one day while she was out horseback riding, she stumbled upon Pwyll, Lord of Dyfed, in a clearing. She appeared to him as a golden goddess astride a magnificent, white steed.
Pwyll proceeded to give chase and Rhiannon outran him for 3 days.
She then allowed him to catch up. He asked for her hand in marriage and she said yes, for it would then cancel out her engagement to Gwawl.
Pwyll and Rhiannon conspired together to trick Gwawl out of his engagement.
However, the Mabinogion states that the conspiracy was mostly on Rhiannon’s part, for Pwyll was not very bright.
She is heard to have said, “Never was there a man who made feebler use of his wits.”
After the death of Pwyll, Rhiannon married Manawyden.
The Celtic world, especially the Gauls, had (cavalries) and used horses in warfare. Horses turn up many times in legends throughout Ireland and Wales.
Whenever Rhiannon decided to take a man in marriage, she would grant him sovereignty over the land.
She is said to have possessed a flock of magical birds who could hypnotize the living into a deep slumber, or wake the dead from their dark sleep.
Historians have learned that horse racing has been popular for centuries in Ireland, especially at gatherings and fairs. Ireland has long been a center of horse training and breeding
Horse races of old were dedicated to the Pagan horse goddesses; it was said that Epona was smiling when a prospect was born or a colt won a race.
Pagans were taught the night time prayer to the moon, and it was also said in order to guard homes and stables from evil or harm:
“Diana, goddess of the moon,
shining in the sky above.
Bathe me in your magical light,
and protect me with your love.”
Okay, I guess that one was out before Rome converted; the Emperor Claudius invaded Great Britain in 43 AD. St. Paul probably had a hiccup over it, his conversion on the road to Damascus being somewhere between the years 31 and 36 AD.
Leaving you to ponder such stuff as myths and legends to the immortal words of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, “Happy Trails to You.”
Ref: Internet// Pagan Archives// mythology