Horseshoes and Superstitions

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Hi everyone, Winnie Griggs here. I hope everyone is having a wonderful March so far.

Did you ever wonder where the superstitions around horseshoes as a good luck charm came from? I did, so I thought I’d do a little digging.

Many people believe that the concept of a lucky horseshoe originated from a myth about a man named Dunstan and his encounter with the Devil in the tenth century AD. Dunstan was a blacksmith and when he was asked to re-shoe the Devil’s horse, he nailed a horseshoe to the Devil’s hoof instead. This caused the Devil great pain, and Dunstan only agreed to remove the shoe and release the Devil after the Devil promised never again to enter a place where a horseshoe is hung over the door. Thus, hanging a horseshoe over your door is said to ward off the Devil. As a side note here, Dunstan the blacksmith eventually became the Archbishop of Canterbury and was later canonized to become Saint Dunstan.

There are two different schools of thought among the superstitious about how to hang a horseshoe to ensure you receive the coveted good luck. Some believe that the charm should be hung in the upward or “U-shaped” position so that all of the luck can’t fall out.  Others believe just the opposite, that if it is hung in the downward position, it allows the luck to rain down on you. So take your pick. Or maybe hedge your bets and do both! 🙂


Did you know that, originally, horseshoes were affixed to the animal’s hoof with seven iron nails? That’s because seven was considered to be an extremely lucky number. And that’s why many of the horseshoe good-luck tokens today are made with seven “nail hole” impressions.


Of course, I’m not superstitious by nature and don’t set much store by good luck charms.  However, I do have a few tokens I carry with me, but these are sentimental in nature rather than based on the belief that they will bring me luck.


What about you? Do you have a good luck charm, a token of some sort, that you like to carry around?  Care to share?

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Winnie Griggs is the author of Historical (and occasionally Contemporary) romances that focus on Small Towns, Big Hearts, Amazing Grace. She is also a list maker, a lover of dragonflies and holds an advanced degree in the art of procrastination.
Three of Winnie’s books have been nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, and one of those nominations resulted in a win.
Winnie loves to hear from readers. You can connect with her on facebook at or email her at

18 thoughts on “Horseshoes and Superstitions”

  1. I need a lucky charm with everything happening in my life lately. Maybe I should try a horseshoe. It was interesting to hear how horseshoes came to be good luck.

  2. I believe my luck comes from God watching over me. I always seem to be blessed or lucky. I carry with me the Miraculous Medal.

  3. I don’t believe in luck or charms, but in God’s favor and blessing. Your post was interesting, Winnie. I don’t think I’ve heard this tale about the horseshoe before.

  4. Just popping in to say “hi” Winnie! This is a fun post! I have heard about an upside down horseshoe letting the luck drain out before, but not the other way around (raining luck.) It’s crazy how superstitions get started. I don’t have any good luck charms. I too, rely on God to get me through worrisome situations. Dunstan ~ is that Irish? (Even thought Canterbury is in England.) Just thinking that a lot of our superstitions seem “Irish” but perhaps that is just my perception and not fact.

  5. I don’t consider them charms or tokens but like DebraG I have some special stones near me I’ve collected from various places, of beautiful color or rounded and smoothed by nature, from mountains and the sea–that all feel good when held.

  6. Hi Winnie, Just wanted to say thank you again for the book I won. Horse shoes are great for luck & having on display inside or outside your home.

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