Can a horse be punk? When flicking through images of ‘so called’ punk horses, the horse with its mane erect, Mohawk fashion is nominated as the archetypal punk horse. I think this is based on the cavalry mounted barbarian from history or depictions of them in art. The barbarian, a bit like the punk, was to the Greeks and Romans of antiquity, a fearsome outsider bristling with strange outfits, piercings and usually tattooed. The barbarian wanted in, wanted to rattle the bars on the cage keeping law abiding citizens safe inside the city walls. Punks want to tear down the existing social order and release anarchy.
The punk horses in art and design are sometimes dyed multi-colours and they are usually ridden by a similarly attired individual. Horses are considered to be noble animals. They are appreciated for their graceful beauty, with their fine lines and physiques. Picture Equus flying around the race track, pulling chariots around the Circus Maximus, and racing into battle with warriors astride them. Horses are not punk they are naturally beautiful; it is who rides them that may be a punk or barbarian.
The Saxons worshipped a horse god, thought to be called Tiw, who was a war god. The horse is associated with battle for these Germanic tribal people who inhabited the British Isles and are the ancestors of all Anglo-Saxons. Wodan was the chief deity and Thunor, the god of thunder was his son and next in line. Punk horses may have originated as the war horses of Saxon warriors, as they did battle with Celts and Picts to claim the land.
There have been race horses wearing the punk moniker; a Daft Punk; a Lucky Punk; Pixy Punk; and a Harbour Punk in Hong Kong making a name for himself – having won over two and half million dollars in just ten starts. The punk name obviously appeals to a certain section of the racing public, or racing breeders. Is this, perhaps, the start of a new punk revolution in the horse racing world? Does this symbol of civil disobedience represent some novel equine betting symbology? Will punk horses soon be running in the Melbourne Cup or, even, at Royal Ascot, heaven forbid?
Will Johnny Rotten be suiting up astride some monolithic barbarian mount, ready to round down your good thing inside the shadow of the post? Let’s hope not folks, horses are beautiful dumb animals but they are not animals like the Sex Pistols were.