Sleipnir, Svaðilfari and Loki are popular name choices of horses you will find in Iceland. Have you ever wondered why certain names are used more than others? In Iceland, Norse mythology is found in all aspects of the country’s culture from names of horses to names of popular landmarks. The myth of Sleipnir, a magical creature with eight legs and runes on his teeth, is one of the favorite stories in Icelandic culture.
The myth begins with a builder appearing at the gods’ castle who wishes to build a fortification for the gods in exchange for Freyja, the goddess of the sun and the moon. The gods agree but say he may not have help from another person in hopes to prevent the work from being finished. The builder asks permission for help from his horse, Svaðilfari. Loki, a god known for planning tricks, agrees. The builder’s horse has enormous strength and proves to be more helpful in building the wall on time. To prevent this, Loki turns himself into a mare and lures the stallion away. Loki later gives birth as the mare to an eight-legged foal known as Sleipnir. Sleipnir is now said to be the stallion of Óðinn, the highest of the gods.
While riding, it is believed Sleipnir “moved too close to the earth and stepped down with one of his
legs. The ground collapsed under the weight of his hoof, creating the horseshoe-shaped canyon
Ásbyrgi.” Asbyrgi is now believed to be the place where all mythological creatures meet and is one of the great sights you can visit in North Iceland.
Read the full Norse myth of Sleipnir here.
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