Sleipnir – Odin’s Horse

Image of Sleipnir

In Norse mythology, nearly all Gods possessed powerful animals to ride on. For example, Thor rode a chariot pulled by two goats. God Freyr rode on the back of a boar. Or goddess Freya had a little chariot pulled by two cats. Regarding Odin the Allfather, he possessed himself a magical horse Sleipnir who was mighty enough to become a favorite steed for Odin the ruler of Asgard.

Image of Odin horse sleipnir
Horse of Odin the Allfather

How was Sleipnir born?

Sleipnir (Slayp-neer) was an eight-legged horse. The birth of this steed was quite awkward but very interesting indeed. Legend had it that there once was a giant who demanded to build Asgard a protective wall to defend the Aesir gods and goddesses. The giant promised to finish the task and wanted to be paid with the Sun, the Moon, and goddess Freya as his bride. Then he started his work and the progress amazed all Norse gods. His horse helped him with the construction and actually, his horse worked twice as much as he did.

When the gods realized that the giant would finish the task in time and they were afraid of losing the Sun, the Moon, and goddess Freya into the hand of the giant. The gods assembled and decided that Loki should take the responsibilities to take the gods out of the troubles as Loki suggested to agree with the payment for the giant. On the night just before the deadline of building the wall, Loki shapeshifted himself into a beautiful mare and successfully seduced the horse of the giant. This resulted in the failure of constructing the Asgard wall in time. Moreover, this also resulted in the birth of a steed after Loki as a mare seduced the horse of the giant. That is to say, Loki was the mother of horse Sleipnir.

Sleipnir Power and Odin

Image of Slepnir Horse of Odin
Odin horse

To become the favorite horse for Odin to ride, horse Sleipnir must possess certain abilities that made him no ordinary horse. Sleipnir could run faster than any fast horse in the cosmos. He could gallop over the sea, through the wind as well as on land.  Sleipnir was also able to travel to the land of Helheim. During that time, he carried the god Hermod to Helheim to negotiate with Hel the queen of Helheim about releasing god Baldur.

When the time of Ragnarok finally arrived, Odin rode his powerful horse to join the battle. However, as Odin fell, Sleipnir could not survive the Ragnarok.

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