The Sleipnir Rune StoneSleipnir, Odin's Eight Legged Horse

The is one of the most well-known runic picture stones in Scandinavia.

Sleipnir is a horse-like creature which conveys Odin between the realms of spirit and matter and is symbolic of Time. Sleipnir can gallop over land, sea, or through the air. Sleipnir has eight legs, representing eight directions and eight dimensions. He is the child of the shape-shifting god Loki (in female form) and a giant stallion, Svadilfari. In this depiction, he is shown with a serpent twining between his legs, with Odin on his back, wearing a sword and holding a drinking horn. A Valkyrie approaches to offer mead.

Sleipner Picture Stone


How did the myth of an eight-legged horse originate?

Viking horses were brought to Iceland from Norway around 900 A.D. These horses have been maintained as a pure breed in Iceland. These unique sturdy horses have two unusual extra gaits in addition to Walk, Trot and Canter. Tölt, a 4-beat lateral gait, also known as running walk, can be performed at any speed and is smooth and comfortable for the rider. In Flying Pace, a 2-beat lateral gait used for racing, the horse can reach speeds of 30 mph. An Icelandic horse in action looks like it does have eight legs!