Kelpie – Mythological Horses


Image from Lisa Phoenix

The kelpie isn’t a mythical creature you want to make friends with, although they may seem very friendly.

The creature under the Kelpie name comes from Celtic folklore, however it seems to have cousins throughout much of northern Europe.

His Plan

This is a shape shifter which can take different forms, however generally it chooses a horse or a pony. The plan is to lure an unknowing horse lover on to his back, then go for a ride.

Their skin contains adhesive so once you’ve hopped on there is no getting off.

Once the Kelpie has got his prey, he will head for the water where he drowns & inevitably eats them (except for their heart & liver). Not a pretty way to go, so watch yourself near lochs & lakes in northern European countries.


Image from magic-8-ball

Recognizing The Kelpie

A few tips to help you see them coming.

  • They are typically either pure black or white
  • Beautiful & friendly animals
  • Make attempts to get you on their back
  • Can take form of a handsome man to lure women into their trap


Common Lore

It is said that the Kelpie’s prey of choice is children & they take the form of a pony to lure the youth towards their watery home.

A commonly known Scottish tale tells of 10 children terrorized by a Kelpie, and only one living to tell the story.

More Mythical Animals

If you liked learning about the Kelpie you may like the creepy Tikbalang too.

10 Comments on “Kelpie – Mythological Horses

  1. Jaymie Ryman

    I LOVE mythical horses and info!!!! Thank you for doing this research and sharing it with us!!!!! Please write/post more!!!!!

    1. Paige

      I do hope you’ll share, it was difficult to find images for this post. I’d love to see it when you have it finished! :)

  2. Erryn

    Messed up a little.

    There are also said to be two types, the mischevious kind that just scared the living crap out of the people who tried to tde them, but did not kill them, and the dark fey, which is what you described above.

  3. DAI rin-chan

    @Erryn: actually, this is completely right. kelpies will, in fact, drown you and eat you. the ones you’re thinking of are called pookas. pookas are also shapeshifters that usually take the form of horses or ponies and try to lure people into going for a ride. the difference between kelpies and pookas is that a pooka will take off running at a breakneck speed and end your ride by dumping you into a patch of brambles or someplace similar. they are the mischievous ones that enjoy scaring people.

  4. Rhi

    There is also the Ceffyl Dwr, a welsh variant of the Kelpie. Like how DAI rin-chan described the pookas, Ceffyl Dwr are mischievous and like playing tricks, but do not eat people. In some stories the Ceffyl Dwr leads lost people away from dangerously flooded rivers.

  5. Horselover

    so cool! Thanks for this! I’m writing a book called, “Out Of The Ordinary Equine Emporium” about a pegasus and loads of other horsey animals who wandered too close to the border from the human world and the magical world, and evil Conor Briggs captures them and tries to sell them to people. it’s about how they escape, and what happens when a kelpie is sold as a child’s horse, then blah blah blah

  6. Shirehorse7

    I want to go to Europe to find a Kelpie but not ride one just see one and if a Kelpie sees you what will happen if you refuse to get on it’s back for a long time

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