One of the principal attributes of tattoos down through the ages has been the belief that they serve as amulets and talismans of protection, that they may ward off evil spirits and that they may act as charms or good luck for the wearer. The horseshoe is perhaps one of the world's most widely known symbols of good luck.
As a tattoo design the horseshoe may stand alone as a symbol of good luck, or be incorporated with other icons associated with good fortune, such as dice or playing cards displayed in winning combinations and four-leaf clovers, among others.
In many parts of Europe and North America, horseshoes are nailed over the doors of barns and houses and depending upon the cultural and traditional beliefs of the area may be installed in either the up or down position. Depending upon whether your horseshoe is half empty or half full, a horse nailed with the ends pointing up is intended to act as a cup to catch good luck, or if the horse shoe is nailed with the end down, the intention is to ensure that all bad luck is poured out.