Husain's horses have become a central part of his oeuvre since his first representation of the animal in 1951. They are depicted as strong creatures, usually galloping, with reared heads and tremendous movement. His inspiration to paint horses was a combination of his trip to China where he studied Sung pottery horses and his interaction with the equestrian sculptures of the contemporary Italian artist Marino Marini. Husain's horses are not plastic forms treated to stylistic variations; rather, they are sensuous creatures that have become personal symbols resonating with archetypes.
According to Alkazi, horses are usually recognized as symbols of the sun and knowledge. They are associated with life giving and sustaining forces. Husain's horses have become "a vehicle for multiple utterances - aggression, power and protection." (Roshan Shahani, Let History Cut Across Me Without Me, New Delhi, 1993, p. 8.)