Originating in the province of Dalarna, Sweden, the Dala Horse (Swedish Dalahäst) is a brightly painted wooden horse that has come to symbolize Sweden as a whole. Originally they were unpainted, but the Falun copper mine in the area produced a number of pigments, including the tomato-red that proved the most popular color for the horses. Later the fanciful saddle and designs were added in the popular style known as rosemåling (the Norwegian term) and kurbits (Swedish).
Horses are highly social herd animals, and—much like humans—rarely do well in isolation. They form tight bonds, often pairing up with a single close friend within a herd. As the proverb says, there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother—and it appears as true for horses as humans.