The two main devices (symbols) in the Podkowa blazon are the horseshoe and sword. The main tincture (color) is gules.
Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”1. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries 2. Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone.3.
Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used 4. The horseshoe is a typical example of this. Sometimes these objects were chosen for the familiarity they would have for the obsever, helping them identify the owner. 5. In addition, the horseshoe, which is one the earliest symbols found in heraldry 6 can be seen as a “safeguard against evil spirits” and may still be found nailed above doorways today. 7
Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms 8. Indeed, the sheer variety of different swords 9 can be bewildering and expaining the difference between a scimitar and a falchion is perhaps best left to the expert! If a charge is described just as a simple sword then it will have a straight blade and cross handle, that may be of a different colour, and, unless specified, points upwards. Wade, quoting the earlier writer Guillim, signifies the use of the sword as representing “Government and Justice”.