Among the 12 animals symbolising 12 years, horse, which is the astrological sign of 2014, is one of the most valued and utilised. Insight by the Government Portal.

A Vietnamese legend has it that after spitting fire to help his rider defeat An invaders, Saint Giong's iron horse flew into the sky.

According to the Dai Nam national history book, in Gia Lam, Hanoi, there was a three-year-old boy who was unable to talk and walk.

One day, hearing that the country was invaded by the An tribe and the king called for talents to save the nation, he suddenly told his mother to invite the king’s messenger to come into his home.

He asked the messenger to tell the court to give him a horse, a cuirass and a rod of iron and he would fight the enemy. Then, he grew up instantaneously. His villagers had to contribute rice to raising him up.

When weapons were brought to him, he turned into a valiant warrior. He bid farewell to his mother and villagers, rode the horse and, armed with the rod, fought the enemy.

Together with the warrior, the iron horse neighed and spit fire to kill the enemy.

When the rod was broken, the warrior uprooted bamboo trees and used them as weapons to continue his fight.

Defeating the enemy, the warrior brought his horse to a halt and dismounted at Soc mountain, Soc Son, Hanoi.

He took off and left the cuirass, saluted his mother and compatriots, and then mounted the horse and flew into the sky.

For millennia, Vietnamese people have respectfully honored the hero by addressing him “Thanh Giong” and “Phu Dong Thien Vuong”, set up a temple to worship him and organise an annual festival on the ninth day of the fourth month of the lunar calendar in his homeland.

A monument depicting “Thanh Giong” riding the iron horse, wearing an iron cuirass and holding an iron rod was built in 2010 on the top of Da Chong mountain, Soc Son, 15km from the centre of Ha Noi.

The site has become an attractive historical and cultural tourism destination, encouraging people to join in national defense and construction.

It is expected that 2012, the year of the horse, will gallop towards hunger and poverty eradication, towards prosperity and happiness.-VNA