Equestrian imagery crops up intermittently throughout the book and, like moonlight, horses do not represent one thing at all times. Margarita is given a golden horseshoe by Woland in reward for her services at Satan’s Ball, his way of saying that she need not fear the devil or evil anymore. Towards the end of the book, when the master and Margarita ride away on horseback from their earthly lives. In both these instances, horse imagery is linked to an idea of freedom, firstly from “evil” and secondly from earthly suffering. While heroes are often depicted on horseback—especially in commemorative statues—the horses in the final scene seem to be more a representative of Woland’s power, rather than signaling a triumph that is particularly the master’s own. Horseback is just presented as the way that Woland and his entourage—in short, demons—transition between the earthly world and the more ethereal, abstract plains of eternity. In that case, they represent a kind of freedom for Woland and his ambassadors of “evil,” too.
In both the final scene and with the aforementioned horseshoe, Bulgakov grounds his symbolism in a finely-wrought network of allusion. A “lucky” horseshoe bringing protection to its owner perhaps originates with the story of St. Dunstan who, so the story goes, had to re-shoe the Devil’s horse—helping the devil, just as Margarita has to do. The horseshoe, then, takes on an identity as a talismanic object or memento, a physical representation of the spiritual pact between mortal and Satan. With regard to the allusion built into the book’s final scenes, these reference the horsemen of the apocalypse who appear in the biblical Book of Revelation, signaling that the story is drawing to a close.