Horse expressions-gift horse in the mouth Jody Miller Photography

5 Funny Horse Expressions

5 Funny Horse Expressions

Now that we have access to Google search and Wikipedia you can look up the answer to almost anything. Have you ever wondered about sayings, idioms, expressions or wives tales and wonder how they originated or what they really mean. Here are 5 funny Horse expressions and what they mean.

  1. Hold your Horses: When someone tells you to hold your horses, they are asking you to slow down.  You may Horse expressions-Hold your Horses Jody Miller Photographyhear many seniors asking this of the younger generation when they are rushing through.  This term dates back to usage in Ancient Greece, this reference is to stopping your Horse chariot from going too fast. In Book 23 of the Iliad, Homer writes “Hold your horses!” when referring to Antilochus driving like a maniac in a chariot race that Achilles initiates in the funeral games for Patroclus.  In ancient wars where Horses were used, soldiers would also have to literally hold on to their horses when the sound of gunfire was too loud.

2. Healthy as a Horse: This Horse expression refers to the strength of a Horse.  It implies that if you are as Healthy as a Horse than you are very healthy.  Yes, Horses eat well and they eat all the time. Horses eat a plant based diet and generally live a long time. However, many Horse owners may disagree with the health status of a horse.  At least when it comes to the mounting Vet bills on the occasions that they do get sick.


3. Don’t look a gift Horse in the mouth: You are supposed to be able to tell a horse’s age by tooth wear, so if someone gives you a horse, it would be impolite to look in the mouth.  If you are given a gift of any kind, it is proper to just take the gift and say thank you.  The phrase first appeared in 1546.  Nowadays if you are gifted a Horse, it is usually because the person can’t care for them any longer.  Hence the need for so many Horse rescue facilities. Horse expressions-gift horse in the mouth Jody Miller Photography


4. Get off your high Horse:  This Horse expression refers to a request to someone to stop acting pompous or better than others around them.  The first riders of high horses didn’t see it that way; they were very ready to assume a proud and commanding position, indeed that was the very reason they had mounted the horse in the first place. The first references to high horses were literal ones; ‘high’ horses were large or, as they were often known in medieval England, ‘great’ horses. Medieval soldiers and political leaders bolstered their claims to supremacy by appearing in public in the full regalia of power and mounted on large and expensive horses and, in sculptural form at least, presented themselves as larger than life. 






5. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make ’em drink: People, like horses, will only do what they have a mind to do.  You can give someone the opportunity to do something, but you cannot force them to do it if they do not want to.  I have seen many riders lead their horse to water and in most cases- the horse really does drink! Check out these Salt River Wild Horses drinking from the banks of Salt River.

Horse expressions-Lead a Horse to water Jody Miller Photography

Jody Miller is a professional photographer specializing in Horse Photography, Equine Photography, and Equestrian photography.  Her work can be viewed online here in her gallery section, and she is also featured at these Arizona Galleries:  Arts Prescott Gallery, Sedona’s Village GalleryDragonfly Arts in Cottonwood and Coops Coffee House at Talking Rock Ranch. 


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