Fun and Games with Winnie

Horse Idioms in Our Language…There’s Quite a List!

The gang at Winsong demonstrates how the "horse" is deeply ingrained in our language. They have come up with a long list of horse idioms. Can you add to it?

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By: Fun and Games with Winnie |

After practicing for our miniature horse/pony square dance we were brainstorming for our next fundraiser June 9 (for Matthew House Hospice in Alliston). We started thinking about the horse.

Thirty years before I was born horses were an integral part of a great many people’s lives in North America. Nowadays many humans have never touched a horse or needed one…for anything. HOWEVER, the “horse” is deeply ingrained in our language. While brainstorming we thought it’d be very interesting/educational/entertaining to create a quiz incorporating these horse idioms. Can you add to our list?

The “horse” in our language today:

  • Back in the saddle.
  • Blow it out your nose.
  • Charley horse
  • Chomp/champ at the bit.
  • Curb your enthusiasm.
  • Don’t beat a dead horse.
  • Don’t change horses in midstream.
  • Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
  • Don’t put the cart before the horse.
  • Don’t shut the barn door after the horses get out.
  • Dog and pony show.
  • Down to the wire.
  • Dark horse, dark horse candidate
  • Dragooned.
  • Eat like a horse.
  • Feeling your oats.
  • Free rein
  • Frisky as a colt.
  • Getting a leg up.
  • Get back in the saddle.
  • Get off your high-horse.
  • Grab the bit.
  • Green horse. A person who’s “green” (new) to the project.
  • Grass is always greener…
  • Hack
  • Hay burner
  • Haywire
  • Healthy as a horse.
  • He’s got a burr under his saddle.
  • Hit one’s stride.
  • Hit the trail.
  • Hobby horse
  • Hold your horses!
  • Home stretch
  • Hoofing it.
  • Horse and buggy days.
  • Horsefeathers
  • Horse for courses.
  • Horse Latitudes: between 30 and 35 degrees north and south of the equator. Doldrums. Lack of wind. Horses being shipped died on board.
  • A horse of a different colour.
  • Horse play
  • Horse power
  • Horse sense, W. C. Fields “What horses have that keeps them from betting on people.”
  • Horse trade.
  • I could eat a horse.
  • In his stride.
  • Inside track.
  • In the stretch, down the stretch, in the home stretch
  • Jump on the bandwagon
  • Jump the gun.
  • Keep him on a short rein.
  • Lash out
  • Lean into the collar.
  • Left behind at the gate.
  • Long in the tooth.
  • Loosen the reins.
  • Making hay.
  • Mare’s nest
  • Mosey headed. (in old age white hairs appearing on a dark horse)
  • A nod is good as a wink to a blind horse.
  • No sweat.
  • One hand on the plow.
  • One horse race.
  • One horse town
  • On the hoof
  • Ponytail
  • Pull up
  • Put the horse out to pasture.
  • Put it through its paces.
  • Rein in (your enthusiasm)
  • Ride hard
  • Riding for a fall.
  • Riding Shotgun
  • Rode hard and put away wet.
  • Rode roughshod
  • Runner up
  • Saddle up
  • Saddled with _____
  • Saw horse
  • Send in the cavalry!
  • Shoe-in
  • Sidekick
  • Sowing wild oats.
  • Squeaky wheel gets the grease.
  • Stop to change horses.
  • Straight from the horse’s mouth.
  • Strong as a horse.
  • Throw your heart over the fence.
  • Unbridled
  • Under the wire
  • Wheel horse
  • Wild horses couldn’t drag me away.
  • Win by a nose
  • Winning your spurs
  • Won hands down.
  • Work like a horse
  • You and the horse you rode in on.
  • You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.
  • You can see who holds the reins in that family.