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Horse Idioms

Updated on November 26, 2017
Ben Reed profile image

Ben has held a life-long interest in language and has a special interest in the expressions, phrases and idioms that contribute to its use.

What is an Idiom?

People use idioms all the time, often without even realising it. In fact there are said to be some 15,000 idioms used in the English language.

An idiom is a turn of phrase that can often be incomprehensible to a person who is not familiar with the language. An idiom can also be decribed as a phrase or an expression that cannot be taken literally.

When you use an idiom in everyday language, then it has a different meaning than the basic meaning or definition of the words as found in a dictionary.

An example of this might be "a piece of cake." If taken literally, then you might think that you are being offered a piece of cake to eat. However, this phrase, or idiom is often used by someone to say that a task will be easy to accomplish.

To Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth - Idiom
To Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth - Idiom

Horse Idioms numbers 1 to 3

1. Wild Horses Wouldn't Drag Me Away.

Meaning that you will stick with something you have started.

An example would be: "I was determined to finish the race, wild horses couldn't have dragged me away".

Some believe this to have originated from the medieval torture of using horses to stretch prisoners in an attempt to force a confession, although this is sometimes disputed.

2. Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth.

A way of saying that someone is ungrateful. To receive a gift, not be thankful and treat the person giving the gift badly.

3. A Nod is as Good as a Wink to a Blind Horse.

A way of saying that you cannot get some people to take a hint if they are determined not to.

Horse Idioms - BBC Learning video

Horse Idioms Numbers 4 to 6

4. A Trojan Horse.

Describes something or someone who attacks the group it or they belong to.

The origin of this idiom has is beginnings in the story of the ancient Greek army besieging the city of Troy. The Greeks built a huge hollow wooden horse and left it for the Trojans who took it as a gift inside their city walls. However, Greek soldiers where hiding inside the horse and once inside the city walls they were able to destroy the city.

5. To Get off One's High Horse.

A way of saying that a person should be more humble or agreeable.

Trojan Horse -Idiom
Trojan Horse -Idiom

Horse Idiom Number 6

"Every Horse Thinks it's Own Pack the Heaviest."

A way of saying that everyone believes that their own work is the hardest.

Horse Idioms Number 7 to 10

7. Horse of a Different Color.

A way of saying that something is different than what you thought would happen.

8. Horse Sense.

A way of saying that a person has common sense.

9 To Hold One's Horses.

A way of saying that you should slow down. Not take things quite so fast.

10. Horse Play.

A way of saying that someone is playing in a rough or rowdy manner.

A Horse Of A Different Color - Idiom
A Horse Of A Different Color - Idiom

Horses having fun on a hot day - YouTube video

Horse Idioms Numbers 11 to 14

11. Put the Cart before the Horse.

A way of saying that a person is doing things in the wrong order or sequence.

12. A Stalking Horse.

Something that is used to mask or hide someone's true purpose.

13. Don't Spare the Horses.

A way of telling someone to hurry.

14. A One Horse Town
A way of describing a town that it small and unremarkable, dull or boring.

Cart Before The Horse - Idiom
Cart Before The Horse - Idiom

Horse Idioms Numbers 15 to 18

15. A Dark Horse.

This describes someone who unexpectedly wins a race or competition. It can also describe someone with an unexpected talent for something.

16. A Hobby Horse.

A way of describing someone who talks incessantly, or constantly complains about a subject, issue or topic.

17. Enough to choke a horse.

A way of saying that something is a huge or excessive amount.

18. A Horse Doctor
A derogatory phrase. an example would be: "That horse doctor says that there is nothing wrong with me. What does he know".

A Dark Horse - Idiom
A Dark Horse - Idiom

Horse Idiom numbers 19 to 22

19. Horse and Buggy.

A way of saying that something is old fashioned or out of date.

An example would be: "That way of working went out with the horse and buggy".

20. Horse Opera.

A way of describing something that is formulaic. Usually referring to a film or stage show .

21. If Wishes Were Horses.

A way of saying how nice or easy it would be if one could easily have what they wanted, then life would be easy.

22. Horse Hockey

A way of saying that something is nonsense.

An example would be: "I have heard enough of your horse hockey".

Horse Opera - Idiom
Horse Opera - Idiom

I hope that you have enjoyed my article. Please leave feedback - always welcome.

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    • Ben Reed profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Reed 

      4 years ago from Redcar

      @lesliesinclair: I wouldn't be at all surprised.

    • lesliesinclair profile image


      4 years ago

      The stalking horse must have just bucked off Don Quixote, don't you think.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Dear fellow traveler. Loved this lens. "I am by nature a dealer in words and words are the most powerful drug known to humanity." Rudyard Kipling

    • Ben Reed profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Reed 

      5 years ago from Redcar

      @lollyj lm: Thank you.

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 

      5 years ago from Washington KS

      I love idioms and you presented these with color and humor.

    • Ben Reed profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Reed 

      5 years ago from Redcar

      @Camden1: I think we often forget that we are using them everyday.

    • Camden1 profile image


      5 years ago

      These idioms are used so commonly that I never really think about how unusual they actually are. Thanks for sharing!

    • Ben Reed profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Reed 

      5 years ago from Redcar

      @Elaine Chen: Thank you.

    • Elaine Chen profile image

      Elaine Chen 

      5 years ago

      I like those horse pictures you presented here

    • Noelle and Dan profile image

      Noelle and Dan 

      5 years ago

      Enjoyable lens.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 

      6 years ago from GRENADA

      Seeing them all in one place made me realize that there are quite a few horse idioms.

    • Steve Dizmon profile image

      Steve Dizmon 

      6 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Pigs and Cats and Horses, Oh My. A trifecta of Idiomatic Lenses. Enjoyed them.

    • Ben Reed profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Reed 

      6 years ago from Redcar

      @anonymous: Hi Tipi. Thank you for your visit and Blessing of this lense. I always look forward to hearing from you.

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 

      6 years ago

      Good job! Enjoyed your lens.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This is like visiting an online horse gallery of pictures.

      I love everything about horses, so really did enjoy this.

    • CCGAL profile image


      6 years ago

      How about "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink" - that's one I've heard a lot.

      Nice job - once again you found delightful images. Nice work!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      lovely lense, i do enjoy it so much.

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      YES! Well DONE! Great tribute to horses and idioms.

    • delia-delia profile image


      7 years ago

      yes I did enjoy these horse itioms...nice lens


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