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Horse Words and Phrases
Horses were once very important in our economy. People depended upon them for transportation. Since they were once our mode of transportation, there were also people who sold horses to make a living. Maybe that is why there are so many words and phrases that talk about horses, only a few of which I cover in this article.
Horseless carriage - What could a carriage without a horse be except for a car? I guess that was an easy name to call automobiles when they first began to take over the transportation industry.
"Stubborn as a mule" and "You can lead a horse to water, but you canít make it drink" go together in my mind. Both speak of how stubborn a horse, or a mule, is capable of being. Neither one will do what he does not want to do.
Beating a dead horse - Only someone who is really cruel and sadistic would beat a horse that was already dead. When someone is beating a dead horse, they are trying to revive interest in something that has lost its appeal, or is no longer of any use.
Horseplay - Rough, boisterous play makes up horseplay. But where did this term come from? Since Iím not around horses, I donít know if they ever play boisterously with each other. English Morris dancers were distinguished by their festive ribbons and outfits, by wearing bells on their legs and by waving handkerchiefs. They often had players riding wooden hobby horses, that moved around as though out of control, with them. Horseplay supposedly came about from these antics.
Donít look a gift horse in the mouth - Horse traders used to determine the age of a horse by looking in its mouth to see how far the incisors were wore down. The older the horse, the less able it is to do heavy work. When someone looks a gift horse in the mouth, he complain that not enough was paid for a gift he was given.
Horse sense - Horses are intelligent animals, so if someone tells you that you have horse sense, they are paying you a compliment.
Dark horse - A dark horse is a person that very little is known about. He could be a political candidate, before unknown, that gains a huge amount of support. Someone who isnít very well known who is surprisingly successful. Like the racehorse that hasnít before won a race, who unexpectedly shoots ahead to the lead and wins the race.
Trojan horse - I learned about the Trojan horse while still in school. In case you donít know the story, during the war between the Greeks and the Trojans, the Greeks left a large wooden horse outside the gates of Troy one evening. For some reason, the Trojans took it inside the city. Hidden inside the horse were Greek soldiers who were then able to come out, open the gates of the city and allow the rest of the Greek soldiers to enter and defeat Troy. The term is now commonly used to refer to computer viruses that steal passwords and do other such damage to computers.
Hopefully, not too many of you have had to deal with Trojans, but chances are that, if you are on the internet, you have. So always back up your writing. Nothing is worse than to lose an entire book or short story due to your computer being infected by a virus.
There are many more words and phrases that have to do with horses. Maybe more of them will be covered in a future article.
Many writers unknowingly make mistakes about horses in their books or stories. Sue L. Huffman covers many mistakes that are made in her book "The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About Horses". If you have horses in your story, this book is a must. If you wish, you may click on the following link to purchase a copy.
The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About Horses
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