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List of animal idioms about horses and their meanings

How does the list works?

There are 3 parts to each idioms the first part is what the idiom is, then an explanation of what it means and the last part is an example of how to use it in a sentence.

How do I use the list of animal idioms A to Z?

To use the list of idioms click on each letter of the alphabet to get the list of the animal idioms for that letter.

[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D ] [ E ] [ F ] [ G ] [ H ] [ I ] [ J ] [ K ] [ L ] [ M ] [ N ] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T ] [ U ] [ V ] [ W ] [ X ] [ Y ] [ Z ]

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Animal idioms about horses

as strong as a horse/ox

- very strong

The man was as strong as an ox and easily helped us move the sofa.

as stubborn as a mule

- very stubborn

My friend is as stubborn as a mule and you can never make her change her mind.

back the wrong horse

- to support someone or something that cannot or does not win or succeed

We backed the wrong horse when we supported the candidate for mayor.

beat a dead horse

- to continue fighting a battle that has been won, to continue to argue a point that has been settled

I was beating a dead horse when I was arguing with my boss.

bet on the wrong horse

- to misread the future, to not choose the winning person or solution

The man is betting on the wrong horse if he supports the other city in their bid for the Olympic games.

by shank's mare

- by foot

I came to the meeting by shank's mare.

champ/chomp at the bit

- to be ready and anxious to do something (a bit is put into a horse's mouth for control of the horse)

Everyone was chomping at the bit to get started on their holiday.

change horses in midstream

- to make new plans or choose a new leader in an activity that has already begun

They have decided to change lawyers but I told them that they should not change horses in midstream.

a dark horse

- a candidate who is little known to the general public

The candidate for mayor was a dark horse until he gave some good speeches on TV.

dog and pony show

- something that you disapprove of because you think that it has only been organized to impress you (like a dog and pony show in a circus)

We had serious questions about the project but we only got a dog and pony show when we questioned our business partners.

donkey's years

- a very long time

I was happy to see my friend because I had not seen her in donkey's years.

eat like a horse

- to eat a lot

My brother eats like a horse.

flog a dead horse

- to continue fighting a battle that has been won, to continue to argue a point that has been settled

My friend was flogging a dead horse when she would not stop arguing about the mistake on her paycheck.

get off one`s high horse

- to begin to be humble and agreeable

I wish that my supervisor would get off her high horse and begin to think about how other people feel about things.

get on one`s high horse

- to behave with arrogance

My friend is always getting on her high horse and telling people what to do.

hold one`s horses

- to wait, to be patient

"Hold your horses for a moment while I make a phone call."

hoof it

- to walk or run (a hoof is the foot of a horse or sheep or cow etc.)

I decided to hoof it when I came downtown this morning.

horse around

- to play around (in a rough way)

The teacher told the children not to horse around while they were getting ready for class.

a horse of a different color

- another matter entirely, something else, something different than the subject that is being discussed

Changing locations is a horse of a different color and was never discussed in any of our meetings.

horse sense

- common sense, practical thinking

The boy does not have any horse sense and often makes the wrong decision.

horse trade

- to bargain in a hard and skillful way

We had to do some horse trading but finally we were able to buy the new house.

lock the barn door after the horse is gone

- to try to deal with something after it is too late

My friend wants to fix his house. However, it is like locking the barn door after the horse is gone. There was a flood and the damage is already done.

look a gift horse in the mouth

- to complain if a gift is not perfect

The girl should not look a gift horse in the mouth. She should be happy that she received a present from her friends.

on horseback

- on the back of a horse

We rode to the river on horseback.

put (someone or something) out to pasture

- to retire someone or something (just as you would put a horse that is too old to work out to pasture)

We finally decided to put our old car out to pasture and buy a new one.

put the cart before the horse

- to do things in the wrong order

Buying a ticket before we make our holiday plans is putting the cart before the horse.

ride herd on (someone)

- to watch closely and strictly supervise someone (as a cowboy would supervise a herd of cattle)

The manager has been riding herd on his employees so that they can finish the job quickly.

straight from the horse`s mouth

- directly from the person who said something, directly from a dependable source

I heard it straight from the horse`s mouth that our supervisor will be leaving the company next week.

wild horses could not drag (someone away)

- there is nothing that will force someone to go somewhere or do something

Wild horses could not drag me away from my favorite TV show last night.

work like a horse

- to work very hard

My grandfather worked like a horse when he was a young man.

you can lead a horse to water (but you can't make it drink)

- you can give someone the opportunity to do something but you cannot force him or her to do it if they do not want to

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink and no matter how hard we try to help my cousin get a job he will not make any effort to find one.

Lessons that are related to the exercise

To view any of the lessons below click on link.

Idioms human body English lesson

A to Z Idioms - list English phrases

Small List of idioms A - Z English phrases

Dictionary and how to use dictionaries

Click on the following link for the Online English dictionary - English lesson