Fools, blackberries and socks — 6 old horsey sayings

  • Man’s relationship with horses goes back thousands of years, so it’s no wonder we still have a lot of old sayings to do with horses. We’ve done some investigation to see if there’s still any truth in them.

    1. No foot, no horse — pretty much every modern horse owner will still agree with this one! Good hoof care is still an absolute must, and prevention is still better than cure.

    2. Four white socks — keep him not a day, three white socks — send him far away, two white socks — give him to a friend, but one white sock — keep him to the end — there are several variations of this one, including the substitution of ‘foot’ for ‘sock’. Explanations could be that horses with four white socks were thought to be flashy and unreliable, or that white feet were thought to be of weaker quality and would cause more problems.

    3. Never a shine at blackberry time — this is a reference to the fact that horses are starting to grow in their winter coats in the autumn and can look a bit scruffy. It is perfectly possible to keep a horse shining throughout the year, though!

    4. Fools breed horses for wise men to buy — breeders can put a huge amount of effort and research into breeding a foal that looks great on paper and doesn’t turn out to be quite as good as hoped. This saying refers to the fact that it’s very difficult to spot potential in a foal and easier to spot it in an older horse so there’s supposedly less risk in buying rather than breeding.

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    5. It takes seven falls to make a horseman (or woman) — hmmm, most of us probably wish that it only took seven falls! The origin of this phrase is that you learn through experience — if you have a fall, you can hopefully avoid the sequence of events that caused it in the future (sometimes easier said than done!).

    6. A good horse is never a bad colour — well, no-one’s going to argue with this one! Although we all have our own preferences for certain colours, coat colour alone has no impact on the horse’s ability or temperament (but if you hate grooming, stick to dark colours…).

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