Horses (Equus ferus caballus) are large ungulates, which have had a long relationship with human society. Evidence indicates that horses have been domesticated since around 4000 BC, and throughout history they have played important roles in transportation, agriculture, and war, and are prominent in religion, mythology, and art.
- Then I cast loose my buff coat, each halter let fall,
Shook off both my jack-boots, let go belt and all,
Stood up in the stirrup, leaned, patted his ear,
Called my Roland his pet name, my horse without peer;
Clapped my hands, laughed and sang, any noise bad or good,
'Til at length into Aix Roland galloped and stood.
- Robert Browning, How They Brought the News from Ghent.
- When I
the grass gets cropped.
- John Carder Bush, in "Control: A translation" (1974).
- The Cossack prince rubb'd down his horse,
And made for him a leafy bed,
And smooth'd his fetlocks and his mane,
And slack'd his girth, and stripp'd his rein,
And joy'd to see how well he fed;
For until now he had the dread
His wearied courser might refuse
To browse beneath the midnight dews:
But he was hardy as his lord,
And little cared for bed and board;
But spirited and docile too,
Whate'er was to be done, would do.
- Lord Byron, Mazeppa, stanza III
- Ohé, I cry a loud lament for Kalki! The little silver effigies which his postulants fashion and adore are well enough: but Kalki is a horse of another color.
- James Branch Cabell, The Silver Stallion : A Comedy of Redemption (1926), the character Horvendille, in Book Six : In the Sylan's House, Ch. XXXIX : One Warden Left Uncircumvented.
- Before the gods that made the gods
Had seen their sunrise pass,
The White Horse of the White Horse Vale
Was cut out of the grass.
- Age beyond age on British land,
Aeons on aeons gone,
Was peace and war in western hills,
And the White Horse looked on.
- For the White Horse knew England
When there was none to know;
He saw the first oar break or bend,
He saw heaven fall and the world end,
O God, how long ago.
For the end of the world was long ago,
And all we dwell to-day
As children of some second birth,
Like a strange people left on earth
After a judgment day.
- Horse is as everyone can see.
- As much as I like horses — they can keep their cheese.
- Martin Clunes (b. 1961), in an appearance on the Paul O'Grady Show, Channel 4 television (7 October 2009).
- Gamaun is a dainty steed,
Strong, black, and of a noble breed,
Full of fire, and full of bone,
With all his line of fathers known;
Fine his nose, his nostrils thin,
But blown abroad by the pride within;
His mane is like a river flowing,
And his eyes like embers glowing
In the darkness of the night,
And his pace as swift as light.
- Barry Cornwall, The Blood Horse, as quoted in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922),
- A canter is the cure for every evil.
- Benjamin Disraeli, The Young Duke
- He could not be captured,
He could not be bought,
His running was rhythm,
His standing was thought;
With one eye on sorrow
And one eye on mirth,
He galloped in heaven
And gambolled on earth.
- Eleanor Farjeon, in "Pegasus", St. 3 & 4, from The New Book of Days (1961), p. 181.
- A horse is dangerous at both ends and uncomfortable in the middle.
- Ian Fleming, The Sunday Times (1966).
- I told you I would tell you my names. This is what they call me. I'm called Glad-of-War, Grim, Raider, and Third. I am One-Eyed. I am called Highest, and True-Guesser. I am Grimnir, and I am the Hooded One. I am All-Father, and I am Gondlir Wand-Bearer. I have as many names as there are winds, as many titles as there are ways to die. My ravens are Huginn and Muninn, Thought and Memory; my wolves are Freki and Geri; my horse is the gallows.
- You have seen bigger horses than his thirteen and a half, perhaps fourteen hands, his nine hundred pounds. You have seen handsomer profiles than this Roman nose, slightly convex. Burrs cling to his long sweeping tail. His coat is dark and unglossed. Yet look again, while he is still, for he will not be still long. Sense the vitality in those muscles, trembling beneath the skin; see the pride in that high head, hear the haughty command to his voice. For this is a wild horse, my friend. Once he claimed the western range. Then they took his range away from him. But nothing, no one claims him. He feels the wind and the air with his nose, with his ears, with his very soul, and what he feels is good. He tosses his head, once, quickly, and behind him his harem of six mares trot up to join him, and behind them, a yearling colt, a filly and two stork-legged foals. Coats dusty and chewed, tails spiked with bits of the desert, sage and nettle and leftover pine needles from winter climbs down from timberland. The Barb-nosed stallion led his family down to the waterhole. Not Barb from barbed wire, though perhaps the chewed skin was from barbed wire, but Barb from the Spanish horses from which he descended, brought to the New World over four hundred years ago, from the Barbary states of North Africa, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Fez, [w:Tripoli|Tripoli]]. Indians stole them from the Spaniards; the Barbs stole themselves free from the Indians. Running wild, a few still run free.
- Arnold Hano, in Running Wild (1973), p. 10
- "It was not always so," he said slowly. "When I was a boy—stealing horses was not a crime. It was the way of a brave man, a warrior. Horses then served the purposes of the tribe." He could tell them more, but what he could tell them would perhaps disgust them, confuse them. He had told them enough. Tomacito could have told how Indian tribes rode horses, and when the horses grew old and useless, or when the tribe grew desperate for hunger or for shelter, they drank their horses' blood, stripped their hides for teepees, ate the flesh. Cruel, yes, but necessary. They bought horses, traded for horses, and if they had to—and often they had to—they stole horses. The Spaniards came, and then the white man, and they had horses, and the Indians had none, in the beginning. The white man and the Spaniard, on horses, chased the Indian from his own land. The Indians, on foot, were easy to chase, to hunt down, and kill. With horses, the Indians could stand and fight and die, or run and hide and live a little longer. It was an unfair fight from the start, even with horses, but without horses, it wasn't a fight at all. It was a massacre.
- Arnold Hano, in Running Wild (1973), p. 105
- Only a man harrowing clods
In a slow silent walk
With an old horse that stumbles and nods
Half asleep as they stalk.
Only thin smoke without flame
From the heaps of couch-grass;
Yet this will go onward the same
Though Dynasties pass.
- I'm a dark horse
Running on a dark race course
I'm a blue moon
Since I stepped from out of the womb
I've been a cool jerk
Looking for the source
I'm a dark horse.
- Morgan! — She ain't nothing else, and I've got the papers to prove it.
Sired by Chippewa Chief, and twelve hundred dollars won't buy her.
- Bret Harte, Chiquita, as quoted in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922).
- Whose soldiers touched contemptuously
the clusters of flowers on the Parijata tree
In the Nandana Gardens (of Indra's Heaven),
which had been caressed by the contact of Saci's hair.
- Childhood living is easy to do
The things you wanted, I bought them for you
Graceless lady, you know who I am
You know I can't let you slide through my hands
Wild horses couldn't drag me away
Wild, wild horses, couldn't drag me away.
- I know I've dreamed you, a sin and a lie
I have my freedom but I don't have much time
Faith has been broken, tears must be cried
Let's do some living, after we die
Wild horses couldn't drag me away
Wild, wild horses, we'll ride them some day…
- Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder? Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? the glory of his nostrils is terrible. He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men. He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword. The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield. He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage: neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet. He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.
- And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.
And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
- Book of Revelation, 19:11-21 (KJV)
- Variant translation:
- I saw heaven opened, and look! a white horse. And the one seated on it is called Faithful and True, and he judges and carries on war in righteousness. His eyes are a fiery flame, and on his head are many diadems. He has a name written that no one knows but he himself, and he is clothed with an outer garment stained with blood, and he is called by the name The Word of God. Also, the armies in heaven were following him on white horses, and they were clothed in white, clean, fine linen. And out of his mouth protrudes a sharp, long sword with which to strike the nations, and he will shepherd them with a rod of iron. Moreover, he treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his outer garment, yes, on his thigh, he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
I saw also an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice and said to all the birds that fly in midheaven: “Come here, be gathered together to the great evening meal of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of military commanders and the flesh of strong men and the flesh of horses and of those seated on them, and the flesh of all, of freemen as well as of slaves and of small ones and great.” And I saw the wild beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the one seated on the horse and against his army. And the wild beast was caught, and along with it the false prophet that performed in front of it the signs with which he misled those who received the mark of the wild beast and those who worship its image. While still alive, they both were hurled into the fiery lake that burns with sulfur. But the rest were killed off with the long sword that proceeded out of the mouth of the one seated on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.
- And there stood a watchman on the tower in Jezreel, and he spied the company of Jehu as he came, and said, I see a company. And Joram said, Take an horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, Is it peace?
So there went one on horseback to meet him, and said, Thus saith the king, Is it peace? And Jehu said, What hast thou to do with peace? turn thee behind me. And the watchman told, saying, The messenger came to them, but he cometh not again.
Then he sent out a second on horseback, which came to them, and said, Thus saith the king, Is it peace? And Jehu answered, What hast thou to do with peace? turn thee behind me.
And the watchman told, saying, He came even unto them, and cometh not again: and the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi; for he driveth furiously.
- I have not permitted myself, gentlemen, to conclude that I am the best man in the country; but I am reminded, in this connection, of a story of an old Dutch farmer, who remarked to a companion once that it was not best to swap horses when crossing streams.
- Abraham Lincoln, Reply to delegation from the National Union League approving and endorsing "the nominations made by the Union National Convention at Baltimore." New York Times, Herald, and Tribune (10 June 1864) Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 7
- Variant: I do not allow myself to suppose that either the convention or the League, have concluded to decide that I am either the greatest or the best man in America, but rather they have concluded it is not best to swap horses while crossing the river, and have further concluded that I am not so poor a horse that they might not make a botch of it in trying to swap.
- To a delegation of the National Union League who congratulated him on his nomination as the Republican candidate for President, June 9, 1864. As given by J. F. Rhodes—Hist. of the U. S. from the Compromise of 1850, Volume IV, p. 370. Same in Nicolay and Hay Lincoln's Complete Works, Volume II, p. 532. Different version in Appleton's Cyclopedia. Raymond—Life and Public Services of Abraham Lincoln, Chapter XVIII, p. 500. (Ed. 1865) says Lincoln quotes an old Dutch farmer, "It was best not to swap horses when crossing a stream".
- Once there was an old man who lived in a tiny village. Although poor, he was envied by all, for he owned a beautiful white horse. Even the king coveted his treasure. A horse like this had never been seen before — such was its splendor, its majesty, its strength.
- All I know is that the stable is empty, and the horse is gone. The rest I don’t know. Whether it be a curse or a blessing, I can’t say. All we can see is a fragment. Who can say what will come next?
- Max Lucado, in "The Old Man and the White Horse" in In the Eye of the Storm (1991).
- Phinehas determined to risk his life in trying to kill the sinners. "For," said he to himself, "the horse goes willingly into battle, and is ready to be slain only to be of service to its master. How much more does it behoove me to expose myself to death in order to sanctify God's name!" He found himself all the more impelled to act thus because he could not well leave the punishment of the sinners to others.
- Phinehas, "The Legend of the Jews": Phinehas, Zealous For God (1909)
- Villain, a horse — Villain, I say, give me a horse to fly,
To swim the river, villain, and to fly.
- George Peele, Battle of Alcazar, Act V, line 104. (1588–9).
- What a long night is this! I will not change my horse with any that treads but on four pasterns. Ca, ha! He bounds from the earth, as if his entrails were hairs; le cheval volant, the Pegasus, qui a les narines de feu! When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk. He trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes.
- He is pure air and fire; and the dull elements of earth and water never appear in him, but only in patient stillness while his rider mounts him. He is indeed a horse, and all other jades you may call beasts.
- Steed threatens steed, in high and boastful neighs,
Piercing the night's dull ear.
- He's mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, a horse's health, a boy's love, or a whore's oath.
- And Duncan's horses,—a thing most strange and certain,—
Beauteous and swift, the minions of their race,
Turn'd wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out,
Contending 'gainst obedience, as they would make
War with mankind.
- He doth nothing but talk of his horse.
- An two men ride of a horse, one must ride behind.
- For young hot colts being rag'd, do rage the more.
- Give me another horse: bind up my wounds.
- A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!
- Round-hoof'd, short-jointed, fetlocks shag and long,
Broad breast, full eye, small head and nostril wide,
High crest, short ears, straight legs and passing strong,
Thin mane, thick tail, broad buttock, tender hide:
Look, what a horse should have he did not lack,
Save a proud rider on so proud a back.
- I saw them go; one horse was blind,
The tails of both hung down behind,
Their shoes were on their feet.
- Horace and James Smith, Rejected Addresses, The Baby's Debut, a parody of William Wordsworth
- There is no secret so close as that between a rider and his horse.
- Robert Smith Surtees in Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour, chapter 31.
- Equo ne credite, Teucri
Quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentis
- Quadrupedumque putrem cursu quatit ungula campum.
- Ardua cervix,
Argumtumque caput, brevis alvos, obesaque terga,
Luxuriatque toris animosum pectus.
- His neck is high and erect, his head replete with intelligence, his belly short, his back full, and his proud chest swells with hard muscle.
- Virgil, Georgics (c. 29 BC), III. 79.
- Where is the horse gone? Where the rider?
Where the giver of treasure?
Where are the seats at the feast?
Where are the revels in the hall?
Alas for the bright cup!
Alas for the mailed warrior!
Alas for the splendour of the prince!
How that time has passed away,
dark under the cover of night,
as if it had never been!
- The Wanderer an Old English poem, of unknown origin and date.
- [S]ome men appeared drawing out the dead beast, a miserable mass of flesh still fastened in the rope net; they left it in the midst of the puddles of melting snow. The surprise was so great that no one prevented the men from returning and barricading the door afresh. They all recognized the horse, with his head bent back and stiff against the plank. Whispers ran around: "It's Trompette, isn't it? it's Trompette." It was, in fact, Trompette. Since his descent he had never become acclimatized. He remained melancholy, with no taste for his task, as though tortured by regret for the light. In vain Bataille, the doyen of the mine, would rub him with his ribs in his friendly way, softly biting his neck to impart to him a little of the resignation gained in his ten years beneath the earth. These caresses increased his melancholy, his skin quivered beneath the confidences of the comrade who had grown old in darkness; and both of them, whenever they met and snorted together, seemed to be grieving, the old one that he could no longer remember, the young one that he could not forget. At the stable they were neighbours at the manger, and lived with lowered heads, breathing in each other's nostrils, exchanging a constant dream of daylight, visions of green grass, of white roads, of infinite yellow light. Then, when Trompette, bathed in sweat, lay in agony in his litter, Bataille had smelled at him despairingly with short sniffs like sobs. He felt that he was growing cold, the mine was taking from him his last joy, that friend fallen from above, fresh with good odours, who recalled to him his youth in the open air. And he had broken his tether, neighing with fear, when he perceived that the other no longer stirred.
- The horse is God's gift to mankind.
- Arabian proverb, Beyond the Rainbow Bridge: A Thoughtful Guide for Coping with the Loss of a Horse, p. 84
- The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears.
- Arabian proverb, Oxford Treasury of Sayings and Quotations, p. 19
- Allah took a handful of southerly wind, blew His breath over it, and created the horse. Thou shall fly without wings, and conquer without any sword, O, Horse!
- Bedouin legend, as quoted in Mr. Darcy Takes the Plunge (2010) by J. Marie Croft
- Good people get cheated, just as good horses get ridden.
- Chinese proverb, The Gigantic Book of Horse Wisdom, p. 375
- Keep five yards from a carriage, ten yards from a horse, and a hundred yards from an elephant; but the distance one should keep from a wicked man cannot be measured.
- Indian proverb, The Little Red Book of Horse Wisdom, p. 71
- A horse is worth more than riches.
- Spanish proverb, The Gigantic Book of Horse Wisdom, p. 375
- The wagon rests in winter, the sleigh in summer, the horse never.
- Yiddish proverb, The Complete Horse, p. 15
- Don't approach a goat from the front, a horse from the back, or a fool from any side.
- Yiddish Proverb, as quoted in Quotable Quotes (1997) by the Editors of Reader's Digest
- There's nothing so good for the inside of a man as the outside of a horse.
- Multiple attributions, earliest located in Social Silhouettes (1906) by George William Erskine Russell, p. 218 wherein a character attributes the saying to Lord Palmerston.