Monday, September 11, 2023

Get off your high horse by Jan Scarbrough

It’s the first Monday of the month. I’m supposed to post a blog on the second Monday of the month. As usual, I’m trying to figure out what to write.


There’s nothing like the Internet to give someone an idea. Several years ago, when I was researching my western romances, I came across this website called Think Like a Horse


Okay, so I started on that site looking for ideas. I came across a page called Cowboy Wisdom


I found some good bits of wisdom like “What this country needs are dirtier fingernails and cleaner minds.”


One saying struck me as so very true: “If you are riding a high horse, there ain't no way to get down off it gracefully.”


You see, I’ve ridden a high horse. His fancy name was Calloway’s Aspiration, barn name Dan. I don’t know how tall he was—maybe seventeen hands. That’s tall. I needed a three-step mounting block to get on him. Then when I got off, I swung my leg over the saddle, held on to the saddle, took a deep breath and dropped to the ground. It was a long way down!


But that’s not what that piece of wisdom really refers to. A “high horse” is an idiom—an expression in the usage of a language that is peculiar to itself either in having a meaning that cannot be derived from the conjoined meanings of its elements (such as up in the air for "undecided") or in its grammatically atypical use of words (such as give way). 


High horse means: An attitude of moral superiority. Typically used in the phrases ‘get off (one's) high horse’ and ‘on (one's) high horse.’ 


This is a cool origin of the word: As long ago as the fourteenth century, persons of high rank rode very tall horses, a custom that came to symbolize superiority and arrogance. By 1800 or so, to be or to get on one’s high horse meant to act superior, with or without justification. 


Okay, so that’s my research for the month. Do you know someone who is on his or her “high horse”?


Hmmm. I think my Christmas book might have one such character.

1 comment:

Julie Lence said...

I had no idea the expression dated back so far. Will have to remember that and maybe think of a way to incorporate into a story. Thanks, Jan!