The Quote Garden
 “I dig old books.”
 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Horses

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NOTE:  Some of the quotes on this page were submitted to me by visitors, and not all have been verified for original source or wording. I'm working hard to confirm everything, but in the meantime please be aware of the possibility for errors.   —ღ Terri, March 2021

There is nothing so good for the inside of a man as the outside of a horse. ~John Lubbock, "Recreation," The Use of Life, 1894

He doth nothing but talk of his horse... ~William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, c.1596  [I, 2, Portia]

Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.  ~W.C. Fields

Many people have sighed for the 'good old days' and regretted the 'passing of the horse,' but today, when only those who like horses own them, it is a far better time for horses.  ~C.W. Anderson

Horses and children, I often think, have a lot of the good sense there is in the world.  ~Josephine Demott Robinson

Ah, steeds, steeds, what steeds!  Has the whirlwind a home in your manes?  Is there a sensitive ear, alert as a flame, in your every fiber?  Hearing the familiar song from above, all in one accord you strain your bronze chests and, hooves barely touching the ground, turn into straight lines cleaving the air, and all inspired by God it rushes on!  ~Nikolai V. Gogol, Dead Souls, 1842, translated from Russian

At last he saw Snow Cloud in a wide stretch of rippling grass. He pranced nervously for a moment and then cantered off across the open ground, not running away but certainly not coming any nearer. He circled widely, with ears alertly forward and nose high. The boy was not disturbed; he had seen enough of horses to know that such behavior was part playfulness and part high spirits. A horse loves freedom, and the weariest old work horse will roll on the ground or break into a lumbering gallop when he is turned loose in the open. ~Gerald Raftery (1905–1986), Snow Cloud, 1951  [a little altered –tg]

We had... a pony with a bronze coat and a joyful temperament. Most afternoons the colt could be found cantering in the grass, kicking his legs high and twisting his thin torso into jaunty leaps, as though with a little effort he could undo the binds of gravity and gallop away on the wind. ~Abby Geni, The Wildlands, 2018

I bless the hoss from hoof to head—
From head to hoof, and tale to mane!—
I bless the hoss, as I have said,
From head to hoof, and back again!
~James Whitcomb Riley

A lovely horse is always an experience... It is an emotional experience of the kind that is spoiled by words.  ~Beryl Markham

I can always tell which is the front end of a horse, but beyond that my art is not above the ordinary. ~Mark Twain

The horses paw and prance and neigh,
Fillies and colts like kittens play,
And dance and toss their rippled manes
Shining and soft as silken skeins...
~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Saddle-leather is in some respects even preferable to sole-leather... One's hepar, or in vulgar language, liver, — a ponderous organ, weighing some three or four pounds, — goes up and down like the dasher of a churn in the midst of the other vital arrangements, at every step of a trotting horse. The brains are also shaken up like coppers in a money-box. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table

...I heard a neigh.  Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was!  My very heart leaped with delight at the sound.  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Chimæra," A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys, 1852 [Pegasus –tg]

With flowing tail, and flying mane,
Wide nostrils never stretched by pain,
Mouths bloodless to the bit or rein,
And feet that iron never shod,
And flanks unscarred by spur or rod,
A thousand horse, the wild, the free,
Like waves that follow o'er the sea,
Came thickly thundering on...
~Lord Byron

The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and fire.  ~Sharon Ralls Lemon

All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day.  ~Author unknown

A Hibernian sage once wrote that there are three things a man never forgets:  The girl of his early youth, a devoted teacher, and a great horse.  ~C.J.J. Mullen

Why, that's just horse nature... It's just their instinct to be afraid of things jumping on their backs. All horses were wild one time... ~Gerald Raftery (1905–1986), Twenty-Dollar Horse, 1955

Among all the sights of the docks, the noble truck-horses are not the least striking to a stranger.  They are large and powerful brutes, with such sleek and glossy coats, that they look as if brushed and put on by a valet every morning.  They march with a slow and stately step, lifting their ponderous hoofs like royal Siam elephants.  Thou shalt not lay stripes upon these Roman citizens; for their docility is such, they are guided without rein or lash; they go or come, halt or march on, at a whisper.  So grave, dignified, gentlemanly, and courteous did these fine truck-horses look - so full of calm intelligence and sagacity, that often I endeavored to get into conversation with them...  But all I could get from them was the mere recognition of a friendly neigh; though I would stake much upon it that, could I have spoken in their language, I would have derived from them a good deal of valuable information...  ~Herman Melville, Redburn. His First Voyage, 1849

A horse is worth more than riches.  ~Spanish proverb

I'd rather have a goddam horse. A horse is at least human, for God's sake. ~J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, 1951  [Holden Caulfield speaking. To have a horse rather than a car. —tg]

There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it.  ~Author unknown

Brahma was excessively sparing with earth, water, and fire... The reckless expenditure of air and ether in his composition was amazing.  And, in consequence, he perpetually struggled to outreach the wind, to outrun space itself.  Other animals ran only when they had a reason, but the Horse would run for no reason whatever, as if to run out of his own skin.  ~Rabindranath Tagore

Look back at our struggle for freedom,
Trace our present day's strength to it's source;
And you'll find that man's pathway to glory
Is strewn with the bones of the horse.
~Author unknown

A handsome foal came charging up to us upon a stretch of common, sniffed the air martially as one about to do great deeds, and suddenly thinking otherwise in his green young heart, put about and galloped off as he had come... ~Robert Louis Stevenson, Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes, 1879 [a little altered –tg]

God forbid that I should go to any Heaven in which there are no horses.  ~R.B. Cunninghame Graham, letter to Theodore Roosevelt, 1917

Four things greater than all things are,—
Women and Horses and Power and War.
~Rudyard Kipling, "The Ballad of the King's Jest"

Again the early-morning sun was generous with its warmth.  All the sounds dear to a horseman were around me - the snort of the horses as they cleared their throats, the gentle swish of their tails... little sounds of no importance, but they stay in the unconscious library of memory.  ~Wynford Vaughan-Thomas

A man that don't love a horse, there is something the matter with him. ~Will Rogers

Wherever man has left his footprint in the long ascent from barbarism to civilization we will find the hoofprint of the horse beside it.  ~John Moore

If you're a horse, and someone gets on you, and falls off, and then gets right back on you, I think you should buck him off right away. ~Jack Handey, Deep Thoughts, 1992,

Gamarra is a dainty steed,
Strong, black, and of a noble breed,
Full of fire, and full of bone...
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...
The red blood gallops through his veins,—
Richer, redder, never ran
Through the boasting heart of man...
He lived through all the hot Arabian day,
And died untamed upon the sands
Where Balkh amid the desert stands!
~Barry Cornwall (Bryan Waller Procter, 1787–1874), "A Garland of Common Flowers: The Blood-Horse," 1831

Small children are convinced that ponies deserve to see the inside of the house.  ~Maya Patel

To me, horses and freedom are synonymous.  ~Veryl Goodnight

Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride,
Friendship without envy,
Or beauty without vanity?
Here, where grace is served with muscle
And strength by gentleness confined...
~Ronald Duncan, "The Horse," 1954

The horse through all its trials has preserved the sweetness of paradise in its blood.  ~Johannes Jensen

"Poor fellow," said Mr. Winkle, soothingly, — "poor fellow — good old horse." The "poor fellow" was proof against flattery: the more Mr. Winkle tried to get nearer him, the more he sidled away; and, notwithstanding all kinds of coaxing and wheedling, there were Mr. Winkle and the horse going round and round each other for ten minutes, at the end of which time each was at precisely the same distance from the other as when they first commenced... ~Charles Dickens, The Posthumous Papers of The Pickwick Club, 1836

I go about looking at horses and cattle.  They eat grass, make love, work when they have to, bear their young.  I am sick with envy of them.  ~Sherwood Anderson

The summer river:
although there is a bridge, my horse
goes through the water.
~Masaoka Shiki (1867–1902), translated by Harold G. Henderson, 1958

Each morning he came to meet me at the fence, shaking his nostrils rather as men shake hands. ~J. H. B. Peel, Latest Country Talk, 1981

Somewhere in time's own space
There must be some sweet pastured place
Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow
Some paradise where horses go,
For by the love that guides my pen
I know great horses live again.
~Stanley Harrison

People have always cared me a bit, you see — they're so complicated.  I suppose that's why I prefer horses.  ~From the movie Separate Tables, 1958

There are unknown worlds of knowledge in brutes; and whenever you mark a horse, or a dog, with a peculiarly mild, calm, deep-seated eye, be sure he is an Aristotle or a Kant, tranquilly speculating upon the mysteries in man.  No philosophers so thoroughly comprehend us as dogs and horses.  They see through us at a glance.  And after all, what is a horse but a species of four-footed dumb man, in a leathern overall, who happens to live upon oats, and toils for his masters, half-requited or abused, like the biped hewers of wood and drawers of water?  But there is a touch of divinity even in brutes, and a special halo about a horse, that should forever exempt him from indignities.  As for those majestic, magisterial truck-horses of the docks, I would as soon think of striking a judge on the bench, as to lay violent hand upon their holy hides.  ~Herman Melville, Redburn. His First Voyage, 1849

The horse is God's gift to mankind.  ~Arabian proverb

When the storm clouds in the west
Are quickly gathering
The ponies they run wild there
Before it rains
You'll see their sleek dark bodies
Brightly gleaming
You know the fire is flying through
Their brains...
~J. Bullock, "Ponies" (John Denver)

Horses — if God made anything more beautiful, he kept it for himself.  ~Author unknown

If you want a stable friendship, get a horse.  ~Author unknown

...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,
chez 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.
~William Shakespeare, Henry V, c.1598  [III, 7, Lewis the Dauphin]

He's of the colour of the nutmeg.
And of the heat of the ginger. It is a beast for
Perseus: 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... his neigh is like the bidding of
a monarch and his countenance enforces homage.
~William Shakespeare, Henry V, c.1598  [III, 7, Duke of Orleans & Lewis the Dauphin]

Horses are creatures who worship the earth
as they gallop on feet of ivory.
Constrained by the wonder of dying and birth,
the horses still run, they are free.
~John Denver and Joe Henry, "Eagles and Horses"

A dog may be man's best friend, but the horse wrote history.  ~Author unknown

Why did this animal that had prospered so in the Colorado desert leave his amiable homeland for Siberia?  There is no answer.  We know that when the horse negotiated the land bridge... he found on the other end an opportunity for varied development that is one of the bright aspects of animal history.  He wandered into France and became the mighty Percheron, and into Arabia, where he developed into a lovely poem of a horse, and into Africa where he became the brilliant zebra, and into Scotland, where he bred selectively to form the massive Clydesdale.  He would also journey into Spain, where his very name would become the designation for gentleman, a caballero, a man of the horse.  There he would flourish mightily and serve the armies that would conquer much of the known world.  ~James Michener

A horse is poetry in motion.  ~Author unknown

A Horseman should know neither fear, nor anger.  ~James Rarey

She lifted the drooping muzzle with both hands... It was a special embrace saved for special occasions.  ~Jean M. Auel

O, for a horse with wings! ~William Shakespeare, Cymbeline, c.1611 [III, 2, Imogen]

Horse sense, n.:  stable thinking.  ~Author unknown

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Last saved 2021 Mar 23 Tue 12:25 PDT

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