Posted by ESC on July 04, 2003
In Reply to: High Horse posted by Maggie on July 04, 2003
: I am desperately looking for the origin of "High Horse" as in "Get off your high horse" Please e-mail me if you know this origin. Thanks a lot
HIGH HORSE - "To ride the high horse; on one's high horse. Away back in the fourteenth century John Wyclif records that in a royal pageant persons of high rank were mounted on 'high horses, meaning that they rode the so-called 'great horses,' or heavy chargers used in battle or tournament.The custom died, but the expression remains. "To ride the high horse' means to affect arrogance or superiority, to act pretentiously." From "2107 Curious Word Origins, Sayings & Expressions from White Elephants to a Song and Dance" by Charles Earle Funk (Galahad Book, New York, 1993). This reference is a compilation of Mr. Funk's books that were originally published in the late 40s and 50s.
I have a different understanding of the phrase. If you say to someone, "Now, don't get on your high horse," it means don't take offense. Keep calm and don't get in a flap over something.