In Reply to: Hitting their straps posted by Colhaze on May 06, 2008 at 15:42:
: This is an answer not a question, 'hitting your straps' comes from horses in harness, they wear straps to keep them in the correct gait.
: Four legged animals have four gaits - they can have diagonal leg sync, front and back sync or side to side sync. hence walk, canter, trot and gallop. When a horse is running at full speed without breaking its stride, it hits its straps as it stretches out in the rhythm of the trot.
I simply can't believe this. I have had some experience of horses being driven in harness, and not only have I never encountered a harness designed to keep a horse moving at a particular gait, I can't imagine a harness that could do that - e,g. allow a horse to trot but not canter, or pace but not trot.
There's a discussion here: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=180559
- that suggests that the reference is to the creak and squeak of the harness straps as the horse(s) gets up to speed. That is plausible, and would fit the way the phrase is figuratively used. (VSD)