Posted by James Briggs on October 30, 2002
In Reply to: Baaaah! posted by ESC on October 29, 2002
: : : : : As some of you will know, I have a site where I've posted origins of as many phrases as I can find. I get regular questions from around the world, plus suggestions about origins - I've posted some of these recently. I thought you would all be interested in the following message that came today.
: : : : : "I came across your site
while looking up an expression that I heard this weekend at Churchill Downs in
Louisville, USA. On a behind-the-scenes tour of the track, our guide pointed out
a goat tied to a stable door next to a thoroughbred. She explained the goat was
present as a companion to an otherwise anxious horse visiting a new stable. She
said the expression "to get one's goat" derived from the dastardly practice of
a rival trainer stealing the opposing horse's goat and unnerving him before the
big race. ....I thought it was bunk, but decided to research it when I got home.
: : : : :
: : : : : We only saw one goat out of a couple dozen stalls, but she seemed to think it was not uncommon. Maybe there's something to it?....though it may well be predated by (your suggestion of) the rival farmer's milk cow production. Just thought you'd like to know. Thanks for an interesting site."
: : : : Wasn't there a sheep in a similar role on the Sopranos a few weeks back?
: : : That explanation of "get your goat" has turned up here before and been discounted. See www.phrases.org.uk bulletin_board 3 messages 432.html (link below).
: : I guess that you think the 'offering' from the race track is a wind up! I'm not so certain. I can see no good reason wht the fellow should target 'little ol me' with spam. I prefer to believe that he saw what he said he saw. Too trustworthy you say. Well maybe, but I always believe my patients/clients!
: Why not e-mail Churchill Downs and check it out? They've got an e-mail form that includes "about your visit." BTW I live about 50 miles from Louisville.
Thanks. I've taken up your suggestion.