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Horse of a Different Color

Posted by Mark Laskowski on December 13, 2002

I am trying to find out the origins of the idiom "horse of a different color". I have discovered this from (see below), but for some intuitive reason, it just isn't "singing" to me as the bonafide origin of one of the many "horse" idioms we find it English. Any feedback? Forgive me if there's been any breach in decorum or process, I'm a newbie when it comes to posting on this site. Thanks in advance.

Horse of a different color
Meaning: Unlike the subject at hand.
Example: Bush and Reagan are both credible, but Clinton is a horse of a different color.
Origin: Horses are registered at birth and the registration includes a record of their color. When a horse trades hands due to sale, the registration is also transferred. Sometimes the color recorded on the registration may not match the actual color of the horse leading one to suspect the horse is not the one in the registration.

Horses sometimes change color as they age, just as some people's hair changes color. More likely the horse is not the one represented on the registration but is actually an entirely different horse.

Thanks to Radar