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Casting one's withers

Posted by Baceseras on March 12, 2010 at 15:36

In Reply to: Casting one's withers posted by john on March 11, 2010 at 20:25:

: : Do you know the meaning and origin of "casting one's withers"?
: I'm curious about the context you've heard this used in. "Casting withers" is an expression that means a prolapsed uterus. Sometimes, when a cow (or a sheep) give birth the womb is turned inside out and forced out through the birth canal. She is said to have "cast her withers". Farmers have their own unique language. If it's used metaphorically, I can't imagine what is being meant....Yikes!

[The withers of a horse is the highest part of the back; the same word is used for the corresponding part of a saddle. If a saddle is too tight or otherwise uncomfortable, or if a horse is being worked too hard, the animal may respond by shaking shoulders to dislodge its burden. I presume this action (and not a disease of cows!) is referred to when the phrase is used metaphorically. - Bac.]