Healthy as a horse

What is the meaning of the phrase ‘Healthy as a horse’?

Very healthy, in top condition.

What is the origin of the phrase ‘Healthy as a horse’?

The phrase ‘Healthy as a horse’ is deemed to have originated at some point in the 19th century, although the precise first use is not yet known.

There have been two theories put forward to explain how the phrase came into being. The first goes back to warfare, since in times past horses were used in the cavalry and for hunting. And to do so, they had to, of course, be in excellent health.

The other theory is in relation to a horse’s immune system, which are deemed to be very strong, making them resistant to many prevalent diseases, often making them the picture of health.

More generally however, horses are known for their strength and stamina, since they’ve been known to be able to pull heavy carriages full of people and/or goods.

So, when someone uses the phrase ‘Healthy as a horse’ to describe themselves, they are saying that they are in excellent health. The idiom is often used to emphasise how well someone is feeling, often implying fitness as well as health.

What are some notable uses of the phrase ‘Healthy as a horse’?

The phrase ‘Healthy as a horse’ is frequently used in novels to refer to excellent physical health. One such example is The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk. It’s also used in films and on TV, including both soaps and reality TV, and on social media platforms by influencers and their followers.

Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, was once quoted as saying, “I’ve never felt better. In fact, I’m healthy as a horse,” during a press conference to reassure the public about his health.

Overall, the phrase remains a popular and vivid way to describe excellent physical health.

Trend of healthy as a horse in printed material over time

Cari Mayhew - Author at Phrase Finder

Cari Mayhew

Lifelong learner, phrase fanatic, and lover of literature across multiple genres. Cari Mayhew has a passion for expression, and a keen curiosity for how phrases begin and how their use transforms over time. She is often found looking for the ideal idiom to convey her thoughts and musings.