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What's Wrong With Mouthy Gift Horses?


What's Wrong With Mouthy Gift Horses?

"Never look a gift horse in the mouth."

This age-old adage has become so overused that it now has its own chat-room acronym (NLAGHITM). If that doesn't make you roll on the floor laughing (ROFL), then what will?

What do horses have to do with giving?

When a veterinarian, equine appraiser or other expert assesses the value of a horse for sale, he will look closely at the equine's teeth. Horses' teeth change dramatically, as they mature and grow older. An equine dental examination can reveal the age of the horse, while providing a helpful indication of the animal's overall health as well. This checkpoint has thwarted many a shoddy horse trader's attempt to pawn off an older horse at a higher price than he warranted.

According to the proverb, if one is given a horse as a gift, then that person should accept the gift without seeking a closer look, at least in front of the giver. After all, a gift is free; if the recipient did not pay for the horse, then why should he nitpick about its age, health or other features?

The gift horse metaphor does break down, though, particularly in modern times. Certainly, horses may be had for free, often by adoption or from equine rescue organizations. Such equines generally are not free, in the long run. Keeping a horse can be quite costly, even if the initial cost of the animal was little or none.

Truly, there is no such thing as a free horse. And, unless you happen to own acres and acres of grassy wilderness, there is no such thing as a free lunch for that free horse.

What does the proverb mean?
Where did this old saw start?
Not another Trojan Horse!
An old English proverb?


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3 comments:

  1. YOu are so right. Those free horses can have lots of expensive hidden issues.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I rescued a horse, (cost me 400$ and I'm pretty sure owner got it for nothing or else he absconded with it?). Spirited stallion, beautiful and healthy creature. (so far). He will outlive me so I will be looking for a good home for him. In the meantime I'm trying to molify him with good food and calm manner. Most of his rearing was due to hunger and extreme temps around here. He's a good horse.
    He's getting feed twice a day and water. (previous owner believed snow was adequate ). Just bought him some good quality hay bales for protracted winter conditions.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I rescued a horse, (cost me 400$ and I'm pretty sure owner got it for nothing or else he absconded with it?). Spirited stallion, beautiful and healthy creature. (so far). He will outlive me so I will be looking for a good home for him. In the meantime I'm trying to molify him with good food and calm manner. Most of his rearing was due to hunger and extreme temps around here. He's a good horse.
    He's getting feed twice a day and water. (previous owner believed snow was adequate ). Just bought him some good quality hay bales for protracted winter conditions.

    ReplyDelete

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