You Can Lead a Horse to Water

This year I'm taking part in the Dog Days of Summer Podcasting Challenge, a fun little project full of interesting people who try to publish a new show every day for 30-ish days. Today is the penultimate episode of the arc, and today’s episode focuses on what is perhaps the oldest known phrase of English origin and means that people, like horses, will only do what they choose to do … begrudgingly or otherwise.

Proverbs give richness to language and, to some extent, define a culture. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink might be thought to encapsulate the English-speaking people's mindset better than any other saying, as it appears to be the oldest English proverb that is still in regular use today. It was recorded as early as 1175 in Old English Homilies.

It wasn't until the 20th century that lead a horse to water… got a substantial rewrite, when the effervescent wit of Dorothy Parker reworked it from its proverbial form into the epigram you can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think.

Interested in getting an eBook containing the transcripts from this months' Dog Days of Podcasting episodes? Consider contributing as little as $1 towards my Patreon. Every contributor will receive a free copy of the transcripts a week before I make them available on this site for a dollar. Proceeds will go towards my podcasting efforts which, at the moment, involve getting some audio foam to reduce the horrible echo that I am faced with whenever recording in a less-than-ideal location.

Have any questions, concerns, comments, or feedback? Come find me as @matigo on, a social network for people with something to say. And, as you know, my puppy Nozomi always has something to say ...

Episode 091 Download This Episode (2.99 MB)
Page generated in roughly: 0.291919 Seconds, 0 API Calls, 6 SQL Queries, 4 Cache Objects