Hag-ridden horses and people

This is a very old saying based on superstition and it appears that the phrase “hag-ridden” applies to both people and horses. A hag-ridden person is one afflicted by nightmares or anxieties. A typical sentence might read, “He was hag-ridden by his early success”. It means that he was worn out by worry.


Hag-ridden. My thanks to the tweet by Tony DiTerlizzi

In respect of horses, back in the days of a belief in female witches (people still believe they exist), when a stable man returned to the stables in the morning and found a horse in his charge drained of energy and bathed in sweat he might possibly conclude that his animal had been “hag-ridden”.

The phrase describes a belief that during the night an evil witch had entered the stables and stolen the horse. In attending witches’ meetings she would have ridden the horse all night to complete exhaustion whereby in the morning the animal was out of breath and covered in sweat.

Perhaps the stablemen were equally convinced to the point where they went out and found a likely elderly lady to be a suspect at which time she would be persecuted as a witch. This would be incredibly sad because the reason why the horse might be in this concerning condition was because the stables in which it lived were highly unsuitable because they were designed for security without windows and without air. The stagnant air and a lack of oxygen would have caused the horse to be drained of energy and bathed in sweat by the morning. Another example of the thoughts of misguided humans attaching superstitions to horses.

Policewoman chases car driver down high-street on horseback as he was driving while on the phone

UK policewoman chases car on horseback through town centre

NEWS AND COMMENT: The man was on his phone while driving which is illegal in the UK. The two police ...
Read More
Donkey mosaic from Roman times

Origin of the donkey and breeding by the Romans

There is an interesting report in the journal Science concerning a study on the origin of the donkey and how ...
Read More
What is horsepower? Infographic.

What is horsepower (infographic)?

Horsepower is a unit of the measurement of power and it was first coined by the Scottish engineer James Watt ...
Read More
Reason why horse is so popular

2 reasons why the horse was and is so popular

The reasons why the horse has been and continues to be so popular is firstly because of their temperament which ...
Read More
Horse signals excitement with its tail held high

What does a horse signal with its tail (video infographic)?

The infographic covers the basics and a little more on horse tail movement signalling. There is some additional information below ...
Read More
Galicia's wind turbines are said to harm the welfare of the wild horses

Wind turbine noise threatens Galicia’s ancestral wild horses

The Times reports that local people in Galicia in north-west Spain believe that the noise of wind turbines is jeopardising ...
Read More

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *