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Common Expressions: Hold Your Horses

​A photograph of a girl holding a horse while walking along an amazing white sands beach, Used as the cover image for Article “Common Expressions: Hold Your Horses Cover Image”

​Summary: Common Expressions

​Welcome back to a whole new year of Adept English. We are excited to be back and helping you all to speak English fluently. We have great ideas on how to make your English language learning faster and more complete so stick with use and before you know it, you will talking in English much more fluently.

Today we have a podcast on common English phrases and expressions. The phrase we will talk about in depth is “hold your horses” but always remember you will learn lots more valuable English when you listen. For example, in this podcast we also discuss the phrasal verb “to hold” and lots more valuable vocabulary.

Do not forget to listen to this English audio lesson many times until you completely understand all the English vocabulary being used. If you don’t know about the Adept English system of learning, you can listen to this podcast here or take our free English video course here which will explain the value in repeated listening.

​Audio Transcript: Common Expressions: Hold Your Horses

​Hi there and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. This is our Thursday podcast, so it’s slightly shorter and easier than our Monday podcast.

​So how is your English language learning going? Maybe you’ve had a break from learning over Christmas – and now that it’s New Year 2019, you’re really ready to start again with ‘renewed vigour’ as we say. ‘Renewed vigour’ just means that you’ve had a pause, a break – and now you’re rested and ready to put in lots of time and energy to learn English.

​Vocabulary for the common expression ‘Hold your horses’

​So today, let’s go with ‘common expressions’ as our topic. And today’s common expression is ‘Hold your horses’. So what does someone mean when they say ‘Hold your horses!’? Well, let’s talk about the vocabulary first. ‘To hold’ is a very common English verb and it’s got lots of meanings. Basically if you hold something, you have it in your hand or your arms, it’s there with you. You can hold a kitten, you can hold a baby. But ‘to hold’ means lots of other things too. It can be one of those phrasal verbs so you can hold onto something – that means you won’t let it go. Or you can hold out on something or someone – that means you refuse to act, refuse to change, until you’re ready to. If you hold something up, it means you delay it.

A photograph of a young English girl horse rider getting a kiss from a favourite horse. Used as an article image for the article “Common Expressions: Hold Your Horses Article Image”

​There are many others, so ‘to hold’ has lots of meanings. And the word ‘horse’ you probably already know. A horse is an animal with four legs, and it’s fairly unique because it’s the animal that you are most likely to ride. If you ride a horse, that means you sit on its back. And ‘clippety clop’ is the noise, in English, that its hooves, its feet make when you ride a horse. There’s another nice English common expression for you – ‘clippety clop’! That does sound like horses’ hooves.

​Using ‘Hold your horses’ with a literal meaning

​So when would someone use the common expression ‘Hold your horses’? Well, I guess they might say it in the literal meaning or more likely you’ll hear it being used figuratively. So the literal meaning first of all. My son has recently started horse riding. Some good friends have introduced us to a lady who has horses, and he goes out on a Sunday morning and is learning to ride. So I like horses, but there is a lot of caution with new riders, a lot of concern because horses sometimes can be a bit unpredictable. You don’t know what they’re going to do. Horses may get frightened or they may decide to go faster than you want them to go. So it’s normal to lead horses when you have a new rider. And if you’re leading a horse, then it’s your job to ‘hold on’ tight, if the horse wants to go faster than you do!  Or ‘to hold your horses’ in this literal meaning, means hold on tight – something may happen which could frighten the horse or excite the horse and you need to make sure you don’t let go! So don’t let the horses go yet. Hold your horses. Make those horses wait a moment! They can be impatient sometimes.

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​Using ‘Hold your horses’ with a figurative meaning, with examples

So hopefully that’s clear, that’s the literal meaning of ‘Hold your horses’. But if we’re using this phrase figuratively or metaphorically? Well, when someone says ‘Hold your horses!’ the suggestion is that you’re going too fast, you’re getting ahead of yourself. It may be that other things need to happen first, before the thing that you want to happen can. So when my children are settling down to watch a TV programme and they’ve not done their job of washing up, I might say – ‘Hold your horses – what about the dishes?’ That always makes me popular of course, but never mind. Dishes need to be done.

You might be getting ready to go out. And your husband is sitting in the car, with the engine going, expecting to set off at any moment. And you might say to him ‘Hold your horses, I just want to put some washing on’. Or ‘Hold your horses, I need to make a phone call before we set off’. Or someone may be in a hurry to go and buy a car. And when you say ‘Hold your horses, you need to check the car’s details out first to make sure that it’s OK to buy it!’

​Repeat after me examples

So I hope that makes sense. That’s another Common English Phrase that you now know. ‘Hold your horses’. Let’s do a couple of sentences for you to repeat after me using the common English phrase ‘Hold your horses’. I’ll say them three times and leave space for you to repeat. Here goes:-


​So I hope this common expression ‘Hold your horses’ is now something you’ll remember. Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

​PS: The next time you see someone about to do something rash without planning you can say “hold your horses…”

​English has a lot of fun expressions. However Adept English only use current phrases and expressions, they are in use in everyday English, or we would not be producing podcasts about them. Adept English takes a pragmatic view on what we should include in our lessons. We regularly collect common expressions and phrases heard being used by native English speakers (who often don’t even know they are using them!) so we know they are useful.

Although horses may seem a little “old fashioned” English speakers will know a little about them. It would not be unusual to hear someone (who has never even ridden on a horse!) to use the expression “hold your horses”.

I hope you enjoyed this podcast and if you want more podcasts on common English phrases, then we have a list here for you.

We have lots of other tips on learning to speak English .

If you like this English podcast and want to know when the next podcast is published you can subscribe for an .


Hilary is an Adept English Editor and a founding member of the company.

Hi, there!!!
First of all I’d like to thank you and congrats for you podcast. Well, I think something might be wrong with this episode 187 in which we’re supposed to practice the expression ‘hold your horse’. The audio isn’t match. When it’s played it’s listened the one with the expression ‘scratch’.
You’re lovely!!!
Carlos Renato

Hi, yes we thought we had fixed this problem. We just tried to change the audio again but its not updating for some reason. Thanks for telling us! And thanks for your kind words.

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