Get back on the horse

Get back on the horse is an idiom that is the often-quoted first half of a longer proverb. We will examine the meaning of the idiomatic phrase get back on the horse, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

Get back on the horse is an admonition that one must immediately confront a failure and try again. For instance, if one fails to secure a job after a disastrous interview, one must get back on the horse and continue going to job interviews. The phrase get back on the horse is the first half of a longer expression, get back on the horse that bucked you or get back on the horse that threw you. The idea is that the longer one dwells on a failure, the bigger that failure becomes in one’s mind. It is better to overcome a failure quickly, before it has a chance to become psychologically debilitating. The idiom get back on the horse seems to have become popular in the mid-twentieth century, perhaps because of the influence of western movies.

Examples

“We have three weeks before nationals which we will use to, first, reset, deal with any injuries, and then get back on the horse,” the Philadelphia native said. (Yale Daily News)

“Our role is to help them to get back on the horse, so to speak, with clear tangible actions and goals,” she points out. (The Business Times)

Marler starts off talking about how his team have to “get back on the horse”, and ends up following his train of thought so deep into the woods of his imagination that he ends up whinnying an apology to Harlequins fans and promising they’ll play better against Bath in their next game. (The Guardian)