Definition of shank's mare
- traveling by shank's mare
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse! Many travelers in centuries past would have agreed with King Richard's famous lines from Shakespeare's Richard III - when you needed to travel any distance in the days before automobiles, you definitely wanted a horse. When one wasn't available, you had to rely on your built-in transportation equipment, your feet and legs. The word shank has been used to mean "the lower leg" since before the 12th century, and "shank's mare" first appeared in writing in the late 1700s. Another vivid expression connecting people and horses was "horse with ten toes," but that one is now relegated to history.
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