A friend from the USA says that we don't ride same day, we saddle. Does he mean we have a time difference? I know the meaning of ride and saddle, but I don't know the meaning in context.

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    I assume your friend said we don't ride the same day we saddle without the comma. Unfortunately, I can't help any more without context. – terdon Nov 13 '13 at 1:32
  • This might be a question for ell.stackexchange.com (English Language Learners). – Jonathan Spirit Nov 13 '13 at 1:46
  • Yes, thank you. he said: we don't ride the same day we saddle. Can it mean anything else without context? – user51225 Nov 13 '13 at 2:13
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    This is probably going to get closed, but I wonder if it means that we don't ride the same day that we saddle - in other words, that one day is for planning and packing, the actual execution (or ride) takes place on the next day. – Kristina Lopez Nov 14 '13 at 19:50
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    Ask your friend. They know exactly what they meant, and they are your friend. And you're talking to them already anyway. Don't ask random strangers on the Internet who don't know, and can't possibly know, what the heck your friend is on about. – RegDwigнt Oct 23 at 12:31

From a practical perspective, this is a very odd saying. As far as I know, no one who handles a horse properly would saddle it one day and not ride it until one or more days later. In fact the expression sounds like some sort of oblique criticism of a badly run organization: "At this dang outfit, we don't ride the same day we saddle."

A Google search turns up three similar instances of the phrase. From the Down Range TV Forum, in response to a listener's request for information about a radio show giveaway:

The giveaway was decided on yesterday afternoon and we're hammering on the details now.

We try to ride the same day we saddle the horse. ;D

From Cowboy Action Radio, in response to a question about when more podcasts would become available:

Well, that question was posted in May, so you might say we don't ride the same day we saddle our horses. :)

And this intriguing entry from a blogger with the online name Kafox:

"Doesn't ride the same day he saddles" (as the Norwegians say) could describe me. As some folks would say, I had a frog to eat. The idea of eating a frog is repulsive (not talking about legs prepared by some French chef here), so tasks that seem difficult or distasteful are like the idea of eating a frog, and therefore constantly put off.

From these examples, I conclude that the phrase "We don't ride the same day we saddle" is probably an idiom (whether originally from Norway or from the U.S. West) that signifies "We don't do things in a timely fashion."

  • I'm not entirely sure about Norwegian, but it is certainly an old expression in Danish. It can either mean what you surmise, or it can mean that you don't do things rashly, but deliberate thoroughly before acting. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 13 '13 at 9:54

Someone who doesn't ride the same day that he saddles is someone who is too slow in executing his plans, intentions or promises. The idiom describes an unnecessary delay or procrastination that has adverse effects. You should ride the same day you saddle means you should act before it is too late. A parallel idiom: strike while the iron is hot. In Danish, the expression is mainly used in the negative form to describe slow decision making.

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