Is there a word or phrase that means "to start a horse" or "make a horse start moving"? Something like "he [started] his horse".

I thought of "urged her horse on" but that sounds like the horse is already moving. "Brought his horse to a canter" sounds okay but I want something that doesn't specify the speed, just shows that the horse has started moving.

I feel like there's a single word that means what I'm trying to say, but I can't find it.

  • 1
    Click the horse into moving? (The sound made by your tongue against one cheek). Oct 7, 2018 at 11:04
  • 5
    There's always "spurred".
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 7, 2018 at 12:15
  • You might use "prodded" or "spurred" depending on whether the person that is starting the horse is saddled on it or not.
    – user22542
    Oct 7, 2018 at 12:50
  • @user22542 - Even if saddled, "prodded" may be appropriate. One can kind of knee the horse to encourage it to move. But it depends on the horse. For some you only need to loosen the reins, with others you shake the reins, and stubborn ones will need a spur or whip.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 7, 2018 at 13:09
  • True. Can "gee up" be used as a verb? It might work in the right sentence.
    – user22542
    Oct 7, 2018 at 13:19

1 Answer 1


It all depends on how you start the horse. If you use the metal, spiky device worn just beneath your heel, you can try spur, as suggested by Hot Licks in a comment; this verb is used traditionally and widely across the world. Spur, as a verb means:

1. Urge (a horse) forward by digging one's spurs into its sides.

He spurred his horse.

Additionally, The Guardian says:

You make a horse move by shouting "Giddyup!". You make a pack of dogs move by shouting "Mush!".

Hence, this is another way post the verb "spur."

Conversely, its antonym may be the phrase hold your horses used chiefly in horse driving meaning to "stay on" or "wait a minute".

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