This is a perfectly formed malaphor, combining similar meaning and sounding expressions. It was said in a meeting when asked to resolve a disagreement. It is a congruent conflation of “no horse in this race” and “no dog in this fight”, both meaning to not have an investment in the outcome of something. “No dog in this hunt” is another similar expression. Horses and dogs can get confusing, particularly when they are fighting. Speaking of horses, they are often the subject of malaphors. Why? Horses are used in many idioms, it seems. The Idiom Dictionary (part of the Free Dictionary) lists over 150 of them. If you type in “horse” on this website, you will find at least 10 malaphors involving horses, including such beauties (black?) as “I’m cursing like a race horse”, “Now that’s a horse of a different story”, “You can’t beat that with a dead horse”, and “Hold your horses on”. There must be a lot of naysayers out there. A big thanks to John Polk for hearing this one and passing it on! Check out John’s great Twitter feed- @Clichesgonewild.
Want to see more horse (and elephant) malaphors? Check out my book “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors” available on Amazon for a mere 6.99!!
This malaphor was spoken by a dad who was telling his son to stop messing with the car radio. After blurting it out he immediately knew to contact the Malaphor King. This is a mash up of “hold your horses” and “cool your jets”, both meaning to slow down or control one’s excitement.
This is a conflation of “let sleeping dogs lie” (leave something alone that might cause trouble) and I think “don’t beat a dead horse” (don’t waste time doing something that has already been attempted). When you mix dogs with horses, and sleeping with lying and dying, you get this malaphor. This one comes from Richard Lederer‘s Anguished English: An Anthology of Accidental Assaults Upon the English Language, rev. ed. Wyrick, 2006.