Get One's Goat - Heard about origin of this phrase on NPR. The story starts with a horse's ass...actually, it involves the whole horse--a thoroughbred horse to be exact. Because of breeding, thoroughbred horses tend to be very jumpy, nervous animals. Goats are the exact opposite, tending to be calm and unshakable. Someone noticed this contrast and wondered if the goat's demeanor would have a calming influence on the horse. As a test, a goat was put into the stall of a thoroughbred horse. As hoped, the horse calmed a bit AND, most importantly, the horse ran better in the next race.
Next thing you knew, all thoroughbreds stalls had a companion goat.
Soon some unscrupulous owners began kidnapping (pun?) the goats of competitor's horses, hoping the disruption would help their still goat-calmed horses to win their races.
- Get one's goat - Expressions, Idioms, Phrasal Verbs, Proverbs
- Get One's Goat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- World Wide Words: Get one's goat
- To Get one's Goat