When a horse isn't thirsty, it may refuse to take a drink, no matter what you do to encourage it.
As a horse owner, it's a frustrating prospect. You know what's ahead of the horse in his day. You know that this might be the last opportunity for the horse to get a drink for a few hours, but he doesn't know that. All he knows is that he's not interested in taking a drink right now.
The frustration of trying to make things better for a horse because of foresight but still having the horse refuse your help is what prompted this saying when it originated in the early 12th century. Today, however, it's used to describe people. A person who you try your best to help, but just won't take your helping hand is like leading a non-thirsty horse to water.
For example - A doctor can tell a person all about the diet and exercise program that can help them lose weight, but if the person doesn't take the advice and put it into action, it's like leading a horse to water...
Do you ever hear anyone using these phrases? Used it yourself? Let me know in a comment!
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