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International Music & Culture
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In my previous blog post I mentioned some English rhymes which can be played with children sitting on adults’ laps, with either babies or older kids.

This time, I’d like to discuss another genre of lap rhymes called Horse Trotting Rhymes.

Horse Trotting Rhymes are usually done with older kids. You wouldn’t want to play these babies since you don’t want to jiggle their heads.

When singing these songs you move your legs up and down with the child on your knees as if they’re riding a horse. Older kids love these rhymes.

Picture Playing a Horse Trotting Rhyme

Ride a Cock-horse to Banbury Cross is one of the best-known English Horse Trotting Rhymes

Ride a Cock-horse to Banbury Cross

Ride a cock-horse* to Banbury Cross,
To see a fine lady upon a white horse;
Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
And she shall have music wherever she goes.

*A cock-horse is anything a kid rides on and pretends is a horse (i.e. someone’s lap, a rocking horse or a wooden stick with a wooden horses head).

Trot, Trot, Trot to Boston is another well-known Horse Trotting Rhyme. Below I’ve listed some of the variations of the rhyme…

Trot, Trot, Trot to Boston

Trot, trot, trot to Boston
(Gently bounce the child on your knees)

Trot, trot, trot to Lynn.
(Gently bounce again)

Watch out Little One/Girl/Boy/or kids’ name
(Gently bounce knees again)

Or you’ll fall in/You’re going to fall in!/or Cause you might fall in!
(Open knees/Gently bring child down between knees and then lift back up)

Variation:

Trot, trot to Boston
Trot, trot to Maine
Trot, trot
And home, home again.

Or:

Trot, trot, to Boston;
Trot, trot, to Lynn;
Trot, trot, to Salem;
Home, home again.

When singing this next song you move your legs up and down with the child on your knees. With each verse you move your legs a little higher…

This Is the Way the Ladies Ride

This is the way the ladies ride,
Tri, tre, tre, tree,
Tri, tre, tre, tree!
This is the way the ladies ride,
Tri, tre, tre, tre, tri-tre-tre-tree!

This is the way the gentlemen ride,
Gallop-a-trot,
Gallop-a-trot!
This is the way the gentlemen ride,
Gallop-a-gallop-a-trot!

This is the way the farmers ride,
Hobbledy-hoy,
Hobbledy-hoy!
This is the way the farmers ride,
Hobbledy-hobbledy-hoy!

Here’s a similar one…

Here Goes My Lord

Here goes my lord
A trot, a trot, a trot, a trot,
Here goes my lady
A canter, a canter, a canter, a canter!

Here goes my young master
Jockey-hitch*, jockey-hitch, jockey-hitch, jockey-hitch!
Here goes my young miss
An amble, an amble, an amble, an amble!

The footman lags behind to tipple** ale and wine,
And goes gallop, a gallop, a gallop, to make up his time.

*To jockey is to ride a horse like in a race as if you’re a jockey. To hitch is to raise with a jerk. So I believe jockey-hitch describes riding a horse quickly, yet, fitfully up and down.
**To drink

Here’s one more…

Little Shon a Morgan

Little Shon a Morgan
Shentleman of Wales,
Came riding on a nanny-goat,
Selling of pigs’ tails.

Chicky, cuckoo, my little duck,
See-saw, sickna downy;
Gallop a trot, trot, trot,
And hey for Dublin a towny!

If you would like to share any more Horse Trotting Rhymes with us, feel free to tell us about them in the comments below.

The illustration comes from The National Nursery Book.

Enjoy and have fun!

Mama Lisa

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This artilce was posted on Sunday, July 27th, 2008 at 9:38 pm and is filed under American Kids Songs, Australia, British Children's Songs, Canada, Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, England, English, English Nursery Rhymes, Games Around the World, Horse Trotting Rhymes, Languages, Lap Rhymes, Nursery Rhymes, Nursery Rhymes About Animals, Rhymes by Theme, USA, United Kingdom. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

34 Responses to “Horse Trotting Rhymes to Play with Older Kids”

  1. Joanna Says:

    I’m not sure where this one came from, but this was what we always did in my family, and what I always do for the children I know.

    (With the child facing you on your lap, start bouncing them up and down while holding their hands)
    I had a horse, his name was Jack
    I rode his tail to save his back
    His tail fell off and I fell back
    Whoooooa Jack
    (on the Whooooa let the child go back, and then pull them back up on Jack)

    Be prepared to do this one for hours.

  2. issy Says:

    Trot my little tater tot with joy to cherish with every trot.
    From trot to canter to walk to STOP.
    To play hooray.
    To on my feet to the horse we meet we play around and kick, gallop oops that was not me!

  3. elleneia Says:

    I remember bouncing little ones on the knee to something in Norwegian, but I don’t really know any of the words. To my childhood memory it went like this:
    (starting in a low voice, with knees bouncing just slightly)
    So-De-A-Hum and a So-De-A-Bruuda
    So-De-A-Hum and a So-De-A-Bruuda
    (now bouncing high on the knees)
    And a Suss-Pa-Pa-Bo and a Suss-Pa-Pa-Bo and a Sus-Pa-Pa-Bo
    And a B in a smudaset.

    Can anyone help with the real words?

  4. Annie Says:

    The following rhyme has been in my family for years and was passed on by my Father who stills teaches it to every new grandchild. the child is bounced up and down while sitting on adults leg thrown over the other and at the end of the rhyme on ‘Turkey Cock’ the child is lifted higher into the air for the end.

    Galloping trot, from Mallow to Cork
    To buy a sheeps head to put in the pot
    A shoulder of sheep, A lump of beef
    A fine fat hen and a Turkey Cock!

  5. Bobert Says:

    this is NOT for older kids these are for toddlers!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    WE HATE THOSE SONGS!
    -bobert

  6. sharron Says:

    my little one loves this-
    baa baa goes sheep
    neigh neigh goes horse
    woof woof goes dog
    meow meow goes cat and
    wair wair goes YOU

    ON EACH ANIMAL SOUND MOVE YOUR KNEESAND ON you MOVE YOUR KNEES APART AND PUT THE CHILD AUP AGAIN

  7. Linda Says:

    I have some teetotaling in-laws from Alabama, where I’ve heard them recite:

    Ride a little horsie into town,
    Horse got drunk and *name* fell down!

    It’s short, so your leg won’t get tired.

  8. Cordelia Rose Says:

    RE: This is the way the Ladies ride.

    In my family in England the last line of this game was:

    This is the way the huntsman rides – over the hedges and down in the ditches.

    You lift the child as high as you can “over the hedges” separate your knees and hold the child as low as you can “down in the ditches” Sometimes we were even let go onto the floor and had “fallen off” usually when the ride giver was tired of the game.

  9. Lisa Says:

    Keri Newton wrote:

    Dunno where its from, but my great granny used to sing…

    GiddyUp horsey go to Town
    Buy some candy by the pound
    Whoah, horsey don’t fall down
    Then Suddenly Your On The Ground!

    This rhyme is done with the child straddling your lap facing you. Hold child’s hands and sing song it while bouncing legs up and down.
    On the last sentence, string the word ground out (i.e. grouuunnnnnd) while stretching legs out and gently letting child slide down your legs, to the floor.

    Just thought it be neat to share.

    Keri

  10. Honesty Says:

    Please help me. My great grand mother used to sing a song to me while I sat on her lap.

    She would bounce her knees and say “ou ou ou dada si sa valez — il est tentes il est rey il est tentes oooouuuu dada”

    At the end I would slide down her legs. I know that I have masacured the words her… she was from France so I’m thinking it was french that she spoke….

    If any one has a clue about what this song is I would really appreciate if you would write to me… pywakit80@aol.com

    thank you so much.
    Honesty.

  11. Marianne Says:

    My Grandma was very French. She used to sit my cousins on her foot with her knees crossed and bounce them holding on to their hands. She sang a song that sounded like “si trot, gros trot” and I’m not sure what came after. Does anyone know this one?

  12. CMS Says:

    I loved all those little stories. I know that this game is so
    popular. Riding via foot is just as if not more popular than getting down on all fours. Great site! Loved it!

  13. Kunduz Says:

    Could you please let me know the text of the song:
    it’s about horse trotting and galloping etc
    my son heard that song once in library so he really loved the tune, i would love to teach but dont know the words
    thank you so much guys

  14. Mark Says:

    My dad sang this to us and I sang it to my kids:

    A dance-a-didlee dance-a-day
    A dance-a-didlee dance-a-day
    A dance-a-didlee dance-a-day
    A dance-a-didlee dance-AH DAY! (on this last syllable, you throw the toddler into the air with your foot, which they’re riding on).

    My Mam also did the

    OOOhhh gallup and trot from Mallow to Cork but it had a line like

    Sold me buttermilk, every drop!

  15. Angela Says:

    I know a little pony
    His name is Dapple Gray
    He lives down by the meadow
    Not very far away
    He goes nimble nimble nimble
    And trot trot trot
    And then he stops and waits a bit
    Gallop gallop gallop…weeeeeeeee

    Riding on a pony, a pony, a pony
    Riding on a pony here we go
    Riding on a pony, a pony, a pony
    Riding on a pony,
    Woooaaahhhh
    Woooaaahhhh
    Woooaaahhhh
    Woooaaahhhh
    (move the child up and down and then left, right, back, forwards
    Great fun!

  16. Laura Y Says:

    I used to sing this one to my kids and they loved it,

    (with child sitting on knees facing you, holding the child’s hands)

    while gently pushing and pulling the child’s arms alternately left then right etc… while simultaneously bouncing one knee and then the other…

    see saw pull and draw
    hard wood and a dull saw
    and a laaaaaaazy (girl or boy!) when you get to this part lean the child backwards and them back up.

  17. Nick J Says:

    I use a familiar one with my son

    The farmer he goes trot to trot ( bounce child gently on knee and hold hands like reins)
    The lady she goes canter canter ( bounce child like a canter)
    The gentle he goes gallopy gallopy ( big bounces like a gallop – the kids love this one)
    The farmer he goes hobledy hobledy (lean from side to side while gently bouncing)
    And down in the ditch he goes (lower child gently to floor or seat)

    All the kids line up for this one.

  18. Nick J Says:

    Oops – that last line should say old man – not farmer.

  19. Rolf Says:

    Trot a Little Horsey, going to town,
    Riding a Billy Goat, leading a Hound,
    The Hound did bark, and the Bily Goat jumped,
    And threw little (name) a-straddle of a stump.

  20. Ralph Barlow Says:

    RE: Mark Says:
    April 4th, 2012 at 10:11 am

    My Mam also did the
    OOOhhh gallup and trot from Mallow to Cork but it had a line like
    Sold me buttermilk, every drop!

    When I was a little guy, my mother used to recite a little rhyme which went like this:
    Gallop-a-trot, gallop-a-trot,
    I sold my buttermilk, every drop.
    Hard crust, no teeth,
    _____ _____ and nothin’ to eat!
    (I’m not sure about those 2 words, but they might have been “good stomach”)

    Anybody know where that came from?

  21. Sue williams Says:

    Does anyone know the middle of this verse. Horsey, horsey don’t u stop just let your heels go clippity clip. Let your wheels go round and (can’t remember this next line, but the last line was) giddy up you’re homeward bound.

  22. Kim Says:

    This is the way I (almost) remember

    Horsey, horsey
    (la la la) (don’t remember words here)
    We’ve been together for many a day
    So let your tail go swish
    And your wheels go round
    Giddy’up we’re homeward bound

  23. djubeevee Says:

    Heard this when my kids where young, I did a search and this is as close as I could find for the syllable sounds. Short and sweet, starts slow and ends in a brisk trot.

    clip clop clip clop
    oben drauf bin drauf
    holla holla holla holla

    Wish I knew more about it, all my kids and grand kids love it!

  24. kathleen Says:

    My grandmother used to have a version something like this? Can anyone help me complete the lyrics?

    Ride, ride to Boston Town to get a loaf of bread
    ?
    ? something about one for you and one for me
    and then
    and the horse fell dead. . .

    and we “fell off” her foot in a heap of laughter.

    Can anyone fill in the gaps?? Thanks so much

  25. carole Says:

    Looking for the word to a song my new daughter in law sang. Would like to use the verse in the new grandson’s scrapbook.

    O give me a horse a horse . . .
    next verse:
    O give me some boots, some boots. . .

  26. Tom Says:

    My grand mother would sing while a toddler was bouncing on her knee.
    To Boston, to Boston to buy a fat pig.
    Home again, home again, a jig, a jig, jig.
    To Boston, to Boston to buy a new hat.
    When I got there I couldn’t get that.
    To Boston, to Boston to buy a new gown.
    Look out little (girl/boy) your gonna fall down. (this part is sung slowly as the child leans back and is held in place).
    Does anyone know this nursery rhyme?

  27. Cheri Says:

    My great-grandmother was from Germany and recited a rhyme while bouncing children on her leg. A lot of it has been lost over generations and I am trying to get it back. The gist of the meaning is: riding a horse about a mile, looking for __? then the horse trips or falls and at that point you tip the child back.
    Here is my phonetic spelling

    Ride a ride a giley
    Ida suda miley
    Ida suda (missing word here)
    go to feend the viener house
    bloomp, bloomp, lithrum wreck.

    If this looks familiar to anyone, please help me correct this.
    Thanks so much

  28. Suzi smith Says:

    Gee up a jockey horse a long way to go,
    Shall I whip him, no no no
    Take him to the stable,
    Feed him lots of corn

    The next bit gets a little lost…

    Because he is the best little jocky horse
    That ever was born

    Does anyone know how the last part goes?

  29. mom Says:

    Trot Trot to Boston
    To get a pound of butter
    Trot Trot home again
    Fell-l-l-l in the gutter!

  30. John Roy Bohlen Says:

    I am also searching for the proper Norske words to a foot ride rhyme; It goes something like this:
    “Di da di da danken
    Kass a nay da planka,
    Hor ska da voo,
    Kass a nay da blu
    – — – Two small hunde
    Arf, Arf – Arf! Arf! Arf!

    Can anyone help me with the proper words? Thanks!

  31. Lisa Says:

    Hi John,

    I think you’re looking for one of the versions of Ride ride ranke. Here’s one at the link below:

    http://www.mamalisa.com/?t=es&p=717&c=52

    You can find many versions people remember at this link:

    http://www.mamalisa.com/blog/question-about-a-danish-rhyme-rhea-rhea-runkin/

    I hope this helps!

    Mama Lisa

  32. Jan Whitelaw Says:

    Sue Williams – the words of the song are:-
    Horsey horsey don’t you stop,
    Just let your feet go clippety clop,
    Your tail goes swish as the wheels go round,
    Giddy up we’re homeward bound.

  33. Laura b Says:

    This is the version I heard as a child:
    Trot little horsey trot through town
    Take care little (boy or girl) don’t fall
    Down!
    At the word down you lean the child back.

  34. Tim Says:

    The version my grandfather told us growing up:

    Take a trip to Boston
    Take a trip to Lynn
    Watch out my little lambkin
    You don’t fall in!

    For the sake of context, he was born in 1918 and grew up in the Canadian Maritimes, so I wasn’t sure if it was American or English (both countries having towns of those names). http://ca.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20140201172250AAJZ5uV

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