Rhyme – Ride the Horsey Down to Town

Kimberly Beach recently sent me a new rhyme, here’s what she wrote me,

This rhyme was taught to me by a family friend in 1987 when she was in her mid -40s. She has since passed away so I don’t know where she learned it or any information on it’s possible origins…

Ride the Horsey Down to Town

Ride the horsey down to town
To buy some sugar by the pound
On the way, horsey fell down
Dumped my sugar 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.

I did this with all three of my children and am continuing the tradition with my grandchildren. They have all loved it and giggle with glee.

-Kimberly Beach

Kimberly is from Georgia, USA. If anyone knows where this rhyme is originally from, please write me.



This article was posted on Wednesday, October 5th, 2005 at 11:17 am and is filed under English, English Nursery Rhymes, Languages, Nursery Rhymes, Nursery Rhymes About Animals, Nursery Rhymes About Horses, Questions, Readers Questions, Rhymes by Theme, Ride the Horsey Down to Town. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

37 Responses to “Rhyme – Ride the Horsey Down to Town”

  1. James Says:

    My family had a bizzare and nonsensical variation on this: start with baby on your thighs:

    Ride that horsey down to town
    To get [or buy?] a pat of butter
    When we got there we
    FELL IN THE GUTTER! [emphasis on the last line]

    [after line 3 – you “drop” the baby between your knees and then swoop her back up]

  2. Christi Says:

    Our family has always sang:

    Ride a horsey downtown
    to get a stick of candy
    One for you, and one for me
    and one for Sister Mandy!

  3. alison Says:

    Found your version while searching for info about one I learned as a kid. I learned it from my Aunt from Tennessee approx 1991

    Trotty up to town,
    a sack full of peaches,
    horsey fell down,
    SMASH you all to pieces

    –and you drop the child backwards on ‘smash’ (while holding their hands of course so they don’t hit the floor)

  4. Jelly Says:

    My grandmother always used to sing this to me but he completely different version. I can only remember the first part. All of my family are from West Virginia.

    Ride the horsey down to town,
    To get some candy Andy (Annie).

  5. Dolores Frimel Says:

    I have part of what I remember being, Trotty horse Trotty horse going to town and that’s as far as I can go with it. If anyone can help I’d appreciate it.

  6. Lisa Says:

    Hi Dolores,

    I found these versions of “Trotty Horse”:

    Trotty horse, trotty horse off to town,
    Take care little one and don’t fall down.


    Trotty horse, trotty horse going to town
    Sit tight (child’s name), don’t fall down.
    If you fall, don’t you squall…
    There goes (child’s name) horse and all!

    Does either ring a bell?

    Mama Lisa

  7. Jakki Says:

    I grew up with this version, but no one seems to have heard of it.
    Ride a little horsey down to town,
    Sticks and (of?) candy wasn’t very handy,
    Poor little horsey fell down.

  8. Marilyn Says:

    My grandfather bounced us on his knees and dropped us between them at the end as he said:
    Trot, trot to town to get some candy
    When he got there, there wasn’t any handy
    When he got back
    The old horsey fell dead!

  9. GGN Says:

    My Mother used this version for her great-grandson:
    “Ride a little horsey down to town,
    Bouncy, bouncy, all around!”

  10. Gabrielle Says:

    Sounds like the right rhythm for a shortened Danish? nursery rhyme that my maternal great grandmother sang to my mother while bouncing on her knee. There were probably more lines but my mother doesn’t remember.
    Sounds something like:
    Reeda, reeda, rumpa
    Haska needa numpa,
    Reeda, reeda, Reeda, Reeda
    Reeda, Reeda, Ruuummmpppa!

  11. DejaVu Says:

    “Giddy up horsey go to town don’t jump off or you might fall down.”

  12. DejaVu Says:

    My grandmother and grandfather would bounce me on their thigh singing their version of (Ride A Horsey Down To Town) The lyric went “Giddy up horsey go to town don’t jump off or you might fall down.” At the end they would lane me to the side as if I was falling off.

  13. Tiffany Says:

    My co-teacher always sings “ride a little horsey into town. Give him a little sugar so he don’t fall down.

  14. Judith Wright Twitchell Says:

    My mother and grandmother, down in Alabama, used this version, bouncing baby on their knees: *Trotty horsey, trotty horsey, down to town
    To buy my baby some candy.
    Look out, don’t you fall! Look out, don’t you fall! Don’t you fall down!*
    Only the line ” to buy my baby some candy” was sung – the rest was just sing-songy.
    Last word (down) was drawn out as knees were spread or legs extended so baby gently “falls” or slides down.

  15. Gammy Says:

    Trotty horse, trotty horse, go to town
    Take this baby and don’t fall….DOOOOOOWWWWNNNNNN!

    This is how my grandparents and parents always sang it. Bouncing us on their knees then sliding us down their legs and SWOOP back up!

  16. Derek Says:

    1985/ TN -> My grandma always sang, “ Giddy up horsey, go to town, get that baby some candy, look out horsey don’t fall down and spill that baby’s (or baby’s name) candy!

  17. Laura Says:

    I grew up in Indiana. This is how my family has always sung it:
    Trotty horsey go to town,
    Carry _______(insert child’s name), don’t fall down,
    The road is rough and the horse ain’t shod (i.e., has no horse shoes),
    There goes ______ down in the mud!

  18. Judy B. Says:

    Oh my stars! My mother was German and I remember (I am 80!), she sang the following – with bouncing the child sitting toward you on your lap during the song, and the sliding at the end. I know no german, so am writing this phonetically – and that’s how I sang it to my children and then my grandchildren, – anyone know German who can tell me what this could mean? My mom died before I thought to ask her – and I don’t even know if I am remembering it right! Anyway – phonetically:

    Sook, sook up on the mare-ly-bell/ Mama on the kuchen-bell/ Daddy on the lichen-bell/ bumpa, bumpa, BUMPA!

  19. Lisa Says:

    Hi Judy, We asked a German speaker about this sing. It seems it’s mostly English. Kuchen is German and it means cake. PErhaps your mom adapted a song. Can anyone else help with Judy’s mom’s song?

  20. Jenna Says:

    The way it was when I was a kid, they bounced me on their knees while singing:
    Little black horsey ride through town,
    little black horsey don’t fall.. DOWN! – spread knees and let baby “fall” between knees.
    I couldn’t remember if there are more words to it, so I was searching and found this page.

  21. Elaine L Colley Says:

    Jenna…yours was the closest I’d heard to my Father-In-Law’s version…born about 1932 in Texas. I’m 61 now (born 1958) and I remember him bouncing my kids on his knee singing,” Git-along, horsie…goin’ downtown…Git along, horsie….don’t cha fall…(Grandfather adjusts knees safely for the silly decent)….DOWN (on his shin)… and then the Grandfather quickly grabs the child softly under the arms and rests the child back on his knee (as if putting him back on the horse) and inhales, bounces again and spouts off, “GOIN’ downtown…to git a stick-a-candy….horse falls down…drops her in the gull-lee…” Alll those songs had really sick and depressing endings…but Thankfully kids can’t read or understand words at that age! How many of us sing silly songs to our kids for lack of anything else that comes to mind?! It’s funny, but I’ll bet that’s how a lot of those “rock-a-bye-baby” songs came into play.

  22. Pablo P Says:

    Here is the one from our family.

    We went riding down by the lake,
    There we saw a great big snake,
    Picked up a stick, bonked it on the head,
    and dit dit dit, the horsey went dead. ( and down goes the child )

    I did a search for this, and found your site.. Thanks for posting and maintaining these!!!

  23. Stephanie P Says:

    I remember this one and sing it to my grand babies:

    Trot a little horsey down to town
    To buy {baby’s name} some candy
    Trot a little horsey down to town
    Don’t fall down! Don’t fall down

  24. Lisa Says:

    Michelle wrote, “My grandma taught it to me. She was born in Missouri in 1924. As far as I know, all of her extended family was from Missouri as well.”

  25. Rebecca Says:

    The version I know came from my grandfather (from Louisiana) and passed down to my mom who then passed it down to my brother and I:
    While singing you have a kid in your lap facing away from you and you bounce your legs up and down:
    Trotty horse, trotty horse going to town, riding an old billy goat chasing a hound. Hound barks, billy goat jumps and that leaves (name of kid in your lap) (at this time while holding onto the kid you spread your knees apart) straddling a stump.

  26. Leslie Says:

    My family has a shortened version similar to Jenna’s.
    Giddy-up horsey
    Go to town
    Giddy-up horsey
    Don’t fall dooooowwwwwnnnnn

    I wonder if the rest of the lyrics were just lost. Don’t know how old our version is. My grandparents were born in the 1910s and sang it this way.

  27. Virouna Says:

    My mother used to sing one that went:

    This is the way the gentlemen ride
    the gentlemen ride, the gentlemen ride
    This is the way the gentlemen ride
    all through the town

    and would change gentlemen to other words, and change the gallop as needed (crooked horse, silly man, etc.)

  28. Kim Says:

    From NC,
    I have searched to find the words to this rhyme. I can see each families is different. Love all the above rhymes.
    The one my Hubbys Aunt sang to my daughter is –
    -Ride a little Horsey to town and back, don’t fall off of the sugar sack.

  29. Julia Says:

    Mine from childhood was

    Giddy up pony go to town
    Buying mommy a wedding gown
    Get some candy for Andy
    Watch out pony don’t you fall down (drop the baby lol)

  30. Awesome Says:

    While growin up we were always taught a similar song…ride a little horsey
    through the mill
    ain’t no bigger
    than a tater field
    river cross
    river cross
    baby don’t watch out
    then babies gonna fall

  31. Keri Says:

    1982, Georgia. I grew up bouncing on my mom’s legs, being swooped down at end, of:

    Ol’ Aunt Katie ridin’ downtown
    Ridin’ that billy goat leading a hound
    Hound dog barked
    Billy goat jumped
    Throwin’ aunt Katie right straddle a stump!!

  32. Rachael Says:

    This is almost identical to the version that my mother sang to me. I was born in 1957. I sang it to my sons and now I sing it to my grandsons, who love getting dumped on the ground. (Almost, anyway. Like others we bounce through the first three lines and then on the last line I dump him backwards but hold on to him.)

    Ride a horsey, go to town
    Buy some sugar by the pound,
    On the way the horse fell down,
    Dumped all the sugar on the ground!

    Thank you for having this site.

  33. Kara Says:

    I was wondering if there was an “official” version that I just had the shortened way so I looked it up and found this. I think it is so cool to see all the different versions! I remember my family in Tennessee in the 90’s doing it this way:
    Ride little pony go to town!
    Ride little pony don’t fall down!

    With the child on your lap facing away and then having them slide down your legs on the “dooown”

  34. Daniel Says:

    Oklahoma circa 1986.

    Dad of part German lineage did this.

    Done with the child sitting on your knees, either facing towards you or away, your hands under their arms.

    Trotty horse, trotty horse,
    going to town.
    Look out [child’s name],
    Don’tchya fall doooooown!

    On the “dooooooown” you drop the child between your knees. My Dad would get creative with it and instead of “down” he’d say “sideways!” Or “up!” And then lift or pull us the corresponding direction. I now do this with my corgi, and will definitely do it with my future kids too! :-)

  35. Pam Says:

    From my Tennessee roots:

    Ride a little horsey,
    Ride a little mare.
    Take little baby
    To the fair.
    Ride a little horsey,
    Ride into town.
    Do take care and
    Don’t fall down 🙂

  36. Laura Says:

    My grandfather (b 1923 in Virginia) sang:

    Trotty horse, trotty horse
    Went to town
    Riding on a billy goat
    Leading a hound
    Hound dog barked
    Billy goat jumped
    Throwed little Doodle right straddle of a stump (letting me “fall” between his knees and catching me under my arms)

  37. Heather Says:

    My paternal grandmother (b. 1913 in Arkansas) sang this for her kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, and great-great-grandkids. Her version was a little different than the others:

    Ride little horsey into town
    When we get there we all go ‘round
    Ride little horsey into town
    When we get there we all… fall… DOWN!

    Instead of sliding down her legs, she’d just open her legs and let us fall (while holding our hands). I’m not sure where she learned it, but her parents were Irish immigrants. There have been countless giggles through the decades because of this one little song!

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