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Mrs. Astor’s Pet Horse

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Julie in Greenwood, Indiana, says her mother was fond of the expression Mrs. Astor’s pet horse, meaning “someone who dresses ostentatiously.” The phrase refers to Caroline Webster Schermerhorn Astor, from the ultra-wealthy Astor family, who was known for throwing parties so lavish that even her horse got dolled up. The expression was repopularized in the 1940s by a traveling musical revue called Mrs. Astor’s Pet Horse. Other variants include Mrs. Astor’s plush horse, pet horse, billy goat, and pet cow. This is part of a complete episode.

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