View Full Version : what does "burr in my saddle mean"?

05-18-2007, 10:05 PM
in an episode of the History Channel's "Masterminds", a frustrated special agent used the phrase "a burr in my saddle" in expressing the difficulty and seemingly bad luck he was having in apprehending a criminal. what does it mean and where did it originate?

05-18-2007, 10:10 PM
"Burr under my saddle" is a euphemism for a constant nagging irritation. If you were a horse, a burr under the saddle would wear a small open sore in your flesh. Not life threatening, but extremely aggravating. Similar to an itch you can't scratch, but more extreme.

05-18-2007, 10:27 PM
A burr in the saddle is exactly what it sounds like: literally "a pain in the ass."

Fear Itself
05-18-2007, 10:49 PM
A burr in the saddle is exactly what it sounds like: literally "a pain in the ass.""A burr under my saddle" is different though. If the burr is under the saddle, it irritates the horse, not the rider, making the horse jumpy and difficult to control. A closer analogy would by, "sticks in my wheels", an annoying impediment that makes your life difficult.

05-18-2007, 10:52 PM
In case you don't know what a burr is, here's a picture:


That would be uncomfortable under a saddle (for the horse)!

05-18-2007, 11:34 PM
Thanks Everyone.

Manduck, I suppose that would be uncomfortable.

05-19-2007, 01:17 AM
"A burr under my saddle" is different though.
Maybe my eyes are going bad. Which one did the OP ask about again?

05-19-2007, 01:54 AM
I've heard that it referred to the old rodeo practice of putting a burr under the saddle of a horse to make him buck more. That, and a strap tight against his balls.

Fear Itself
05-19-2007, 06:41 AM
Maybe my eyes are going bad. Which one did the OP ask about again?He asked about the one that no one uses. The more common expression is "burr under my saddle". Google returns only 63 instances of "A burr in my saddle", whereas "A burr under my saddle" returns 2,440 occurrences. I reasonably concluded he may have misheard the reference, and in any case, it was relevant to point out the difference.

05-19-2007, 02:25 PM
You must be using a different version of Google than I am. I get 2450 "under" vs. 1360 "in".

05-19-2007, 03:02 PM
I get 516 for "burr under my saddle" and 2290 for "burr in my saddle".

Edit: For completeness 6 results for "burr on my saddle"

Fear Itself
05-19-2007, 03:16 PM
You must be using a different version of Google than I am. I get 2450 "under" vs. 1360 "in".I have no idea what version of google you use. I googled "A burr in my saddle", versus "A burr under my saddle" . Whichever version you use, "under" is more popular than "in", and that is why I pointed out the distinction..

05-19-2007, 03:22 PM
Incidentally a search for "burr ** my saddle" gives 216 000 results, many of which are variations on the "under" form.

"burr ** under my saddle" gives 14 100 results
"burr ** in my saddle" gives one result.

So, I don't know what the deal is with the previous results, but "under" is definitely the more common location for burrs in relation to saddles.

05-19-2007, 05:26 PM
This thread is the first time I've ever heard the "in" version.

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