A horse, regardless of sex and age; rarely, any equid. Note: Esp in earlier exx this term is often clearly used to avoid the possible ambiguity of plain horse, which might be taken to mean “(adult) male horse” in contradistinction to mare, colt, etc.
1652 in 1861 New Plymouth Colony Records 11.61 seMA, That such ffences as are Judged sufficient against oxen and cowes are by this court allowed sufficient against horses and mares; and if any horse beast breake into any corn or grasse ouer such sufficient ffence the owners of such horses shall pay the dammages. 1677 in 1899 Dedham MA Early Rec. 5.52, It is thierfore ordered: that whosoeuer shall take vp any Horse Beast one fetred [=unfettered] at liberty: in fenced Corn fields: meaddows or Pasturs: and bringe them in to the Poude: thay shall recaiue two shilings sixpenc of the owner of the Beast . 1798 in 1992 Llewellyn Traces 4.1 cNC, [To my daughter Mary Lewelling I give . . one horse beast and saddle if to be rasid [sic] out of my estate. 1810 Scioto Gazette (Chillicothe OH) [9 May 9]/4, [Advt:] Taken up by Bigger Head, 5 head of horse beasts—the one a brown mare. . . Also, one bay horse. . . Also, one dun mare. . . Also, a brown horse colt. . . Also, one bay horse colt. 1834 in 1956 Eliason Tarheel Talk 257 NC, I give . . unto my son Rezin . . his own choice of horse beast. 1837 AR Times & Advocate (Little Rock) 29 May /3, Robinson made enquiry for a horse beast, and I gave him imformation [sic] where he would be likely to find the horse. 1843 (1916) Hall New Purchase 101 IN, Dick, my nonpareil of “hoss beasts,” . . When this remarkable quadruped was foaled is uncertain. 1863 in 1939 KS Hist. Qrly. 8.378 ceKA, I am wintering this season, about 50 head of cattle and four horses, or (as they say here , in hoosier language,) 50 cow brutes, and four horse beasts. 1867 Harris Sut Lovingood Yarns 43 TN, I wer jis’ a-studyin how tu gin yu a sorter idear ove how things look’d arter them two hoss beastes mixed. 1869 Lippincott’s Mag. Lit. Sci. Educ. 3.315 PA, “Horsebeast,” and sometimes “beast,” for horse. 1883 Farmer & Mechanic (Raleigh NC) [14 Nov 3]/3 cwNC, One Mr. Powell, whose only “horse-beast” was of the braying species, rode him off for a jug of liquor. As he returned home the aforesaid jack rubbed up against a tree, broke Powell’s jug[,] threw him off and marched directly home. 1952 Brown NC Folkl. 1.552, Horse-beast. . . Horse.