"Ride On" as written by and Jimmy Maccarthy....
True you ride the finest horse I've ever seen
Standing 16 1" or 2" with eyes wild and green
And you ride the horse so well, hands light to the touch
I could never go with you no matter how I wanted to

Ride on, see you, I could never go with you
No matter how I wanted to

When you ride into the night without a trace behind
Run your claw along my gut one last time
I turn to face an empty space where once you used to lie
And look for a smile to light the night through a teardrop in my eye

Ride on, see you, I could never go with you
No matter how I wanted to


Lyrics submitted by kevlar_soul, edited by caitsween

"Ride On" as written by Jimmy Maccarthy

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Ride On song meanings
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  • +2
    Song MeaningI looked up this song on here as I'm currently working it out to perform (I play guitar & sing) & I wanted to see what others had made of the meaning. The song is particularly powerful for me because of a painful split up from my partner a year ago & singing it is part of the healing from that.

    Beyond the meanings commented on above, for me it also relates a situation where the differences between the two parties have taken them on divergent paths, so that to 'go along' with the other isn't possible whilst following one's own path in the circumstances one finds oneself. Nevertheless, whilst it could be taken more cynically as tinged with bitterness & irony, personally I take the song as a powerful expression of admiration & goodwill towards the other.

    However, there is pain too of course & a suggestion of cruelty suffered during the relationship, but now almost welcomed & invited: 'Run your claw along my gut one last time'. The final lines of the second verse - 'And look for a smile to light the night, through a teardrop in my eye.' - to me imply the urge to take comfort in the arms of a third party, through the sorrow & loneliness of the separation.
    Davianon February 05, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentfantastic song written by Jimmy MacCarthy, basically girl is leaving for one reason or another but he cannot follow.
    llainon June 07, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe thing I love most about this song would have to be that it doesn't have to be sung by a man. Before I heard it sung (beautifully) by christy, I heard one f the sixth formers at my school sing it (again, beautifully), and I imagined it the other way around with the man leaving and the woman unable to follow. The way that either gender is able to sing it yet it still has an amazingly powerful meaning is a brilliant thing to be able to do in a song. I love it!
    Ur_Lil_Danceron January 14, 2007   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningHi MatthiasHeil, the line "Standing 16 1 or 2, with eyes wild & green" is a description of the horse.

    Traditionally, horses are measured in 'hands' - a hand is approximately 10cm & the hieght is measured from the ground to the 'withers' or top of the shoulder. In fact, because the hand is an imperial rather than a metric measurement, it actually corresponds to 4 inches (1 inch being about 2.5cm) & the 16 1 or 2' means 16.1 or 16.2 hands, which actually isn't a decimal but is 16 hands plus 1 inch or 16 hands plus 2 inches. So this horse is by my calculation (16x4inches)+(1 or 2 inches) = 65 or 66 inches = 1.625m or 1.650m.

    The 'eyes wild & green' is more obviously a description of the horses eyes.
    Davianon February 04, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentanyone who's never heard this song really should check it out, a very simple gorgeous love song. beautifully sung by christy
    JordyWordyon July 20, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFirst heard this from the group "celtic thunder" where ryan sings it. Beautiful song, and it's definitely about a women leaving a man, but he knows he could never go with her for what ever reason.
    lycaoon March 21, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHi there, I'm just a silly and slightly confused German who cannot make a lot of sense of the line "Standing 16 1" or 2" with eyes wild and green" (even after some google-ing) - seems a little small for a horse? Or is it a toy horse? Or does it stress the artificial perfection of the ("toy") person? Hints dearly appreciated!
    MatthiasHeilon January 29, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI see a stable hand of some sort having an affair with a lady. No matter what happens they can never be together. The claw refers to her long nails, she can grow them as she is a lady rather than a servant. When she leaves to return home each time he wishes she was still there beside him.
    Dij8on May 12, 2015   Link

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