We often say, in our native language, that

Horses cannot fatten while grazing during the battle hours.

which means that one cannot prepare himself at a time when something is impending upon him. I will explain my proverb with another example; If someone has an exam and he starts studying one day or a few hours before it then we say that horses cannot be made full (grazed to full) at this time, meaning that you cannot prepare yourself when something is very impending on you. Is there any such proverb in English for this situation?


2 Answers 2


Interesting, if I understand correctly, your proverb talks about time "being too late", the event is already upon you and there's not much preparation that can be done.

Many of the proverbs I'm familiar with are on the other side of that, saying to be prepared beforehand for the impending "battle".

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. (Ben Franklin)

In the field of observation, chance favors only the prepared minds. (Louis Pastuer)

Always be prepared. (Boy Scouts)

  1. Don't let the grass grow under your feet.

If someone doesn't let the grass grow under his/her feet, he/she does something right now without waiting.

to not waste time by delaying doing something: 'We can't let the grass grow under our feet - we've really got to get going with this project.'

[Cambridge Idioms Dictionary]

  1. Strike while the iron is hot.

When you have an opportunity to do something, do it before you lose your chance.

[McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs]

Both idioms emphasize that we should not miss an opportunity when it comes to us and we have to act without delay.

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