a beggar on horseback

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a beggar on horseback

One who has become unscrupulous or irresponsible due to the sudden acquisition of wealth. The phrase alludes to several related proverbs, such as "give a beggar a horse and he'll ride it to death" and "set a beggar on horseback and he'll ride to the devil," which suggest that an unexpected windfall is often misused or squandered. I'm not surprised to hear that he's broke again—he always seemed like a beggar on horseback.
See also: beggar, horseback, on

beggar on horseback

a formerly poor person made arrogant or corrupt through achieving wealth and luxury.
Compare with the mid 17th-century proverb set a beggar on horseback and he'll ride to the devil , meaning that a person not used to power will use it unwisely.
See also: beggar, horseback, on
References in classic literature ?
There are the beggars on horseback too, in another sense from the sense of the proverb.
The Snakes were better clad and equipped than ever were Snakes before, and the three Canadians, suddenly finding themselves with horse to ride and weapon to wear, were like beggars on horseback, ready to ride on any wild scamper.
If you are looking for some new tracks this week, you should check out the new album Beggars On Horseback by The Countryside.