Drive a horse and cart through

I need help to understand this phrase in the following context:

Mike, with his natural naughtiness, could drive a horse and cart right through the gap in his parents' marriage and choose to live with the adult who looked more interesting but was a hopeless father.

Does this mean only that he somehow influenced to this gap, or only that the relationship of his parents was pretty bad? (They are divorced.)

Thank you,
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I think that it means that whatever size the gap was, Mike knew how to take advantage of it to do or get what he wanted. That is, he could use the differences between his parents to manipulate them and get his way, whatever it was.

    This sentence by itself doesn't comment on the size of the gap, but merely says that it existed. Nor does it say that he caused or influenced it, although in a real situation like this, such behavior would be one more thing that made it hard for the parents to get along.
    Last edited:


    English - Australia
    A gap big enough to "drive a horse and cart through" refers directly to the size of the gap. I don't think it implies anything about who caused it.


    Senior Member
    Is "to drive a cart through" an idiom? If it is not, can we say that this expression is based on/derived from the idiom "to upset the apple cart"?


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    'Drive a cart through' is not an idiom, 'drive a horse and cart through' is; and I'm with Kayta that it just refers to a very big gap.

    His front teeth are so far apart you could drive a horse and cart through them.

    Perhaps more commonly it's used about exceptions, loopholes etc.:

    This new law has so many loopholes you could drive a horse and cart through it.