One of the downsides of the cliche "beating a dead horse" is that no one can beat a horse to death to begin with without the tagline coming to mind. The phrase is so cliche that beating a horse to death near-inexorably foreshadows that one is going to continue beating the horse once the horse's pulse has stopped and its heart is technically no longer beating. This is especially troublesome for horse axe murderers, who always kill with the terrible feeling that they'll never be able to stop once the horse is chopped into pieces. This has been the cause of a lot of diagnoses of obsessive compulsive disorder in horse killers, who always respond to their shrinks that they were just adhering to appropriate society-instilled etiquette.
Occasionally a defense attorney will use this classic social presure principle as a legal defense when a client is charged with repetitive degree horseslaughter. The prosecution will usually argue that the obsessive pressure to continue attacking a horse once it's dead has little or nothing to do with the motivation for attacking it up to the point where it dies, or for that matter leaving the house that morning with the premeditation of doing anything of the sort. The defense will then counter with two points: one, that the issue of the premeditated murder before beating the *dead* horse has little or nothing to do with an accusation of *repetitive* degree horseslaughter, as repetition only happens once an initial instance of an event has occured, and that accusing someone of "first* degree horseslaughter would be quite a different issue.__________
Secondly, in either case, that if one even has the slightest genetic tendencies toward animal abuse to *any* sort of degree, that the obsessive mass social distribution of the cliche "beating a dead horse" not only motivates those tendencies in an environment in which potential horse killers should be otherwise free of such social pressure, but in fact pushes them straight over the edge of premeditation before they even considered the idea consciously. In fact, some even go as far as to argue that society *intentionally* propogates the suggestion of repetitive degree horseslaughter just to fund the entertainment that comes from media-popularized horseslaughter trial, not to mention all the humorous satire out there that leeches off of the absurdity of making it a crime to kill a horse.__________
The accused are almost always acquitted.