a horse used for plowing, hauling, and other heavy labor, as distinguished from a riding horse, racehorse, etc.
a person who works tirelessly at a task, assumes extra duties, etc.

1535–45; work + horse Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
workhorse (ˈwɜːkˌhɔːs)
1.  a horse used for nonrecreational activities
2.  informal a person who takes on the greatest amount of work in a project or job

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Example sentences
It aims to be your miniature workhorse companion and tries to look good while it's along for the ride.
But it's a solid workhorse, and sometimes that's all you really need.
It's remarkable that he's suddenly turned into a workhorse given his previous injury issues.
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