put the cart before the horse

To put the cart before the horse means to have things in the wrong order or to have things all confused and mixed up. If you put the cart before the horse, the horse is unable to pull the cart. This is a way of saying you have done something in the wrong order, because the horse should always be before the cart if they are to pull the cart and its contents. It is also a way of saying sings are mixed up or confused.