Saddle down for horsing around

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You wouldn’t feel very special if your birthday was on the same day as everybody else’s, would you? Well, spare a thought for our elegant equine friends who share theirs — and no amount of whinnying can change it!

Nearly all breeds of pedigree horses celebrate their birthday on August 1 in the southern hemisphere. In the northern hemisphere it’s January 1. This may seem a bit strange, even downright unfair if you’re a handsome hoofed creature keen to shed your saddle for solo birthday shenanigans, but there is a reason for the standardisation and it has to do with the seasons. Apparently, a mare’s oestrus cycle begins with prolonged daylight, which usually happens at the beginning of September when the weather starts to warm up. This means mares who are bred successfully in early spring will have their foals the following August. A consistent date also helps with the organisation of horse events.

No matter what the reason, if you know a horse who deserves lots of kisses, giddy up. It’s time to celebrate the fact that we have them. Birthday or not.

LIZ ROGERS

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