It’s New Year’s Day, the start of a brand new year. Today is our horses’ birthday so out we went, braving the cold and plowing through the 8 inches of new snow (on top of the foot and a half from previous snowfalls) to give our friends their birthday apples.
January 1 isn’t their actual foaling date, but this is the date that is considered the birthday for every horse – in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere, August 1st is each horse's birthday. This is mainly for competition reasons such as horse racing and showing. Breeders that are showing or racing their horses try to have a foaling date as early in January as they can manage so that their horses have a competitive edge.
The exception to this rule is that the actual birth date is used for those horses entered in endurance riding. To enter in a race of 50 or more miles, the horses must be 5 years old and 4 years old for limited distance rides, which is under 50 miles. Even one day before their actual birthday will disqualify a horse from competing.
While we do occasionally show our horses, we still give them treats and scratches on their actual birthdays, too...today is more of an excuse to go out to pet them and give them some warm attention on a winter's day.
Happy Birthday Joy, Ole and Will!