A quick note to wish a very happy birthday to the horses of the world today, August 1.
Although southern-hemisphere horses are born year-round courtesy of modern technology and the agricultural patterns, up in the Northern Hemisphere their births still cluster on either side of this date and so, today, it’s used as a standardised date for the purposes of aging horses. Much like kids are classified into one school year or another based on the relationship to the year-start date.
But, this date has much older origins. Back in the days of the Celts, the date we now know as 1st August was Lughnasadh (‘Lugh’s day’) and a week-long fire festival would be held on the days around that date to honour him. At that gathering, people would trade their most valuable commodities– women (who were bethrothed at this event) and horses (the youngest of which were born in the month just gone). The people of ancient times may well have fallen into the habit of ‘starting the clock’ on the ages of their horses (particularly foals) at that date because it was the first time the animals came into their possession and they could know their age first-hand.