Where would us two-legged beasties be without the horse? Throughout the ages horses have supported us, literally: carrying us into battle, across country and away from danger, with loyalty and a…well, workhorse-like attitude.

Quirky Fact: you know the story about Lawrence of Arabia crossing the desert to be first into Damascus? The Poms liked it so much they made a movie about it, but it may not be as true as the British would like it to be. The first of the Allied Forces into Damascus were actually Australia’s Desert Mounted Corp, the 3rd Light Horse Brigade. The Australian horses were extremely resilient in the desert campaign and became renowned for their courage and stamina under fire. We won’t tell any more of that story, because it will make you cry…we humans have not always paid back like we should.

The idea of a horses’ birthday came from the world of racing, where it was necessary to have an agreed date as a way of standardising the ages of competitors.  August 1 in the southern hemisphere and January 1 in the northern hemisphere, in keeping with the equine breeding seasons.

Horse racing

Quirky fact: most horses trot with a diagonal stride, leading with the front leg and opposite hind leg. Except for the Standard Bred or Pacer, also known as a Trotter. These gentle gee-gees move with a parallel stride, called pacing: the front and hind leg on the same side striding out together. It is bred into them for generations. Standard Bred horses are sweet natured and make lovely riding horses, but breaking them of the pacing is near impossible!

There are so many amazing stories about horses. This particular writer grew up riding and training ponies and can think of nothing better to do than to hang out with horses all day. Before I pestered my parents into buying me my first pony I would ride around our farm with rope tied to the handlebars of my bike, pretending that they were reins. The gentle generosity of my horses has seen me through some difficult times and even now I assess people as if they were horses – weird, but we horsey folk are like that. And even if you are not horse-mad, you have to thank them for what they have contributed to the evolution of humans.

And for their birthday celebration? Why, carrot cake, of course!