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Year of the Horse

The celebration of the Chinese New Year began on the 31st this year but extends to the fifteenth day of the New Year. Each year, the celebration differs depending on the Chinese Zodiac, the twelve year cycle that designates a particular animal sign to each year. These signs hold significance similar to astrology, claiming to accurately ascribe attributes to those born based on their Zodiac animal sign.

According to Chinese mythology, the equine spirit represents ethos and steadfast self-improvement. If you were born in the year of the horse, then you’re out of luck this year- as encountering one’s own birth year offends "Taisui", the deity who controls people’s destiny. The good news for those born in the year of the horse is that they are credited with being vivacious, intelligent and kind.

However, those same people are also considered to be stubborn and hot-blooded according to Chinese lore. Although some of these traits are sensibly matched to the horse, others couldn’t be farther from an accurate depiction. So, we’ve broken down this typical picture of the Zodiac horse and compared it to the genuine article.

If the Horseshoe Fits…

Horses are indeed social creatures that rely on a community in their natural habitat to detect danger. This sociability extends from equines to humans in many cases. When grooming a horse, it will more likely than not attempt to return the favor (with its mouth!). They can also detect the mood of the animals around them, including that of humans.

This behavior is also indicative of the mental acuity of most horses. The claim that horses are intelligent is a verifiable fact that has been examined in great detail. Several studies have shown that horses are not only capable of performing tasks that exemplify adept spatial reasoning and problem solving, but they have also been shown to think and learn at an advanced level.

Studies have shown that horses are capable of learning using a variety of methods and can recognize complex concepts. Domestic horses actually face more complex challenges than natural horses due to the artificiality of their environment. Because most stables include features to suppress instinct, these horses are forced to adapt and respond to these conditions which is more difficult than relying on instinct in natural environments like wild horses.

Horses are Diverse

Some horses are known for their tempers, while others are known for their serenity. In fact, the distinction is so great that nomenclature was developed to describe the phenomenon. Horse breeds are classified as "hot-bloods" or "cold-bloods" depending on their temperament. Most race breeds are classified as “hot-bloods” and known to be sensitive and vivacious. This is why race horses often need calming supplements to relax before a race.

"Cold-bloods" on the other hand are often considered to be good working horses. These horses are known to be calm and patient and include larger breeds like the Clydesdale. Although most "cold-bloods" are large breed horses, certain breeds of ponies fit the bill as well. Those that don’t fit comfortably in either hot or cold blood camps are considered "warmbloods". These breeds were bred for riding and often make good horses for show jumping and similar competitions.

Horses may be accused of being stubborn due to their tendency towards forming habits. However, due to their intellect, they are capable of learning to change their ways if taught properly. The stubborn stereotype might have begun with owners interpreting their refusals as an inability to adapt. In fact, it’s common for horses to throw tantrums when they know an action causes them pain. Thus, horses aren’t stubborn so much as they are averse to hurting themselves.

For those of you who have horses, we hope that you take great care of them this year. You can be sure to keep your horse healthy with our numerous supplements made specifically for horses. We hope you learned something new and have a great Chinese New Year!

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