The thoroughbred industry uses common birth dates for horses.
August 1 in the southern hemisphere and January 1 in the northern hemisphere.
These dates coincide with the horse racing season.
This system standardises thoroughbred ages for comparison (due to the historical lack of actual birth day records).
On August 1, after a horse is born, it’s deemed a yearling. The following August 1 is its second ‘birthday’. It’s considered two years old, even if it’s as young as one year and one day.
Thoroughbred breeders aim to produce foals close to August 1. That way, when it’s time to train them, it’s the right time of year to race them.
This practice sees young horses ridden and raced before their bones and joints have matured.
Shoeing, and the unnaturally high protein diet given to these young animals, add further stress to immature joints.
As a result, thoroughbred horses older than five have many soundness issues.
Unfortunately, many of these visually beautiful animals are sold to the pleasure horse industry, causing emotional and financial heartache to many.