Nicole Kidman is living her best Sunday astride her horse, and celebrating the thoroughbred’s birthday the Australian way!
“But wait,” you may say as a Northern Hemisphere equine enthusiast. “Isn’t it January 1st?” It is for those of us who work with horses in the North. Nicole Kidman, however, is Australian! As such, she grew up around the Southern Hemisphere’s thoroughbred horse rules.
“Happy birthday!!! In the US, it’s the first of January,” replies one Nicole Kidman fan.
As previously stated, a fellow equine enthusiast Jessica clarifies that it’s “January 1 for Northern Hemisphere thoroughbreds, and August 1 for Southern Hemisphere thoroughbreds! What magnificent animals they are. I have a 4 year old OTTB!”
But this hemispherical difference doesn’t really explain why all thoroughbreds have the same birthday, does it? Not at all, in fact. Thankfully, equine enthusiast Miles Henry has the answer for us in simple terms.
“Thoroughbred racehorses have the same birthday to make it easier to keep track of horses’ ages,” explains Horse Racing Sense‘s Miles Henry. As a result, “the birth date is set to coincide with the animals’ breeding cycle and is the reason horses’ birthdays are different in the Northern Hemisphere and those in the Southern Hemisphere.”
Nicole Kidman’s Horse’s Birthday Sets off Discovery
As an ever-curious Outsider and wildlife technician, any chance to learn more about a specific animal or trade tickles my fancy. I have a feeling you’re the same, too, or you wouldn’t still be here! As such, I wanted to know more about why these specific two dates were chosen for the hemispheres’ thoroughbreds. Again, Miles Henry has the answers we seek.
“It doesn’t matter what day a Thoroughbred horse is born; it will be considered a year older on January 1st. Setting a standard birth date for racehorses makes it simple to determine its acceptability for races based on ages,” Henry clarifies.
More specifically, “the difference in birth dates is based on the mare breeding cycle, which is affected by the seasons,” he says. “In the Northern Hemisphere, mares typically start coming into heat shortly after the new year. A horse’s gestation cycle typically runs eleven months, so that means most foals are born in the spring, making January 1 a practical choice for their common birthday.”
I’m not sure how practical January 1st is for a Northern Hemisphere spring, as it’s over two months too early. But I don’t make the rules!
“At the beginning of September in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s just starting to warm up, prompting mares to begin their estrus cycle or come into heat,” Henry says of horses down South like Nicole Kidman‘s. “So they are more likely to deliver foals in late August to November, which makes August 1 a logical choice for horses’ common birthday in countries in the Southern Hemisphere.”
Now we know! Big thanks again to Horse Racing Sense‘s Mike Henry for the equine knowledge. For any equine enthusiast Outsiders, I highly recommend reading our U.S. Adds New Protections for Wild Horses from Illegal Sale, Slaughter next.