On all of the Charlottesville horse farms someone is having a birthday. January 1 is the day when all thoroughbred horses turn another day older.
For the purpose of the racing industry it was determined that no matter what the actual birth date a thoroughbred horse turns a year older on January 1. You may hear a horseperson saying that a certain horse is a young four year old. That would mean that the particular horse was born later in the year, for instance in June so that horse might only be 7 actual months old when its first birthday rolls around. Since a horse may start racing in its 2 year old year, the custom is to breed a mare so that she will foal early in the year, without foaling too early and having a late December foal, which would be tragedy for a racing career. The thought is that an early youngster would perhaps be bigger and stronger than its younger rivals in its 2 and 3 year old racing years.
So I would like to wish all of the horses a Happy Birthday! May they all get plently of birthday carrots and apples, and perhaps a nice hot bran mash.