Valentine’s Day is said to be when the birds find their mates and secret admirers declare their love to the object of their desire. It is also traditionally the date that marks the breeding season for horses. If any mare is covered before this date there is a risk that, if she foaled early, the foal would be born in December and thus be classed as a year old on 1 January for competition purposes.


Thoroughbred breeders tend to aim for very early foals, whereas our native ponies are often foaling in April or May when the weather is warmer. Diva (Melland Queen of Scots) is quite a late foal, with her actual birthday being on the 13 of July. When you are showing a pony as a youngster, those born earlier in the year will have a bit of an advantage over those born later in being fuller grown and looking more mature. Once the ponies are around four years old, the advantage evens out somewhat as they all turn into adults.


I showed Diva as a two-year-old and she did look like a baby compared to some of the others from the same age group, but now at seven years old she is a lovely mature pony and has properly caught up. If I am ever tempted to breed from Diva (and yes, I am tempted a lot!), I would likely try to time her covering by the stallion with the aim being an April or May foal.


The yard where she is kept has only one gelding amidst five mares. I wonder if all the girls will send him a Valentine’s card or are they lusting after one of the horses who ride past? Diva has made herself pretty in the hope of catching someone’s eye!

Horse with hearts

I hope you all have a lovely Valentine’s Day and that any secret admirers are brave enough to declare themselves!

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