- A day of love. Saint Valentine’s Day, also known as the Feast of Saint Valentine, is celebrated around the world every year on 14 February. Although it’s not recognised as a holiday, it’s acknowledged as a good day to share your feelings with loved ones – which obviously includes your favourite pony!
- Early beginnings. There are a few different stories related to the origins of St Valentine’s Day, all attached to Christian saints – one was said to have performed weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. After he was imprisoned for this, it was believed that he healed the daughter of his jailer, and before his execution, sent her a letter signed “Your Valentine”. Send your pony a Valentine in the form of a bunch of carrots – he’ll probably love you forever.
- Chaucer’s tales. The classic writer Geoffrey Chaucer and his circle of peers associated the day with romantic love in the Middle Ages. Later, in 18th century England, lovers would express their love for each other with flowers, sweets and cards. In Europe, keys were given as a symbol to ‘unlock’ a lover’s heart. The best way to your pony’s heart is through a good grooming session and some stretching exercises. And, of course, those carrots.
- Bringing flowers. In Slovenia, Saint Valentine was one of the saints of spring. A proverb says that “Saint Valentine brings the keys of roots.” Plants and flowers are said to start growing on this day. Coincidentally, carrots are a root, much loved by ponies.
- New arrival. February has only recently become a day to share feelings. The day of love was traditionally 22 February, which was Saint Anthony’s Day, or 12 March, Saint Gregory’s Day. Of course, this would make it too late to celebrate love at the Horse of the Year at KPC, which is generally held around Valentine’s Day!
- A little help … In 1797, a British publisher issued The Young Man’s Valentine Writer, which contained love poems for those who couldn’t write their own. Luckily the internet can now do the same job. “Roses are red, violets are blue, apples are tasty, my horse likes them too.”
- Who gets one? A greeting card association in America says that about 190 million Valentine’s cards are sent each year in the States. In SA, it’s unlikely we send this many – our postal service isn’t as reliable. Of the cards sent, about half are given to loved ones like children and friends instead of partners. We’d give ours to our horses!
Text: Brigitte Billings. Photography: 123rf, shutterstock
This article first appeared in the February 2015 edition of HQPony.