August 31 - Horse Day

The last day of summer is Horse Day. On this date, the Orthodox Church celebrates the Day of Remembrance of the holy martyrs Flor and Lavr, who are considered patrons of horses, which is why on August 31 these noble animals are honored.

In ancient times on this day it was customary to release horses from work, decorate them with various bright ribbons and bells and treat them with delicacies, they were not even saddled. The housewives were baking horseshoe-shaped cakes and distributing them to children and horses. And the heads of households were nailing the old horseshoe on the door – for luck. In the evening the horses were sprinkled with holy water to protect them from all sorts of misfortunes. It was believed that from this time the morning frosts begin.

The horse is a sacred animal of twenty-three nationalities. These ungulates are mostly worshiped where there is no way to do without them: in North Africa and the Middle East. The shortest word that means horse is "uk". This is what nomads called horses in Mongolia. The longest name of this animal is "okvila upara klamaru koalu nakla nata", which meant "bald guanaco of a white man who came from the sea" – it was used by the Indians of the Peruvian tribe Mitzran.

Man and horse throughout their existence on Earth have been constantly interacting and significantly influencing each other. In prehistoric times the main object of hunting of primitive people were horses: they were used to make skins, they were a source of food – meat and milk. After some time, this animal was domesticated and became the main means of moving people and transporting goods, it was used for peaceful labor.

The rapid development of society, culture, science and military affairs, all the growing ambitions, big goals and grand plans of the people opened new areas of application of horses. They began to take part in the conquest and development of new lands and countries, with their help the transport connection between the cities was established. Over time, these animals were involved in the economic, political and spiritual spheres of society: in industry, agriculture, sports, culture, medicine. Horses have also become an object of aesthetic pleasure.

To this day harness racing and horse races are very popular. The most common are such classic disciplines of equestrian sports as dressage, show jumping, triathlon, horse racing.

It should be noted that these ungulates can help people solve health problems. In many countries around the world, special stables have been set up at medical institutions, where patients are taught horseback riding, which helps to restore the normal functioning of the spine and extremities. Equestrian sport is very useful for people with vestibular disorders.

Mykolaiv Zoo most of the period of its existence kept horses of different species: zebras, Turkmenian kulans, Przewalski's horses, kiangs, and also domestic horses, including ponies.

Domestic horses and Shetland ponies today are indispensable helpers of our zoo. With the help of a pony and donkey cart, an environmentally friendly vehicle that does not harm the environment, the staff delivers food for all the animals in the zoo. Horse and pony riding, which is regularly held at the zoo every Saturday and Sunday, is an interesting and popular pastime. Therefore, if you like to spend your leisure time joyfully and with profit to your health, welcome to us.

Among the horses of Mykolaiv Zoo there is a long-lived animal – the Shetland pony named Gnom (in English – Dwarf), who was born on May 9, 1987. He got his name due to his tiny size. Most of his life he worked in the department of domestic animals – he was riding children. He took part in various celebrations of Mykolaiv city and was even involved in one of the performances of the Mykolaiv Academic Ukrainian Drama and Musical Comedy Theater.

Despite the level of development of civilization, horses continue to play an important role in our society, they are involved in many aspects of our lives. These animals have aroused people's sincere admiration and love since ancient times, continuing to help, impress with their beauty, strength and endurance.

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