According to the Chinese zodiac, the period between January 31, 2014 and February 15, 2015 will be observed as the Year of the Wooden Horse. Chinese horoscopes are determined by the year of your birth, and individuals born in 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942, 1930 and 1918 were also born in the Year of the Horse. While predictions abound, for us it is a reason to celebrate a graceful and industrious animal domesticated since ancient times and a constant companion of man through war and peace, hard labour and vigorous sport.
Horses may have first been domesticated in the steppes of Eurasia around 4000 BC, and since spread with the contact between human civilizations. In South Asia, particularly the Indian subcontinent, horses are believed to have been used since 1600 BC. The now-extinct wild ancestor of the modern domestic horse, the Tarpan, became extinct in Europe. The only living wild ancestor of the horse, the Przewalski's Wild Horse, was one time considered extinct in its native stomping grounds in Mongolia but captive-bred populations from France were reintroduced and the species now roams free in Mongolia's Khustain Nuruu National Park as well as in Kalamely Mountain area in Xinjiang, China. This subspecies has never been domesticated.
From Peru and Costa Rica, from Romania and Germany, from Israel and Palestine, celebrate the Year of the Horse in these stunning pictures from around the world.