National Horse Day 2023: December 13th and 7 Fun Ways to Celebrate

Written by Crystal
Updated: June 22, 2023
© Christopher Crosby Morris/
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Who can sleep standing up but can’t breathe through their mouth? A horse, of course!

Horses are incredible creatures with excellent hearing and a nearly 360-degree field of vision. These brilliant animals can be taught all sorts of skills and have big personalities.

There are around 7.2 to 7.7 million horses throughout the United States. And we’re here to tell you about their special day. Follow along to learn all about National Horse Day and how you should celebrate.

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When Is National Horse Day?

Beautiful appaloosa horse rearing up in the field in autumn
National Horse Day is on December 13.


National Horse Day is celebrated on December 13. This National Day allows us to reflect on how horses make the world a better place.

Why December 13?

Since its establishment, December 13 has always been the day that National Horse Day is celebrated. It’s a time to encourage people nationwide to recognize the importance of horses. The day was designated the National Day of the Horse by a US Congress Senate Resolution in 2004.

More Horse Days

Other worthy horse days include March 1, World Horse Day, or National Horse Protection Day. This day focuses on horse welfare. There’s also April 26, National Help A Horse Day, which promotes horse adoption and rescue efforts.

Why We Celebrate National Horse Day

There are so many reasons to celebrate National Horse Day. For starters, these animals play a major role in improving the economy of the United States.

The horse industry contributes significantly to the United States economy. The industry encompasses agribusiness activities, leisure pursuits, goods, and services. The goods and services equal about $50 billion annually, and 1.74 million people are employed. The states where the horse industry contributes the most to the GDP are Florida, Kentucky, and Oklahoma.

Paying Tribute to US Horse History

Citation, Triple Crown Winner, circa 1950
Horses have been in sporting events since ancient times.

©Goreen Collection / Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – License

To fully appreciate National Horse Day, it helps to look back at their role over the centuries. The legacy of horses and sporting events dates back to ancient times. Ancient Greek and Roman civilizations held equestrian events as early as 700 BCE. They had events like horseback riding competitions and chariot races.

The Byzantine Empire introduced jousting in the 6th century, where armored knights would ride horseback and compete in mock battles. And polo, one of the oldest known sports involving horses, originated in Persia around the 6th century BCE and spread to other parts of Asia and Europe.

History of Horse Racing

Horse racing, another ancient activity, can be traced back to ancient Egypt around 1500 BCE. Horses have even been featured in the Olympic Games of Ancient Greece. Their horses would participate in equestrian events such as chariot races and horseback riding.

By the 18th century, thoroughbred horse racing had gained popularity, especially in England. Today, it remains one of the most prestigious and widely watched equestrian sports worldwide. Other well-known horse-related events include show jumping, dressage, rodeo, eventing, and harness racing. Harness racing involves horses pulling a two-wheeled cart known as a sulky and gained popularity in the 19th century.

Show Jumping and Dressage

Show jumping began in the late 19th century and is a competitive sport that tests the horse’s ability to clear different obstacles. And dressage is an equestrian sport where riders and horses perform intricate movements and patterns. This activity can be traced back to Ancient Greece and later became a part of the modern Olympic Games.

Horse in Rodeos and Olympic Games

Rodeo, deeply rooted in the traditions of cattle herding in North America, allows individuals to showcase various skills. These skills can include things such as barrel racing, bull riding, and roping. Eventing provides a little bit of everything. It combines dressage, cross-country jumping, and show jumping and has been included in the Olympics since 1912.

How to Celebrate National Horse Day

herd of horses
You can celebrate National Horse Day by attending an event or visiting an equine museum.


How can you celebrate National Horse Day? There are many ways to immerse yourself in the world of horses. Here are a few of the best options:

  1. Visit Horse Stable
  2. Go Horseback Riding
  3. Visit Equine Museum
  4. Attend Horse Race
  5. Have a Horse Themed Party
  6. Learn About Horse Breeds
  7. Volunteer at a Horse Organization

If you can’t decide what to do, pick a few ways to celebrate! Horses are amazing, so it makes sense if you want to spend the entire day learning about them and having fun.

1. Visit a Local Stable

board a horse - horses in stable
Visiting a local stable is a great way to celebrate National Horse Day.


If you want to give back to horses, visiting a local stable or horse rescue center is the perfect opportunity for hands-on learning. Interacting with horses allows you to observe their behavior up close. You can also learn about horse nutrition, grooming, and veterinary care. These visits also provide an opportunity to bond with horses.

2. Go Horseback Riding

Horseback riding trail
Horseback riding helps you connect with a horse while also exercising your core muscles.


Giddy up! Horseback riding is a great way to celebrate National Horse Day. It allows you to embark on an outdoor adventure, exploring scenic trails. Riding a horse also engages various muscle groups and provides moderate exercise. For instance, it promotes balance, coordination, and strength.

3. Attend a Horse Show or Race

Galloping race horses in racing competition.
Attend a horse race to celebrate National Horse Day.


Attending a horse show or race is another fantastic way to celebrate National Horse Day. Whether it’s dressage, show jumping, or Hunter’s shows, these events allow you to witness the horses’ and riders’ skills and elegance. Prestigious horse races like the Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown series showcase speed and stamina.

4. Host a Horse-Themed Party

metal horseshoes on wooden table
Guests can play horseshoes at your horse-themed party.

©Gabarrella fotograf/

Are you a party animal at heart? Then celebrate National Horse Day with a horse party! There are plenty of exciting ways to incorporate horse-themed decorations, food, games, and activities into your day.

You can create a stunning horse balloon arch using vibrant balloons shaped like horses. To do this you’ll need long latex animal balloons. You can also hang up horseshoe-shaped streamers.

As for food, indulge your guests with haystack treats made from Rice Krispies and pretzels. Form the haystacks with the crispies and use pretzels as the straw. It’s a delightful and easy-to-make treat.

What’s the best game for a horse party? A horseshoe toss! You can also organize a horse relay race where participants ride stick horses and pass batons to their teammates. For additional entertainment, consider classic games like “pin the tail on the horse” and a horseshoe toss.

5. Learn About Horse Breeds

Irish Cob or Gypsy Horse in field
Irish cob horses are just one of the horse breeds you can learn about.


Did you know there are over 400 horse breeds? National Horse Day is an ideal occasion to expand your knowledge of horse breeds. You can read books about different breeds and their characteristics or conduct online research. For instance, here’s a list of the cutest horses in the world.

6. Donate or Volunteer

Horse veterinarian
Find ways to volunteer or donate to horse-based foundations in your area.


Giving back to horses is a meaningful way to celebrate National Horse Day. Consider donating to a horse charity or volunteering at a local horse shelter. Even a single day of volunteering can make a significant difference in a horse’s well-being. And if you’re considering a horse career, you’ll gain valuable experience. Volunteers can learn skills such as stable management and grooming.

Before donating or volunteering, do some research. Be sure to choose a reputable horse charity or shelter that aligns with your values and goals.

7. Visit an Equine Museum

Przewalski's horses stand in the middle of the steppe.
Equine museums offer a great opportunity to learn more about horse breeds throughout time.


If you feel like making a day trip, go visit an equine museum on National Horse Day. Explore these museums to expand your knowledge and appreciation of horses. These museums are exhibitions that focus on horse history, including breed development. They usually display informative exhibits and artifacts, offering a deeper understanding of different breeds throughout time.

Many equine museums also feature interactive displays that enhance the learning experience. This can make your trip extra fun for the whole family.

Final Thoughts

National Horse Day is celebrated on December 13th, and it’s the perfect opportunity to acknowledge all of the things horses do for us. The horse industry is so large, it has a bigger impact on the United States economy than motion pictures or railroads.

To celebrate you can trot on over to visit a local stable! Or maybe you’ll go horseback riding. Of course, throwing a horses-themed party is always a good idea too. So spread the word, gather your friends, and have a great time celebrating!

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About the Author

Crystal is always looking to learn more, and share her finds with you along the way. It's amazing how you can spend your entire life living with plants and animals, but still know so little about them! Let's explore our world together as Crystal covers topics about creatures, places, and experiences.

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