Year of the horse
Sculpture of a horse from the Chinese zodiac in Mount Mogan park, Zhejiang ProvinceWikimedia Commons

It is believed the animals in the Chinese zodiac calendar originated from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), during which they were used to count years in same way as the modern Christian calendar.

The Chinese Zodiac, known as Sheng Xiao, is based on a 12-year cycle and each year in that cycle is related to an animal sign.

These animal signs are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Each animal is associated with an "earthly branch" such as fire, water, metal or wood.

As it was observed that there were 12 full moons in one year, the number 12 is used to divide years and times of the day.

What type of people are born on the year of the horse?

Those born within these years are recognised as energetic, bright and intelligent. This kind of person is sometimes referred to a "Qianli Ma" - a horse that covers a thousand li a day (one li is equivalent to 500 metres).

Chinese New Year
According to the Chinese lunar calendar, the Chinese New Year falls on January 31Reuters

It is believed those born in the year of the horse have excellent communication skills and enjoy being in the limelight.

In general, it is suggested that they are cheerful, popular, talented and enjoy entertaining. They are associated with success and cannot stand failure.

What are their weaknesses?

Constraint is said to be absent in people born on the year of the horse. While they are believed to be talented, they are impatient and hot-blooded about everything. Failure can result in pessimism.

The year of the horse is associated with people who are bad at managing their finances and pursue high profile careers. They pride themselves on being independent are rarely take advice from others, and have frequent bouts of bad temper.

What will the year of the horse bring?

For those born on the year of the horse, they will encounter the Year of Birth (Benming Nian). It is believed they will offend Taisui, the god in charge of fortune, so their finances may fluctuate. In terms of career, it is advised to keep the peace between colleagues. 

For those not born on a horse year, the year ahead will bring health and prosperity. It is said to be an excellent time to travel, as the next 12 months will bring good luck. You are advised to mingle with the locals, savour authentic cuisine and discover somewhere you have never been before.