Easter, at least in the United States, is associated with a very particular set of fuzzy little critters. Emphasizing all that's cute and fluffy, bunnies, chicks, and lambs are everywhere.

But for some folks, Easter has an equine angle.

Canadian newspaper The Barrie Examiner very helpfully put together an article on the subject of some horse-y Easter traditions.

Here's a fun excerpt:

"Folk traditions in [Bulgaria] include the making of a special Easter loaf of bread decorated with a horse's figurehead and distributed by the women while they prance about making neighing sounds like their four-legged friends."

Righteous!

And did you know there are also annual Easter Haflinger races? A special race for the draft ponies, called the Farmer's Gallop Race, takes place in Merano, Italy, annually on Easter Monday, marking the start of the racing season.

Video: Might this be it? Video's super jumpy and takes forever--scroll to 2:40 for cute pony butts in post parade, 5:22 for them coming down the stretch. Not the real thing, but still pretty funny. (All of this sort of reminds me of the annual Shetland Grand National!)  

Warning: Tangent Approaching

This has nothing to do with horses or science. (Except that my horse really enjoys our subject, particularly the Christmastime peppermint stars. And I guess there is some research in the literature, but I don't think it's been peer-reviewed.)

It's Peeps season. Can there be anything more glorious?

I adore the fluffy little buggers. The bunnies, the chicks--I don't discriminate. And as the selection has expanded to include snowmen, Christmas trees, Halloween ghosts, and valentine's hearts, my fondness has grown with it. (And, be still my heart, I just saw that they've introduced Chocolate Mousse Teddy Bears!)

But perhaps the quintessential expression of Peep adoration is the diorama, which utilizes the fluffy bundles of sugary goodness to illustrate a scene or concept. Several newspapers have gotten into the act and sponsored contests, which have taken off--the Washington Post had more than 800 entries last year!

See some finalists:

For more Peep-y goodness, look around on Sunday for winners of the 2009 editions, or come back to the blog.