If you weren't the one to name him originally, you may feel his current name doesn't reflect his personality, is too unoriginal, too similar to another horse on your yard or just isn't to your personal liking?
However, if you have always dreamt of having a horse called "Silver" and his name is currently "Snowy" why not change it? After all, he's your horse.
When One Name is Not Enough!
Did you know many horses have two names? If registered with a Breed Society they will have what is known as a "Registered Name".
This will contain the prefix of the Stud under which they were born and their unique name. For example, Llanarth Flying Comet was a very successful Welsh Cob. Llanarth is the Stud that bred him hence the "Llanarth" prefix.
Prefixes are also commonly used for sponsorship. Many top riders today are sponsored by companies using their name as a prefix on every horse they sponsor.
The company's brand is advertised while the rider benefits from financial assistance. This money is used to fund their competition fees, vets bills and worldwide travel expenses enabling them to compete successfully.
A horse who is sponsored or registered as described above will also have what is known as a "Stable Name". This can be totally different from his registered name and will be what he is called on a day-to-day basis by his owners and handlers. Of course, if you like his stable name already there is no need to select a different one.
It should be pointed out that while you can alter his stable name, you will not be able to change his registered name since this is the one listed on his passport or breed society documentation.
Can Horses Tell The Difference?
Horses are very adept at interpreting intonation (the up and down pitch variance) of the human voice so frequent use of a short name (one or two syllables within the same word, three syllables at most) will enable them to recognise their owner's call.
A Stable name is a much less formal way of addressing the horse and is usually less of a tongue twister than the full Registered Name which can sometimes contain three or more words! Imagine shouting that down the field everytime you want to catch your horse!
The use of the Registered Name is therefore typically used only in the Show Ring or for identification and verification of a horse's lineage on a passport or Breed Registry.
What's In A Name?
How do you pick a name? Obviously it needs to be something you feel comfortable shouting at the top of your voice. Why? Well if you are only able to call him in a whisper for fear of having everyone laughing at you - your horse will be the last to come in for his feed!
Some people name their horse after a famous person or object. For example, lovers of all things Irish might favour "Guinness" or "Paddy".
Others want something really original that they feel isn't overused and will make their horse stand out.
The best way to go about choosing a name is to draw up a shortlist of your favourites and then see which one suits the horse's personality best.
Often the name you end up with is not the one you first thought of so having as much choice as possible is really beneficial. Sometimes a name will just "click" and you instantly know that's the right one.
Our Favourite Horse Names
If you're stuck for inspiration, take a look at our
Favourite Horse Names
If the name you choose is the same as a friend's horse it may be wise to find another name. Having two horses with the same name on the same yard can lead to confusion - particularly if feeds or medication are accidentally mixed up.
Imagine if a Shetland pony was given the feed of a thoroughbred by accident because they shared the same name! Who would want to be the rider of the Shetland after a bucket of oats?!
What Do You Think?
We would really like to hear some of your favourite horse names too.
Why not take a few seconds to fill in the form below and send us your favourites. We will add them to this list - after all it may be your ideas that give someone else just the name they are looking for!
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