Naming a horse can be both a fun and serious undertaking. There are many considerations in choosing horse names. Breed, discipline, purpose and descriptive appearance go into horse names. In addition, the culture and environment need to be considered.
Breeding plays an important role in horse names. For example, many breeders will include the name of a famous sire or dam in the foal’s name. If you were naming an offspring of a famous horse, like Secretariat, you might name the foal “Secretariat’s Pride.”
Others will choose the name of the breeding farm to identify the foal. This is especially the case for famous breeding farms that produce great athletes and show horses. If the name of your barn was Dapple Lane, you might name your foal “Dapple’s Pride.”
If you are naming a future show horse, you will want a sophisticated name that will also describe his potential. You might name a dressage horse “Debonair” to suggest a classy air to his nature. For equitation, you might choose something like “Wind Dancer” to describe his speed and grace. For racing, a name like “Full Speed Ahead” would describe the hopes of a future winner.
Most people will also choose a barn name, or nickname, for their horse that will serve them on a daily basis. Usually it will be somehow related to his registered name. For example, if your horse’s registered name was “Prime Time,” you might want to use the initials for his barn name and call him "PT" or “Petey.”
Horse names are more simplified for pleasure horses. For example for a palomino, you might want to name her “Goldie”. For a gray dapple, you might want to name her “Stormy”. For a black horse, there is the famous horse name of “Black Beauty.”
Native Americans choose horse names for their mounts by identifying something of the day, the environment, a thought, emotion or association upon the first sight of the foal. Many other horse owners have taken on this tradition. Names like “Dawn,” “Faith,” “Hope,” “Lightning,” “Patience,” “Prudence,” “River,” “Smokey,” and “Sunshine,” all suggest a first impression. “Cutie Pie,” “Twinkie,” or “Holy Smokes” describe more of a visual of the foal.
Horse names often can offer an initial idea of a horse’s personality. Famous horse names, like "Comanche," "Mr. Ed," "Trigger" or "Man O’ War" give some impression of who the horse was. For example, if you were approaching a new horse named “Dynamite,” you might think twice before riding him. This makes it important to choose horse names wisely.