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What are Some Horse Names?

By KD Morgan
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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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.

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Discussion Comments
By bythewell — On Apr 17, 2012

I actually thought this would be about horse names for boys and girls, rather than names for horses, although it was interesting to find out how people name their horses.

I know there are only a few traditional names which relate to horses, probably because horses haven't been in human history all that long.

But my mother's name, Rosalin, has a horse meaning, as it means "a sweet or tender horse".

And I know Marshal means something to do with horses as well.

I think it would be funny to name a horse Marshal, but since I don't know many people who care all that much about the meaning of names, I don't think many people would get the joke.

By indigomoth — On Apr 16, 2012

@umbra21 - I would sometimes name my horses ironically though. I might call a horse Dynamite if they were the most gentle and calm of all the horses in the stable.

Although Foxy is a sweet name that could suit a lot of horses very well, particularly if they were a chestnut and had a kind of fox colored coat.

One of the cutest horse names I've ever heard though was a horse named Ducks.

And they did name him in the Native American fashion, as they were looking for names for boy horses and couldn't think of one that suited such a sweet and bumbling foal, until they saw him nudging the ducks that were walking by.

I think it was only supposed to be a nickname, but it stuck, as that kind of nickname tends to do.

By umbra21 — On Apr 16, 2012

We once had a hand-me-down race horse called Fox-a-Long. He had a bad back, unfortunately and it was painful for him to carry a rider, so his racing days were over.

We kept his racing name, however, and just shortened it to Foxy.

It was a good name for him, in fact, since he was a complete flirt. He was particularly fond of my mother, probably because she bought him carrots and apples all the time.

Unfortunately, it took us a few months to get him another horse for company, so he had to make do with us and he got lonely, so he would follow us around.

He also earned the name Foxy because he would occasionally pull pranks on us. Sometimes he'd wait until we were off guard and then gently nip a shoulder or buttock.

And once he managed to pull the sheets off the washing line and drag them into his paddock. He was an interesting horse! I can't imagine another name that would have suited him better.

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