Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Name Game

From Pete's Paddock
(From time to time, Pete will write about things of interest on the ranch. Here's his first entry on the interesting challenge of naming young foals.)

What’s in a name? When it comes to naming horses, more than you might think. Every year we face the task of coming up with names for our new foals. Since we register our horses with the American Quarter Horse Association, every name has to be approved to be sure no other horse has the same name. With hundreds and hundreds of thousands of horses registered over the years, this can sometimes be a challenge.

The traditional method of naming involves using a part of the sire’s name and a part of the dam’s name. The reason for this practice is that it allows a person to get an idea of a horse’s bloodline from its name. Bloodlines are extremely important in the Quarter Horse breed, since certain bloodlines excel in specific areas of performance, like cutting, barrel racing, pleasure, or reining.

An example of this method is the name of one of our stallions. His name is Zan Bar Freckles, his sire’s name is Zan Parr Bar, and his mother’s name is Anniote Freckles. Another example is our show mare, Annabelles Playgun. Her sire is Playgun and her dam is Annabelle Starlight. But many people aren’t content to be so straightforward. They get highly creative, but still include a reference to the offspring’s bloodlines. Take one of the most famous sires available today, Peptoboonsmal, for example. His sire is Peppy San Badger and is mother is Royal Blue Boon.

This naming approach is not required of course, and we are perfectly free to use any name we can come up with as long as it is not being used. Sometimes a colt fits an obvious name and that is what we go with. Many get a registered name, but have any every day nickname as well. We only had four foals this year, so the job was a little easier. While we are still waiting on AQHA approval, this year’s crop includes: Katerina Gold (see photo inset), Zan Bar Snickers, Zans Hustler, and Flirtina.

Here’s where those names came from. Zan Bar Snickers came from our stallion mentioned above, Zan Bar Freckles and our mare, who is nicknamed Candy. Zans Hustler is also sired by Zan Bar Freckles , and his mother is by a famous horse named, Freckles Hustler. Katerina Gold is a beautiful palomino filly with an original name that we just liked and thought would fit her. And Flirtina is an adaptation of a name our son, Andy, saw on a cocktail menu for a martini, a Flirtini. Believe it or not, the name Flirtini was already taken, so we changed a letter and got Flirtina. She will probably be called either Flirt or Tina.

So, in the quarter horse business, a name can tell the story of the family tree and be a powerful communicator of what the foal is bred for and what traits the breeder most desires in his offspring, or it can be a result of the whimsy of the owner. We enjoy this process, one in which the family brain storms for just the right creative choice of names, some creative and some more traditional.

For more information on the American Quarter Horse Association, go to: http://www.aqha.com/

1 comment:

cassidy said...

yay for Flirtina and Zans Hustler, those are awesome! nice writing too :)