In which a rose by any other name might act a little nicer

O, be some other name!  What's in a name?  that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet....    

Fiddle has a lot of names. 

That's pretty normal for members of our household, and I suspect it's not crazy-abnormal in a lot of other households. 

There's registered names, for example.  Hana is "MA Abdayas Aspyre", not something you want to shout across the field at dinnertime.   

That's not the worst of it:  somebody must have really got up on the grumpy side of the bed to proclaim that the pretty little new standardbred filly born to Willow Killean in 2002 was going to be registered with the USTA as "Naked Willow."   I mean, seriously?

There are also "barn names", which is the name we really DO holler out across the field at dinnertime.  "Hana" and "Fiddle" are perfectly holler-able (although it's easier to shout Feeeeee-ddle, so I usually do), and won't offend the neighbors even at top-volume.

There are variations on barn names which get used as often as the regular name.  Fiddle is called Fee, and she even answers to it.  Hana will answer if you call sweetly for "Hana-banana", especially if you use her middle name "Wannacookie."

And then there are the things we call our horses that have nothing to do with their names. 

We've called Hana "Puss" almost from the first day.  She's sweet and dainty and tidy as a kitty, and takes great pride in her personal appearance.  If she could lick her paws clean after each meal, she'd probably do it.
As for Fiddle...

She came to me with the name "Sassy."  I didn't think that suited her very well--from her (awful) behavior at first; instead,  I was tempted to call her "Angry," as if she were one of Disney's lesser-known dwarves. 

But, just as you don't name a boat "Tempest", it's not a good idea to name a horse Nasty-@ss Stubborn B*itch Mare, no matter how appropriate the name may seem.  Names like that just seem to invite bad fortune. 

Also, bad names seem to excuse bad behavior.  I rode a horse years ago who was called "Wild Man Chico," because as a youngster he was idiotically hard to control.  However, in his later years people called him "Chico-san", because he had gained wisdom and control over his emotions like a Zen master.  Did the wisdom preceed the name?  Yes, but nobody noticed it until his name got changed--they kept expecting wildness because they called him that.

In Fiddle's case, there was no escaping the name "HellMare" at first, because she really was one.  She was a biter and a kicker.  She spun, she lunged, and she planted her butt and refused to move and refused to believe that somebody my size could change the behavior of somebody her size.  

Until, day-by-day, year-after-year, with the help of almost every horse person I know, her behavior is changing. 
 A few weeks ago, I found myself referring to Fiddle as "the dragon," instead of "the HellMare".  The name has gained momentum. 

It's easy, now, to call her "the dragon" because it really suits her.  It's easy to think of her as a dragon--still potentially dangerous, still very powerful.  But...tameable. 

And ever so much fun to ride!

What are your horse's names? 


  1. Well, Kate and Maddie are officially "Canticle" and "Madrigal"--but I sometimes have been heard to call them Sis and Missy (or Snot-head, if the occasion warrants). Old broodie "Mighty Misty Blue" (Maddie and Jackson's mama) is Misty, or Mama, or Misty-Mama. RT ("Royal Tardez") is sometimes called Teeskuls, don't ask me why ( and hubby Al says that a friend used to call him that too??). "Brioso" is Baby Beth.
    "Jubilate" was called Jackson (after Jackson Browne) but it has been shortened to Jax at his new home. All my babies had musical registered names, but had barn names too. Eddie= Evensong; Adagio=Dodger; Continental Minuette=Zoey; Amber Arabesque=Amy; Lindy Hop=Lindy. The one that almost didn't get a name was simply Angel.

  2. Ohhh I love you for linking that wallpaper! I rediscovered our cablebox just as that movie came out, and I've seen it about a dozen times already.

    Willie has many names, few of them creative... Aside from all the variations of "Will" (Willard, William, Willie-Muffin, etc) he's also the Pwnee, and occasionally, 'Nilla Bean (from Willie-Vanillie-Vanilla Bean). I also call him Old Man, lovingly.

    Jabby is, of course, the Jabberwock, plus Jabbers and Jabberdeen and other nonsensical variations of the like. He's also the Moose, Gigantor, and occasionally another Dragon -- though mostly it's me trying to convince him he's a FIERCE fire-breather instead of a skeerdy one. Sometimes he has his "useless reptile" moments, though...

    I refuse to have a "Lucky" in the barn because they only seem to attract BAD luck. Though as it happens, one of those I renamed grew into his new moniker, Puck, instead -- he was definitely a character, with a slight mischevious bent.

    Our new kitten, Harley, was dubbed for her markings (a la harlequin), but her personality is proving to match as well. :) It's interesting how names can be self-fulfilling prophecies sometimes!

  3. I hate the name Fizz, but what can you do? Mostly I call her Fizzywinkle (for the moose ears, and sung to the tune of Rubber Duckie). The rest of the time I call her Fatso, because she is.

    Tonka is known as T, Big T (I think he is taller than Fiddle by 2-3 inches and is more heavily boned), Mister T, T-Rex and (most often) T-Tonkasaurus/T-Tonk.

  4. Dawn's registered name is Silent Dawn - always makes me think of dead birds - yuck!

    Drift has (I hope briefly) acquired the nickname the Screamer - what he does for mares - but I suppose it's sort of insulting and I shouldn't call him that. Dawn's nickname has to do with her, ahem, excessive interest in geldings when she's in heat (which seems like it's every two minutes) and I won't repeat it here because you'd get some weird hits!

  5. Nina came to me as Nina and I didn't want to change it because it seemed like a personality that I would like for her to have. I picked a show name of 'Treasure Hunt' in a moment of hopeful optimism. A lot of what I call her is unprintable.
    Names do have power. We are working toward a consistent 'Nina.'

  6. My heart horse Puddin' was also called Puss. She was such a pretty and prissy girl.

    Phebes real name is Lil Bit of Magic. That morphed into Flea Bite, and later into "The Devil's Spawn (hey, the shoe fit at the time). Later still Phebes and that has stuck. When I am feeling especially happy with her I call her Peanut. ~E.G.

  7. This is such a lovely post! I can't wait to read all the comments.
    I call Hudson Mr. H around other people, or his barn name.
    But when it's just us, I get goofy. Strangely: "bumble bee" or Bee or Beeze. Here's one that came out of having hearts shaved onto his butt: Mr. ButtHeart. (I seriously hope he hasn't seen Braveheart.) Now that the hearts have shed out, he's, um ButtHead.

    His personality is sort of a cross between a Pro Wrestler and an Literary Professor. It's easy to picture him in tweed, with glasses. And he can kick some serious butt when allowed. With drama and humor.

    Most frequently, barn folks call him The Gentleman.

    I do love how barn names change, and that they DO make a difference.

    We all call Dinero "The Cash Man", because he and Bella have been bringing home monetary winnings. :)

    That's the one thing I'd change about Dressage. Cash pot. Oh, yeah!

  8. Such a fun post. Those nicknames are all so neat to learn about.
    Apache's only nickname is "Patchy". And sometime I call her "Patchy Girl"

    But I do have some terms of endearment I use for her that seem to soften her attitude and behavior. I don't think she was ever pampered or doted on and she still looks at me with distrust when I pull out the brushes and begin to groom her. The first time I ever tried to groom her at liberty, she walked away from me.

    I think her previous owners only groomed her when they wanted to ride.
    If I just walk up to her and start brushing or petting without our little "ceremony" first, she will pin her ears, shake her head, give me the 'stink-eye' and swish her tail.
    So, when I am preparing to groom or even pet her, I quietly talk to her saying, "Princess", "Pretty Girl" and "Sweet Pea".
    I love it when Apache closes her eyes, her head droops and her ears flop to the sides. That's her sign to me that she's ok with me grooming or petting her.


  9. "I was tempted to call her "Angry," as if she were one of Disney's lesser-known dwarves."

    At this point I dragged the Bean over and made him read this right along with me. Thanks for the laugh!

  10. So what you're saying is that calling Ozzy Sh*thead may not be the best thing? What about the fact that he responds to "Amish Bacon"?

  11. I loved reading this and the comments on this are just as funny. I gained Rose with the name "Rose of Fortune" but registered her under "Rafikah Rose" because the other was already taken and I wanted Rose's name to include what I expected of her. Rafikah means traveling companion and so far, so go.

    Around the barn Rose gets called a lot of things. "Rosie Posie" when I'm calling her in for feed and grooming, "Rosalina" by the little girl who takes lessons at the barn and swears Rose looks like a fairy tale horse as well as by her mother who brings her. I have to admit to some not nice names for ladies being used when Rose has done something bad but in my defense she has a very expressive face. She can pull a bitch face on you and will... or one of several. She also gets referred to sometimes as my little "go pony" which another blogger calls her pony and I loved and 'Miss New Booty' when I'm admiring how her pretty little booty can power through work.

  12. Casey came to me with the name "Zip" because it's part of his registered name, Watch Cowboy Zip. However, he doesn't want to "zip" anywhere. He's just Casey, Case, Casers and whatever else I think of at that moment.

    Molly came with Molly, but she gets called Blondie, Blondie-Babe, Molly Moo,

    Molly Moo Cow and a few really derogatory names when she's tearing at my fence.

    It's funny that you blog about this, as I named my Aussie "Copper River" and my son, "Riley", which means "small river" in Gaelic. So, go figure but the "river" boys were both hard to potty train. Yes, they lived up to their names.

    My Freya (dog) was indeed the goddess of love and cats. Luna (dog) was indeed "loony", and now Barrow (dog) has been shortened to Bear and he makes bear type noises in his sleep.

    Great post, btw! Anyways, I was sent over by Funder to ask you what sci-fi/fantasy novels you might recommend for a coming 5th grader who can read at an adult level. He's tearing through the Star Wars novels, but we want to broaden his horizons. And, can you recommend anything for a coming 5th grade girl who reads at grade level, but needs a push to move out of Dora the Explorer type books. Doodle continues to choose to read below her level and not move forward. She's bright and capable, but just needs that push forward. Oh, and she's horse crazy but not interested in my Black Stallion books. Thanks!


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