Wednesday, 9 November 2011

What's in a Name?

Here's a filler post for you.  I've been thinking a lot about names lately.  We now have three Charlie's at the stable.  We have Charleston, the rose gray Arabian/Warmblood cross gelding, Charlie the steel gray Arabian colt and Charlie the chestnut mare whose breed I don't know yet.  It just reminds me how common Socks' name is.  I actually hate her name and if I could go back, I would not name her that.  It has to be one of the most common horse names out there.

Naming horses is a big hassle in my family.  My brother and I think we should just start numbering them off, it'd be much easier.  We can never agree on a name.  My dad has two rules for naming, 1) Everyone has to agree on it and 2) It has to have a meaning behind it.  This really means, 1) He needs to agree on it and 2) He'll decide if that meaning is real or not.  My sister and I have one rule for naming, 1) Everyone gets to name their own horse except for our dad because, with one exception, his names suck.  Like, really, really suck.  My brother is just the guy who disagrees with any name you come up with that isn't Clint Eastwood.  So here go, here's the story behind each of our horse's names, and the few we've helped name.

I know what you're thinking, what could the meaning behind her name possibly be?  I mean, Socks is pretty straight-forward isn't it?  The answer is, yes, yes it is.  Despite my dad's rule, there is no greater meaning behind her name.  She's Socks, simply because she has two socks.  When we got home from the auction we bought her at, I was on cloud nine.  I wasn't listening to anything anyone said because all I was going was, ohmygosh, ohmygosh, I have a horse!  So when my dad said, "Hey!  Let's name her Socks since she has socks!  It'll be cute!"  I smiled like an idiot and nodded.  I guess it could be worse, he could have suggested Bob or Jim.  Or Rainbow.  Considering the state I was in, I probably would have agreed to one of those too.  And at any rate, Socks is still better than her registered name, because trust me, that is awful.  On the days I decide Socks' name needs a real meaning, I tell people she's named after the wolf, Two Socks, in Dances With Wolves.  It's not true but I can pretend.

I know you probably haven't seen this horse before, unless you've looked at my Never Forgotten page.  This was my brother's first horse.  We bought him at the auction along with Socks.  His name was Target and there's two stories to his name, my dad's and the true story.  My dad claims we named him Target because if you looked straight at him while standing behind him, his black tail in the middle of a while hind end looked like a bullseye.  The true story is that his registered name is Targets Easy Rider and we decided to keep Target as his name.
Pawnee is the only exception to my dad's awful naming history.  My dad saw him and decided he needed to have a Native American name.  I'm not sure why, but Pawnee was supposed to be his horse so we were letting him name him.  At first my dad called him Blackfoot because he said Pawnee was almost black (yeah, my dad is really, really bad with horse colours...) but none of us liked calling him that.  Then we got to know Pawnee and he was awful.  He was the scariest horse I've ever met.  He'd literally attack you.  It was always bad when he showed up and that's where my dad got the idea for his name.  The Pawnee are the villianous tribe in the movie, Dances With Wolves.  It's always bad when the Pawnee show up, as it was with this horse.  He no longer lives up to his namesake, thankfully, but it's stayed with him.

Sev, or Seven, also has two stories behind his name, my dad's and the true story.  My dad's story is that he was our seventh horse so we called him Seven.  He wasn't actually our seventh horse, he was our fourth.  I had been on a horse rescue site years before and I saw a black mare named Seven.  She was really pretty so the name stayed with me.  I suggested the name to my brother and he liked it so he decided to call his horse that.  Again, Sev's name really has no meaning other than my brother liked it.  Although we never call him Seven, it's always Sev or Sevie.

Jimmy was originally named Rush.  Rush is the name of a Canadian band my dad is obsessed with.  I have been listening to Rush since I was a baby and while I can admit that they are very good musicians, after listening to them straight for most of my twenty-years, I can hardly stand to listen to them when they come on.  Needless to say, I hated the name Rush.  My brother didn't like it much either and eventually my dad decided it wasn't a very good name for a horse.  So the three of us decided to rename him Jimmy.  Jimmy is named after three things, Jimmy Stewart (which is Jimmy's full name, his show name is Mr. Stewart).  My cousin, and the horse in the movie, An Unfinished Life.  We all agreed that everybody needs a Jimmy.

Sadie was originally called Agate by the rescue who bought her from the auction.  When we adopted her we really didn't like the name and wanted to change it.  My dad wanted to call her Nikita, after a song by, and I might be wrong about this, Elton John I believe.  His reasoning was that her face marking looked like a Russian farming tool...a scythe I believe (you can't see it well in the picture because of her mane) which I guess had something to do with the song.  I don't actually know the song so I'm not sure.  My sister hated both the name, and absolutly despises the song so Nikita was not going to happen.  She then wanted to call her Esme, after one of the vampires in Twilight.  I talked her out of it, something she is very thankful for now.  Eventually we decided on the name Sadie, because it reminded us of a princess and this horse is very much a little princess.

Fonda isn't ours but we did help name him.  His owner was debating calling him Jude but didn't really like it for him but couldn't think of anything else.  Fonda (Henry Fonda) was a name I was saving for Socks' first colt, if she ever had a colt, but my dad convinced me that it would be a good name for this colt and so we suggested it to the owner.  She loved it and he became known as Fonda.  I'm not too upset anymore, two foals later and Socks only has girls.  Not that I'm complaining.

Cas probably has the most messed up meanings behind her name.  She was by far the most complicated to name, and the reason my sister and I decided that each person gets to name their own horse.  I call Cas mine and most people refer to her as mine but in reality, my brother and I co-own her.  The day she was born we decided on the name Scout, after the narrator in To Kill a Mockingbird.  We both liked the name but my dad was deadset against it.  He likes the name Socks but Scout was too plain.  He wanted to call her Abby (I repeat, he likes the name Abby but Scout was too plain...) and it had special meaning because she was born the dady the Beatles released Abbey Road.  I neither really like the Beatles nor care about them that much, and neither does my brother.  And we hated the name Abby for a horse.  We tried so many names but he shot them all down.  I suggest Cas, he said no.  At the time my favourite show was Supernatural and my favourite character was the angel, Castiel, affectionatly called Cas.  My dad didn't like it so I then came up with the most messed up way to call her that.  I named her Cassidy after Katie Cassidy, an actress who plays Ruby, a demon in Supernatural, but we would call her Cas for short, therefore naming her after Castiel.  I told my dad he could just tell people she was named after Butch Cassidy.  He then loved the name and she became known as Cas.  I told you it was complicated.

Another horse you'll only recognize if you've been to my Never Forgotten page.  Sisco was my sister's and she was named after the buckskin horse in Dances With Wolves.  My sister always wanted a horse named Sisco.

Trooper is the last horse from my Never Forgotten page.  He was my brother's horse and Fonda's little brother.  He was named after the band.  We decided before he was born if he was a colt he'd be called Trooper and if he was a filly he'd be called Hollywood.

Thor was originally called Gus and we did not like that name for him.  Once we were given him my dad decided to call him Thor, because when he was younger, my dad had played in a band called Thor.  And since Thor is the god of thunder, his colouring kind of worked.  It's slightly ironic too, since Thor was supposed to be a great warrior and our Thor, as much as I love him, is terrified of everything.  It's not my favourite name but it did start our Godly theme.

Hades name came around because at the time he was born, I was obsessed with the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series (still am and proud of it!).  Our description given to us by our dad was a pure black colt with one sock and no face markings.  Going off of that, I suggested a name from Greek Mythology.  My mom then suggested something ironic, like Hades.  The reason it's ironic is because Hades is the lord of the Underworld, and genrally protrayed as a bad, scary guy.  And when this foal grew up, he'd probably be a tall (judging by his parents) jet black horse so he might look intimdiating, but as he comes from the two nicest horses in the world, he'd actually just be a giant puppy dog.  Now when we saw him he really was a seal brown colt with one sock, a star and a snip, but the name stuck.  And so far it has remained to be an ironic name.

When Artemis was born I ws still very much in my Greek Mythology mode (as you know, I've never gotten out of it).  I wanted a strong name for her since she was Socks' daughter, and Socks herself is very spirited and strong-willed, as is her big sister Cas.  However, as I had previously named Cas after a demon (just a TV one but still) and my silly horse took that to heart, I didn't want to pick a figure with a dark story to name her after.  Artemis has always been one of my favourite gods and she is a very strong figure.  She's the Goddess of the hunt and the moon and can definitly stick up for herself.  There are countless stories of her fighting off mortals and monsters.  It seemed perfect, since Artemis was strong but still considered to be a good god.  Her show name is Artemis Areia, which is an epithet for Artemis meaning Warlike.  Again, I thought it was very fitting for a daughter of Socks.

So there you go, there are the very strange meanings behind our horses' names.  We all have very different tastes in names.  My sister's next choice is Rowan, my brother still wants a Clint Eastwood and I don't even try to think of what my dad will come up with.  For me, you can be sure that it'll probably be found somewhere in my Greek Mythology books.  Apollo and Hermes are pretty high up on my list, as are Ariadne and Leto.  I know, for someone with a horse named Socks, my taste in names has definitly changed. 

How about you guys?  Any meanings behind your horse's name?  Or any of your pets?

And the pictures of Fonda, Pawnee and Thor weren't taken by me, they were taken by my friend.  I stole them off her facebook, I hope you don't mind Ally!


Corinna said...

haha the explanation of the "rules" of naming at the beginning is so funny- dads are great :) My sister struggled for 9 months to come up with a name for her daughter- her rules: 1. had to be unique and not in the top 100 names of American babies, 2. had to be normal enough to pronounce and spell.
She came up with Scarlett, which I personally wouldn't choose, but unlike your dad's rules, we didn't all have to agree! (And my niece is the cutest baby, so I've come around on the name :) )

Corinna said...

oh p.s. I wrote a quick comment on my blog in response to your mare-stallion-foal scenario; crazy fact scenario! (though of course, not unbelievable...)

Megan said...

I think Sugar is a pretty common name. We have a Sugar, my mum owned a Sugar and my bf's mum owned a Sugar. I think Flicka is pretty common as well. We didn't change Lady's name, but I think that's fairly common as well.

I've only named 2 horses, Sunny (first rescue) and Jack. Sunny's original name was Sierra, but it really didn't suit her. I came up with Sunny, for "my little ray of sunshine".

Jack's name came about mostly because it suited him, but I started calling him Jackimo - I don't really know why. I was watching Casanova one day though and discovered that Casanova was called "Jaquimo Casanova" in the movie - if I could register him that would be his name.

I really like putting meanings behind names. If I buy a horse that already has a name that suits it, I don't bother changing it. The next rescue I get will probably be called Pheonix. I like that one for a rescue - out of the fire, into greatness lol.

Corinna - If you thought Scarlett was bad, you haven't heard anything lol. My mum came up with a boys name and a girls name. Grace was the girls name (which I didn't like at first, but I don't mind now) and D'artagnan for a boy - as in D'artagnan and the 3 musketeers. Thankfully, the only brother I have is named Brad.

Anonymous said...

The Romans used numbers for their kids sometimes, Primus, Quintus etc, and I actually used to have a collegue called Tertius (he was not the 3rd child, but the 3rd son, I just hope his sister wasn't called Secunda!). I think Quintus would be a cool name for a horse.

Minnie was called Polo when I bought her, and her registered name was "Call her as you like". I thought Midnight Minuet much nicer and she pricked her ears when I tried it out, and Minuet became Minnie. I officially named Cassie Cassiopeia, which is a constellation of stars named after a Greek queen (I did Greek and Latin in school and am very partial to all those names!).

Ally said...

I loved this post! I know the history of most of their names but it was still super interesting. And your dad's rules ARE funny, or your explanation of them anyways.

My favourite names (of your horses) are Fonda, followed closely by Cas and Artemis. I am also partial to Seven. :)

I thought those pictures were familiar! I don't mind :)

Cjay said...

Corinna- I'm just lucky my parents didn't let my sister name me, she wanted to call me Berta. And my friend's older sister wanted to name her (my friend) Fluffy because she wanted a cat, not a little sister.

Thanks for the answer! It was very interesting and I didn't know any of that. That's actually the situation I was in with Artemis but luckily it was resolved out of the court.

Megan- I don't have anything against common names, I do like Jimmy's after all and one of my parents horses back before I was born was named Jack. I just hate the name Socks.

I love the name Phoenix, my barn owner's horse is named that.

I love meanings behind names, but every now and then I just like a name and it's as simple as that. My dad hates it though.

twohorses- I actually like the name Quintus, a lot. Lol, I definitly like Minnie better than Polo. It's hard to picture her as Polo. I absolutly love Greek names.

Ally- Glad you like the two horses I named! I'm getting better at it huh? Closer to names you'd expect me to name a horse then Socks, aren't they?

Megan said...

I love all the stories about the names.

I personally never change a horse's name when I buy it, but somehow I get odd ones anyways.

Scarface - Self-explanatory. He ran through a fence when he was a baby and got like 30 stitches in his face. He still has the scar to prove it. Everyone around the barn started calling him Scarface and it just kind of stuck.

We usually have a couple foals every year and when I lived at home, it was my job to name them (my parents obviously had veto power). We had everything from Troy (I also was on a mythology trip and thought he looked like a picture of the Trojan horse) to Jim-Bob (my parents didn't like that one, but he was my baby) to something plain like Lily.

I think the best story is when I was 3 and my cousins were getting a puppy, I really, really wanted to name her Tree. No idea why.