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Best Horse Names

Updated on July 9, 2017
Champion Stallion and World's Best Appaloosa, Zip Me Impressive.
Champion Stallion and World's Best Appaloosa, Zip Me Impressive.

A horse is a horse, of course, of course. But, every noble steed deserves a special name to reflect its personality and style. You probably also want to pick a name that fits your horses' vocation. For example, a trail horse would likely demand a less elegant name than a dressage one. In my opinion, selecting a great name can be difficult because there are so many things to consider, such as breed, color, personality, show horse discipline, etc.

I will present you with what I think are some good examples. I will also present some lame names, which, in my opinion, detract from the horse's presentation. Many people will already be stuck with a lame name, courtesy of the breeder. If you're showing your horse in a breed-specific show or class, then God help you!

This article is geared towards those owners who are lucky enough to have a choice in the matter. Best wishes on your name selection and have a good ride!

Famous Horse Names From History

Famous Champion Race Horses

Name
Title
Affirmed
1978 Triple Crown winner
Alysheba
1987 Kentucky Derby winner
Bold Ruler
1956 Preakness winner. Sire of 11 champion horses, including Secretariat.
Northern Dancer
Champion Canadian thoroughbred
Dan Patch
Champion Standardbred pacer

Historically Famous Horse Names

Name
Description
Bucephalus
Alexander the Great's war horse
Babieca
El Cid's horse
Comanche
U.S. Cavalry horse. Only survivor of Custer's Last Stand.
Marengo
Napoleon's horse captured by the British at Waterloo
Black Jack
The last Quartermaster-issued U.S. Army horse. Died February 6, 1976.
Traveller
Robert E. Lee's horse

Show Horse Names

Foundation Sires of the American Quarter Horse

Names
Foal Date
Steel Dust
1843
Shiloh
1844
Old Cold Deck
1862
Lock's Rondo
1880
Old Billy
1880
Peter McCue
1895

Names of Show Horses

U.S. Show Jumper Hall of Fame
U.S. Eventing Hall of Fame
2009 U.S. National Arabian Horse Show Championships
Snowbound
The Grasshopper
Kharmel (Breeding Mare)
Mainspring
Biko
Dulcinea (Jr. Breeding Mare)
Gem Twist
Custom Made
Dakharo (Sr. Arabian Breeding Stallion)
Calypso
Kilkenny
Relentlyss (Arabian Gelding in Hand)
Untouchable
Good Mixture
Mandalay Bay (Arabian Park Horse)
 
 
Alero (Arabian Western)

Native American Horse Names

Many Native American tribes were legendary for their horsemanship skills. For some, these skill was essential for hunting and survival on the Great Plains of North America. Native Americans needed intelligent, swift, and athletic stallions, capable of great endurance and bravery.

Native American Horse Names

Name
Meaning
Tribe
Koda
friend
Dakota Sioux
Donoma
sight of the sun
Omaha
Kachina
sacred dancer
Hopi
Wakanda
possesses magic power
Sioux
Akecheta
figther
Sioux
Matoskah
white bear
Sioux
Wahkan
sacred
Sioux
Helushka
fighter
Winnebago
Kangee
raven
Sioux
Paytah
fire
Sioux
Adsila
blossum
Cherokee
Kiwidinok
wind
Cheyenne
Magaskawee
graceful
Sioux
Niabi
fawn
Osage

Discipline and Breed-Related Names

Some horses are destined for specific equestrian sports, or their breeding lends to a more ethnic or breed-related name. I have provided some examples of this so that you are aware of how these factors may play a part.

Irish Sport Horse Eventers and Jumpers

Name
Title
Event
Country
McKinlaigh
2008 Olympic Silver Medalist
Eventing
U.S
Mr. Medicott
2008 Olympic Team Gold
Eventing
Germany
Irish Jester
2008 Olympic Team Silver
Eventing
New Zealand
Flexible
2007 World Cup Final, 2nd Place
Show Jumping
U.S.
Carling King
2004 Olympics, 4th Place
Show Jumping
Ireland

Paso Finos Names

Names
Breed
A Cappella's Carisma
registered stallion
Abolengo
registered stallion
Alma Latina
registered mare
Bandolera
registered mare
Marichal
registered gelding

Welsh Pony Names

Name
Breed
Glannant Keel
Welsh pony stallion
Clarwood Tickles
Section A U.S. mare
Foxglen Borealis
Welsh cob stud
Abercippin Maisy
Welsh cob broodmare
Ashmeadow Enchantress
Welsh Section C broodmare

2009 European Dressage Champions

Name
Title
Country
Parzival
Gold Medal Grand Prix
Netherlands
Lancet
8th Place
Great Britain
Cointreau
Participant
Austria
Prestige
Participant
Spain
Harmonia
Participant
Poland

Women's Professional Rodeo Assn. 2009 Barrel Racing Horses

Boogers Cee Bar
Cruzer
Dash Ta Fame
Fame In A Tin Can
Stoli With A Twist
Running Ricochet Bar
Photo of Sara Mittleider and El Primero at 2006 Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event
Photo of Sara Mittleider and El Primero at 2006 Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event

How to Choose a Horse Name

Think about what is unique and special about your horse. Is it his color or pattern? Is it the way she moves, or is it her personality around people or other horses? The ugliest and homeliest horse I ever saw looked like a cross between a mule and a warthog (poor thing) but had a great and really endearing name: Eeyore!

  1. Brainstorm everything descriptive or characteristic about your horse.
  2. Think about your goals with it. Is it a recreational trail horse, a western pack horse, or a showy dressage horse? Check out the names of other horses in the same discipline.
  3. What names do you like and what names do you hate? Why? Write it all down.
  4. Take your time! Sleep on your selections and get feedback from friends and other owners you respect.
  5. Plan ahead to take one week or a certain specified amount of time to choose a name, and do not rush your decision.
  6. When you're ready, take a deep breath and go for it.

Tip: If it's going to be a show horse, think about the name read loudly and publicly over the PA system. Will the PA announcer be able to pronounce the name correctly? In my experience, most horse show announcers seem challenged by anything more than one syllable. (It must be all the pressure!)

Another interesting thing to consider is that if you have a show horse, you'll want a name for the show ring and a barn name as well. Ideally, a good show name can lend itself to a barn name. An example is "Autumn Breeze" a.k.a. "Breezy."

Palomino quarter horse
Palomino quarter horse

My Wall of Lame Names

This list is completely arbitrary.

The names come from selected events and shows. Perhaps, you actually like some of these, but I think more thought could have been put into selecting a more fitting name for these guys.

  1. Legally Blonde (I bet she's a palomino too!)
  2. Glenormiston Clonmel (Ok, an Irish Leprechaun, maybe?)
  3. Horse of Course (Horse for short?)
  4. Skullbuster (Great name for an event horse — ouch!)
  5. HotroddersHunter (Vroommm vrooommmm)
  6. Gotta-Getta-Gucci (Yeah, maybe instead of a horse.)
  7. You Go Girl (???)
  8. Kiss This (No way!)
  9. Up Up And Away (In my beautiful balloon?)
  10. Almost Famous (Almost...)

If you come across some good (lame) ones, please share them in the comments section. Sometimes they're a real hoot.

Does a horse or pony with a bad name reflect more negatively on the animal or the owner

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Entertaining lens - enjoyed reading it while sipping on my second moe joe cup this morn.

    • profile image

      racingdatabase 4 years ago

      This is an amazingly well-researched lens Greg - well done! It must have taken you ages to put it all together :-)

    • profile image

      sheezie77 5 years ago

      Fantastic lens, nice job!

    • profile image

      StrongMay 5 years ago

      Where is Man o War? Seabiscut? Triple Crown winners? Olympic winners? Fiction horses?

      Great lens!

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 7 years ago from Iowa

      A nice list and would have been helpful when naming my horse. His registered name was tremondously boring and so had to work to come up wioth something as unique as he is. :)

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 7 years ago from Australia

      An entertaining lens. I was a horse fanatic when I was young and had made my own list of horse names. I wonder where I put it....