Monday, July 18, 2011

A Horse By Any Other Name

Fourteen is the age when I became a horse owner for the first time. Since then, I have owned 14 horses (I am now 37) but I have only had the opportunity to give a horse a name once. 13 horses all had names when I got them but Pooh Bear was purchased at an auction and he had no history, other than a quip from the family who owned him briefly beforehand, that went, "He don't want to lope too much." Before I even legally owned Pooh Bear, I had decided on his name and it turned out to suit him perfectly. He was orange-ish, and rather round in the middle which is why I thought of the name. He also lived up to the label by being really fond of eating and not so fond of doing anything physically demanding.

Some of my horses had names that they kept their whole lives and some had theirs changed before I got them. I never changed any of my horse's names other than to give a few of them a show name. Jolly showed as Just Like Eeyore, April is Wait A Minute, and Ivy was Little Lamzydivy. The other horses all had show names too. Except Gretchen. She was always just Gretchen. Like Madonna, she only needed one name.

All of those names came fairly easily to me and suited their horses perfectly. With the new horse, Dundee, I'm having a harder time coming up with a show name that suits him and maybe has something to do with his barn name.

During my first ride on Dundee, I was thinking about the potential he had and that he was a diamond in the rough so Rough Diamond came to me as a show name. Then, I remembered that there was a Breyer Horse called Rough Diamond and I didn't want to plagiarize. From the first time I heard the horse's name, Crocodile Dundee was there as a consideration. Not the most original name, but I did really like the movie (the first one) when it came out so maybe I could use it if nothing better comes along.

Continuing with the Hollywood theme, I have found myself calling him Dunder Mifflin as in the fictitious paper company used for the tv program "The Office". It's a good show, I like watching it, but I don't really know if I want to present my horse as an office supply store. That's almost as off-kilter as presenting him as a rugged Australian crocodile hunter.

Dundee is very low-key 90% of the time but has shown moments of hysteria. They are short-lived bursts of energy, but enough to keep him from being a complete couch-potato. He's an attractive horse, but not glamorous like Raffles. Dundee is like Robert Redford with just a touch of Rodney Dangerfield.

Even though he's named for a town in Scotland, Dundee is from Ireland, so I guess that makes him Gaelic not Celtic. Maybe there's fodder for a good name in the Gaelic language. However, there are also towns named Dundee in Florida, Oregon, Illinois and New York so I could use a name that references oranges, hazelnuts, deep-dish pizza or big apples.

There's no rule that a horse's barn name and show name have to have some sort of recognizable connection. For example, my Morgan colt was named Valleybrook's Mr. Showoff and called Norman. Dundee's show name does not have to correlate with his place of origin, his color, personality, history or even the letter D. It would be neat if his name did have some kind of relationship to him, but it's not required. Maybe, I could pick a random bunch of words and string them together and pretend it's some hipster kind of thing, so poetic that mainstream people won't get it.

In time, a good descriptive name will come to me. In the meantime, I will entertain any reader suggestions should you care to share them. Dundee is on the light side of chestnut with a small white star. He has a big head. He's a little tubby but has a nice tail. He has a cowlick in his mane and it's white. He's a good, but not great, mover and jumps nicely (so far - has only longed over crossrails). He is bossy with the other geldings and has the scars to prove it. He originally came from Ireland, but I got him from Massachusetts. He's lazy-ish but has a spook too. That's about all I know about him so far. After this week, when I have some lessons on him with my trainer, I'll know him quite a bit better.

Meanwhile, he will be just Dundee. Oh! Wait! I think there's something in that... like, a play on "just dandy"... Hmmm.... That could work. I'll let you know.

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