Foal Naming

Tis’ the season for 2017 babies to be making their debut! How does one name a wee babe? Are there guidelines? Every association is different with the guidelines, spaces allowed, etc. Some even have limits on the vulgarity and variety. For example, some associations will not allow the same spelling even if it is spaced differently, but will allow variations of spelling, or names that sound alike but are spelled differently. Likewise, some registries have some traditions that most breeders will strictly adhere to. Most names cannot be changed once the horse has been shown or raced. Here are some guidelines that I have learned through my years with being around breeding farms:


Sire/Dam Name Combining: In the stock horse world, there is a popular tradition of meshing the sire and dam’s names to create the foal name. For example, take a look into a pleasure class, or reining pen and based on the names of the horses in the pen you can tell who the popular studs are. You can get pretty creative and catchy with these ones!

Location: Overseas it is common to register a foal based on where it was born, which would also effect the traditions in which you name it. For example, if a foal is born in the Hanover region, it will be registered with the Hanoverian registry.

Ranches/Barn Names: Some ranches or barns will use part of the registered name to “brand” their foals. For example, The Four Sixes Ranch, in Texas, will use “sixes” in part of their foals or stud’s names. It creates a brand recognition for the ranch. When I bought one of my foals, the ranch was famous for putting a capital R in the foal’s name. So, whenever I see a foal with a random capital R in their name, I can almost guarantee I know where it came from.

Reuse of names: Most registries will allow you to reuse a registered name if the horse has been inactive for 15 years or deceased, make sure you check with the necessary registry to see what their rules are about reusing a name. 

Some breeders don’t necessarily follow the lineage rules but rather will create a unique or cultural name for the foal.


-Emily Bomgardner

January 25, 2017

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