Hello, and welcome again to another edition of Behind the Foaling Door! No matter how much money you have or how experienced of a shower you are, every model horse collector has the same dilemma of finding the perfect name for their models. While sometimes a name will just jump into your head, other times we rack our brains for weeks trying to come up with SOMETHING that sound right. I interviewed several breeders to see how they came up with names for their models....
"I try to use whatever system the real breeders use for that breed, if such a system exists. For example, Polish Arabians are generally named using the first letter of the dam's name, so I try to do that realistically. Dutch Warmbloods are named according to the year they were foaled (certain letters for certain years). I go by those as much as I can. If the breed doesn't have a system, then I may come up with one of my own. For example, many of my Andalusians have names from literature, and many of my Morgans have 'space' names like Orion, Comet, Venus, ect. If I can't think of a system, then I just try to give them names that sound like that breed, like my Saddlebred stallion Titleist Silver Blue. I think that just sounds like a Saddlebred name! Or, if it's an unusual breed I often give it a name that comes from the country where that breed originated. My Fjord stallion Hereydahl is named for the famous anthropologist Thor Hereydahl, because he's from Norway. Likewise, my Welsh Ponies are now named for places in Wales. Sometimes I make a list of names that I think I might use later, and then I look at the list when I get a new model. I'm just starting to assign the pedigrees before I name the horse, so that I can use part of the parents' names in the foal's name. I like doing that and plan to continue it as much as possible. Naming is really hard for me and I definitely have to see the model before I can give it a name. Sometimes I have a model for years before I can think of the right name. It just has to hit me!"
-Michelle Peck Williams
"I guess I get my names from ANYWHERE! Mostly from reading books, though. If I had to pick a favorite place, it would be digging through National Geographic magazine. It's great if you want to name a horse so it sounds like it's from a particular country -- my Lippitt Pegasus seems Irish to me, so I named him Glorious Twelfth which is a holiday in Ireland. I named my 'Fugir Cacador' Madeira Spirit, after an island named Madeira. National Geographic is also great for Indian names like Singing Heart. Movies work -- I got Altora Raven from ID4! -- and just phrases or things you hear like Harbour Lights, Rum Punch, and Momentary Mist. Whatever takes your fancy!"
"Most of my names come to me from horse catalogues -- picking out parts of real horse names and putting them together. Or if I know which parents the horse will have, I try to derive a name using the sire and the dam. Sometimes a name will come into my head the first time I see the model and it just sticks. I read a lot of books and magazines and often times words or phrases that just seem different or neat come in hand. Sometimes the name Breyer gives the model I really like so I try to keep part of it in the model....for example, my 'Dreamweaver' is named My-T-Fine Dreamer. My-T-Fine Miniatures is my stable name, so often when I'm stumped or when it sounds good, My-T-Fine becomes part of the mode's name. I have found names for my models in the weirdest places -- sometimes even a cereal box or homework assignment can have useful words!"
"I name my Stablemates and H-R Minis after birds (hence Birdsong Stables) and the big Breyers after plants (Woodflower Stables). I've learned a lot this way, especially about birds. When I ran out of names that grabbed me in North America, I started looking in the bird books covering other continents. Did you know that the flamingo in French is 'flamant rose'? I've already saved that name for the new SM ASB mare! The leopard Appaloosa from this year's JCP SM set is Dalmatian Pelican -- most appropriate for all those spots! And my four SM Drafters -- black with white bellies -- are all going to be named for penguins!"
"When naming horses I try to choose something that is unique, unusual and most of all different. I use the obvious sources; horse's color, features, ect. first, and then I go for the heavier ammo! Album titles, song lyrics, group names, then if that isn't enough -- I start fooling around with spelling and go crazy! Some examples and their inspiration are 'She Caught the Katy' (Blues Brothers), 'If You See Kay' (Van Halen), GS Fqinugli (just looking at her says it all -- plus a little spelling fun), 'Chicken Ripple'(Neil Diamond song), 'Tastes Like Chicken'(common saying), 'Chicken Ala King'(sick humor). Oh yeah, I almost forgot my favorite TV show- X-Files! There is a source for names such as the following: Avatar, Herrenvolk, Talitha Cumi, Piper Maru, Ansazi, Paper Heart, Teliko, ect. The weirder the better! Books are good too. Neysa came from a Piers Anthony tome, and HMS Heart Of Gold came from Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy. The ideas are as endless as the colors of a rainbow. Subtleties and nuances are really what make life fun....and naming horses even more fun!"
"I find names for my models everywhere and anywhere! I'm always looking for name ideas. I keep a folder of long lists of possible names. Sometimes I find good names in books, movies, and food. Or some models have stories behind their names. One of my models was given to me by a young girl who I let ride my ponies occasionally, so I named the model after her -- 'Anna's Gift.' And sometimes I'll use weather type names, using words like snow, wind, sun, ect. Or names based on things that I like, such as song/movie names/characters, ect. One of my favorite names is for my Medicine Hat mare -- I named her after a character in one of my favorite TV shows: Dr. Mike! And of course, some of my models of random type names that just popped into my head."
"Most of the time I name the foal from part of the parents' names. Though sometimes a name just jumps out at me when I unwrap the model. For example, my Mustangs are all named for towns in Nevada. And I try to follow any breed requirements that I know of. Sometimes I use words from another language -- especially Spanish. Some of my Arabs have Arabic names. And one mare has an Indian name, though I've forgotten which tribe. Her name is Tabbenoca which means Sunrise. I used to keep a notebook with me for when I would hear ideas for names from songs, books, ect. But I lost that notebook in one of my moves. And then I use Quest's or now QS in front of most of my horses. But not always as it doesn't go with all breeds or names."
"I use names from science-fiction books and I also use anything Japanese. Some have names that only I can pronounce in Japanese. I do try to put the name in translation of English for those who don't want to try to pronounce these names. I use Japanese in honor to my cousin."
"I find my model names from lots of places, but one of my favorite sources (and unfortunately a favorite of many model horse people) is science fiction and fantasy books, TV shows, movies, or comics. I also sometimes use names from mythology. I also have some names made from combining the parents' or grandparents' names. Occasionally one just pops into my head for some reason. It's always interesting to me to look at a horse and have a name appear in my head -- I wonder how or why it got there! I have one advantage over some people who use science fiction names for their models -- I am also a writer and I have several models that are named after characters in some of my stories. One of my favorite models is named for the horse that belongs to one of my characters."
"I always found names for my models in interesting places. Some of my models were named after real horses that I knew, such as my model Victory Highlight (named after UVM Highlight and with the real stallion's pedigree). Some models were named after people I like (mostly guys!) And some names came from books or songs that I like. But one of my favorite ways to name models is with a good baby name book. I've got some of the most bizarre names from there. Kingsly, my Arabian stallion, means 'like a king'. Zeeman was another interesting name I got from the book. I would never think of names beforehand since, like real horses, each model is an unique individual and the name should reflect it. Some names just seem to jump out at me while I others I have to hunt and search for the right name."
"I usually find names by first pedigreeing the models and then trying to find a combination of the sire's and dam's names or their ancestors to make a good name for the model. If all else fails, I either use a song or band name or perhaps a character from a book- Katherine Kerry's Deverry series has some great Celtic names. I've also begun naming my Morgans after Rush songs just because they're my favorite breed and band!"
"For me, naming my models is one of the most difficult parts of the hobby. I almost didn't show because I couldn't think of names. In the beginning, I was buying customs that came with names, so they were easy to show. I have only changed one name a model came with, and that's only because I already had a model with the same name. My first original names came from local geographic areas -- one of my Paints 'Tukwila' is named after the town where I work. When my customs weren't named, I started using the names of family members. But I'm running out of family! Then I found IPABRA and since most of my models aren't pedigreed, I find suitable parents and try to make something from the sire and dam names. This method is presently working very well. It is also a good incentive to find parents for my models -- then I can register them and win year end points for 1997! Plus, I keep referring back to the article on correct naming in one of the past issues of Bloodlines to make sure the name I want to use fits the breed standards. That article has been a LOT of help!"
"I look in the model's pedigree for names and try to combine names together. I also keep a book of horse names that I get out of books, magazines -- any phrase or word that I think would make a good name. A great place to look is in the horse racing section of your local newspaper's sport pages; they usually have race results with names listed. It's true that some of the names are a bit strange, but some are quite good."
How do YOU name your models? Write and let us know!