Friday, June 15, 2007

What's in a name

My horse's name is Kaswyn.

I'm often asked what his name is. Not just by horse people, but by people who hear that I have a horse, or see me in my breeches and ask "Oh, do you ride?" When I say "Kaswyn" most people have to repeat it back to me, just to make sure they have it right because it's not easy like "Sam" or "Trigger". Then some people ask me if I named him myself, or where it came from.

It's common for Arabian breeders to name their horses with references to the dam or sire's name. Kaswyn is a perfect example. His registered name is FM Kaswyn. Kaswyn's sire is PS Kasenova, and his dam was Eowyn. His breeders took "Kas" from Kasenova and "wyn" from Eowyn and got "Kaswyn". Their breeding Farm is called Fleet Manor Arabians, so to stamp Kaswyn with their farm name they added FM in front of his name. Again, that's a common tradition for Arabian breeders. Most horses that have a capital "V" initial in the name are usually Varian horses, bred by Shelia Varian. Many horses from the Michigan State University Arabian breeding program have MSU in front of or following the name. If you follow this tradition people can easily identify horses bred by you, so it's a good marketing tool for your farm.

Many horses have long and complicated names that don't translate well into everyday use. In these cases the horses have a show (or registered) name and a barn name. When I got him, I just started calling him Kaswyn. I never felt the need to shorten it or change it. He seemed to know his name when I bought him, so I kept it. I remember once he got loose at a farm where I hauled in for a lesson. Someone from the barn said "What's his name?" as we were calling him and chasing him around. I said "Kaswyn" and she said "Yeah, but what do you call him?" and I said again "Kaswyn." I guess she thought it was weird not to have a short version of his name.

But I don't always call him Kaswyn. My pets names seem to evolve and they get wild nicknames that don't resemble the original name. Here is a list of Kaswyn's names, in a rough order of how they came to be -
The Weiner
Big K
Kas Man

I often call him "boy" or "sweets", and usually I call him "beautiful boy" when I say goodbye to him when I leave. It always makes me sad to leave the barn because I know that if I turn around at the end of the aisle before I walk out of the barn I will see him with his head out of the stall, watching me walk away.

I'm not the only one to come up with names for my horse. I don't know who started calling him The Weiner but my trainer's mom (who is a total hoot!) started singing this cute little song at horse shows that went "Take the "e" out of Weiner and you have winner!" Also, at the first barn he was in when I got him as a three year old, the barn owner started calling him "Squirrel" because he would spook at anything when getting turned out. She was convinced that he did it just for the rush of getting scared instead of actually being afraid of anything that he jumped at.

And I strongly suspect that more than one person has called him Kashole. I know I have, once or twice, when he really deserved it. But most of the time, it's just Kaswyn.


Anonymous said...

It's intersting where thier "cute" nicknames come from. Not that my boys have anything other then 'normal' real names (I guess Hen's name is a little wierd if you take off the farm name).

Simon has become Simy, 'Mone, S'mone and I call him "My Love" when I say hi or bye. Henry is - Hen or Henny (Henrietta when he's very bad). Dr. Peckum called him Henry with a French accent so it sounded more like ornrey- wich is spookily accurate at times. My personal nickname is "Boo" ("Be a good boy Boo!")

And yeah for Kasweinner, Kas-a-ma-weinner!! How are the legs comeing along? Any circles yet?


Rising Rainbow said...

LOL oh can I relate to this, especially the part about the ever changing list of pet names and the not so pet names..........

craig said...

You never call me "beautiful boy" ...

dressagemom said...

No, for you it's "sexy man".

And, no circles yet, Z. I have to call Dr. B and get his okay. I'm guessing he'll say it's fine, but TAKE IT SLOW.

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