We’re still trying to come up with a name for our mare. We have kicked around ideas, but no matter what one person suggests, someone else has an aversion to that particular name, or they have a suggestion that they think would work better. I’m beginning to think that I just don’t have the imagination I used to have when I was younger. Coming up with horse names was a cinch when I was a little girl.
Take my Christmas gift in 1983, for example. I recieved a beautiful stick horse with a life-like styrofoam carved head. It was more real-looking than my siblings’ stick horses, and I was very proud of it. Never mind that my sister’s stick horse was a hand-sewn fabric-headed thing stuffed with old nylons and had drawn-with-magic-marker black eyes, on an old slat for a stick….it was named Brownie. Or my brother’s white plastic-headed horse with factory-printed bridle and details. It had a hole in it and would lose purple fluffy stuff from the hole, so it was patched with duct tape….his horse was named Charolais Star. I thought that my carved-styrofoam horse looked very real and very beautiful, and I named her Jasmine.
I also had a herd of imaginary horses, all perfectly named and perfectly trained. My sister and I would gallop everywhere we went, one hand held out in front of us to hold the “reins” as we traveled. We had the usual menagerie of imaginary horses—Midnight, Lightning, Storm, Black Beauty, Flash, and Golden Girl. We didn’t know and we didn’t care if those horse names were cliche…or silly…or reminiscent of someone else with exactly that same name and we couldn’t stand that person, so don’t name your horse that. No, naming our horses came as easy as the daydream scenarios we rode them in.
But I’m stumped at finding a good name for our buckskin mare. My sister suggested Scotch, since she is a dark gold butterscotch color. My husband and I discussed a broad array of names: Katy, Dixie, Trixie, Roxy, and Girlie. Nothing seemed right. Last week, I mentioned to my husband that I have been thinking of naming her Brandy. Then he tells me he’s been calling her Penny for the past month. He said that Circle P brand on her hip made him think we should name her something that starts with P, and Penny is a good name. Hmm….okay, so we’ll just see if anything ever sticks to this mare.
I have been working on a project for my folks for their 50th wedding anniversary. I’m making them a scrapbook to give them at a big party we’re throwing at their place later this summer. Of course, I had to include a few horsey pages, since their entire lives have involved horses. I made one page with a list of the horses they have owned throughout their lives. I thought it would be neat to look back and remember each one. This list has a lot of neat horse names in it, though most of the horses had registered names, this is what we called them:
Old Paint – Mom’s childhood horse who had a long, successful life. She loved to “run the hills” when she was a young girl, on Old Paint. He loved to race, but if he got passed by another horse, he would show his disappointment by bucking.
Misty – Dad’s bay mare he trained and used for ranch work and later raised colts, Chigger and Sugar Ray.
Buck – The horse who taught my oldest brother and sister to ride, he was a good ranch gelding and a very patient babysitter for teaching kids to ride.
Clipper – A big old white horse with hooves as big as the top of a five-gallon bucket. My oldest brother rode him for cattle work.
Chigger – Misty’s first foal, Dad’s top horse for years, and the horse who taught me to ride. I remember Dad having to cut a switch for me to tap him with because my legs were too short to get him going.
Sugar Ray – Misty’s second foal, a sorrel mare that was sold.
Smokey – Brown gelding purchased from Wescotts, a great cow-horse, the horse Kellie learned to ride on.
Patches – Old white mare bought from Francis Wescott when he gave Kandra her first horse, Apache. Patches was a mix of Shetland, Arabian, and Quarter Horse. For not being registered, she threw some really good foals.
Apache – Brown/white tobiano gelding, Patches’ foal, Kandra’s first horse that she trained and used for cattle work and barrel racing.
Kokomo – Grulla gelding, out of Patches, our family’s best cow horse, he was my Mom’s horse, but we all learned to ride on him. He lived many years on their Nebraska ranch, and moved with them to Idaho, where he died on the ranch there in old age.
Peppy – Patches’ third foal, a bay paint gelding. He was a short and chubby little horse with a big heart. He was my youngest brother Kris’ horse.
Grulla – One of our first registered Quarter Horse mares that raised a few foals for us. She was registered as Go Quick Queenie.
Blondie – A registered palomino broodmare named Sporty Lana Lee. She was very gentle, but not well-trained. She was a sweet old girl, and at age five I claimed her as my own horse, even though I wasn’t actually given my own horse for several more years.
Tasha – Gray broodmare who was mother or grandmother to our best ranch horses. She was registered as Tasha Jo, and had a lot of Thoroughbred in her.
Sandy – Cute little dun mare out of Grulla, Kandra bought, trained, and sold before she left for college.
Barbie – Big bay daughter of Blondie, threw Kandra off and broke both her ankles, changing her colt training career for good, and giving us all more caution and respect when working with colts.
Missy – Sweet gray mare out of Tasha, broke to ride, kept as a broodmare for many years.
Tara – Full sister to Missy, dark gray, too mean to ride, but birthed most of our best colts.
Joey – Bay stallion out of Tasha, kept to breed to a few of the unrelated mares, then sold as a broke four year old.
Johannes – Another good Tasha colt, big light gray gelding, Kellie’s first horse to train. Dad liked riding him because of his big fast walk.
Gunpoudre – Big dun gelding out of Blondie, my brother Kevin’s horse. He and Kevin shared crazy personalities–they were always goofing off and making the ranch work more fun.
Sunday – Tall thin buckskin gelding with a blue eye, out of Grulla. He was my first horse to train, but was sold as a three year old, after which I started training Rudy.
Josie – Missy’s firstborn, gray filly born early, sold, we heard later that she was a winning show horse.
Spider – Big gray gelding, Kandra trained him, and Dad rode him most of the time.
Octavia – Missy’s dark brown filly, sold as a yearling.
Jack – Stallion bought at Pitzer Ranch, sorrel grandson of Two Eyed Jack, sire of many of our good ranch horses.
Rudy – First and only foal of Tasha and Jack, used on ranch to this day. He was my horse, trained when I was just eleven, and we grew up together. He had a passion for running away, and we learned to be careful to avoid that bad habit.
KJ – Stunning red bay gelding, Tara’s first foal, sold as a bucking horse, too wild for us to train.
Honeylou – Missy’s filly, sweet bay mare with a big white star, Kellie trained her, and she was sold as a three year old.
Frosty – Tara’s foal, born in a snowdrift in February and froze his ears off at the tips. He was my little sister Karmen’s horse, and still lives on their ranch in Idaho.
Possum – Tara’s light gray gelding, Mom’s favorite to ride after Kokomo aged. He is still one of their best riding horses on the ranch.
Blue – Missy’s gray gelding, I trained him as a three year old, and he was sold to the Pitzer Ranch.
Belle – Tara’s foal, a bright red mare. I trained her as a two year old, and she bucked me off twice in one day. But her cow sense earned her a spot in Dad’s bunch of ranch geldings. She was the only mare he kept around for riding, because she was so skilled with cattle and quick on her feet. They took her to Idaho when they moved, and bred her for mule babies. She still gets ridden once in awhile.
Red – Another Tara colt, trained by Charles and Kris, Dad’s best riding gelding to date. Red is quick, responsive, energetic, level-headed, and everything a ranch horse should be.
Garbanzo – A bay colt turning gray, out of Missy, sold as a yearling.
Cal – Big dark gray-brown gelding out of Tara, trained on the ranch and ridden for years, he always was a little explosive. We sold him in Idaho to a lady who rides English and is training him for jumping. She sends photos of him and he has turned a lovely gray.
Baron – Bay gelding out of Missy, used on the ranch for years, sold to friends in Idaho, still a good riding horse.
Cody – Grulla gelding purchased as 2 year old for me to train, re-sold to a lesson barn in Wisconsin, they report he is everyone’s favorite lesson horse.
Challis – Bought as a yearling, Karmen trained, her best cowhorse to date. She uses Challis for everything, whether it’s moving wheel-lines, ponying mares and foals to new pastures, getting in stray cattle, roping at brandings, and riding on mountain cattle drives. Challis is her buddy.
Hickory – Big bay mare, bought in Idaho, trained, raises great colts.
Lazaroni – Red roan mare, bought in Idaho, good riding mare and excellent mother.
Pomerelle – Big bay mare, trained and ridden, died in a foaling complication last spring.
Doc – Buckskin stallion purchased in Idaho and used on the ranch until his death a few years ago.
Whang – Red roan gelding purchased, ridden, and re-sold.
Ruby Red – Sweet bay roan mare, purchased in Idaho and used as a riding horse and broodmare.
Chickory – Pretty little buckskin mare, gentle, Karmen trained and uses on the ranch. She is reliable enough to let kids and beginners ride her.
Honeycomb – Hickory and Doc’s buckskin filly, sold as a greenbroke mare.
Companero – Karmen’s first mule, given to her in exchange for training Skippy, she still rides him, though he has a hoof condition and must be kept on low feed to avoid unsoundness.
Copper – Sorrel filly Karmen bought and re-sold.
Milton – Belle’s first mule colt, trained by Karmen, turned out very sweet and friendly.
Murphy – Belle’s second mule baby, trained to ride, pack, and drive, and sold.
Stormy – Lazaroni’s almost-black filly, sired by Doc, has been started under saddle, but not fully trained yet.
Forever – Blue roan Hancock-bred stallion purchased in Idaho as a yearling, has been saddled a few times, but not broke yet. We will see his first crop of foals this spring, from all of the mares except Belle, who will have a mule baby.
Tally – Karmen’s brown filly, purchased as a weanling, will probably train and re-sell or keep to breed.
Garnet – Ruby Red’s first mule baby, a sweet bay mule.
Donegal – Buckskin filly, out of Lazaroni, sired by Doc.
Surprise – Hickory’s unexpected filly, sired by Doc. She was in the corral next to Doc for just a few short moments, and they didn’t even know she was pregnant until she had this baby in the fall.
Those are the horses I grew up with, or ones that Dad and Mom have now. They are so inspiring and beautiful and friendly. I can’t wait to go out and visit them again, just to admire the new foals and take pictures of their beautiful horses.
Any ideas for a name for our buckskin mare? How does Penny sound?