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Running Down a Dream
Bob Carson takes new owners from sales ring to turnout
written by Bob Carson

Chapter 5 - Horse Names
“What's Your Name?”
By Don & Juan 1962

Photo Source: Amazon.com

Feb 20, 2011

Horsemen and Horsewomen,
Mariko Hanover and Fantail Hanover were names given to our fillies at the breeding farm. The “Hanover” part is easy to explain; Hanover is the name of the farm where they were raised; they put the name Hanover on all their babies. The other half of their names have a touch of forethought behind them.

The Fantail is part of Fantail Hanover’s name is sort of random - except for the first letter. Hanover Shoe Farms names gives their babies a name with the same first letter as that of her dam. Fantail Hanover's dam is Fan Club Hanover. Marika Hanover's dam is Meadowbranch Quiz.

We do not have to keep the names of the horses that we buy at the auctions; they can be changed. Sometimes we change the names if we really don’t like them. For example, a few years ago we bought a horse with the name “Toy’s Lil Sis.”  We didn’t care for the name so we changed it to “Walk Softly”. Changing a name is fun, easy and doesn’t cost much. The main thing is that the name must be available.

Let’s say I wanted to change Mariko’s name to...”Ticket to the Stars” (a title of an obscure song I like). My first step is to contact the USTA Member Services Department. You can also check name choices on the web site.  Here are some tips and rules.

Tips on checking names

- Names are limited to 18 characters and four words including spaces, dashes and apostrophes.

- Name choices that sound like a name already in use are not allowed. For example, if a horse is already registered by the name Aladdin we can not accept the name choice Aladinn.

- Names of outstanding horses are taken forever and can not be used again.

- Registered farms may reserve names for their use only. These names can only be used with the permission of the farm. For example, HANOVER and PAN are reserved farm names.

- Some names are reserved for a family line. The sire or dam must have the family name in their own name before it can used for the foal. For example, the names DRAGON, BUNNY, and NIA are family names.

- Names become available 15 years after a horse last raced or produced a foal. If a horse is recorded as deceased before it races or is used for breeding the name becomes available. If a horse never races and is not used for breeding the name becomes available 15 years after the horse was born.

Jim and I are less likley to change the name of well-bred fillies. Should we ever market them as broodmares (sell them as potential mothers), it’s helpful to potential buyers to know where the horses were raised and give other horsemen a few clues to the pedigree. Believe me, sharp breeders keep their eyes on these families.

For example, we kept the original name, Whisk Hanover, on our other horse. We were not crazy about the name “Whisk” but we know that people follow this family and the horses in the family very closely.  The “W” combined with Hanover is a clue to anyone that watches her that she come from a fabulous family of “W” horses (Wuthering Hanover, Windwept Image, Wide Angle Hanover, Whistle Hanover…etc)*
Since Mariko and Fantail are decently bred fillies, and since we do not hate either name, we will probably stick with the names that they were given at the breeding farms. But remember, should you buy a horse of your own in the future, as long as you follow the rules, you can name your baby whatever you wish.

*...FYI -  Breeding horses is another aspect of the sport of harness racing, almost a completely different world from racing horses. Next year, I will be doing a similar series that will take neophite travelers like you into the long and invovled process of selecting fathers (sires), mares (mothers), and getting them together to eventually produce young champions.  I will use Whisk Hanover as our test subject.  Each January I will write a dozen diary-type columns for publication.

Thinking about jumping into horse ownership?

E-mail owners@ustrotting.com and we will get you more information to get started in the racing game. Click here to share this story with a friend.

Editor's Note: The views contained in this column are that of the author alone, and do not necessarily represent the opinions or views of the United States Trotting Association.

Bob Carson
Hoof Beats Magazine About the Author
Bob Carson's award-winning freelance writing has appeared in more than two dozen national publications. He is a steady contributor to Trot Magazine, The United States Trotting Association and Timeline Magazine. After more than 200 magazine articles and stories, his first novel, The Voyage of Mess (humor) was released in 2009. In 2005 he produced the documentary film, Touching Home (Minor League Baseball). In 2006 he received the Hervey Award for Journalistic Excellence and Best of Ohio Fiction awards. He has published Minor Trips (Minor League Baseball) since 1991. Bob Carson has owned harness horses for more than a decade, including a stint as a weekend trainer. He lives in Strongsville, Ohio, with his wife, Sue, and daughter, Katie.
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