Is it bad luck to change a new horse's name? And other superstitions .....
We all know how ridiculous some of these OTTB names are .... certainly not pretty or cute enough for showing. I am contemplating changing a horse's name (I've had her for a month). Do you believe it's bad luck? Do you have any other superstitions with regards to new horses?
I don't think so. I think the name has to fit the horse, and quite honestly, many registered names don't fit the horse.
I do have one "crazy" superstition. I have a leather nameplate bracelet for every horse I've ever leased or owned, and even though many of the bracelets are now old and rusty (and crusty!), I can't bear to part with them as somewhere deep inside, I'm convinced that would be bad luck. No, I'm not a teenager...or a kid...
My husband, a race track trainer, thinks it is bad luck, but some TB and QH names just don't fly with me, so I will change them, "unoffically". My newest horse, a Stakes Winner in his early days, came to me after 3 years of hell with a rich doctor and fancy trainer and a body score of #2!! I changed his name, his body condition, his life and his LUCK!!! I have not been struck by lightning, yet!!!
I asked about this a couple of weeks ago in the dressage forum and mostly got comments about keeping names in sync between organizations if you're showing or breeding.
I'm obsessing right now about what to rename my new horse. Her stable name isn't changing, but I can't bear her registered name. I already gave one name when I insured her, so would have to embarrass myself and go back to the insurance company ... and the vet (who already thinks I'm a bit of a nut, anyway) ... but need to figure this out before I fill out USEF and USDF paperwork and change the name with the registry.
About 16 years ago, I bought a horse whose name was Tacky. That's not an adjective, that was his name.
I don't usually care what people or animals are called but I couldn't bring myself to go through the machinations of having a horse named Tacky. I didn't want to explain countless times that I was saying his name, not describing my horse.
I told no one at home what his old name was and started calling him something else when he arrived. While I've had some very, very bad 'luck' with some of my horses whose names I've never changed, or who I named at birth, the horse-who-used-to-be-Tacky is still going strong at 28. He's sound and still jumps, never sick a day in his life.
If changing a horse's name meant that the horse would be like ex-Tacky, I'd be out in the barn renaming them all.
When it comes to OTTBs, however, I always keep their JC name as a show name. This way, people can find out the horse's breeding very easily. If we are going to value the TB, we should also honor their heritage.
Bad luck for the breeder, perhaps, when their stud name is lost and no one knows who bred the 4* winner. But some names, especially race horses, do have awful names. Could be a whole new discussion strand: worst names ever.
I've changed a few names over the years, and kept a few. Neigh's ApHC name is horrible...just plain dumb. So, I changed his (kept him barn name). Ralph's JC name was completely unpronounceable, even though what it means was pretty cool for a TB, so I gave him a new name, based on a song my dad loved (I acquired him a few months after my dad died, and was able to due to the teeny tiny inheritance I had). Vernon kept his JC name because it was cool. Somewhere along Toby's past his name got changed from his JC name (thank GOD). I came close to changing his USEA name, but it grew on me and now I like it. No bad luck.
I also changed the ridiculous barn name of a horse I had for awhile. I just COULD. NOT. use what his owner had called him. It made me gag a little. So, I gave him another name. Kept his reasonable JC name, though.
I changed Dante's name from Aiken, JC Aiken Pike. It's not a bad name, but he was my first horse and one thing I've always been obsessed with is naming things, particularly naming them the RIGHT thing. I hadn't even bought him yet when Divine Comedy came to me as the perfect name with a great barn name to go with.
On a different note, I have a friend whose horse came to her with the barn name of Daddy. The show name was fine and completely different (also was his JC name). Neither she nor her trainer were into changing horse's names, but both agreed something had to be done.
Can you imagine talking to your coworkers or non-horsey friends, and telling them that it was time for you to go ride Daddy?
Well I'm strongly considering changing my OTTB's name, both the show and nickname. I could possibly live with her current name, but it's one of those that doesn't seem to have any meaning and is also commonly mispronounced.
I am a little superstitious - I have a pair of "lucky" socks.
I've never been lucky enough to buy a horse with a cool name. The only ones I've never changed were the ones I bred and therefore named myself I've only had one of those that I sold and the buyer changed her name with the registry. Didn't hurt my feelings because she went on to do wonderful things and the owner has kept me updated about her since she bought her 10 years ago.
Like JER, the worst one, name-wise, that I bought was "Spook". No way was I going to keep that name. Because he was kind of a goer, I ended up calling him Scooter. He actually had 2 show names. One for eventing, and then I had to use his registered name when I showed him in APHA shows. Didn't affect our luck at all. He was the best horse I've ever had
"Everyone will start to cheer, when you put on your sailin shoes"-Lowell George
I have an OTTB with a name that, while not totally crazy, is something that has sounds like it has a very personal meaning, but not to me. I decided to change it to something else for the purposes of showing in dressage, jumpers, etc.
A friend of mine had an OTTB named Mr. C which he thought was a dumb name, so he renamed him "Sir Charles".
A trainer I rode with in VA strongly believes changing a horse's name is bad luck, and that their barn name should have something to do with their "real" name. She also gets a lot of OTTB's, so there were some interesting ones on her farm.
My first horse had the barn name of "Bubba", but was this tall, elegant, and sweet Egyptian Arab. My trainer and I promptly changed his barn name to a shortened version of his registered name.
When I got my Arab/QH, I hated his registered name from the get-go. It make NO sense. I can understand where they got two of the three words, but the last part, which is also his barn name, Bailey, came from nowhere. It didn't dawn on me to change his barn name (Joey would have been super cute and reg. name-related), and I was thinking of new registered names, but the fees AHA has in place to do so are astronomical, and I didn't want to be rude to his breeder.
The TB I have now has a horrible name. Not only does it sound super feminine (and he's a big, thick gelding) it shows no link to his breeding. Sky Lake. BAD name. BAD. However, he knows his barn name, Sky, very well. He will definitely have a different show name. Coming up with one is a different story though.