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Calling animals mean names... good, bad, ugly or meh?

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  • Calling animals mean names... good, bad, ugly or meh?

    Let me start with the big one.

    If I call an animal an a-hole, it's an "industry term." It means

    1) An animal who chooses to do the wrong thing (usually that which plainly benefits himself).

    2) An acknowledgement that the animal has free will and his own agenda plus power. So the term "a-hole" is used with a certain kind of knowing fondness for the animal. I don't mind that an animal has free will.

    Do you guys mean the same thing with that term? Others you use?
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat

  • #2
    Doesn't offend me at all, but I grew up in a barn where it was the norm. (Used in the same manner you describe.)

    I'll never forget when one of my former trainer's clients was offended when trainer's kid referred to her horse as an "it," as in "Oh, yeah, Dobbin? It jumps well." Some people need more to worry about.


    • #3
      I've called mine a jerk and a jackhole when we're having a failure to communicate.
      The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
      Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.


      • #4
        There are some days mine will answer to sh*thead...
        It's a small world -- unless you gotta walk home.


        • #5
          i was always taught that with a horse who is not behaving correctly, it is the fault of the handler/rider for not communicating effectively with the horse. . If i heard someone cursing at their horse this way- i would not feel very much respect towards them.


          • #6
            dork (this is very common)
            moe-ron (not moron)

            All said in jest.


            • #7
              I do call mine "Butthead" periodically, because he has an annoying habit of attempting to butt me with his rather large head!

              If the shoe fits...
              "I'm not strange, weird, off, nor crazy. My reality is just different from yours."
              ~Lewis Carroll


              • #8
                When I was a kid I called my horse a "wench" and other names all of the time when I was angry with her. I was just an ignorant kid and I loved that mare. I am sad now that I did that and didn't show her more respect. I would give anything to have her back.

                I don't generally call people bad names (except for people who hurt kids) and so I usually don't call my animals bad names.

                Some times I will describe their actions with colorful words though. "Dobbin is being a juvenile delinquent!" "Princess is acting like a hussy." "Bobtail is really p*ssing me off today."

                That sort of thing.


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by Nezzy View Post
                  i was always taught that with a horse who is not behaving correctly, it is the fault of the handler/rider for not communicating effectively with the horse. . If i heard someone cursing at their horse this way- i would not feel very much respect towards them.
                  In my case, you'd be wrong. I have respect for an animal who thinks enough of himself to defy me. But the defying type needs a name.

                  Also, I have been known to call my golden-lab-in-a-horse suit gelding, Vicious Wild.
                  The armchair saddler
                  Politically Pro-Cat


                  • #10
                    I saw a very interesting clinic years ago where the clinician demonstrated that the horse responds to your tone and not your words necessarily. He used the word "stupid" instead of walk, trot and canter to get the horse to respond on the lunge. Worked just as well as the real words because of course, the horse couldn't speak english . I tend to call all mine "Spot" whether the adjective fits or not. Just habit
                    Allah took a handful of southerly wind, blew His breath over it, and created the horse. Thou shall fly without wings, and conquer without any sword, O, Horse!
                    Anonymous Bedouin legend


                    • #11
                      To me, it's kinda meh... I have "pet" names for all my guys. The 24 yr old mare is the old biddy, one mare is heifer, the other mare is just plain b*tch sometimes (she is the alpha mare and can act quite like one when she wants to) and my 3 yr old gelding frequently gets called sh*thead. But then, he's waaaay too smart for his own good and is constantly trying to get away with things and push boundaries. All are meant affectionately, except when the boss mare and the gelding really act like it, and then it's said in completely different tones.


                      • #12
                        I once had a gelding that was so exasperating that I called him Alpo....
                        after one extremely trying session, I used up a can of Furicin spray to paint the word Alpo on both his sides before I turned him out for the day. Everyone at the barn knew what kind of session we had!!!!!!!!!!!
                        "I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you..."


                        • #13
                          I'm old-school. It seems somehow inappropriate to call an animal names, even though they are - sort of - said with affection. Seems disresectful.

                          A descriptive name, i.e. reactive, hyper-alert, etc. is not the same as a derogeratory one...and a person can almost want to namecall.
                          Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                          • #14
                            I call my blind horse Alpo when he's annoying me, but it's always in a loving tone.
                            I want a signature but I have nothing original to say except: "STHU and RIDE!!!

                            Wonderful COTHER's I've met: belleellis, stefffic, snkstacres and janedoe726.


                            • #15
                              I once got blasted on here from referring to my mare as a b*tch in my blog.

                              She is. Definitely. Misunderstood and pissy about some things.


                              • #16
                                My QH's name tends to be preceded by an expletive deleted when he's in a mood. We're setting his finer moments to music ("Don't Mess With Bill") on a video.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Over the Hill View Post
                                  I once had a gelding that was so exasperating that I called him Alpo....
                                  after one extremely trying session, I used up a can of Furicin spray to paint the word Alpo on both his sides before I turned him out for the day. Everyone at the barn knew what kind of session we had!!!!!!!!!!!
                                  Ok, a bit off topic, but this reminds me of what a neighbor did years ago. One autumn someone accidently shot one of his cows, mistaking it for a deer. (yeah, go figure) Anyway, the next year he bought flourescent paint and wrote C-O-W on the sides of each one.


                                  • #18
                                    I just called one of mine Jackass for the farrier yesterday, but it applies. I don't think it is mean. He's a jackass in turnout, always has been, always will be, and that's how he grabs his shoes (reason farrier was there...).

                                    We had a horse in the barn for awhile named "Fugly" ... Which was kind of mean, but he was one ugly baby, so I understood. Then he grew up and out of that name, but it stuck, and was kind of cute and endearing, IMO. I noticed that he's moved on from that owner/breeder and is for sale again, but has a new name for marketing!


                                    • #19
                                      We call ours pigs-most of the time it's a term of endearment that came from a family inside story. We all ride together as a family and it's our family code. We have Granny Pig at 33 years old and Princess Pig (the white arabian mare) and assorted Pig names for them and it's all just said in fun and friendly tones to the pigs.

                                      But if a horse is showing behavior that ranges from pushy to dangerous to annoying it's called a pig for real. "Get off me, you pig!" "Tell your pig to stop pawing in the trailer!"

                                      Dingaling is for silliness. "You dingaling, you dumped the last bite of your oats right into the mud!" For worse crimes, I guess it's dipsh&t as in "You DS, you just dumped your entire pan of very expensive grain and supplements into the mud!"

                                      Orangutan is for spazzy horses, whether they're just feeling good or untrained. "Princess Pig is being an orangutan today!"
                                      “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


                                      • #20
                                        I call my horses all kinds of names, usually I mean them pleasantly and affectionately. I have been known to swear on occasion in an unpleasant manner when a horse does something that is clearly jerk-ish, such as my ordinarily pleasant and well-mannered gelding deciding yesterday that he preferred not to stay with me but instead used his shoulder to tear away from me to get back to his mare (yes, this is an issue we are working through currently due to two horses in the pasture and a love affair he will never forget). It was a d*ck move, and he pulled it.

                                        Was I communicating ineffectively with him? Uh...no, probably not. He took advantage of me switching the lead rope from one hand to another and chose to ignore all former training that he'd had to decide to leave. Did I go get him (since he was then standing on his lead rope) and work him through it? Yes, of course, while muttering at him and examining the cold finger he'd managed to pinch.

                                        Do I love him any less? No.

                                        Does he now need some training in this area that I hadn't anticipated? Yes.

                                        Does this make me ineffective? In that moment perhaps, but I'd be awfully surprised if everyone is always 100% ready for every surprising thing that a horse decides to pull (particularly if they've never pulled that move before).

                                        Now, if I'd have freaked out and acted abusively, that would be different than shaking my head at him, calling him an idiot, and warning him that the next time he would come in, perhaps the chain would be in order.