How Do Race Horses Get Their Names?

Horses are known for being intelligent and loyal creatures and are known for their range of strengths and skills, including speed, stamina, endurance, strength, intelligence, and agility.


The horse is a symbol of power, nobility, beauty, grace, and elegance; in ancient times, horses were used as war mounts, transportation, and status symbols. Today, horses are still used in many ways but are best known for their use in sports like show jumping, dressage, eventing, and polo.


Racing is another common activity for horses, and one key element of this type of horse is its name.


Have you ever wondered just how a racehorse gets its name, and the history and reasons behind names? We took a closer look at all you need to know.


Racehorse Names


If you have ever paid close attention to the names of racehorses, then the chances are that you will have noticed that they tend to be a little strange. This is because all racehorse owners are required to comply with strict guidelines from overseeing bodies when it comes to naming racehorses, and the end result is some very imaginative names!


There are a number of elements that are prohibited when it comes to naming racehorses in the UK, and these include:

  • Names must not consist of more than 18 letters, including punctuation and spacing
  • Names must not consist wholly of initials
  • Names must not end in any horse-related term, such as “stallion”, “mare”, “gelding”, “colt”, or “filly”.
  • Names must not consist solely of numbers
  • Any names that are considered inappropriate or uncouth


 As you can imagine, this makes naming a racehorse a somewhat creative endeavour, and there are a number of curious names out there.


Why Do I Have To Name My Racehorse?


The first thing you should know about racing is that it is governed by rules, regulations, and laws. These governing bodies ensure that every aspect of the sport runs smoothly and that everyone involved follows the rules set down by them. One of the most important aspects of racing is the requirement that each horse has a registered name.


This means that if you want your horse to participate in races, you will have to register its name with the governing body. You will also have to provide proof of ownership, which may include a passport or other documents. In addition, you will have to pay an entry fee, and possibly a training fee.


All of this information is included on the official website of the governing body, so make sure you check it out before registering your horse.


Why Are There Rules About Horse Names?


In order to run a fair and honest race, the governing bodies require that each horse has a unique name. This ensures that no two horses compete against each other under the same name and that the results are accurate.


Who Are Some of The Most Famous Racehorses In History?


Some of the most famous and well-known racehorses in history include:


  • Black Caviar

A champion Australian Thoroughbred who was named after the Black Sea region where she was bred. She won the Melbourne Cup twice and holds several records for her age group.


  • Briar Rose

An American Champion Quarter Horse who was named after a rose bush near his home. He won the Kentucky Derby three times and became the only horse to win the Triple Crown twice.


  • Cigar

A champion American Quarter Horse who was named for his owner’s love of cigars. He won the Kentucky Oaks twice and went on to become the leading sire in North America.


  • Danzig

A champion American Quarter Pony who was named after the city of Detroit. He won the Preakness Stakes four times and became the second oldest winner of the Belmont Stakes at the time he retired.


  • Dixie Union

A champion American Quarter Mare who was named after Dixie, the state of South Carolina. She won the Kentucky Oaks twice and the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint once.


  • Eclipse Award

A champion American Quarter Colt, and one of the greatest racehorses in history. He won the Kentucky Derby five times and went on to be inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.


Final Thoughts


Choosing the right name for your racehorse can be difficult, but this is an important step in helping your equine get started in racing, and boosting their chances of success.


Now that we have taken a closer look at how racehorses get their names, make sure you take the chance to see them ‘in the flesh’ by checking out amazing horse racing at Newbury.