Haras National Le Lion d’Angers

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Thoroughbred Naming Conventions – Tips On Naming Your Horse

Learn about the rules of naming your thoroughbred horse, along with some tips to help you out in this small-yet-deceptively-complex matter.

Giving your newborn baby his or her name can be a trying process, but it’s nothing compared to naming a foal, or future sport horse. Naming your child is as simple as picking a name that fits both parents' preferences, but horse naming is a hellish pit of rules and regulations supervised by the Jockey Club, in which most sample names either get rejected outright or come under intense scrutiny before getting approved.

For starters, foals must be registered with the Jockey Club a year after its date of birth, and it must be DNA-tested to prove its parentage. An important restriction in this process is that the foal must be the product of natural pregnancy and birth – this means that horses born by artificial insemination or embryo transfer cannot be registered. Furthermore, a registered foal must be named by February of its second year, or else face a late fee. The owner must provide at least six name samples, which the Jockey Club will scrutinize and ultimately decide which to use.

If unsatisfied, the owner can apply for a name change, unless the horse has already raced or been bred.

Naming Restrictions

I won’t go into too much detail, since you can find the list of naming restrictions in the official American Stud Book Principal Rules and Requirements, available online here. However, here are some of the more notorious rules that warrant special attention:

  • First and foremost, the names cannot be longer than 18 characters, including spaces and punctuation.
  • They cannot be composed of initials.
  • They can’t end in any horse-related terms like filly, colt, stallion, foal, etc.
  • The names can’t consist entirely of numbers, spelled or otherwise. However, numbers above 30 can be used if they are spelled out.
  • The names can’t include numerical designations, like 2nd or 3rd.
  • They can’t include names of actual persons, unless the Jockey Club gives express permission.
  • They can’t be named after races, tracks, or graded competitions.
  • The names can’t be used to advertise brand names or products.
  • For obvious reasons, names with terms that are offensive, vulgar, or otherwise in poor taste; these are forbidden.
  • Names that are featured in the International Protected Names list cannot be used. You can consult the list here. The names in this list are usually of hall of fame members, Eclipse Award winners, Kentucky Derby winners, etc.

Last but not least, the names can’t obviously coincide with others that are already in use. You can consult the list of names in use in Jockey Club’s online name book by following this link.

By studying the rules present in the American Stud book, you can get an idea about what name to use. And while no one can specifically provide you with one, knowing the rules definitely helps. Hopefully, what you've read here will make naming your foal a bit easier.

Good luck!

About the Author: Juan López is a freelance writer living in Venezuela, and offers all sorts of writing services to any interested parties. You may contact him at his personal email wirch007@gmail.com, or on Facebook @wirch007.

Guides et ressources

Guides and Resources

Become a Horse Breeder

Devenir éleveur de chevaux

Discover Trades: Equine Breeding

Découvrez les métiers: Elevage équin

The Guide To Sport Breeding Standards

Le Guide de l’Élevage Étalons de Sport

Horse Breeding in France

Élevage du cheval en France

Horse Breeding Techniques – The National Stud (Reference Book)

Cheval, techniques d'élevage – Les Haras Nationaux (Livre de référence)

Equideow – breed horses or ponies, and discover the responsibilities of managing an equestrian centre! (Online Simulation Game)

Equideow - élevez des chevaux, et prenez-vous au jeu des responsabilités en dirigeant un centre équestre (Jeu de simulation en ligne)

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