Photo Challenge: Names


Hold clean intention
in the word chosen
to label a life 
given to your care;
words are prayers
that illuminate or ruin
with each call and echo.

There is destiny
in a name.
Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
Horse Advocate, Author, Speaker, Equine Pro
(WordPress Photo Challenge is a weekly prompt to share a photo–I enjoy twisting these macro prompts to share our micro life here on the Colorado prairie. My photos are taken with my phone, on my farm. No psych, definitely not high tech.)


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Anna Blake

0 thoughts on “Photo Challenge: Names”

  1. Thanks for sharing photo of Spirit with his name engraved on his halter..I know his presence will be missed for a long time. . It always takes me awhile to find what seems to be the right name for a being who comes into my life. .. I belong to a spiritual community ( Earthtribe) who believes names can be aspirational.. thus I named the abandoned, starving, runt of a cast-off litter ” Grocery” because he sure needed some of that ! And as he grew and thrived his name evolved to “Gusto” and he lives every minute of his life with great gusto and wild abandon, no caution in that kitty and he is twice the size of all his siblings. My new rescue horse is Zen Bear. Oh, well, sorry to go on about names, I’m sure we all have good stories about names ! Thanks for your words, your photos, and BTW, would it be too costly to publish a book of your photos???

  2. Actually, I’m hoping to hear lots of names here… I named Howdy that because I knew I’d be calling his name and I wanted to sound friendly! And when I meet someone with a sarcastic named animal, I know I have my work cut out. Gotta love Gusto.

    I’m thinking of a quote/photo book; people have asked me for it. Yes, it will cost more for me and for readers…

    • If you’ve not looked into it before, is a great place to self publish books if you expect demand will be too low to outweigh cost. They basically print on demand. If your publisher allows, that is.

      • Lulu is a vanity press, actually, and more costly than true self-publish, which is what I do. (They take a cut on each book sold) A book like this would be full color and shiny paper… but there are printers who specialize in this. Thanks, it helps to know people are interested.

    • I just purchased a young gelding and after much thought about him and who he is and will be, I have chosen the name Cohen.

      Horses and being around them is a very religious experience for me. I get goosebumps every time I hear the song Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. When I saw my new boy and worked with him and kneeled down in the arena and he walked up behind me, I had tears streaming down my cheeks and had goosebumps all over!

      I feel the name is very befitting for my new boy.

  3. Anna,
    Great wisdom, indeed. I feel names are spiritual and important.

    When I call ‘Jacky’ (to Captain Jack), ears go up and he proceeds cheerfully to the gate, slowly, but with an affectionate expression, relaxed.

    If I call him ‘Ack Ack’ (his old racing name), I have noticed it results in a disinterested look and, as often as not, he does not approach. Less cheerful connections to the past days, perhaps.

    Calling with the fullest heart…the whole herd responds in kind.


  4. Love this thought. I am too superstitious to change a horse or dogs name. But I believe that the tone of our voices communicates our feelings to the horse and does affect his emotional state. We should indeed be mindful when we speak to him

  5. I’m just the opposite Jan. When a new animal comes into my life – especially one from rescue – I always change the name to signify their new life. I don’t change the registered names but they get new barn names that I believe fit them. I adopted a large, powerful TB whose barn name at the rescue was “Boopie” and changed his name to Torin which means chief in Gaelic. I think that we both feel less silly now ;).

    Since you want to hear a lot of names – I can deliver 🙂 Here goes: Scout, Nikki, and Penny (dogs); Teak and Kiwi (cats); Torin, Kismet, Leo, and Karma (horses); and Lulu and Pixie (goats). Each of those names comes with a different story – much too long to go into here, but I do try to choose names that fit and have meaning (at least to me).

  6. I agree with rescues; it draws a line to a new life. But on the other hand, my rescue Preacher Man was named flawlessly by his rescue… case by case works. Great names, Karen. Thanks.

  7. Seems all my critters are rescues of one sort or another, and they were given new names to signify a new chapter in their life. … Woodrow ( the aristocratic, Downtown Abby kind of kitty), Gusto ( huge spirit and relish for life), Zen Bear ( transcendent, calm, wooly, big horse), and Johnny Cash ( black Tenn Walker on a spiritual journey of transformation)… Cash and I have a theme song ” I keep my eyes wide open all the time: Because you’re mine I walk the line” because he requires that I be present every second, mindful, and paying full attention….. anyhow, you are gonna get bombarded with names I think … who can resist such an invitation ?? Thank you for listening !!! ONE MORE THING…. I have heard it said that “a horse doesn’t care what his name is, but HE cares that YOU care.” An interesting thought to ponder.

  8. I had a schipperke years and years ago, he came into our lives looking like a cuddly Teddy bear.

    He named himself at 10 weeks old.

    He was no teddy bear, but a Grizzly Bear.

    Grizzly he named himself and Grizzly he remained up to the day he passed at the ripe old age of 15.

    I miss him still.

  9. Last year I got a young Dutch Harness horse with a fancy breed registered name; Honey O’ Mandrini. So I called her “Honey” rather than the Mandrini name she was previously called. It was a few months before I finally realized that for whatever reason it just wasn’t working…for either of us!
    I felt Mandrini just didn’t suit the sweet, wide-eyed joy that she approached everything with. It was too impersonal so I decided to ask her about a barn name. I offered her two names that were derivatives of the Mandrini: Mandy and Mindy. I was secretly leaning towards Mandy, but in a quiet, connected moment, when I asked her about the name Mandy I got no reaction at all. It surprised me because she is normally very expressive. I then offered the name Mindy and she turned and looked me straight in the eye and softened. So you see, she chose her name!
    Afterwards I looked up her name’s meaning and in German it means love or worthy of being loved and the Greek meaning is…honey. Go figure..

  10. My current horses are Jade and Squash Blossom. Jade’s name was Dr. J when I got him as a free to a good home horse. It did not feel quite right to me. His registered name is Jade Summum Bonum. My vet said summum bonum means something good, and he is. It was an easy transition for him to be called Jade, possibly it was what they called him earlier in his life. My mini’s name is Squash. A friend had bought her at New Holland auction in PA, the one where Snowman was rescued from. This is how she was weaned and she came home in the back of an SUV. They called her Squash and I called her Squash Blossom. She has blossomed into a lovely flower. She is pretty round now and I sometimes call her Pumpkin. I have had quite a few horses, all but one came already named. Midnight’s Tashma (Tash) a free lease who later became my father’s first horse. My mother often said that if he could put a bed in her stall he would sleep there. Ladd, a retired staff horse from Rose Tree Hunt, Sage, who my dear younger brother passed on to me when I lost Ladd. He had turned 16 and was not spending enough time with Sage who was a wonderful trail horse. We rode 75 miles on the Horseshoe Trail. Cricket, a lovely quarterhorse mare who came with a 4 month old filly by her side who we named Juniper. Shady Lady a Connemara pony with so much heart. Then Toby, an Egyptian Arab who came to me as a very green broke 5 year old with lots of opinions and attitude. His registered name was Tobifon which I think is a made up name. Toby fit him so well. It is a friendly name and after 17 years he taught me so much. It was not easy and I am so grateful to him for sticking with me for so long. And now Jade, a Polish/Crabbit cross Arab and Squash Blossom the mini. I have been and am very blessed.

    • You are blessed, what a nice herd… and I wonder if Toby fits or if you say it with such love that it fits. I know that’s part of it, too. Thanks for sharing them with us.

  11. I have kept the names of horses I bought in the past, but when Sugar was born he became my Sugar! Not the most original name, but that’s my boy! I usually have a lot of nicknames and add on’s for my crew. Sugar Booger, Missy boo boo, Pepper “roni”, Molly Walley, etc. And of course they all love to be called Good Boy with all the love and appreciation poured out to them!

    • Well, your Sugar is sweet alright, but I think that last name, Good Boy, might be my all time favorite! Thanks, Doshia.

  12. Yes, there certainly can be destiny in a name. I rescued a 28 year old Arabian gelding named Munchkin. He was near death, and my first thought was “how could anyone name this horse so inappropriately?”. I gave him a proper Arabian name that summarized the strength I saw in his soul. I named him Shuja Ruh which means Valiant Immortal Soul. Needless to say he recovered and lived with more strength, courage, and intelligence than I ever thought possibly expressed by a horse (or for that matter a human). He lived to be 6 months shy of 38 and left this planet with the strength and dignity of a flawless leader. I miss him still.

    • You win, I love this comment. It’s what I think I was trying to say in my poem, too. All any of us want is a little acknowledgment. Thank you, for sharing your memory with us, Laurie.

  13. We have a 12 hand pony: Princess Buttercup ridden and named by a six year old princess. She, the girl, thinks the farm we have someday should be filled with animals named from the movie: The Princess Bride. I think that’s the best idea I ever heard… Count Rugen, Fezzig, Vinzzini, Inigo, Wesley, Humperdink (must be the donkey)…Miracle Max…if you are lost watch the movie. You have been missing out.

  14. You asked for it, sorrel mtn mare John’s Sally (fits, she’s a sweetie), choc. mtn mare Ember (fits, she’s elegant and feisty aka sugar booger), mini donk, Winston (also weenie bambini), nig.dwarf goat wether, Otis, mini fainting goat, Fannie, Wirehair Pointing Griffon, Eli, schnoodle, Mac-a-doodle, kunekune pig, Percival Pettigrew, rouen ducks, Betty & Geraldine, chickens, Sylvia, Gretchen, Fiona, Esme, Clarice, and Otto (was supposed to be Ophelia til she started crowing).

    • I could spend the rest of my life asking people about the names of their chickens. Chicken names are the very best. Hello to the roost! (They are all good, but really, the chickens.)

  15. I’m the same as some, I like to have an animal tell me their name so I almost always change them. We have a new to us Goldendoodle pup. ( I *WAS* looking for a golden retriever to rescue and the road took a strange turn! ) We got her registration papers and we also know her former call name, but “Lucy” is on her 4th name in 2 weeks here and I think it will stick.

    Our rescue Doberman came to us very abused, scared and sad. Her name was “Freya” which I actually like, but we didn’t want to remind her of her past life and watching her cower when we spoke her name hurt my heart. She’s now “Layla” and after 15 months of gentle care and now a new more than slightly crazed little sister, finally she is becoming a less fearful girl.

    I have a tendency to default to “people” names, and ironically we’ve adopted or rescued many who already had people names. These are over the last 45 or so years.

    Dogs: Penny, Tash, Jessie, Marley, Fae, Maggie, Tessa, Sarah, Layla, Lucy.
    Cats: Alice, Dipstick, Misty, TheFuzz, Charlie, Sophie, Oliver.
    Horses: My first mare was a 22 year old former school horse when I got her. I opted not to change what she’d always been called, but to me she had many names but was a dream come true, my inspiration to become a better horsewoman, the best teacher I’d ever had, the equine love of my life.

    After the best mare in the universe came those who came with registration papers: “Dancing Din” aka “Devon” who seriously bruised my confidence. Then my recovery horse ”Centerline’s First Feathered Star” aka “Star”.

    Country’s Rising Star became “Harry” because we already had a “Star” as he was called before he joined us. He has a profuse mane and forelock, plus on the 3 hour drive to meet him we counted 27 Hawks, 9 of them Harris hawks and the intended “Hawk” didn’t suit him once we met him. We also have my hubby’s MFT gelding “Misty Diamond” who he renamed “Red”.

    Finally the rest, both registered and unregistered who I bred and named: Devon’s foals: “Gaelic Dance” aka “Danny”, “Dakota’s Dance” aka “Cody”, “Anna’s Dance” aka “Annie”. Star’s foals “Sweet William” aka “Will” and his sister “Raziel”.

    I’ve prattled on long enough or I’d explain where some of the names originate. But I’ve so very much enjoyed this thread!

    • Thank you for “prattling on”, I’ve enjoyed it too. Not sure why I think all these comments are so special, but they are. Thanks, Shelley.

  16. Pingback: Namens (Hema) | What's (in) the picture?
  17. Names are words that make my heart happy. My animals names Anyway. I realized that given the opportunity I will just shorten a registered name Comanches Chick and Leo Lena Quest are Chick and Quest. As long as the name fits and suits them we keep it . We had a greyhound named Redbone, we loved that name. We have had many dogs that were named in the car on the way home. Cody, Maggie , Blaze and Cali. All our dogs have been rescues, and two retired greyhounds. Luke we named , Charlotte came with the name. She is a princess. Names that are all written on my heart.

    • “Names are words that make my heart happy. ” After a day of reading comments, here and on FB, this sentiment rings so true. We love their names, because they are written on our hearts. Wonderful comment, Karen. Thank you.

      • Seems we are a legion feeling this way about our animal companions no matter the species. You could fill a whole book with the stories! I have been reading your blogs for a long time, I thoroughly enjoy reading your writing Anna, thank you.

  18. There is power in language and naming, for sure. Dignity and destiny. Thank you for sharing your insights and your heart. So many of us are better for it.

  19. Of all my mares, only my Cookie came to me with a name that didn’t fit.
    She was Nikki at the Rescue, and when she came Home, she ignored it. Not once did that ear even flick towards the sound of that name.
    Oh, but when I said to her, after one particularly frustrating session trying crack her shell “Oh, you are going to be one tough cookie to crack!” those popped forward, she nickered and bobbed her head.
    I knew I was on to something, I just had to listen. So, patiently, I went back through the sentence until we hit on the word that garnered the same reaction and she’s been my Cookie ever since. <3

    My other 3?
    Well, their names just fit…though my Palomino, Sable, does get called Bella (short for bellisma) often. Which led us to her (if my daughter ever decided to show her) show name of Bella Haza BooBoo…she's my bubble wrap horse. 😉

  20. I named my runty little barn kitten Mite (or Might) when I got her because she was smaller than her sibs and had a miserable upper resp infection and she “Might” not make it… or she “Might” do just fine, and she did! She came to live in my barn where she no longer had to fight for food, I got her antibiotics and eye-drops, and she grew into a petite but athletic beauty. Now she is Mighty-Cat, and my constant companion. She only has one good eye but she follows me everywhere for feeding, mucking, and general adventures.


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