Tuesday, February 19, 2013

"What's in The Spirit of Your Horse's Nickname- Or any Word-Pt. 1of 2"

Howdy Folks,

This is a 2 part story about the energy in a name. How it can emit happy positive awareness and energy or create roadblocks in your relationship with your horse. I also discuss the power of positive thoughts.

What's in a name? Not a new question to be sure, but a good one. It's often been asked, and will certainly be asked many more times. Names serve many purposes, but my thoughts today are about nicknames. Sometimes called, "petnames."

When I'm at the feed store, tack shop, therapeutic riding centers, other barns, or just reading emails and Facebook posts I hear the strangest things. Often I'm compelled to ponder what I hear. I wonder sometimes if people "hear" themselves ... I had a sentence in my novel when Mary asks herself, "Did he hear what he just said?" Referring to the Doctor's comment inviting her to take the thirsty violet in the hospital room home with her, "You take it Mary, it'll just die here." He had just given her the news her cancer had returned.

Recently I was at a barn for a clinic and a woman introduced her horse to me. "I call him Blockhead," she told me with a smile. It's not the first time I winched at a horse's negative nickname. I've heard most of them by now. It always sets me back a step, though. And hopefully always will. I'm pretty sure I'll never really understand why some folks genuinely believe it's cute to use an insulting nickname for their horse. It's fun to sound cute and witty, I understand. What I don't understand is why so often the cute and witty is rooted in negative.

Kessy & Dutch
Pause a second here, take a breath and feel the difference between, "Blockhead" … and … "Handsome." One feels uninviting, harsh and paints pictures in your head of stubbornness, adversity. The other feels warm, receiving, paints pictures in your head of someone you admire, want to be with. Which would you like to be called? Which would you be happiest to respond to? Which would make you more willing to be a partner?

We all claim to understand, here in the horse world, that horses sense our emotions, even our thoughts. Yet somehow folks expect a disconnect from that understanding to the nickname given their horse. And it's even more than that. 

The words we say trigger emotions and feelings within ourselves too. So even though we may want to use the moniker, "Blockhead" in an enduring way, it'll always release a different kind of energy than, "Handsome." That energy will be perceived by your horse ... And yourself. 

Be sure to read tomorrow's post for Part 2 of "What's in The Spirit of Your Horse's Nickname- Or any Word."
Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry


  1. You are SO right, Dutch. My horse's name is Maximus. His registered name is Bob Van Leeuwarden because he comes from Leeuwarden in the Netherlands and someone named him Bob. Go figure. The moment I bought him I changed his name to match the regal and beautiful being he is. And my pet name for him is "Boo". I call him My Boo because he's near and dear to my heart. Positive emotions all the way.

    1. Great connection between Maximus and you!

  2. This one really hits a nerve in me, as I have had a very personal experience with this, involving a horse I had bred, raised & trained ~ and the "friend" who bought this great gelding from me.
    Long story short, this fine animal (who has become a champion, many times over in the years since I bought him back) didn't work out for them and they called me to go down to their Carolina farm to help them figure out what was wrong with him.
    I rode him out on a 6 hr trail ride, pushed him into every "pressurized" & scary situation I could find or create, handled him on the ground & challenged him in every way possible ~ and he exceded my expectations in his responses, everytime...
    During my entire time down there, they referred to my colt by every negative, nasty, foul name in the book ~ from a$$hole to zero! I never once heard them call or refer to him by his name, or even any term of endearment...
    In my evaluation of the situation, his only "crime" was being of higher intelligence and a better, more loving nature than these "zero's" who had bought him from me.
    Needless to say, I handed them the money they had paid for him, walked him onto my trailer and brought him back home!
    ...and I never spoke another word to those people who could not even tell you what my gelding's name really was ...except "gone" ~ because he was out if there as quick as I could load him!

    1. Good for you & thanks for sharing, Kit!