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How to name a Finnish horse

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There are trends in horse names as well as in people names. Some years people seem to want more traditional, even historical names, and sometimes names are so modern and foreign-sounding the naming board has to scratch their heads whether they should accept them or not. It is never a simple task, societies and cultures change and actually have never been very stable at all. What is common to naming horses, is that they tend to be very personal to the person naming them -breeder and/or owner,  sometimes their children come up with the names.

Before the beginning of systematic registration horses’ names were mostly simple and describing: Tamma (mare), Ruuna (gelding), Rauti (from rautias, chestnut), Pläsi (blaze). It didn’t matter if several horses had the same names, for example Poku and Polle have been so popular that even nowadays finnhorses in general might be called “pokus” or “polles” as a pet name in some occasions (such as “you have one nice polle here”).

Voiveikko is a good example of horses name traditionally referring to its color, palomino is translated as "voikko" in Finnish, referring to color of butter, "voi", photo by Sini Tuhkunen

Voiveikko is a good example of horses name traditionally referring to its color, palomino is “voikko” in Finnish, referring to color of butter, “voi”, and Veikko is a Finnish male name. Photo by Sini Tuhkunen

Best quality animals were given fancier names. For example the first mare ever to be inspected for studbook was called Sofi. This was a trend and social aspect, since the best horses became famous and they were systematically compared to each other.

In the 1950s it was common to name horses with two-part names which would often refer to horses pedigree, such as names beginning with Eri-, Ero- or Aro (Aro-Meno, Eri-Aaroni).

Nowadays naming a horse can be influenced by hopes and dreams, humor or other aspects, as long as it’s max. 18 characters long, appropriate and can not be confused with other existing horses or trademarks. Finnhorse names should be either in Finnish with Finnish alphabet or Swedish with Swedish alphabet, and names beginning Aro-, Eri- or Ero- are not longer registered. (Hippos)

I need ideas for naming a finnhorse. Where should I start?

Lowchenaustralia has composed an impressive list of links to Scandinavian names. You could try for example searching through Finnish mythology, Finnish names and their meanings explained or have a look at your horses pedigree. It’s still quite common to refer the pedigree by combining or changing bits of names to form new ones (for example: Viesker + Jonsa = Jonsker)

Best names are often short but bear a lot of meaning, hopes and dreams in them. Sometimes a good name is the one that sounds right even if it doesn’t mean anything. Most importantly, it has to fit your horse and the look your horse has in its eyes.

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