It’s been a hot minute since our last edition of “Event Horse Names” but the cold weather coupled with lack of actual eventing news to report has me feeling inspired to pick it back up.
In previous posts we’ve compiled lists of USEA registered horses named after literary references, breeding empires, monster trucks (who wants to leave the start box on a horse named “Death Sentence”? not me!), celebrities and booze (it still fills me with delight to know that there are horses out there competing under the names “Free Beer Tomorrow,” “Bar Tab” and, for an eventing Clydesdale, “Miller Genuine Draft.”)
Today, in honor of Winter Storm Ilias which currently has people here in the south losing their freaking minds, we turn our gaze toward USEA-registered horses with the word “snow” in their names.
A few fun facts:
- Fifty-seven horses registered with the USEA have the word “snow” in their names.
- You might assume that if a horse is named after snow, it would have some white in its coat, right? Like this iceberg gray mare, Snowy’s Olivia, owned and competed at Training level by Mallory Tevini.
Mallory says that while she doesn’t know the exact story behind her horse’s name, “I could definitely take a guess and assume that ‘Snowy’s’ came from either the soft off-white color of her coat or possibly when she was born in Washington, it could have been snowing immensely.”
But while the majority of the “snow” horses are indeed either gray, roan or spotted, a significant number of them — 21 out of 57, or 37% — are actually chestnut, bay or black.
- Another statistic that might make you scratch your chin: 17 out of the 57 horses, or 29%, call Florida or California their home. Not exactly states known for wintry weather.
Mallory and Snowy’s Olivia, of Santa Rosa, Calif., are one example; another is Elizabeth Hansen, of San Francisco, and her former thoroughbred event horse Snowden.
“Snowden” is Gaelic for a snowy hill or mountain, which Elizabeth suspects was the source of the horse’s name: “I believe it was her breeder who nicknamed her Snowden because she is grey (white) and big as a mountain (17.2+ hands).”
- Bruce and Patti Springsteen — yes, THAT Springsteen — are known for being involved in the jumper world as their daughter Jessica is a successful international Grand Prix rider. But according to the USEA Registry, they own or owned at one time a gray Connemara event horse named Snowy that competed at the Beginner Novice/Novice Level. The last result I saw for them was from 2009.
- The most popular “snow” name in the USEA Registry is Snowy River, of which there are four listed (five if you count Snowy River Red), followed by Snowflake, Snow Angel, Snowshoes and Midnight Snow (two apiece).
- Among the most accomplished “snow” event horses was Snowy River, owned and competed by Olympian Phyllis Dawson in the latter half of the ’90s. A Thoroughbred gelding by Babamist and bred by Bruce Davidson, the pair represented the United States Equestrian Team in the Open European Championships at Burghley in 1997 and was the alternate horse for the USET World Championship team in 1998.
“Snowy,” as he was known, passed away in 1995 at the age of 19 and is fondly remembered as one of Phyllis’ all-time favorites. She also competed Snow Creek, Snowy’s full sister, through the Preliminary level before selling her to a rider in Mexico.
- Among the most accomplished “snow” horses of all time, of course, is “the $80 champion” Snowman, the ploughhorse meat market rescue who became a champion show jumper in the ’60s. His life has since been commemorated in a book, a Breyer horse model in his likeness, and was made into an award-winning documentary last year.
- The FEI Horse Registry contains 94 “snow” horses representing a range of disciplines, six of which are actively competing.
Do you have a request for a future edition of “Event Horse Names”? Email me at [email protected]