Getting to Know the Book Giveaway Horses: How do You Choose Names? 3

What’s in a Name?

Guest post from Laura Wolfe.

When I was a little girl, I kept a list of horse names for my future dream horse (or horses!). I’m not too embarrassed to admit that I still keep a similar list in a secret file on my computer. While my barn full of personally-owned horses never materialized in real life, the number of fictional horses in my world continues to multiply.

It’s probably no surprise, then, that one of my favorite parts of writing equestrian fiction is coming up with names for the equine characters in my books. Because my YA mystery series is set at a large riding academy, I need to come up with a lot of names!

Sometimes, I name fictional horses after horses I’ve known in real life. These horses provided plenty of material when writing Trail of Secrets and Barn Shadows, particularly when it came to names. One special fictional horse is named Amigo, after a horse of the same name at the barn where I take weekly riding lessons.

horse book covers

I’ve met other Amigos over the years, including one at a therapeutic riding program where I used to volunteer.

Come to think of it, what barn doesn’t have a horse named Amigo?

The name Amigo embodies a horse that isn’t too fancy, but no one cares because of his friendly personality and off-the-charts lovability factor.

Often, the personality traits of the human characters in my books are reflected in the names of their mounts. My main character Brynlei has an equine partner is named Jett, not only to convey the blackness of his coat, but to compliment Brynlei’s sometimes dark and mysterious personality.

Similarly, Brynlei’s bold friend, Anna, is paired with a horse named Rebel, and the haughty rich girl, Alyssa, brings her own horse, aptly named Bentley.

Of course, names can sometimes be no more than a reflection of the physical characteristics of the horse. The new pinto pony, Patches, in Barn Shadows is a perfect example of this, and is also named after a real-life pony owned by my friend.

Finally, when all of the above methods fail, I refer back to that handy list—the one I started as a horse-crazy girl many years ago. I’ve certainly pulled some names from it for the horses in my books—Daisy, Jezebel, Lilly, Breezy. Naming a stable full of fictional horses is a fun and creative way to live out my childhood dreams. I already have a few names in mind for my next book!

What are your favorite horse names? How did you come up with them? I’d love to hear! Drop by my website or comment below.

laura wolfe with horse

Laura Wolfe is a lover of animals and nature. When she is not writing, she can be found playing games with her highly-energetic kids, riding horses, growing vegetables in her garden, or spoiling her rescue dog. She lives in Michigan with her husband, son, and daughter. Laura’s YA mystery, Trail of Secrets (Dark Horse, Book 1), was named as a Finalist in the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards—First Novel category. Laura holds a BA in English from the University of Michigan and a JD from DePaul University. She is an active member of multiple writing groups, including Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the SCBWI. For more information on her upcoming books, please visit:

Ready to Enter the Horse Book Giveaway?

Winner will be chosen in May 2017!

Sweet Bells:

Chance’s shady past gives him every reason to shy away from human touch. But his eye is kind and there’s a certain girl at Red Rock Ranch that wants to break down his wall and earn his trust.

Jett is a friendly, loving and spunky Appendix Quarter Horse who excels at jumping. He gets his name both from his “Jet black” coat and from the fact that he can fly over jumps like an airplane. Jett is the perfect horse for main character, Brynlei, to ride and love during her stay at Foxwoode Riding Academy as they battle to win the coveted Top Rider award. Brynlei dreams of making Jett her own horse one day.

Roman the Great:

Meet Faith. She’s Devon Brooke’s young and spirited new Paint Horse. How will Devon ever train Faith on her own if she can’t even stay in the saddle? Faith is an equine character from ‘In the Reins’ – a new modern romance novel for anyone who love horses, handsome cowboys and a good love story.

A no-nonsense ranch horse that prefers open spaces and hard work over a bedding-filled stall and extra peppermints. This gray gelding would rather chase steers and roll in the dirt than hangout in the arena any day.

Meet Star. He’s McKennon Kelly’s prize Quarter Horse stallion. Is Star a champion in the making? Star is an equine character from ‘In the Reins’ – an award-winning work of equestrian fiction for anyone who loves horses, handsome cowboys and a romantic story.

Marshal is a majestic Irish Hunter who is brave and bold over a jumping course. Billy always said, “Marshal has the mark of a champion, the gaze of the eagle, he looks beyond humans, his eyes to the sky.”

The diva of Red Rock Ranch. Star’s flaxen mane and flashy white socks guarantee stares, but her moves get her the ribbons. Whether in the show ring or the rodeo arena, Star demands the spotlight. She wouldn’t settle for anything less.

Emblem is your friendly backyard Quarter Horse. He means the world to Lauren, and she’ll do anything to keep her mom from selling him.

Listen to first lines of a few of these horse books.

Sounds and looks awesome, right? Stay tuned for updates, and enter to win! We’ll be contacting the winner in May 2017.

Coming May 2017

Rebecca has all the love, support, and sunshine she ever wanted with her Guardian partner Seth at her side. The trouble starts one day when letters arrive from her deceased elven father. She has inherited a position of power and will be forced to return to a frosty homeland she swore to forget.

Unable to forgive her family for the wounds inflicted upon her long ago, Rebecca is left alone with her inner demons as darkness descends. Bitter barriers consume her and she finds herself playing into the hands of the underworld she swore to destroy. Forgiveness is the only way to save her soul, and that’s not something she’s willing to offer.

About Sydney

Sydney is writing happy endings. She loves connecting with readers and writers while helping them pursue their dreams. In August 2015, Sydney released her first novel Chase through Koehler Books. When she isn’t writing, Sydney can be found at the barn with her horse Snowdy.

  • Donamae Clausen Kutska

    I love horse books and cowboy books! I grew up with horses!

  • Donamae Clausen Kutska

    I named my horse dusty star, she was dusty when I got her. She had a star on herunder her fore lock. She was a buckskin.