All great horses in medieval times had names. They were not fanciful, glamorous, or abstract. Generally, they would be named after things that were easy to distinguish such as colors, features, origin, or characteristics.
Names would also depend on the horse’s breed, and purpose. For example, horses that were owned by noblemen or kings were named after the following method; color + aristocrat family surname/title. An example of a medieval horse following this structure is ‘Morello of Cornwall’.
Sometimes, owners would be very creative when naming their horses, and at other times, they would stick to the basics.
In this article, we are going to discuss some typical medieval horse names, as well as some of the famous historical horses from these times.
Medieval Horse Names For Mares
When it came down to hunting and war horses, mares were unfavorable. This is not because they have inferior qualities, such as lack of strength or speed. It is partially because knights riding a mare was deemed unmasculine – however, the main reason is simply that mare horses were primarily used for breeding purposes.
The medieval people were aware that both brilliant mares and brilliant stallions were needed to produce good offspring. Therefore, this was the area that mares were focused on.
Below is a list of names that were used for mares in medieval times:
- Facebelle – Beautiful Head
- Gramimund – Grass Mouth
- Baillet – Dancer
- Fauvel – Tawney
- Vairon – Blanket Spotted
- Kasztanka – Chestnut
- Lebryt – Dappled Grey
- Elpis – hope
- Calimorfis – Beauty
- White Star (An awesome choice for a white horse!)
Medieval Horse Names For Geldings
Geldings, despite sometimes being used for battle, were most commonly used for transportation or agriculture. Horses were an incredibly important part of medieval people’s lives. They were so valuable, that a good horse was worth as much as land. They could even be used to pay off taxes.
People in the upper class would travel short journeys on foot, and travel longer journeys by horseback. They were also heavily relied upon for farm work.
- Ferrant – Iron Grey
- Bayard – Bay
- Carbonel – Coal Black (a perfect name for any black horse)
- Saltperduct – Leaper
- Broiefort – Stamp Hard
- Red Hare
Medieval Horse Names For Stallions
Stallions were the most desired horses for war, although not the most reliable. Stallions are the most unpredictable and feisty of the three.
In fact, many deaths were caused during battle through the riders being unable to control the horses when they became unsettled during battle.
There were 4 categories of war horses in medieval times; The Destrier, The Palfrey, The Courser, and The Rouncey.
The Destrier was the most desirable, and generally only owned by knights.
The Palfrey was slightly smaller than The Destrier, and the favoured horse for noblewomen to ride.
The Coursers were fast, and often used by messengers, whereas The Rounceys were typically given to squires.
- Veillantif – Wide Awake
- Plantamor – Death Dealer
- Broieguerre – War Stamp
- Marchegai – Proud Walker
- Passavant – Leading File
- Non Piu – No more
Famous Medieval Horse Names
There are many stories of famous horses who fought, or served during medieval times.
- Tencendur – ‘Tough Tendons’, the horse of Charlemange.
- Sergeant Reckless
Below, are two of the most famous horses from the medievals, and their stories.
Bucephalus was an untamable horse, said to be more beautiful and faster than Pegasus. However, he feasted on humans, and for this reason, was put behind bars and fed criminals.
One day, Bucephalus, meaning ‘Bull Head’, was heard neighing by Alexander the Great, and he saw the horse as a mirror image of himself. Born on the same day, the horse bowed before him to signify his submission, and the pair carried on their journey together.
They fought several battles together and ventured over several untouched parts of the world, until Bucephalus was killed in the Battle of Hydaspes. Alexander dragged his horse’s body out away from the chaos without any regard for the battle, so that Bucephaslus’s body would not be mistreated.
Owned by the fictional character Guillaume d’Orange, based upon the Duke of Aquitaine, Baucent was a loyal horse who bravely fought in several battles.
Guillaume d’Orange was a great lover of horses, and purposely tried not to harm his opponents’ horses in battle, then later take them for himself. He was even known for saving 15 horses from a group of robbers, and miraculously heals an injured one back to health with prayers to God.
Baucent was his most loyal, treasured horse. The horse would seldom slow down in battle, no matter how tired he became. During the battle of Aliscans, Guillaume promised to groom the horse 4 times a day, and let him only drink from the golden cup for his efforts.
During the battle, Guillaume sets Baucent free to capture his opponent’s horse. However, his faithful horse follows him, and sadly ends up being killed. Guillaume did not want the infidels to lay hands on his horse, and therefore, he beheaded Baucent to protect his body.
Funny Medieval Horse Names
At times, horses would be given rather peculiar names. Again, these names were mostly inspired by the horse’s appearance, nonetheless, they are not very flattering.
- Maigremor – Meaning ‘Rack of Bones’, owned by Soudan from the Jerusalem literary source
- Cornuet – Meaning ‘Mane Like Horns’, owned by Grifon from the Gaufrey literary source
- Queue de Agache – Meaning ‘Magpie Tail’, from the City of Demay
Horse Name Inspiration
Finding the right name for your horse can be difficult. If you’re struggling, try following an example of the medieval names by using characteristics or personality traits as inspiration.
There are plenty of options in the modern-day, and often, horses are also given names suitable for people. However, if you’re looking for something a little bit different, or something related to history, here are some ideas without going too abstract;
Naming by colour. Perhaps try ‘Azul’, the Spanish word for ‘blue’, or ‘Topaz, after the blue gem for fire energy.
Or, you could choose a name after a famous historian. Such as ‘Lancelot’, after Sir Lancelort, or ‘Cid’, after Robrigo Diaz de Vivar.
Help To Choose The Right Name
If you still can’t decide, don’t worry. There is no rush, and many pet owners find it useful to wait a few days before deciding on a name, to see which one suits your pet the best.
Just try to make sure you pick something that shines a good light into your horse, and something you’ll continuously be happy with!
Many medieval names can sound strange or peculiar, however, they have interesting meanings and are definitely original. The people of medieval times cared for and cherished their horses, and often, they named them in loving ways. This is something that can be copied into modern-day, whether you stick to traditional names or change them up.