Abused Horses - Renaming

Abused horses often associate pain and other negative experiences with their name. This is because abuse owners (or stable hands) may give the horse a command, say its name (e.g. Go backwards, Wendy) and then punish it when the horse doesn't do what they want. With repetition, the horse learns to associate the sound of their name with pain and punishment.

When such a horse goes to a new owner, even if the new owner is kind and gentle, this associating between the sound of their name and bad experiences remains in the horse's mind. Of course, one can eventually change this association but it can take a lot of time, patience and skill in behavioral re-conditioning. It is far easier for the owner and probably kinder for the horse to simply give the horse a new name, which sounds completely different than the old one. This should be considered part of giving the abused or rescue horse a fresh start.

Of course, one does not need to change the horse's official (registered) name, as this is completely irrelevant to the horse.  It is just the name that you use when calling the horse, giving it instructions or talking to it which you should consider changing.

If you want to change the official name (or simply choose an unofficial name), some hints and lists of names can be found at Horse Names.