I received an inquiry from New York photographer Christy Whitney, who was visiting Las Vegas soon and wished to meet and photograph a few of the L.E.A.N. rescue horses. She was writing an article about the Unwanted horse problem nationwide, and she liked our before/after photos from the website (www.LEANhorses.org).
We explained that our horses are not housed in 1 single location but are instead in foster care throughout the city. It meant that we would only be able to visit a few horses. So I asked her who she thought she might like to meet.
It made me pause for a moment and think about what’s in a name…..so little, really…..yet so much.
All our rescue horses had other names at one time in their often-dark pasts.
- Some we discover at intake from Animal Control’s records, or possibly through a tattoo search.
- Other horses arrive with no identification at all – unknown and unwanted.
From a sad, manure-caked mare abandoned in a park, to a horse extracted by Animal Control from a desperate situation of neglect and abuse, each horse arrives at L.E.A.N. with no hope left – except for our amazing volunteers who whisk them away to foster care, a new life, and a new name.
Sometimes to help raise funds for their feed, we’ve held a “Name Contest” where people could buy votes for the privilege of naming a new arrival. “Annie” (the above referenced mare), “Pocahontas” (our lovely leopard Appaloosa), “Journey” and “Aladdin” were some of those named as the result of a fun bidding war for a good cause.
Surprisingly, each name that won – despite the winner having never met the horse – actually ended up fitting the personality of each.
More recently, however, we’ve left the honor of naming to those who do the most work in the recovery of these lost souls – their foster families. Sometimes a name will surface at the first meeting, as with foster mom Tobe Pollard.
“I called him Whiskey because of his color, and my boarder Katie Garrison called him Moon because it was a full moon that first night he was at our barn.”
Katie’s mom put it together, and our colt became “Whiskey Moon”. Pollard laughs, “It was a collaborative process!”
Another horse was named by the staff at Desert Pines during her vet visit for a front lameness which caused her to hobble, plus she was missing the tip of one ear. “The girls at the office are calling her Tipsy Jane”, reported veterinary technician and L.E.A.N. Vice President Kimberly Burton; and it suited the funny mare perfectly.
Long time foster Ashley Primm reflects on how her 2nd L.E.AN. foster horse got his name – “My friend Anne gave him his name because the sock on his hind leg looks like a lucky rabbit’s foot”.
Considering that “Lucky” was also a severe starvation case, his name was certainly ideal – he made a full recovery. Allison Bonanno, one of our newest fosters, decided that the pretty paint mare recovering in her barn deserved a cute name with a native American twist – so she called her SiouxZQ.
Horses with L.E.A.N. find comfort, safety, and peace with – and hopefully a new forever home.
When you hear the name of a L.E.A.N. horse, you know there’s a story behind how they came to be known as Tommy Tango, Captain Jack Sparrow, or Earl Grey, etc. Once they get adopted, the name may change yet again – our “Charlie” is now Arlene Maurer’s “Suede” for his beautiful coat – but whatever they end up being called, the loving care of a new family is all that really matters.