Sunday, January 9, 2011

Naming a horse business: What to put on the shingle

Recently someone on COTH posted about their new horse business, and they wanted guidance on what to name it. I sometimes read blogs on branding and naming. Nancy Friedman of Fritinancy has some great posts about how to name a company/corporation. While it might be overkill for a small horse business, many of her suggestions will apply. Here are some of my thoughts on naming a horse business...

  • The name should at least suggest what you do. Do you run a boarding operation? Do you provide a service like training, breaking, etc? Are you a show barn? Do you breed? You don't have to hit us over the head with a long name "Blah-de-blah Sales, Training, and Boarding," but clue us in. In California Barefoot'nHealthy Farm lays it on the line (They take only barefoot horses).  I love names that suggest a discipline, like Full Gallop Farm (an eventing barn in SC). 
  • The name should be unique. How many Misty Meadow Farms would you guess there are?  Lots. How would you like to google a farm named The Riding Center (Freeburg, IL)? Good luck.
  •  Livery? Really?  The term "Livery" is still in use out there. Ick. "Stable" and "Riding Academy" sound almost as dated.  Personally I like names that end in "Farm," but "Ranch" or "Center" are okay in my book. Names that omit the property reference entirely can be classy and effective (e.g.,  Hassler Dressage).
  • No cutsie names. Would you like to board at Klippety Klop Farm in Wisconsin? Me neither. And I couldn't bear to write a check of any size to Klippety Klop Farm or Pee Wee Horse Farm
  • High falutin' names. Out west there is the Academy of the Equestrian Arts. Folks, you can dress it up, but it's still a BARN.
  • Does it sound good? There is a farm named Slate Belt Buckskins near me and I think it's an inspired name. It's got the alliteration thing going for it, it's a  good regional reference, and it tells the consumer what they do (buckskins). In Los Angeles you'll find a stroke of genius in the farm name Dark Chocolate Farm. Talk about good associations! Some names just flow. Others, like Rural Retreat Farm (Lawrenceville IL) do not. 
  •   Consider double meanings. In Tennessee there is a Hanging Limb Farm.  I think that's a very scary name for a horse farm. The mind plays tricks, you know, and Hanging Limb isn't a far stretch from "Hanging a leg" or "Broken Limb," and now none of us are thinking of trees any more. One the sweeter side of double meanings, there is 3 Chestnuts Farm -- a small family run operation named after -- no, not the three chestnut horses they own -- but the owners' three red-headed children.
I love my current barn's name--Spring Fields-- simple, classy, and located in Springfield Township. What are your favorite barn names?


    1. I grew up riding at Mill Creek Equestrian Center, or just Mill Creek, in Topanga, CA. Always loved that name.

    2. Never paid much attention to barn names, honestly. I did board at Top Step Farms for a while and the name was quite appropriate.

      I like Follywoods for my place mostly because it honors my sweet PJ's Folly, and note how my little farm is set in the woods. It's not registered as a business name or anything, but it will do for me.

    3. Where I board it's called "Pipe Dream Farm" the owner always thought of owning her barn as a Pipe Dream, I think it's cute. My aunt & uncles farm is Grandview Farm, it sits upon a hill over looking the valley! SPECTACULAR!
      Other I like:
      -Freestyle Farm
      -Stepping Out Farm
      -Good Manners Farm (this is so so)
      -northern Lights Farm
      -HiHopes Farm
      -Winsome Blue Farm (kind of my Favorite)
      -Quite Winter Farm
      I also like when farms are named after special horse's in ones life.
      A friend has Chesterfield Farm after her speical boy, Chester.
      I would of like Karnival Farm after a horse I owned, but he wasn't the nicest, so that out of the question.

      My current instructor is thinking about naming her farm "Sitting Pretty Farm"...cute

    4. Someone on Fugly was talking about Carpe Diem farms, and suggested the name "Carpe Manure Fork"
      Should I ever name a barn, that's the name I'd choose. Cause that's about all I do, lol

    5. We are building horse facilities on a new home, and wanted to come up with a name for our place. It's being paid for by money Mom inherited from her parents, so she wanted to acknowledge them in some way.

      It was actually a Chronicle poster who gave me the advice which helped us get the name. She said if you don't want to use people's names (Ruth and Harold don't make good farm names), you can go with geography. Mom grew up in Mountainside, and the money was mostly from investments my great grandfather had made in land around Mountainside.

      We have views of all the mountains in town. So we will be residing at Mountainside Farm.

    6. Stillwater Farms. It just sounds calm and classy to me at least. I do know of a barn in the area called Sharp Investments. Its a hunter jumper barn, but I never wohuld have guessed. Its really quite a nice farm, and I do like it, but I could live without the name. It fails your first criteria ;)

    7. Just don't use the word "passion" in either the company name, mission statement or any of the advertising. Fritinancy has covered the overuse of that ubiquitous and useless word.

    8. I ride and board at Euphoria Stables. The little "motto" is 'Horses are Happy and Healthy Here'...and I have to say, it's true.

      Other barn names...Double D Stables, Windemere Farm, Southpoint, Cavanaugh Farm, JW Ranch and Ki-Lin Stables.

    9. I currently board at Northern Sky Stables, for people who board at "real" barns with contracts and stalls and people who are payed to help, it might be called an um..casual barn. Anyway I like the name if has a bit of an alliteration which makes me think that Northern Sky Farms doesn't sound quite as good. We live in the north (Canada!) and her husband is a singer/guitar player and he calls he has northern sky records. So all in all I think that it is a fitting name!

    10. My farm is Water Maple Farm, love the name. It is inspired by a huge water maple (silver maple) tree in the front yard.

    11. I have found that barns that have words like "enchanted" or "mystical" tend to be run down or owned by weirdos.

      I also like farms with unusual names- like Rubicon Farm or Cavallo Farm (which means horse in Italian).

    12. Most of the yards around my way have kept the name of the agricultural farms they started out as - Glovershaw, Moorside, Faweather etc. We also have Acrecliffe nearby - literally acres of field at the top of a cliff!

    13. EPIC Farms started out as an acronym for "Equine Partners in Crime", however we ultimately adopted the motto: A small non profit striving to share the BIG picture. I liked 'em both ;o)
      PeeWee Farms? Seriously? Oh my!

    14. Our farm is named November Hill - we bought it in the summer, and moved the end of September, and my children nixed all the names I came up with, so by November we still hadn't agreed on anything. And then the fall arrived, my favorite season, and when the color peaked it was November. Still didn't hit me until I saw the name of a nearby farm: Springhill Farm. I kept thinking Autumn Hill, but then suddenly it came. November Hill. Our house and barn are both situated on a hill and it really fits.

    15. Im at Painted Valley Farms....they breed paint horses and are located in a valley! :)

    16. My husband and I are currently working on a farm name. I think "Madman Farms" is going to be it. The Madman part refers to the MAD (Magnetic Anomaly Detection) that is on the back of the aircraft he flies for the Navy (P-3 Orion).

      People also think we're "mad," trying to have horses and mainting shows, training, etc.

      It's not totally what we do, but I think it serves the purpose! :)

      Heather in FL, who boards at Euphoria! You forgot Iron Horse Equestrian! Their owner/trainer is who taught my husband and I the ropes and skills for the Jumper ring! We are also friends with the owner at Ki-Lin, she's a great dressage instructor. I miss JAX. I hear Euphoria is a great facility. :)

    17. I grew up hunting in Northern Virgina. I do believe there was an old top hat which had the slips of paper with the words "Hunter" "Green" "Fox" "Bank" "Den" "Lea" "Willow" "Field""Spring" "River" "Creek" "Wood" "Heron" "Woods" and "Acres" in it. To get a farm name, you had to pull two slips from the hat and voila! your farm name.

      My fantasy farm is called "Bright Water Farm" from the poem of Kathleen Raine "The Marriage of Psyche"

      "He has married me with a ring, a ring of bright water
      Whose ripples travel from the heart of the sea,
      He has married me with a ring of light, the glitter
      Broadcast on the swift river.
      He has married me with the sun's circle
      Too dazzling to see, traced in summer sky.
      He has crowned me with the wreath of white cloud
      That gathers on the snowy summit of the mountain,
      Ringed me round with the world-circling wind,
      Bound me to the whirlwind's centre.
      He has married me with the orbit of the moon
      And with the boundless circle of stars,
      With the orbits that measure years, months, days, and nights,
      Set the tides flowing,
      Command the winds to travel or be at rest."

      It's the way I hope I feel about my farm.

    18. Our business name is HorseSisters - and we hope that entice's folks to look into who we are and why (Our first two horses were sisters). I pen it as H.E.A.T.R. - HorseSisters Equine Assisted Therapy & Rescue. The name of our ranch is HorseSister's Common Sense Ranch.

    19. My first dressage love was born at a small private farm named Ivy Rock Acres. The owners said that when they first moved in, that's all there was: rocks and poison ivy!

      I started riding lessons at age seven at Snowbird Acres Farm. I forget the namesake, but I have always loved the name.

    20. I read somewhere that the fanciest named barns seem to be the must run-down. Obviously this is not literal, but I always laugh when it proves to be correct so often!

    21. Stable is out of date? Huh. I've never paid attention, but I guess you're right. I really like that word, though.

    22. Business names are important. I enjoyed your article. I wrote an article on this same subject a while back: 10 steps to a business name and or tagline you’ll be proud off

    23. When I was a kid I wanted to name my farm Firestarter Farms. I may have been in an incloset pyromaniac. But now I'll name my farm Mitchell Sport Horses. Nothing too fancy.

      My friend was going to name her farm Spotless Farm, because she kept on getting unspotted Appy babies, but they decided not too.

    24. Thanks for an entertaining topic! My last lesson barn's name ended in "Stables" and now that you mention it, I think it is a bit outdated. I'm sure they're not going to change it, though, since the owner has been active in the H/J world here for MANY years and enjoys a good reputation, and the facility itself is at least 20 years old. Most of us just refer to the place by the first two words anyway.

      Amy - I grew up in New Jersey and I have always thought "Quiet Winter Farm" was one of the prettiest names I've ever heard. Wish I had a fraction of the money it takes to ride/board there.

      Kaede - I'm cracking up at your "top hat" theory - I think you're absolutely right! :-) There is another top hat developers must use to name housing projects, with "Estates" (usually anything but!), "Enclave" (snooty and stupid), "Pointe," "Field" (handy for those crackerboxes-in-cornfields places), or fill-in-the-blank unpronounceable British/Scottish names. The more upper-crust sounding, the better, even if it's manufactured homes on microscopic plots.

      Also off-topic but relevant: street names that make no sense, e.g., "Winding Brook Way," when there's no water for 20 miles. I am always proud to say that I live on Fox Trail Drive, because GUESS WHAT - we actually have foxes! I have seen several with my own two eyes and heard them yowling at night many times. Very cool. :-)

    25. My family owns Paradox Farm. It's sooo unique. I've never heard a farm named Paradox before. My grandpa thought of it when my parents bought the property because my parents are both doctors, therefore: pair-of-docs.. or Paradox Farm! It's private owned- no boarders, just me and my sister and our 4 event horses (and mini ponies, a welsh pony, and our retired jumper) - so we don't feel the need to establish what we do on the front gate.
      I used to also take lessons at a farm named Greenleigh Farm. The owner's last name was Green and the barn's show colors were hunter green.. it's an extremely classy facilities.

    26. OH! And also, when I grow up and open a facility, I'm going to name it Millennium Star Farms. It's very significant to me because that is my horse's name and he has been my best friend for many years and has also showed the ropes of eventing.

    27. I have very happy memories of riding at "The Claremont Riding Academy" in Claremont, California. The name was straightforward and to the point, but also classy. I'm struggling with coming up with a name for my barn when I retire, but it'll probably be something similar.

    28. I am trying to name my training/instructor business. My barns name is "Rollin Dice Performance Horses " my business is Three Roans...Equestrian? Training? Equine Arts? What?


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