Fleygur Fact File no.7 The naming of Icelandic horses

1. Icelandic horses are traditionally named in one of a number of ways:

1.a) Firstly they may be named after the Icelandic Sagas, Norse mythology or gods and goddesses. For example Gyðja (Gydja) meaning Goddess or fairy; or Helgi meaning saint; or Glódis meaning glowing goddess; or Árdis meaning a fairy of good weather or wealth

1.b) Secondly they maybe named after the horses colour, character or ability. For Example Fleygur (that’s me!) meaning the flying one – obviously named after my amazing talents; or Rauðblesa meaning chestnut with blaze

1.c) Lastly they may be named for animals, and in particular birds, or the element of nature. For example Fló, meaning flea; or Eldur meaning fire.

And then there are ones that don’t meet my nicely organised categories like Flikka – a girls name (there’s always one!). They can be named for weapons and artefacts too.

2. Icelandic Horse have other names, that denote their breeding. For example Gyðja fra Kroki (which tells you where she is from in Iceland) and Fleygur from Siamber Wen (because I was born here in the UK)

Gydja Fra Kroki
Gydja Fra Kroki

3. The majority of Icelandic Horse breeders outside Iceland have adopted the same custom for naming horses and this shows the proper respect for this noble breed. It is not considered proper to name the Icelandic horse in a way that is demeaning – and someone should tell My Mate Roger that when he calls me Noddi!

Fleygur from Siamber Wen
Fleygur from Siamber Wen

Note: Apologies that all the Icelandic words do not have the correct accents – I don’t know how to get the key board to do that!

For more Icelandic horse names try http://iceryder.net/names.html

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