The other day my mistress had a couple of her co-workers over. She whistled us up and we, of course,came trotting up knowing she would at least have a treat or two. I listened as my mistress told them our barn names (or nicknames) as well as our registered names. I heard one of them snicker as she gave them Ziggy’s registered name: Smart Little Gaybar. “Gay Bar?” they said. “What kind of name is that? Is she a strip-teaser also?” My mistress was too polite to say anything, but let me tell you, Ziggy comes from along line of well-known Cutting Horses. Her paternal great grandsire is Smart Little Lena, Cutting Horse Triple Crown winner, a feat much more difficult that winning Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown; her maternal great grandsire is famous Gay Bar King, and her paternal grandsire is Hall of Famer Peppy San Badger.
Unlike Thoroughbred race horses who are given names that have nothing to do with their bloodlines, we Quarter Horses bear our lineage in our names. Take the name “Gay Bar King” for example. His sire was Three Bars, his dam was Gay Widow, and his maternal grandsire was the well-known King P-234, one of the most influential Quarter Horse sires during the early days of the AQHA.
It is unfortunately that the word “gay” has come to mean something other than “happy”. But Ziggy bears her registered name with pride as well she should.