Sunday, February 11, 2024

My FL Name Game


Ever since I went down to Florida in 2018 and got a name for my Emerson, I've been playing this game.  For two separate years, the result has been one name for one horse for the entire trip.  In the most recent year, however (2024), the result of one trip has been three names.  And one of the intended recipients wasn't purchased at the time!  You know you're in love when you name a horse you haven't bought.  But let's start at the beginning.

The first instance of this very personal behaviour was Emerson and our Christmas 2018 visit to Florida.  The model had come out that year, as a Premiere Club horse, and how fortunate I was to find one on the secondary market (for a bargain price), since I wasn't a Premiere member.  I was greatly impressed by this horse.  My family regularly took canoeing and birding trips down to Florida, and I knew from experience how much easier it was to find a horse name while on the road.  I wanted to both honor the new stallion and find a way to memorialize the trip itself.  It should be obvious: I love naming my horses! 

Somewhere very west of Orlando, we passed a park sign near its lake.  And I found my name.  Few horses in my herd have five-syllable names, and this one gets cut down in everyday use to Palat, but it was grand enough to satisfy my requirements.  The emphasis is on the second syllable:  Palatlakaha


The next instance was with Chadwick, the 2022 Collector Club Web Special.  (There's a pattern here:  Clearly I love this mold!)  Despite initial reservations about this horse (he has his own blog post here), I did indeed learn to love him, and carried him south with our Christmas canoe trip -- which was actually in January of 2023.  He found his name all right, while we were in the City of Marcos Island.  The adventures we went through finding it - driving around Marcos Island sight-seeing and birding - and the joy and wonder of that day combined to give this particular name the greatest level of glory and power yet.  Truly when I found it I felt the name was too good for the horse.  It took a while for him to get used to it.  Caxambas


Somewhat naturally, this name has been quite hard to pronounce.  We never got a chance to ask a native.  I find three ways to pronounce it:  Cacks-Ambas (awkward);  Cass-Ambas (what I'm usually using); and Cah-Zambas, a version probably acceptable but which I just don't use.

To this day I'm reminded of the beautiful city which had this name as a road and a bay.

Image from Google Maps:  South Marco Island FL

This past January my family went down to FL for our traditional canoeing and birding trip,  and I took along an unnamed Classic scale horse for the game.  Here he is posing on the rocks of Huguenot Beach.   There was nobody else around (which almost never happens!).

 Later, we were paddling on Puzzle Lake, which only exists when there has been a massive amount of rain on the St John River.  There had been!  In case this all looks familiar, it's because my FaceBook cover picture was taken here, back in 2018, under similar conditions of flood.  There is an unnamed (!) island that is only an island when there's been too much flooding on the St John.  It looks like StoneHenge rising from the Amesbury Plain, if you're out canoeing on Puzzle Lake:


This is our magic place, a place that only exists every few years, and it's even more rare that we get a chance to actually land there.  It's only the second time in our lives that this chain of events occurred.

Can you spot the horse?  Balanced precariously on the bow, just for this series of pictures, taken at the exact same location my old FB cover shot was taken:

 It was at this moment that we named the island, and the horse wanted to share such a royal title:  PalmHenge.

Not just crossing my own beams, the model horse life and the canoeing life, but adding in the rarity and specialness of the place to my family. 

But even at the time, I felt this title was a heavy load for so small and undeveloped a horse to carry.  Later, when we went hiking in Paynes Prairie Preserve, he found a name he liked a lot better.  He told me so pretty strongly (they do this), and I was relieved.  It was the name of a trail in the Preserve.  Chacala   This shot was posted to my FB:


So he will be known as Chacala of PalmHenge.

I mentioned an unpurchased horse.  I had been wanting this one since he was released, and over the vacation my desire hardened into commitment.  

Photo from eBay (the one I wound up buying)

Another trail in the same Preserve suddenly seemed perfect for this gorgeous but expensive Morgan.  Now I ask you:  Is this not an amazing name?  Wacahoota

When we returned home, I scoured eBay and consulted with a dealer friend (thanks Margaret again!), then plumped for one a good deal reduced from his issue price.  Today (Sunday) we went hiking in the Quehanna, central Pennsylvania; and this picture was taken at the Wykoff Run wildlife viewing platform.


He is starting out his life in grand fashion!

The third name was seen on a lake we passed in Florida.  Lochloosa   This is the least of the five, and goes to a horse who has been known ever since I got him (2018) as Loughnatusa.  Now that is a tough name to pronounce!  Like PalmHenge, the horse himself was telling me he wasn't quite comfortable with it.  I think in this case Lochloosa was chosen because it was similar but easier to say.  The horse in question is mentioned in a blog post:  The Traditional Loot Shots.


The fabulous blanket is by Nichelle Jones.


Production Notes:  One reason why this post took so long was that getting all the Florida pictures off their various cameras somehow took psychic effort at a time when I didn't have any extra.  Another reason is I've been trying to work on my next book as well as fit back in from a long trip (we had to replace our windshield, still ongoing!).  I'm hoping to post a Progress Report on the book soon.  Another delay was waiting for Wacahoota to arrive;  and, I got to re-learn how to download cell phone pix!  Living in the digital age is a constant challenge for me; but the REAL challenge is time management!  Thank you for your patience.


  1. I love that photo of PalmHenge! For birding in Florida I highly recommend Apopka Wildlife Preserve. Not sure if you're allowed to put a boat in the water but there is a driving path, and it is just stunning. You can also bike or hike it though if you email me I can share a photo of why I wouldn't recommend it. They have a pdf file you can download with a birders checklist too which is awesome. With my big telephoto lens I've gotten some great shots. In the tri-state area I recommend Conowingo Hydroelectric Dam in Maryland near the convergence of Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania. During the Fall through early Spring Bald Eagles and Osprey nest around the Dam and fish below it, there is a parking area below the Dam for fishermen but I've almost never seen people fishing there, most go to watch the Eagles. AJG

  2. In fact, I have a horse named Conowingo, :) because yes, we've been there. Great for eagles.
    We have paddled on Lake Apopka. We're aware of the wildlife drive, just not done it yet. Looks like you and I should get in touch sometime...!

    1. Lol! I should have realized a fellow birder would know of both of those sites. The Northshore Drive at Apopka really is worth it, the road is right against the shore and the birds and gators are completely desensitized to traffic. I have to say, as much as I love alligators and crocodilians I don't know that I'd be brave enough to canoe or kayak in those waters! Though there were some stilts that were waaaay off when I was last there that I'd have loved to get a better photo of and only a boat would have gotten me there. Feel free to email me, I stumbled on your blog via Lynn's and I'm just floored at the detailed tack you make! It's so gorgeous. AJG