A good story and a well-placed name are things that should never have any sway over a potential buyer, but … they do. I know people who decide to seal a deal based on one or both of these things. You can’t make up the story, but you can give the naming of a foal careful consideration. I failed to ask Calvin’s Danish owners about the name on his passport, Calvados, so I can only guess, but Calvados, is a region in Normandy, France, famous for two traditions: fine horses and fine apple brandy. The brandy is touted as noble, elegant and subtle, and the same descriptors fit our “Calvin”.

A photographer visiting 3H couldn’t resist taking Calvin’s photo, because she found him to be “The Hunk of the whole barn”. I wouldn’t personally know about such things, but I do know Calvin is a thing of beauty and a joy to ride. An absolute joy ! In his stall, he’s as easy-going as they come. He asks for nothing, but gives me everything I ask for.

A heavier build than what I’m accustomed to riding, Calvin consistently shows me he has all the power and scope to make it to “the top” (otherwise known as the 1.60m fences), but we’re not pushing him. He’s a peaceful sort of fellow, and never in a hurry. We want to make sure he can take that “peaceful personality” with him to the top, too, because it is a rare find in a very competitive sport.

Calvin’s story? It’s a good one: Spoken by those who knew him best: “He was an ugly baby, but we didn’t care once he showed what he could do as a yearling: jump right through a stall window simply because he wanted to…. and land without even so much as a scratch, and trot off without even missing a step! Now that’s a story every potential buyer wants to hear.

As an equine veterinarian, I would always caution a potential buyer about being swayed by names and stories as factors in the decision to purchase. From a rider’s personal experience, however, I would also say: a good story and a well-placed name can catch your attention just as much as anything else about the horse. A good story that indicates potential can serve as a reminder to believe in your horse on a dark day, just as much as a well placed name can remind you every day, to enjoy the horse (and maybe a good apple brandy!)