Thursday, April 1, 2010

To Prance, or Caper About

As many of you know, to honor Dr. Ruy d'Andrade for his willingness to take upon himself the task of preserving the last remaining indigenous wild horses of southern Iberia just before they were nearly lost to time, Kevin and I select Portuguese names for all of Altamiro's offspring. Though the Sorraia's ancestors once thrived in both Spain and Portugal (and likely in surrounding countries) it was this forward thinking Portuguese gentleman who cared enough about their role in history and the importance of their presence on the landscape to create a breeding refuge for them on his own estate. We must also note the generosity and dedication of Dr. d'Andrade's son and grandchildren for continuing to keep the Sorraia horses from extinction.

When it comes to providing names for these Sorraia x Sorraia Mustang foals, Kevin and I do not have any preconceived thoughts regarding what monikers might be suitable for horses, rather, we wait for the foal to be born and after spending time with it--gaining a sense of its emerging personality, we begin first with English verbs, nouns or adjectives that best convey the thoughts, feelings and images the foal inspires in us. Then we look up the corresponding words as they appear in the Portuguese language. Depending on how the Portuguese word sounds, whether it conveys a sense of masculinity or femininity and (most importantly) how the foal appears to feel/respond when listening to us address him or her with the potential name are determining factors of the acceptability of the name. Should we speak the name and the foal responds with some negative gesture, we would begin the process anew with a different word instead. So far, all the names we presented to Altamiro's three colts and four fillies have been pleasantly accepted by them.

Many ancient traditions believed the choice of a name for newborns would determine important character elements in an individual's life, and many cultures created "naming ceremonies" which (tying into yesterday's journal entry) were considered one of the first "rites of passage" the individual would participate in throughout his or her life.

Our ceremony at Ravenseyrie is pretty simple. We speak the name to the foal, and if it appears the foal has accepted the name, we once again extend a heartfelt "welcome to the world" to the foal, repeatedly incorporating his or her name into however it is we phrase our conversation (we eschew dogmatic recitations). Then, at dinnertime, we raise our wine glasses to toast the naming of the new foal!

With this introduction out of the way, and with the photos and video clips pasted in between the paragraphs (in addition to the title of this journal entry), some of you may already be guessing what English word this filly inspired:


1. to leap or dance about in a lively manner
2. to engage in extravagant behavior
3. to prance or caper about
4. to behave in a high spirited manner

These are just a few definitions for the word "cavort".

In Portuguese the word for "cavort" is "pinotear". The "presente do indicativo" tense of "pinotear" is "ele pinoteia"...and from this we arrive at the name Bella's filly now answers to:


Say it this way, "pee-no-tay-ah".

You can hear a computer speak Pinoteia, it will begin with the present indicative list, with "ele pinoteia" being the third version it voices.

Shall we review quickly the names given to Altamiro's other kids?
--Animado, animated, lively
--Fada, sprite, fairy
--Interessado, interested, alert
--Encantara, enchanting
--Silvestre, wild
--Segura, self-confident, assured

And to this list we add the name Pinoteia, with best wishes for a life of pleasure, positive learning experiences and self-fulfillment for the new filly bearing this name.


Máire said...

What great photographs. Welcome, little Pinoteia.


June said...

She is just adorable. And aptly named.

Maria said...


Anonymous said...

Janet Ferguson says. . .

This is a perfect name for such a joyful baby. . . what a special world Mom and baby now share!

I loved the way she "tested" the wood to make sure it wasn't a dragon or something!!