There are lots of horses named after places. Copenhagen was the Duke of Wellington and the horse that he rode into the Battle of Waterloo against battalions led by Napoleon Bonaparte. Bonaparte himself rode a horse named Marengo, named for another battle, this time near a village named Marengo. Lexington was a famous race horse, and there has been a Tehran, Adelaide, several Canadas and one hockey team owner/horse breeder names all of his horses after places in Barbados. But have any places been named after horses?
Kicking Horse Pass
Back in 1858 a team that included geologist James Hector were exploring a route over the high Continental divide in the Canadian Rockies. The story goes that during the expedition, Hector was attempting to help rescue a packhorse from a river. While the rescue ensued, Hector’s own riding horse got away. As he chased it, his horse kicked him in the chest. He was knocked unconscious and thought dead. His fellow explorers even dug a grave. Thankfully, he revived before the burial was carried out and since then, the pass and the river that runs through it have been named for the accident. To this day, Kicking Horse Pass is one of the most dangerous stretches of the continent wide Trans-Canada Highway.
Dead Horse Pass/White Pass
Another famous mountain pass is the Dead Horse Pass, also known as the White Pass on the border of Alaska, USA and British Columbia, Canada. The treacherous terrain and harsh climate took their toll on both human and horse who tried to traverse this mountain gap in what is now Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. It’s estimated that 3000 horses died trying to travel the muddy trail. Most starved as they were stuck along the trail until the autumn rains gave way to winter freezing. Those that didn’t starve became caught in the mud, fell over cliffs or injured themselves. In the panic of the gold rush, little regard was given to the pack animals who carried the would-be miner supplies.
White Horse, New Jersey
Not every place named after a horse has a dire history. It’s said the White Horse, New Jersey was so named because George Washington, the first U.S. president rode through the area on his way to his inauguration ceremony, presumably riding a white horse. Perhaps it was his horse “Blueskin”, which would have been not white, but grey.
You would think that Whitehorse in the Yukon was named after another white horse, but that’s not so. Whitehorse is so named because someone thought that the nearby White Horse Rapids in the Yukon River resembled a horse's mane.
Throughout the U.S. there are many ‘horse’ names attached to small towns, lakes and other landmarks. Here are a few examples:
Hungry Horse, Montana
Little Wild Horse Canyon, Utah
Horse Thief, New Mexico
Horse Heaven, New Mexico
Horse Shoe, New Mexico
In the U.K. you might travel through Horsefall, Horsey, Horsford and other small towns with horse-ish names.
Off the coast of Finland are hundreds of small islands. One of these is Hevonkakki, which translated means ‘horse poo’.
One town is named for a horse of legend. Phalia, Pakistan is thought to be named after Alexander the Great’s horse Bucephalus. Alexander’s armies passed through the area on the way to battle Battle of the Hydaspes River in India. Local legend suggests that the horse died and was buried near where the city of 25,000 residents now stands.
Do you know know of a place named for a horse?