Horse names and racing colours

The inside track on horse names and colours

Horse names and racing colours

Introduction to the naming of horses, and the choosing of racing colours

Horse Names

Naming your horse can be the most enjoyable, yet one of the most difficult decisions you may make as a racehorse owner or breeder. That’s why we are here to help. 

Do I have to name my horse?

You don’t have to, but if you want to do any of the following you must name your horse first:
•    Race under Rules or in a Point-to-Point
•    Breed from your animal as either a broodmare or stallion
•    Register any progeny with Weatherbys

How long does it take to name my horse?

We are responsible for registering horse names both in Great Britain and Ireland and most applications are processed and completed within one working day.

Am I restricted to the number of characters?

Your name choice can be up to 18 characters, including spaces. All names are registered subject to approval by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).

Names can now be registered through the Racing Administration System

If you do not have access to the Racing Administration System click here for an application form for GB/IRE breds, and click here for an application form for foreign breds.

Are there any other restrictions?

The answer is "yes".

Approximately 3,000 names are internationally protected, which means they can never be reused; Frankel is a prime example.

There are also around 250,000 names on the current register. It is therefore advisable to check that the name you want is not already taken, before submitting your application. 

Names availability can be checked either through the BHA website or the Racing Administration System.

The full rules on Registration of horse names can be found here.

Racing Colours

One of the privileges of racehorse ownership is designing the racing colours, sometimes referred to as 'silks', and then seeing them worn by the jockey on your horse.

You do not need to be a registered owner under the Rules of Racing in order to register colours.

No two sets of colours can be exactly the same. Colours availability can be checked either through the BHA website or the Racing Administration System.