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Sunday, March 27, 2022

What's in a Name ! - Brian the horse - authorities felt too soft !!

Name, what is in a Name ?  A rose by anyother name would still be as fragrant as it is – one’s own name is perhaps the sweetest music to ears !

When in the midst of numerous myriads, there is need for identity.   So, primarily the ‘name’ is a word or term for identification.   A Name can  identify a class or category of things, or a single thing, either uniquely, or within a given context.   In mankind,  we try to have unique and identifiable names though some are more oft repeated than others – so you find similar names for persons hailing from a particular place.  In India, as also in many other countries, there is the tradition of naming after Gods and valiant heroes. 

Brian,  is a male given name of Irish and Breton origin, common in the English-speaking world. It is possible that the name is derived from an Old Celtic word meaning "high" or "noble".   There are variants too....

The name that comes readily to mind is ofcourse, Lara ! - Brian Charles Lara,  the left hander who played for West Indies is considered to be among the best players fo the game.  His  501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham at Edgbaston in 1994 is the only quintuple hundred in first-class cricket history. Lara also holds the record for the highest individual score in a Test innings after scoring 400 not out against England at Antigua in 2004.  Lara nicknamed ‘Prince of Port Spain’ has also the dubious distinction of playing in second highest number of test matches (63) in which his team was on losing side, just behind Shivnarine Chanderpaul (68)
Brian Lara with Sachin Tendulkar

There was this England Cricketer – Brian Close who was only 18 when he made his debut in 1949 and went on to play 22 tests, captaining in seven of them. 

In naming animals, new inventions, planets, trains or even files on computer, there are various ‘naming patterns’ which help in making them unique, individualistic and easily identifiable.    Horses are special. There are Breeding farms and foals are registered in the Breed registry also known as herdbook.  The pedigree is important as the name of Sire and dam are also noted in the register.  Another aspect is avoiding duplication – no one wants two Thoroughbreds out there racing at the same time with very similar-sounding names.  Naming rules vary according to the species and breed being registered. For example, show horses have a registered name; and alongside the registered name, they can  also have a simpler "pet name" known as a call name for dogs or a stable name for horses, which is used by their owners or handlers when talking to the animal.

All these because there was some dust raised on the name ‘Brian’ for a Police horse as it was initially felt that the name was too soft.  The 6ft-tall horse undergoing  six weeks of training with Thames Valley Police, sparked outrage among the Britans who rallied against the name change. 

A one-tonne, 6ft-tall police horse called Brian retained its  name, despite fears it needed to be called something tougher to face rioters. Thames Valley Police said Brian is an unsuitable name for a horse and mooted calling the six-year-old something more 'war-like', such as Hercules or Caesar.  The force had admitted that its usual policy was to give their horses 'macho' names such as Thor or Odin. One mare called Mary became Luna, and another horse called Red became Trojan, it said.   The Force had to relent and back down following protests from other men called Brian, who said the possible change would be a slur on their good name.  Brian Belo, the winner of Big Brother series eight, said 'This is a victory for Brians everywhere.  But dozens of Brians soon began posting comments about the name online, questioning why it was not 'strong enough' for a horse.

However, the  shire horse had to  pass six weeks of training before enlisted on by the force. The tests included Brian going out on patrol in town centres and tests to see if he can cross bridges and trot through underpasses.

A couple of weeks later, it was revealed that Brian the horse failed the tests.  According to Thames Valley Police, the shire horse had been tested for nearly 2 weeks and it was apparent that it had not settled to the urban environment.  It had been brought up in a rural setting and exhibited to be  nervous when he is out and about.

So, after the furore in ‘possible name change’- the horse kept its name ‘Brian’ but failed to be enlisted into the force !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
13th Apr 2015.

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