Naming Cadi


Cadi was a long time coming. That’s true of both her existence AND her name.

I love studying Welsh Mountain Pony bloodlines and pedigrees and for years I had envisioned a cross of my junior stallion (a grandson of a pony called Bengad Rustling Grass) and my beloved black mare (a granddaughter of a pony called Bengad Rochea). I was eager to see the results of this linebreeding on the Bengad ‘R’ line, but due to a series of issues, it was more than three years before my long-awaited foal finally arrived.

Cadi as a foal

Cadi arrived in the middle of a dark and quiet June night. Before her arrival, I had planned on naming her Miracle Maid in Secret if she happened to be a filly. But when I finally met my picture-perfect but oh-so-tiny filly, she gave herself a new name: Miracle Minute Maid. She was, after all, “no bigger than a minute.”

So her registered name was easy. Her barn name? Not so much.

I didn’t want “just any” barn name—I wanted something distinctive. I wanted something short. I wanted it to be feminine and cute. I kind of wanted it to start with ‘C’ because her mom’s barn name is Chocie. I kind of wanted it to end with an ‘I’ because I have a long-time fondness for Welsh names that end in ‘I’.

I thought about Elfi, because it sounds so elfish and cute. And it ends in ‘I’. I very nearly chose Elfi. My tiny little filly had elfishness in spades. But it just didn’t seem 100 percent right.
I thought about Jane, because I like the name Jane. But it didn’t start with ‘C’ or end in ‘I’. And it seemed sort of random. Why Jane? Why not Alice or Cleopatra or Lisa? I decided against Jane.

I thought about Daphne and Phoebe and Cissi and dozens of other names. A few weeks passed, while my little long-awaited baby galloped around her paddock, blissfully unaware of her nameless state. Meanwhile, I called her Baby (or Babi?) and called it good.

Then one night I was reading an article about a famous Welsh Mountain Pony mare named Cennen Cadi, who just happened to be my filly’s great-great-great-great-granddam. And I thought: yes! Cadi was distinctive. It was short. It was feminine and cute. It started with ‘C’. It ended with ‘I’. It was a sentimental choice and a way to honor that wonderful Welsh matriarch. It was—perfect.
And so Miracle Minute Maid is on her registration papers but she’s “Cadi” to all her friends. And I can’t think of a name that would suit her half so well.

Samantha Johnson is a freelance writer and the author of several books, including The Field Guide to Horses, (Voyageur Press, 2009). She raises Welsh Mountain Ponies in northern Wisconsin and is a certified horse show judge. Follow her on Twitter: @miraclewelsh


  1. I never planned on breeding any of my mares, but an irresponsible stud owner decided to do without any permission,using the stud got loose phrase,but we know our mare she was definitely restrained. We noticed her getting larger despite diet & more exercise.We had our mare blood test & ultrasound /international and were told definitely t not pregnant! 3 months later she delivered an amazing little colt. Our mare waited until she was tucked in her stall and rain sheet had been removed and of course we were out of town at a horse show. We thought long and hard about what to name the Lil guy who because the irresponsible studs owner bed a club footed stud, our colt was also club footed in both front feet and underwent double check ligament surgery to correct it. We named him Milagro (Milagro means miracle) now he’s a very intelligent, loving 6 yr old paint horse gelding with his momas sweet personality,soft eyes, and afraid of nothing bombproof personally.


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