Gandalf had another horse before Shadowfax. He lost it in Isengard when he escaped from Saruman. Was its name written by Tolkien anywhere?

  • 2
    I can't recall it being named; tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Horses#Names
    – Valorum
    Sep 30, 2016 at 19:43
  • Wasn't it Boromir, rather than Gandalf, who mentioned losing his horse at the Fords of Isen? Gandalf escaped from Saruman by being lifted off the roof by Gwaihir, who took him straight to Edoras. Oct 1, 2016 at 8:42
  • @DanielRoseman - Boromir lost his horse at the ford of Tharbad, attempting to cross where the collapsed bridge over the Greyflood used to stand. See The Fellowship of the Ring, Book II, Chapter 8, Farewell to Lórien.
    – Lesser son
    Mar 29, 2022 at 0:46

1 Answer 1


Short answer is no, we don't know any.

Neither "The Hobbit" nor "The lord of the Rings" contain any mention of Gandalf's previous horse's name. There are only mentions of "a / my horse" or "I rode" when Gandalf spoke directly:

"At the end of June I was in the Shire, but a cloud of anxiety was on my mind, and I rode to the southern borders of the little land; [...]"
The Lord of the Rings, The Council of Elrond

After all, there are some reasons for that. Perhaps the horses had a name, but it was trivial information. The same goes for most people that play little part or for which the reader should not feel any attachement.
For instance, the pony that the group bought when leaving Bree received a name only after leaving Rivendell, which is 3 chapters later:

Bob came back with the report that no horse or pony was to be got for love or money in the neighbourhood – except one: Bill Ferny had one that he might possibly sell.
The Lord of the Rings, A knife in the dark

It was Sam who had insisted on choosing [this pony], declaring that Bill (as he called him) would pine, if he did not come.
[...] So Bill was going as the beast of burden, yet he was the only member of the Company that did not seem depressed.
The Lord of the Rings, The Ring goes South

This was meant for the reader to feel sorry, as Sam did, when the pony fly in terror because of the Nameless Watcher rising from the pool, at the gates of Moria.

Sometimes, as for Shadowfax, the horse already had a name and was of a legendary lineage. Therefore, it should have a name and rarely are "named" characters without any implication in the story:

(Boromir) "[...] for the horses of the Riddermark come from the fields of the North, far from the Shadow, and their race, as that of their masters, is descended from the free days of old."

"True indeed!" said Gandalf. "And there is one among them that might have been foaled in the morning of the world. The horses of the Nine cannot vie with him; tireless, swift as the flowing wind. Shadowfax they called him."
The Lord of the Rings, The Council of Elrond

As we know, the swiftness of Shadowfax was certainly crucial in many parts of the story, from bringing Gandalf back to Rivendell in time, to rallying the disorganized Rohirrim cavalry.

  • You don't need to explain edits in the text. That's what the "edit reason" dialogue box is for. That being said, most users will just look at the actual edit to see what changes you've made anyway.
    – Valorum
    Oct 1, 2016 at 22:11
  • Ok, thanks for the info, I'm still learning the proper use of the site ^^
    – Tjafaas
    Oct 1, 2016 at 22:16

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