Understanding the Mare... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 03-09-2012, 01:36 PM Thread Starter
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Understanding the Mare...

So, as many of you know, I have only geldings and am looking for a new project horse. I need some help though; I'm going to see a mare this next weekend and I'm not exactly sure how different they are.

Horses I know need good first impressions. Are there things you do with horses right when you first meet them? From what I've heard, mares tend to be stand-off-ish when you first meet them. Does anyone else find this true? How do you deal with that? Regardless of it being a gelding or mare, what are some things that should be immediate red flags for me when I go to look at her, personality wise? Does anyone know the whole "swirls/whorls" idea, about where they are placed reflects their personality? What can I look for? Anything I should be prepared for?


(I understand that mares are also horses, just as geldings are. I'm just curious to know what mare owners have to say about them. I've had two mares at my place ever. Both of them were fairly nasty. I know there are good mares out there... I have yet to own one though!)
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post #2 of 19 Old 03-09-2012, 02:23 PM
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This is just my personal experience!!! They are WAAAYYYY different:) The mares I've worked with seemed to have the attitude that I needed to constantly prove that I was worthy of their respect and affection. And no matter how long I worked with them, there was always 10 or 15 min in the begining that we would go threw this little dance of "yes, I know what I'm doing, and yes you are going to do it, and then we can kiss and hug and make up". And life goes on.

With the geldings, it's mostly been them wanting to be your best buddy right off the bat. That is until they realize that you want them to actually WORK, gasp! Then, even if they do enjoy the challenges and having a job, it's a constant pyschological battle of one upsmanship. They seem to want to constantly feel like they know more than you, and if they can catch you at the right time, they'll be able to prove to themselves that they're smarter than you (when in reality, they probably aren't. They are after all males). I could be way off in left field with this, but hey I've been dropped on my head a few times;)

"Just because I don't do things your way, doesn't mean I don't have a clue"
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post #3 of 19 Old 03-09-2012, 02:36 PM
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i love mares :) they need to form a relationship more then geldings. Prove you are worthy of their respect and you will have a great partner. they test more, but they tend to be more loyal.
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post #4 of 19 Old 03-09-2012, 02:39 PM
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Although my gelding is the sweetest thang, I wouldn't trade my mare for anything! She is a diva and will snake her head and put her ears back when I go to catch her, but she's all fluff! She definitely tries harder to do what I ask than my gelding.
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post #5 of 19 Old 03-09-2012, 02:49 PM
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Well, even within the "mare" group each one is so different. My mare has never been what is described as mare-ish. She was slow to give affection to me ( I call it going soft, just a certain look in her eyes and "hugging" me with her head/neck), and I certainly had to earn her trust and respect. She was never stupid though, and was careful to keep herself safe as well as me or whoever was on her. I will say though, T as many mares will, give you their opinions about what you're asking. They seem to be "thinking" about what's going on, instead of just obeying without thought.

Walka, my gelding, well he's just "special" LOL! He is very much a one person horse, and I am that person. This is not something I want to encourage further. I don't think it is helpful to him. But, he does trust me to a fault and wants to please me so much. If he does offer his "opinion", a simple growl from me and the poor boy almost has a heart attack!

I don't look at horses according to their gender. I go by the "energy" they put out and the sense they show or don't show.

I have ridden and worked with many horses, mares , geldings and a few stallions, but I have trained only a few youngsters. I do know that I am complemented often for the calm, quiet nature of my horses. Someone always wants to "tuck in" to mine when on a ride.

Looking forward to reading what others more experienced have to say on this subject.

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post #6 of 19 Old 03-09-2012, 04:27 PM
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I would have to say I'm more a mare person-love their personalties & I seem to understand them better. But I've had some stallions-did end up gelding all of them for various reasons, & some geldings-usually butted heads w/the geldings more than I ever did w/my mares, but a few of them were excellent horses-1 of them (Arabian) is out in my yard now.I used to keep 4 horses & that ratio was 3 mares to 1 gelding. Just how it turned out.
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post #7 of 19 Old 03-09-2012, 09:05 PM
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All mares here, and I wouldn't have it any other way. The herd and the pecking order are very important to them, so once you gain their respect and trust they will do anything for you...I would go as far as to say they are 'loyal'. Always ready to work, whether it's every day or once a month.

On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.
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post #8 of 19 Old 03-09-2012, 09:26 PM
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My mare isn't mare-ish at all and she is the sweetest thing ever! As good as any gelding. As a matter of fact, she is sort of a combination personality-wise of two geldings I used to own. She has the sweetness and love-of-affection that my first horse had, and the energeticness of my second horse (both Arabian geldings). She's a Fox Trotter but I think of her as my ditzy blonde Arabian, lol!

I really lucked out though, because she was pregnant when I bought her, so she could have been really different once she had the foal, but she wasn't. She's just as sweet and friendly as when she was pregnant.

I HAVE met mares that I wouldn't give a nickle for though. That squeal and squirt and strike and are generally miserable to ride in the company of. I used to be a die-hard gelding person. But I now know of several other mares that I would own in a heartbeat.

Horse are individuals more than they are geldings or mares. It's kind of like sterotyping a breed. You can say that most horses of a given breed are like XYZ, but when it comes down to it, they are individuals.
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post #9 of 19 Old 03-09-2012, 09:27 PM
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I had a mare and although she was beautiful, she was independent as heck and when she went into heat, you didn't try to make her do anything she didn't want to. She was great for getting light on her front end during these times and tossing her head constantly. Was not a very pleasurable riding experience when she got like this and she went into heat every month regardless of season. She made me very nervous and sold her to someone who could invest more time in working with her. I now have a gelding and I love him. Most of the people in my barn don't do mares for that very reason I wrote about above but I am sure there are mares out there who are as lovable as geldings :)

Jackie's Sonny Daze
Haflinger Gelding
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post #10 of 19 Old 03-09-2012, 09:29 PM
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I have read that when training young horses, colts are more bold and fillies more sensitive. I don't know if that continues into adulthood though.
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