Are mares really THAT different than geldings? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 36 Old 02-02-2011, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Are mares really THAT different than geldings?

I have a mare and have owned and ridden primarily mares my whole career. It's not my choice I usually ride mares; the horses at my barn available for me to ride just happen to be mares. Therefore, I have very little experience with geldings. So, to ask the more well-rounded of us, are geldings and mares really that different from each other? I've heard mares are more sensitive, difficult to train, stubborn, inconsistent, and moody. Geldings are pitched as fairly stable and reliable. Is the difference between mares and geldings just hyperbole, or is there something to it?
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post #2 of 36 Old 02-02-2011, 11:31 PM
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Honestly, over the years of handling mares, geldings, and stallions, I love both mares and geldings, and don't mind a respectful stud either.

Between mares and geldings, the main difference I have noticed is that mares can be a little more sensitive to most things; not that this is a bad thing, I prefer to know my horse is "alive" than a total dead head, but I think some people just write that off as "it's just a mare thing" and can either make it worse by not backing off of pressure where necessary, or making excuses, and not doing things because the horse is "afraid/reactive". But as far as energy, and ease of training, I think both are pretty equal, as long as you know how to get the results you're looking for. I think in the end, it comes down to training, or lack therof.

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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post #3 of 36 Old 02-02-2011, 11:33 PM
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I would say geldings and mares are definitely different. Are men and women different? Yes.
However, each individual horse is incredibly different as well.
I was once in a barn where there were three mares and twenty-three geldings. One of the mares was mine. I couldn't believe so many people were that biased towards geldings over mares.

I'll take each of your words one at a time:
Sensitive - I believe sensitivity is much more breed related than gender related. I've met some mares that wouldn't notice if you hit them on the head with a 2x4. Figuratively speaking obviously.
Difficult to train - I find absolutely no difference in how a gelding learns vs. a mare. I don't believe this is gender related but again, some individual horses might not be as bright as others.
Stubborn - Not related to gender. Then again, I don't find stubbornness to be a common trait in horses. Instead I find it to be a common trait in horse trainers who keep on persisting when a horse doesn't understand what they want.
Inconsistent and moody - Some mares come into raging heat and this can affect their performance. However, a well-trained mare can usually still perform well when in heat. I say usually since one of my mares has one or two days a year where she is unable to stop urinating every 5 or 10 minutes, and those are not good days to ride her. Honestly though, it is hard to tell when most mares are in heat or not.
I personally bond better with mares. I like female horses and male dogs.
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post #4 of 36 Old 02-02-2011, 11:45 PM
Green Broke
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Of all the horses I have had/trained over the years, I have LOVED the mares, liked the stallions and the geldings....well....whatever.

I will always have mares as my personal horses. I don't like to make generalisations about any gender but the particular mares that I have dealt with have not been moody as people would have you believe and wow, have they got heart.

Whilst I haven't found their behaviour to be that different from geldings, I find that a mare will go the extra mile for you while geldings seem to be less exceptional. Just my personal experience.
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post #5 of 36 Old 02-03-2011, 12:25 AM
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I'm also someone who has just happened to work with mares more than geldings. I was actually pretty naive until just recently that there was such a bias towards geldings... as far as I was concerned, mares and geldings were on just about the same playing field. It wasn't until I was getting admiration from my trainer and others for being such a 'natural' with mares that it occurred to me they might be considered very different from geldings. I'll be honest though, I really appreciate a bit of attitude.

It's funny. The two mares my family owns are the only two mares in the boarding facility where we keep them. The barn owner has also developed a keen dislike for mares and will avoid boarding them.
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post #6 of 36 Old 02-03-2011, 12:50 AM
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I know alot of people with major mare bias...they just won't own, or even consider that they just might have just as much to offer as a gelding!!! Me, I don't care what the sex is, long as he or she has has sound mind, and is good at the job I need them for, who cares?

On the flipside, the most difficult stubborn horses I have worked with have been geldings, not mares...hahaha
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post #7 of 36 Old 02-03-2011, 12:54 AM
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I honestly don't believe there is that much difference. Each individual horse will have their own personality and quirks, regardless of gender. I prefer geldings because I just generally don't tend to click with mares but I wouldn't turn down a good one if she came along.

Not to mention that with geldings, I don't have to worry so much about riding around other people who may not be quite so capable of handling the stud they are riding. Where if you are on a mare in heat, other riders are always a concern.
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post #8 of 36 Old 02-03-2011, 01:08 AM
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I think its really just the individual. I personally like both. I have a gelding who can be the worlds biggest grump sometimes. Then I've had a mare who was a very quiet, reliable, loving little girl. I think they are all different and their gender doesnt have a lot to do with it.

My two horse Apache and Sammy are my world
along with our dogs Patch and Bear.
But I will always love you Jimmy R.I.P
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post #9 of 36 Old 02-03-2011, 02:53 AM
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i didn't have time to read all the posts as i'm on my way out to work but just wanted to share with you a a quote that an old horseman once said to me......"you ask a mare, tell a gelding and demand a stallion" whether this is right i don't know as i've never had a stallion but i like the quote.

should i or should i not.........
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post #10 of 36 Old 02-03-2011, 03:12 AM
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Ohh defintely different...

I love geldings - they are great - constant and repliable as a rule

but my favourite is a mare - You cant argue with them - yu have to work with them...'

both my horses are mares and I wouldnt have it any other way!
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