Genders - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 59 Old 03-02-2018, 02:27 AM Thread Starter
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Genders

In all of my research, I'm coming across SO much conflicting information on horses, specifically in regards to beginner owners!! It is overwhelmingly frustrating. I know many people have their preference, but what is the basics for horse shopping, for a newbie when it comes to horse genders? Discount all stallions. Check! Ok now what??

Mares are moody, and geldings are dependable seems to be to "rule," however isn't that discounting an already limited beginner safe shopping pool? What is your experience?? What do you recommend? Would you look at a mare for a beginner? A gelding? I'm looking for "I've done this" as opposed to "This is what they all say you should do." I would very much appreciate it!!!

finding happy
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post #2 of 59 Old 03-02-2018, 02:40 AM
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I've known more mares that were beginner safe than geldings. I think more mares are moody because their owner lets them be moody than there are mares that seriously have problems when they are in season.

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post #3 of 59 Old 03-02-2018, 03:22 AM
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I think it's more a "look at the individual horse" kind of thing. I've owned both a mare and a gelding. I preferred my mare to my gelding (although to be fair to my gelding he was a baby whereas my mare was a finished horse) and I just felt more of a connection to her, and she was purchased as a beginner's horse. I am riding a mare now as well and I definitely feel more connected to her, too, and I have already decided when I am shopping for my next horse a mare will be my preference (although I will not discount a gelding if I happen to find one I like).

So, I do think it comes down to both individual horse and also personal preference, I guess.

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post #4 of 59 Old 03-02-2018, 04:45 AM
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Yes, I do think you are limiting yourself if you stick to one gender. Look for a horse you like first. If I were looking for a horse and had to choose between two and all were equal except one was a gelding and one was a mare, I would probably choose the mare. That's just me, I like the girls.

I've said it over and over again that I've seen plenty of geldings that were jerks. I have three girls and not one of them would I call mareish because of bad behavior. And if they do behave badly at times it doesn't get blamed on their gender. Sure, they might display that they are in heat at times but it doesn't really affect how I treat them or ride them. The poor girls get a bad rap. They could be reacting to a fly in their ear and to some people, they are acting mareish.

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post #5 of 59 Old 03-02-2018, 04:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k9kenai View Post
I think it's more a "look at the individual horse" kind of thing. I've owned both a mare and a gelding. I preferred my mare to my gelding (although to be fair to my gelding he was a baby whereas my mare was a finished horse) and I just felt more of a connection to her, and she was purchased as a beginner's horse. I am riding a mare now as well and I definitely feel more connected to her, too, and I have already decided when I am shopping for my next horse a mare will be my preference (although I will not discount a gelding if I happen to find one I like).

So, I do think it comes down to both individual horse and also personal preference, I guess.
What K9 said. Look for a horse that fits your needs. Disposition and soundness are trump.
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post #6 of 59 Old 03-02-2018, 04:54 AM Thread Starter
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Is mare contraceptive used on domestic horses? I've heard of it being used as population control for wild herds, and I wonder if that helps with them being mare ish for a newbie owner? Especially a non breeder. Or is it that much of a non issue??

finding happy
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post #7 of 59 Old 03-02-2018, 06:55 AM
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Yes, for horses one product you can easily find information on is called Regumate.
Horse birth control.
I've never administered it for "breeding" reasons...

I have administered the product to many performance mares to stop them cycling....
Their cycling made them crampy, sore and miserable so for a consistent performing horse, in this case these were champion reining show horses...the product alleviated much of their symptoms.
It is costly to have a horse, any horse on drugs for maintenance issues....menstrual cramps and such fall under maintenance = $$$$.

For a beginner rider/owner to purchase a horse knowingly needing this kind of maintenance to me is ridiculous.
There are many very beginner friendly horses available in all riding disciplines if you just take the time to look.
Mare or gelding...each animal is a individual and should be evaluated as a potential riding partner based on their knowledge, patience, personality and how they work with that rider.

There are no true set rules that mare is ___, gelding is ___.
People make comments like this that are not always accurate and sadly can sway a non-informed person into missing the horse of a lifetime because it was a ___.
True horseman/woman know that every animal should be judged on suitability based on the needs of rider and horse matching well, getting along, working together in harmony...regardless of beginner or very advanced capabilities...if not a team approach it just doesn't work well.

Hope that helps some.
Limiting your questions like you just did to a refined area allows for better answers and comment pertinent, not just all over the huge spectrum of "horse".
...
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post #8 of 59 Old 03-02-2018, 06:56 AM
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If you're unfortunate enough to get a particularly witchy mare, then yes, there are solutions that stop them coming into heat (regumate is the most common but should not be handled by women!), but for the most part it's really not that big a deal.

In MY experience, geldings tend towards laziness, and mares tend to be sharper and more responsive. I like sharp and responsive, so I will choose a mare over an otherwise equal gelding any day of the week. My geldings - though I have loved them dearly - have put in the minimum required effort and no more. My mares give me everything they have and more.

Mares tend to be more particular with "their person" and respond less favourably to unfair treatment. Fair treatment is a relatively recent thing and many many many myths about horses are centuries old - "mares are witchy" is likely a myth from long before it was understood that horses do in fact have feelings. There ARE some particularly witchy mares but as a rule, the majority respond to how they are treated and how well they like the person handling them.

Geldings are typically more tolerant of unfair treatment, and have lower standards, for lack of a better term. I'll elaborate on this later. Mine have all been very very quiet horses, and Monty in particular loved everybody - especially if they gave him food.

On standards - my mare takes GREAT offence at the idea of being fed plain chaff (chopped up hay) with no grain in it. She will throw a large tantrum and fling her feed everywhere instead of eating it. My last gelding was delighted to have food no matter what you offered him.

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post #9 of 59 Old 03-02-2018, 08:24 AM
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I'd look for the BTDT, beginner safe, well trained mount first and decide on which sex I preferred later.

99% of stallions are out, they're breeding animals and can be very domineering and intimidating to a new owner, so anything intact would get a pass from me, just on general principals. The stallion I own, I wouldn't trade for anything, but I don't need 2 of him. He's not a beginner friendly horse either. Not that he's mean or intimidating, but he's smart. He can read a human like a short story, that quick. And he'll work 'em. I can walk out to the pasture and halter him right up. Anytime I get new help, he puts them through their paces to see what they're made of and what they'll let him get away with. He wouldn't dare puff up and bow up around me, he does it to my helpers routinely (when they're new, once he realizes they're not stupid he quits) and plays pasture tag just to watch them run.

Mares....ah mares. It seems you either love 'em or hate 'em. I love 'em. I don't have a single 'mare-ish' mare, because I won't stand for it. I feel like they only get ridden a few times a week, they can deal with it. Nobody told me it was ok to skip math class because I felt 'mare-ish' on a particular day. They're less 'mare-ish' if they're worked and kept in good shape anyhow. Mares can be opinionated. They're not real passive, go along to get long types, they seem to have a thought about everything and they aren't shy about telling you all about it. As long as they keep working, I'm good with that, actually I like it. Some mares take a firmer hand than the beginner has a lot of the time. Yes, you can use Regumate, Depo provera, raspberry leaves, several things. I don't believe in any of them, to me it comes under 'doping' and I just don't. Regumate is a known carcinogen in all humans and can really mess with a woman's hormone levels. I use it once in a while in the breeding shed but I glove up, wear long sleeves, and am VERY careful with it. Not something I'd recommend when training can fix the problem. AND it's expensive.

Geldings are your basic BTDT, genial, go along to get along, don't care about much mount. A well trained, congenial gelding can be worth his weight in gold. And yes, I've known some jerk geldings too. When they're jerks they can be REAL jerks. But more often than not, they're pretty easy going and you don't have to deal with any breeding issues. We geld all colts born here, we don't keep anyone a stallion a minute longer than we have to. They're pretty uncomplicated, feed 'em and you have a new BFF.

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post #10 of 59 Old 03-02-2018, 08:24 AM
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Mares are probably more expressive in their behavior as a function of how they have been treated in the past and how you treat them in particular. My current mare had absolutely no relationship with the woman who leased her before me. (As we know, this is never the horse's fault.) The woman got bitten in the stall, and dumped on the trail, repeatedly.

Marion was a bit of a bitch on our first solo ride when I had to earn the privilege to take her out by myself, but we've had awesome rides since Ride 2, and she loves me when I interact with her in her stall (she groomed me when I bent down to pick up a brush in front of her, and she dozes off when I groom her). She's an absolute doll in the arena with a special-needs kid who rides her every Sunday morning.

Under similarly abusive conditions, you may get a gelding that has mentally shut down, and a mare who rebels. Guess who gets the better marks from humans. Horses that have been trained and handled appropriately should not display big enough differences in behavior for you to draw a solid line between gelding and mare, but a line between individuals that you encounter.

There is a gelding at my farm who loves people and attention. He makes me smile every time I interact with him (safely from the ground). I also can't ride him because I don't have the skills to handle his exuberance and energy in the saddle.
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