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Chestnut Mares

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  • Chestnut Mares

    So, when did this bias against chestnut mares begin? I have seen it constantly referred to on this forum, but I have never heard of it before. I grew up in Pony Club in the 70s and was around horses constantly. I knew many chestnut mares and even owned one, but I had never heard anyone express a bias against them until I joined this forum last year.
    I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • #2
    I for one have been "Blessed" over the years to have had 4 chestnut mares in my life. All of them amazing horses....so certainly no negative bias coming from this gal.


    • #3
      Don't know where it started, but I personally seem to be a chestnut magnet. Love them, always get a long with them.
      Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
      Witherun Farm


      • #4
        Must be similar to trying to lump all red headed women into the "hot headed" group. My chestnut mares couldn't be further from the bias.

        The worst, most opinionated horse I have ever dealt with was a bay gelding
        Epona Farm
        Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

        Join us on Facebook


        • #5
          I have also heard the bias against chestnut mares, but my favorites have always been chestnut mares. I certainly wouldn't not buy a pony (or horse) because it happened to be a chestnut mare, in fact, I may prefer it!
          Lorelei Farm - Welsh and Riding Ponies - Visit us on Facebook!
          Breeding show quality Welsh Ponies for hunters, dressage and driving!


          • #6
            I said it before and I'll say it again, I love my chesnut mare. I bred, birthed, raised and saddle broke her myself. Someone tried to buy her after she walked out of the ring at Devon after Young Hunter because she was so quiet and lovely. (I said no).
            Come to the dark side, we have cookies


            • Original Poster

              Please do not get me wrong. I am not trying to find out which of you has a bias or why the bias is unwarranted. I know it is unwarranted. Chestnut mares as a group are no more likely to be flighty, temperamental, nasty, or unpredictable than any other color horse.

              I am curious as to when it started and if anyone knows why it started. It seems rather serious as some have suggested that a chestnut mare may be harder to sell than other colors.
              I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne


              • #8
                Flame suit on - tho' I have no bias but am merely trying to answer Dewey's question -

                I think many people are biased against mares due to hormone issues (perceived or real). Thus the reason so many mares-for-sale ads state "not mare-ish".

                Chestnuts - like redheads, perceived as 'hot'. Also, as chestnut is a frequent color, people may overlook a chestnut for something else.

                Again, my opinions about other people's opinions
                ...somewhere between the talent and the potato....


                • #9
                  My guess here is that it started at the Track. Race horse people seem to have the particular bias about "Red" mares and that this came from certain bloodlines proving to be more difficult, and also being chestnut.

                  Alternatively though, I would speculate that something about the chestnut colour could make the horse more sensitive, and adding a more sensitive skin to a moody mare could make her more difficult. My thoughts on the more sensitive skin comes from observation; the "red" horses seem to react more strongly to mosquitoe bites and other irratations.
                  Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                  • #10
                    CHT probably has it right: this is an example of correlation (between being a chestnut mare and having temperament issues) not being causation (causes could be: lines with a lot of chestnuts have difficult temperaments, maybe chestnut coloration DOES make them a bit more thin-skinned, and most especially people *expect* chestnut mares to be difficult because they are chestnut mares!)

                    Some of the best school horses my childhood/teenage instructor had were chestnut mares, and she actually preferred chestnut mares for her personal riding horses (maybe because they were less expensive?). My favorite pony of hers was a strawberry roan mare, a variation on chestnut, and my current horse is a palomino mare, also a variation of chestnut... and my #1 "would if I could if I had the time/money" horse I would buy is my mare's niece.... a chestnut mare!
                    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                    1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                    • #11
                      Oddly, I may see a point there in some cases, CHT. My redheaded Trakehner mare is very sensitive to any and all bug bites. Like...big old whelps all over her.


                      I did find this magazine article that claims there is nothing backing the thin skinned theory, though. Therefore, my mare is just a baby.

                      I have ALWAYS heard the bias, and never thought of where it came from...though the race track idea is interesting!

                      I will say, however, my mare fits the bias TO A T. However, it makes our progress so much more special! And I LOVE a challenge! I wouldn't have it any other way. I love my hot, spooky mare.

                      The only superstitions I have heard about chestnuts at all, outside of the widely known "chestnut mare bad", is the Bedouin belief that chestnut horses were the fastest and some tribes believed they were the boldest.
                      Originally posted by Nickelodian
                      We jump horses. Over sticks. For fun.
                      Never take life too seriously. Nobody makes it out alive anyway.
                      Regulus RDL


                      • #12
                        I'm pretty sure I have heard George Morris criticize or call certain mares in a derogatory way, "chestnut mares"... red head attitude etc. We have a chestnut pony mare now (triple threat!) and she is THE most amazing pony I know. She is a "chestnut mare" though and she is a one person horse, but she tries and tries and tries for my daughter.


                        • #13
                          My chestnut mare has the best worth ethic I've come across! She really tries for me. Also has an 'in your pocket' personality so I guess she's not the stereotypical redhead. Does have super sensitive skin though!


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Dewey View Post
                            Please do not get me wrong. I am not trying to find out which of you has a bias or why the bias is unwarranted. I know it is unwarranted. Chestnut mares as a group are no more likely to be flighty, temperamental, nasty, or unpredictable than any other color horse.

                            I am curious as to when it started and if anyone knows why it started. It seems rather serious as some have suggested that a chestnut mare may be harder to sell than other colors.
                            I love that you tried to get people to answer your question rather than 'I love my chestnut mare!'. Sometimes this place is like herding cats. (Meowing myself over here as I'm just as guilty as the next person.)
                            ~ Citizens for a Kinder, Gentler COTH...our mantra: Be nice. ~


                            • #15
                              I have seen good ones and bad ones. Almost bought a 14.1h one so red headed pony mare lol. But had seen her for many years at shows and had her on trial. Not mareish at all and was wonderful but all my geldings that hadnt been around a mare in pasture for years wanted to fight about her so it didn't work out. Truthfully I think red roams mare or gelding have been the hottest I've ever been around
                              Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


                              • #16
                                Some of the very best horses I have ever ridden have been chestnuts, both mares and geldings.

                                I do think some chestnuts, particularly chestnut TBs, have more sensitive skin...and perhaps more sensitive personalities. But I like a sensitive horse, so they suit me just fine.

                                I've known plenty of chestnut mares that are as quiet and kind as the day is long.


                                • #17
                                  I think the "redheaded" myth about personality probably started because many chestnuts actually DO have more sensitive skin, and that probably makes them more high maintenance generally.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by snaffle635 View Post
                                    I love that you tried to get people to answer your question rather than 'I love my chestnut mare!'. Sometimes this place is like herding cats. (Meowing myself over here as I'm just as guilty as the next person.)
                                    I'm getting a chuckle over that as well.

                                    I think it's a super interesting question too, Dewey. Where that stereotype started and when. Kind of like where the phrase "rule of thumb" comes from etc.

                                    And snaffle, this is for you. Suspect it's been posted here before, but it always makes me laugh.

                                    "Aye God, Woodrow..."


                                    • #19
                                      It has been around decades, if not centuries (millennia?). The forum didn't make it up

                                      I certainly heard it as a kid, and that was a *few* decades ago.
                                      I'm not really at the top of my game today. I'm not even exactly sure what game I'm supposed to be playing, in fact... or where it's being held...

                                      My horse's antics iamboyfriend.com


                                      • #20
                                        I agree with CHT...my last chestnut mare had really sensitive skin. The bugs really made her look like she had hives. So maybe it makes them generally more touchy? Which probably leads to be called sensitive and bitchy? Who knows. Interesting question, though. Yeah, I'm one of those that have had...three of them. They are all very different. But not a one was mean or mareish. But one was super sensitive and flighty. She was often called the "crazy red head" out of endearment, of course!
                                        “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
                                        ¯ Oscar Wilde