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Mares or geldings?

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  • #21
    What's the joke that people say? A mare will give 110% effort 90% of the time and geldings will give 85% effort 100% of the time? I know that's an over generalization, but I do see this with a lot of the horses I've owned or ridden over the years.


    My mare has a great heart and really tries. She has a fantastic work ethic. However, she will also have some days when she is grumpy for some reason I can't figure out. Usually those days disappear as quickly as they came and then we're back to great stuff.

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    • #22
      I don't care, myself. Have had good geldings and mares, currently have one of each. A good horse is a good horse, regardless of breed or gender. I can see 'all geldings' for ranches that still use remudas on multi day roundups- a mare in the mix, even if not in season, will stir up the geldings. But I have also ridden my mare working cattle a number of times- she didn't bat an eye and neither did any of the geldings.

      I do give some thought to camping with my mare out in the desert, particularly if it's in a time range of possibly coming into season. I do not fancy being awakened in the middle of the night by a feral stallion trying to steal my mare! But otherwise, no worries.

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      • #23
        I am more of a mare person. I think that once you find a good mare, they will do anything for you. I also think that they are naturally more careful and will try harder to get you out of a sticky situation (bad distance to big fence). Saying that, I also get along quite well with most mares as I am not the type of rider to make a horse conform to the way I want it to be ridden, I am the type to conform to the way the horse likes to go. I do love geldings also but really love a good mare.

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        • #24
          I like mares better. Ive always had a closer bond with mares. I feel that they try harder. I like geldings too, don't get me wrong, but when I see a gelding I like for sale, I think "Man, I wish he was a mare".

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          • #25
            I've owned a combination of mares and geldings over the years, but I prefer mares. I seem to get along well with them. My current mare is a chestnut TB a little over 15.2h. She is the best all around horse. She trail rides, jumps great, is a good mover so we do ok in dressage, combined tests, hunter paces, fox hunting, team penning, parades. You name it she will do it if I ask her.

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            • #26
              Mares, 100%. They just seem to have that something extra. But if I found the right gelding I wouldn't turn him away either, provided he got along well in turnout and could be turned out in a mixed herd. But I keep my horses at home so I like to keep things simple.

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              • #27
                I think what is better is not a given by sex, but depends on the horse itself.

                I will say, generally, grooming, shoeing, riding, in groups, etc., I have known more mares to be a little more quick with their hind feet than geldings ever would think to be.

                More mares may have a kicking problem, be more reactive with their hind feet than the rare gelding would ever think to kick.

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                • #28
                  I personally much prefer geldings. OF course, mine thinks he's a stud and is a real character. Yesterday when I went to bring him in from his paddock he had grabbed his halter and lead rope off the hook they were on and was tossing them in the air.
                  What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!

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                  • #29
                    for whatever reason, i have had terrible rides on mares , and Great rides on geldings (and one Stallion). One Pregnant arab mare was the exception, and she was wonderful. But for me, Geldings are usually my preference.

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                    • #30
                      I seem to do best with Thoroughbred mares. I like a fairly straightforward ride and at least they let me know what they're thinking--or maybe it's that I was well taught by my first horse, a Thoroughbred mare. I love the intelligence and willingness of mares and I find they do take care of you.

                      My gelding, also a TB, can have a few surprises up his sleeve and he's way more opinionated and bitchy than my mare. He, of course, thinks he's a stud and that my mare is his exclusive consort. He has a very high opinion of himself. She just rolls her eyes at him.

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                      • #31
                        I tend to prefer geldings. That said, one of the very best trail horses I have ever owned was a mare...and I also had a great time with a stallion in earlier years. Right now I have two geldings (one a mini) and a mare, and I like them all. But, for steadiness of demeanor and knowing what to expect, my riding gelding is the best. Overall, I think it just depends on the individual horse and the individual human being...it's a relationship and so there are so many factors which must come together successfully to make it a happy relationship.

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                        • #32
                          Originally posted by Foxtrot's View Post
                          But the fact remains that people will answer an ad to buy a gelding before looking at the mares.
                          Well, the OP's post pretty much guaranteed a biased response trend towards mares.

                          If this was a serious attempt to figure out the marketability of mares vs. geldings, there are so many better approaches to use.

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                          • #33
                            I prefer a gelding – but I LOVE my mare.

                            Overall – back when I was riding a lot of different horses, I definitely preferred the geldings. I often found mares a bit too fussy, opinionated, and moody for my liking. Of course there were a few that I did click with, and they were great horses with lots of try.

                            I thought I would never own a mare – until I bought my weanling filly. She is almost 6 now – and a real pleasure. I do not find her “mare-ish” at all, in fact I have never heard her “squeal”, she isn’t fussy or moody – and just about everyone that meets her, assumes she is a gelding until I point out otherwise (she is large bodied, and just reminds me of a tom boy – likes to play rough in pasture with the boys, and ignores the silly, squealing, kicking mares).
                            APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

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                            • #34
                              I've ridden more mares than geldings, and I concur that they give you a greater effort---when they think the task is worthy of effort. And I think they are more likely to bond with a person if you're a one horse person.
                              The choice might come down to what you will use the horse for. Bluey describes a situation where a mare isn't welcome. And when I've been to VA for hunting, I know that while there are mares in the hunt field, they're rare, most people that I've met who hunt want a gelding, for the same reasons Bluey set out.
                              If you're pleasure/trail/show riding, and not in big groups, it might be easier to work with a mare. And they're all different. My first mare was a shameless jezebel, we ALWAYS knew when she was in heat. The mare I have now gives no signs at all, I only know she's in heat when the stallion reacts to her.

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                              • #35
                                I prefer geldings, but that's probably because I'm an alpha mare myself!

                                In all seriousness, I've ridden my fair share of mares over the years. Most I just didn't click with. Two mares I rode for an extended period of time (a year or so) and it took a while but we finally bonded. One of them was really grouchy and voiced her opinion quite often but once we figured out she had ulcers, she turned into a really sweet girl who would do anything.

                                I've owned only geldings though. My first boy was a chestnut QH who was my heart horse. My second boy is a huge App/Friesian cross that I've owned since he was a yearling (now 12). My third boy is a 4 year old Trak with a bit of TB blood in him. He tries so hard for me and I finally feel like we're really connecting after buying him a year ago.

                                Oh yeah, all my boys were/are May babies. That was dumb luck, but they all have similar personalities. I think I have a specific personality type I look for rather than a gender.
                                My May boys: Beau , Neon, Criss

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                                • #36
                                  I've been a mare person since I started lessons back in the mid-1970s. My instructor back then preferred mares and had some great ones. After a long break from horses, the one I rode the most when I was getting back into riding was an old TB mare, and when it came time to buy, I very quickly decided I wanted a mare, so that's what I have. It may all be in my head, but I feel like I have a real back-and-forth with my mare that I might not get with a gelding. She's opinionated yet willing, and protects herself and me. And yes, she is very, very smart! She does kick at other horses, but that's manageable.

                                  My current BO used to "hate mares" according to someone who's known her for a long time, yet somehow the barn has 2 mares for every gelding now, and the BO's last two personal horses before the current gelding were mares. All but one of her school horses are geldings, though.
                                  You have to have experiences to gain experience.

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

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                                  • Original Poster

                                    #37
                                    Originally posted by Halt Near X View Post
                                    Well, the OP's post pretty much guaranteed a biased response trend towards mares.

                                    If this was a serious attempt to figure out the marketability of mares vs. geldings, there are so many better approaches to use.
                                    This really wasn't my intention, but it seems like that's what happened. I have a mare and love her but I've noticed a lot of people saying that they prefer a nice gelding, as well as people saying that mares have less resale value. I was just genuinely curious as to who prefers what. I have no intentions of selling any horse anytime soon so it doesn't really matter to me.

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                                    • #38
                                      As a general rule I have enjoyed the mares I've ridden much more than the geldings.
                                      I think geldings are more like dogs and mares are more like cats.

                                      Most of the geldings I've been around are willing to bond with anyone who seems half way nice. Mares are more aloof and take time to warm up to people. They want to observe you and figure you out before they start to trust you. But once they bond with you, the bond is rock solid.

                                      You can bully a gelding but you have to ask a mare.

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                                      • #39
                                        I don't think I have a preference. All the horses I've owned have been geldings, but I kind of want my next project to be a mare. Not like it really matters, but I have always wanted to have a really strong bond with a mare. Like many others said, I feel that there is that little something "extra," there, if you can tap in to it.

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                                        • #40
                                          I have a mare and a gelding.
                                          The gelding's a pony (most days). He's pretty easy going, nothing fazes him at all. He gets cranky (pony) but so long as you ask right he'll do it. He likes everyone it seems, equally (except the vet).

                                          The mare is very affectionate, people oriented. Really need to have a relationship with her to get her confidence and respect. After that, she's a good girl. Complicated and sensative, but hard working and goes the extra mile for you when you deserve it. I have witnessed her not like a rider. It was VERY VERY ugly.

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