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Mares or geldings?

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  • Mares or geldings?

    I did a quick search but didn't find anything; if this topic has been done to death let me know

    I've seen a lot of people say they don't like or get along with mares. What have your negative experiences been? Does anyone feel like they get along better with mares than geldings?

    I took lessons for 15+ years and had the opportunity to ride a whole whack of different horses. I always liked geldings better and was always planning a gelding for my first horse. The last horse I showed was a mare and I only ended up with her because the gelding I was supposed to ride was injured; I was really disappointed and not looking forward to riding this mare, who had a reputation for being a b*tch. We clicked just about instantly and won our division that year. The moral of the story for me was that mares could be awesome too.

    So I guess I'm asking for stories - why do you prefer one gender over the other? Would you shop specifically for that one gender? And most importantly, would you exclude a promising possibility because it isn't the right gender?

  • #2
    I personally prefer a gelding. I feel like I get along with them better, more of a bond.

    But...We mostly have mares (plus my gelding and a colt).
    Yes, if we are looking for a mare it would be specifically for a mare. If I was just looking for a horse, I would look at anything.

    Despite preferring geldings for myself though, my 'next' riding horse is a filly, 1/2 sister to my gelding and so like him in character and temperament.

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    • #3
      I have mares, geldings and a stallion. I don't necessarily get along with one sex over another nor do I prefer one over the other. I get drawn towards certain personalities and types.
      Ranch of Last Resort

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      • #4
        I like both, but my main ride is a gaited morgan mare. I tend to love the spirit and opinion (sometimes) of the mares.
        I want a signature but I have nothing original to say except: "STHU and RIDE!!!

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        • #5
          I've never understood the anti-mare bias. I have had me some great ladies, for low-level dressage, eventing, showing, now mainly foxhunting, and teaching lessons, and they are as close to 100% on the ground as any horse can be. All ages, all sizes, all different breeding. My seven mares all live out together, and I haul three horses in my stock trailer mixing my geldings and mares without problem (though my horses all know each other pretty well over the fence -- wouldn't do that with strangers obviously).

          And the last barn I worked at, before starting my own business, had two geldings I refused to handle after one bit my shoulder HARD and another was just whacko. Now I don't think that had anything to do with their gender. Good's good, and bad's bad, I take them as individuals....just like people
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          • #6
            I would look for the best horse available. If that horse happens to be the gender you think you prefer, that is great, but if you get too hung up on gender you may be missing out on some great horses.

            I have had both over the years and often geldings are a little more laid back but I currently have two great mares and one slightly simple gelding (after swearing off mares). Good Luck and hopefully the right horse will find you

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            • #7
              I actually prefer mares. I think I bond with them better than geldings. But I agree that I often am more drawn to certain personalities rather than mares vs. geldings. One of my favorite horses is an opinionated little gelding who can be kind of a sass and won't tolerate poor riding, but is very smart and tries very hard if you click with him.

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              • #8
                We used to have broodmares and rode them as fillies, before breeding them, so we knew what we had.

                In ranch country around here, you could ride mares in your place, but going to help the neighbors, it was not polite to use mares, only geldings and the occasional well trained and minded stallion were ok.

                I always wondered about that one until one time I was riding a young mare very much in heat, a neighbor and his son came to help move some cows.
                That mare was obviously interested in their geldings and so were they and acted up and it was embarrassing for all just trying to move on down the pastures close to each other, until we started working.
                Nothing like getting a wet tailed mare switching and giving anyone around a shower and some geldings bowing their necks and blowing back to her.

                In other environments, in training centers and riding schools, we never gave the sex of the horses we were using a second thought and they all got along fine, without any problems, even with beginners riding them together in lessons and trail rides.

                I think that, if you find the right horse for what you want, forget what sex it is, what color or size, if you can make those less important factors work for you.

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                • #9
                  I prefer mares. I've always felt that mares have a stronger sense of justice and will give just a bit more when they go to bat for you (e.g. at the base of a jump you've placed them poorly to). That sense of justice can be construed as a negative by someone who tries to bully through an issue, and I've found that people tend to chalk "bad horse" issues to the fact that a horse is a mare more often than chalking up "bad horse" issues being tied to the fact that a horse is male.

                  With that being said, two of my "horses of a lifetime" have been geldings. So I don't mean to sound anti-male.

                  Really, the bottom line is that I like a wickedly smart horse (emphasis on the "wicked"). And while I prefer the (stereotypically) slightly more empathetic mind set of a mare, I have gotten along well with my geldings as well.

                  This conversation has come up quite a bit, so searches should yield something. But it may be that the search terms would be too vague to bring up the right threads? Ah, but if you look at the "similar threads" section below the posts you'll see at least a few other instances of the same topic.
                  __________________________________
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                  • #10
                    I love my girls.

                    But then. I love my boys too.



                    My main two, are girls. In fact, I am drawn to girls. All seven, currently are girls.

                    My best boy ever, was a boy.

                    I think you have to go see each individual, as an individual.

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                    • #11
                      Life has always seemed to hand me mares - for all sorts of reasons. No difference between a good horse of one sex or the other and I get quite defensive of the chestnut mare threads.

                      The geldings have been a bit on the dull side compared to the mares, so that might suit some riders, but nothing like the heart and try of a keen mare.

                      Eric Lamaze has a string of really talented ladies and then there is my poster girl, Brentina. I remember it was not too long ago that the top dressage riders would not ride mares in competition, but that has all changed now.
                      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                      • #12
                        Just as girl dogs are smarter than boy dogs, girl horses are smarter than boy horses. (My personal scientific study over decades.)

                        I've had 3 geldings (2 of whom thought they were studs) and 4 mares in my lifetime. I love both, but well, mares are smarter than geldings. And ottb mares are the smartest of all. Right now I have my thinks-he's-a-stud warmblood (1/2 tb 1/16th arab), and his "wife," a trakehner mare. Love both. Still want another ottb mare.

                        I have friends who won't get a female dog or cat or horse. That's OK. Anyone who has either a mare or a gelding is a lucky person in my book.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by PNWjumper View Post
                          I prefer mares. I've always felt that mares have a stronger sense of justice and will give just a bit more when they go to bat for you (e.g. at the base of a jump you've placed them poorly to). That sense of justice can be construed as a negative by someone who tries to bully through an issue, and I've found that people tend to chalk "bad horse" issues to the fact that a horse is a mare more often than chalking up "bad horse" issues being tied to the fact that a horse is male.

                          With that being said, two of my "horses of a lifetime" have been geldings. So I don't mean to sound anti-male.

                          Really, the bottom line is that I like a wickedly smart horse (emphasis on the "wicked"). And while I prefer the (stereotypically) slightly more empathetic mind set of a mare, I have gotten along well with my geldings as well.

                          This conversation has come up quite a bit, so searches should yield something. But it may be that the search terms would be too vague to bring up the right threads? Ah, but if you look at the "similar threads" section below the posts you'll see at least a few other instances of the same topic.
                          This
                          "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                          "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

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                          • #14
                            When I went to my now trainer to talk about moving he looked me square in the face & said I hate mares, well I had 2 at the time, so I looked back & said youll like these. Truer words--he still has 1 of those mares who will never ever leave the barn, & his favorite broodie has given him only fillies. he has learned to like them though being a man he likes geldings more. Out of 30 horses theres about 8 mares + the 2 jennys in the barnyard. Those were the only mares Ive had but I like the drive of a mare, but its also the horse.
                            “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker

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                            • #15
                              Gelding. I tend to find mares bigger PITAs in the pasture and a little more likely to show temper.

                              FWIW, I have four cats, two dogs, and a horse. One dog and one cat are spayed females, all the rest are neutered/gelded males. (The bitch was an active choice, the cat was dumped at the barn and was just coming to live here for a while, really, I swear...she's my lapcat.)
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                              • #16
                                I've had a mix of mares and geldings, and I don't really have a preference either way. I will say though that I feel like in most cases, you really need to earn the love of a mare. With my old pony, I thought she was stand-offish (not in a mean way, just distant) for the first 6 months I owned her, but once I had her love and respect, I was very close to her and she was very affectionate with me. My OTTB gelding was much faster to get affectionate, though he definitely knows that I'm "his" person. It really just depends on the horse for me, and I never look specifically for one gender or the other.

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                                • #17
                                  I also prefer mares.

                                  I've had some good partnerships/bonds with geldings, but the two horses I've trusted absolutely have both been mares. Small chestnut mares, actually, if you really want to know my type.

                                  There's just something extra there, if you can get through to them.

                                  When horse shopping I look at mares first, and given two pretty equal options I'd take a mare over a gelding. But I wouldn't exclude geldings and I wouldn't turn down a better gelding just to buy a mare. The one exception would be if I decide to purchase with the idea of breeding later -- but I'd be looking for a very specific mare with very specific breeding goals in that case, and it's nowhere in the cards for me right now.
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                                  • #18
                                    But the fact remains that people will answer an ad to buy a gelding before looking at the mares.
                                    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                                    • #19
                                      I have been fortunate enough to ride some amazing mares and seem to get along quite well with them, although I would never actively seek out a mare as my personal horse. I however am very much in love with my stallion. He is to use pnwjumpers term "wicked smart" he figures things out so quickly its just amazing. I tend to like my horses to be the perfect ballence of cheeky know it all and give you everything I've got.
                                      Spend so much time improving yourself that you have no time left to criticize others.

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                                      • #20
                                        I like a good horse. I don't care what kind of tackle they come with. Right now I have an even 3 mares and 3 geldings. No one gender has ever stood out as being smarter, more affectionate, stand-offish...whatever. Name it and I've probably owned or worked with at least one of each gender that fits it.

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