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where did the "Chestnut Mare" taboo start?

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    Originally posted by Dazednconfused View Post
    I'd never heard of the 'chestnut mare beware' thing until first reading COTH. It's unheard of in the Arabian weird!
    I've only heard it in reference to chestnut THOROUGHBRED mares.
    She wasn't running away with me, I just couldn't stop her!


      Growing up- I desperately wanted a big bay QH gelding. I ended up with a chestnut OTTB mare. She was a typical redhead (as we call them- no offense to human redheads!). She was on fire all the time! Until the day she died just shy of 30yo she would take off with me bucking and rearing and nostrils flaring!

      Since then- I purchased a chestnut TB broodmare. Bred to a bay TB stud 3x and produced... 3 red babies! I have a big bay w/lots of white markings ISH mare bred to a big solid bay TB and got... get this... a red baby!!!! Go figure! I have the red curse. Now have 11 horses and 6 of them are red! Then two bays, a grey, and two paints.

      The TB broodmare is a typical one too. Fiesty as all get out. Quiet most of the time but every once in awhile- pulls a rear/squeal on the way out to the field!


        I heard this recently as well, never heard it before in my LIFE! I have had a few chestnut mares and I LOVED them all, Dd has a chestnut pony mare now and we love her, she is the BEST! Of course she is also the SMARTEST animal I have ever met, but not hot or bad just really really SMART!
        I would buy another in a heartbeat, but then again I am not very superstitious!
        If you are lucky enough to ride, you are lucky enough.


          Originally posted by Dazednconfused View Post
          I'd never heard of the 'chestnut mare beware' thing until first reading COTH. It's unheard of in the Arabian weird!
          I've also never heard the "chestnut mare" stereotype in the QH world. Chestnut/sorrel are the most common colors for registered QH, so obviously no prejudice there. In fact, at QH shows, a dark bay often stands out in a sea of sorrels, the exact opposite of hunter-land.

          That being said, I have 2 chestnut mares that fit the stereotype: smart, sensitive, and unwilling to put up with BS. I had always thought that it was their TB ancestry (they are racing-bred QHs) at work, but maybe it's a combination of TB and being chestnut.

          I think there could be a potential grain of truth to the stereotypes. A couple studies have shown that redheaded people are more sensitive to pain--something my father, a dentist, suspected for years. Since the chestnut color in horses is associated with a mutation in the same gene as in redheaded people, there may be some basis for the "sensitivity" myth. I also remember a study done with cows some years ago, in which animals with whorls high or low on the forehead were scored for reactivity to a new environment, and sure enough, high whorls were associated with a more agitation.

          It seems unlikely that one gene is the be-all and end-all for a complex trait like temperment, but given how many people replied with tales of their chestnut mares, must be something there. I for one hope to spend the rest of my riding life "owned" by chestnut mares.
          Proudly owned by 2 chestnut mares
          Crayola Posse: sea green
          Mighty Rehabbers Clique


            Not all human redheads have a low pain treshold, I don't.

            I can hit my thumb with a hammer and say, "ouch, this hurt a lot", when someone else will jump around shaking their hand and using less than polite words.

            Then, I am, or was, a darker shade of redhead.
            Maybe only the bright red color is the one we are talking about?


              someone will correct me I am sure

              but I seem to remember that from the same germ layer in the embryo develops both the nervous tissue and the hair coat. so it makes sense that there might be a correlation.

              or something
              A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton


                Anyone remember the song by the Byrds? mid-1960's?

                "I'm going to catch that horse if I can"...

                Wasn't it called Chestnut Mare?

                ok, can't get it out of my head now,

                "and we'll be friends for life, she'll be just like my wife"


                Then she jumped over the cliff, "me holding on."
                "I swear it happened just like this" - Leonard Cohen


                  I've owned chestnuts, sorrels, bays, one sabino, duns, one grulla...

                  The 'red head' stereotype has always been tongue in cheek as far as I'm concerned. And not gender specific. It's fun to have 'something' to blame when your 'red head' blows up in a class or otherwise does something idiotic.

                  Now, the anti-mare thing, that's somewhat more 'serious' if my experience with riding buddies is any indication. In fact, I make sure to ride my good mare when I know one fellow is going to be out with the group that day, just to razz him a bit...


                    Originally posted by Rocky View Post
                    Maybe it's TESTICLES....not OVARIES
                    Nope, the vet has confirmed that his TESTICLES are long gone.

                    There's a tiny (14.2 hands, maybe 800 pounds) chestnut TB mare in the barn who does live up to the stereotype, but she was a rescue out of a pretty bad situation, so that may have "turned" her.

                    The other chestnut mare is a gigantic 5 YO WB who has very patiently tolerated stall rest for months after a surgery, with very little Chestnut Mare behavior. I am impressed.

                    Now I of course have a palomino, which is a genetic variant of chestnut. The "chestnut" stereotype does not apply, but parts of the "blonde" one do -- she's very much an "Ice Princess" (except when one has food.) Very very smart, though.
                    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

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


                      We've got one chestnut mare at the barn who is 1/2 TB and just plain CRAZY. Even my trainer, who sees the best in every horse, admits that she has more than one screw loose. She's sensitive, flighty, territorial, VERY vocal, and hot, hot, hot. She has some chrome and a pretty sizable star.

                      Now, I also owned a chestnut TB mare. She was mostly solid, had a tiny sock on her left hind, and a couple white hairs where a star would be. She was the smartest horse I've ever had the opportunity to work with. She loved to work, and wanted SO hard to please that you could almost see the wheels turning. That being said, she was hot- needed lunging, lots of hacking, needed to be ridden every day- but she wasn't stupid or scary or mean about it. She just had a lot of energy. She wasn't an overly affectionate horse- she'd tolerate being groomed and petted on a little bit, but she wasn't the type you could cuddle and dote on for hours, which was fine by me.

                      There's a picture of her in my signature, and here's one of her at our last show together- it was her first time cantering a 2'6'' course and man did she have fun with it


                      Please note where she's jumping in relation to the jump


                        I am not a fan of mares to begin with, and especially not chestnut ones. When I went horse shopping I ruled all chestnuts out period, which made my selection much smaller and easier to pick from. Every bad experience or injury I have had has been with a chestnut horse. Mare or gelding. I figure it's karma, and they should be avoided like the plague.


                          Before I was a horse owner, two of the lesson horses I had the longest standing relationship with were chestnut mares. Both were great horses, if on the sensitive side.

                          The second one, a QH who must have had a fair bit of TB blood, would cart a tiny child around in complete safety but had lots of spirit and go if you were more advanced. She was broke to death and knew all the reining moves by heart--all you had to do was give an approximation of the right aids and she would do the move perfectly. She really was a push-button horse.


                            I've heard it frequently in the hunter/jumper community. I've known some good chestnut mares and some that lived up to the stereotype. Though, if I was buying one for resale I would not look at a chestnut mare.
                            Eight Fences Farm. Mansfield, MA


                              I currently have two chestnut TB mares that are down right lovely. Total exceptions to the stereo type. Quiet sensible and friendly as can be! Love to work.

                              But... I have known one very crazy chestnut, not a she...he was a gelding and a QH but nutso for about 2-3 years. A good friend of mine stuck with him and put a ton of more time and effort into him than I would have EVER bothered and much to my surprise made him into a nice non crazy kid's horse.....


                                Simbalism, your mare is darling

                                My mother had a chestnut mare I referred to as "That Cow". I am generally not a fan of the chestnut mare. The one I know now is an IDIOT for lack of a better word.


                                  Here's a better saying to remember: No good horse is a bad color.

                                  Horse people tend to be superstitious. That's probably how it started.

                                  I prefer chestnut mares, because I like the color and I love mares. And yes, I've had a chestnut OTTB mare--she was quite sane and easy going. First horse I ever owned who actually spooked in place. Didn't know they could spook without spinning and bolting. She liked to throw a buck or two when she was feeling good, but it wasn't mean spirited or "fiery."

                                  BTW, my current riding horse is a bay TB gelding. Somebody else is riding my chestnut Arabian mare for me this year because I'm not sound enough to put the conditioning mileage in for endurance. I'm bummed for myself but happy for the mare and the rider.
                                  "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."


                                    Love TBs. Love mares. Love chestnuts. A trifecta! I have a chestnut TB gelding now, and I will say that he can be sensitive. Thin skin, very fine coat, easily irritated skin, etc. I do feel like there is "something" more sensitive about chestnut horses' skin, but that's not based on anything scientific...just observation. Perhaps that makes them hotter in general? I don't know. Makes no difference to me - I love them just the same!


                                      Originally posted by Miss Aria View Post
                                      I've also been told that chestnuts are unhealthier than other colors and when they get, say, a skin wound, they take forever to heal as opposed to other colors. That sort of generalization astonishes me but what can you do? I've owned enough chestnuts in my lifetime to know it's an old wives' tale; indeed, the only bay that I owned seemed to prove that theory, not the chestnuts. But then again, maybe it's an Arabian thing, LOL.
                                      About 20 years ago when I was working at a Morgan farm during my breaks from college, one of the older horsewomen told me that chestnuts tended to have more skin issues and also a higher incident of allergies. I have no idea if this is true, but I've always remembered it.

                                      Chestnut has always been my least favorite color but now I own one (gelding). He has allergies and if he gets the smallest cut on his leg it blows up. Coincindence?


                                        I'm not sure where it originated from, but like many things, if something is repeated enough, it becomes gospel. My parents have raised numerous chestnut TB fillies over the years, and I've personally never seen a pattern. As a matter of fact, my last horse - a really pretty chestnut mare that we bred - was the sweetest, most honest, quiet, talented, horse you could ask for. Gosh, I miss her.


                                          Originally posted by trafalgar View Post
                                          I just saw on a thread a comment about a hot chestnut mare, the context of which suggested that we all know "chestnut mare" means trouble. I have had wonderful chestnut mares. Where did this wive's tale come from? It makes no scientific sense......does it?
                                          Every chestnut mare I've ever had (even the mutt pony, though she WAS part pony LOL), or had to train(ooh, except for one little bitty, half starved TB filly) , has been a hot little number, even the QH mare.

                                          I am one of those who is turned off by those matching the wives' tale own scientific study is good enough for me
                                          "As a rule we disbelieve all the facts and theories for which we have no use."- William James

                                          Proud member of the Wheat Loss Clique.