Stallions, Mares and Geldings

mare-and-foal.gifThere are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a horse, and one that people don’t always think of is gender. We have two geldings and a mare, and I’m happy to share our inexpert opinion with you. We love our mare, but I would say this: if you don’t want a lot of headaches, chose a gelding.

Stallions, of course, are notoriously difficult. Without doing a lot of research on why, I’m guessing it’s the testosterone. Having a stallion in your barn, especially if he will be around mares (either at home or at trails, shows, etc.), is a challenge for even an experienced horse owner. They can be aggressive, domineering and hard to control. It takes a firm hand to keep a stallion under control.

Mares…I know people who won’t own a mare because they are such a pain. What makes them such a pain? The months of March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October…longer if you live somewhere warm. Warm weather brings a mare into season. And if you think women can be moody and B I _ _ _ Y (well, this is a family show, let’s say “cranky”); a female horse can teach most women a thing or two about moody and cranky. Like women, mares vary in how they react to their “time of the month.” With some, you can hardly tell. With others (Moonshine!), you wonder where your sweet little horse went. Moonshine is irritable, doesn’t like to be touched and if there are male horses around, she has only one thing on her mind, and it’s not trail riding. Our poor geldings: when she met each of them, she had high hopes. She acted a coquette for days, being as sweet as could be. That is, until she figured out they weren’t going to be able to help her. Then she was just a witchy thing, snapping and kicking and bossing them around. Of course, she goes through the same thing whenever she encounters a new male. The last time we tried to ride her, she was in season and there was a new potential suitor in the vicinity; her mind was elsewhere. So mares can be very sweet, but sometimes not. Both in the same horse. Sometimes in the same day.

And that leaves geldings. Life is so much easier without all those hormones. (As the mother of a former teenager and one about to enter his teenage years, I know what I’m talking about.) That’s a very simplistic view, of course; all horses are different and they can have many, many issues separate from the chemicals that may or may not be racing through their bodies. But starting with a blank slate, so to speak, can sure make things easier.

That’s my two cents. What do you all think? Mares, geldings, stallions, no preference?

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