Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Some people hate mares, and some love them.  I'd put myself squarely in the "loves mares" camp, which is not to say that I don't love geldings too - my wonderful old horse Noble was a gelding, and of course so are Pie and Red.

But there's something special about a mare . . .

I've been riding quite a bit less for about the last week or so - my right knee has really been bothering me, perhaps due to all the work I've been doing on changing my right leg position - mainly opening my right hip when tracking right.  At my age, if you change your normal body position, even minimally, things hurt until the body adjusts.  My right knee sustained a serious injury when I was in my teens, and it can complain from time to time.  Today it felt pretty good, so I rode a lot.  So far so good . . .

Dawn and I had a lovely early morning ride.  She was relaxed and soft, and we did some very nice canter work.  She's in raging heat, but I wouldn't have known except that she was squealing and peeing in her stall last night (for Missy, no less - go figure) and again for the gelding in the pen nearby when I turned her out.  I give a lot of credit to Mare Magic (or MareBerry - same thing), raspberry leaves, for helping Dawn be more comfortable when she's in heat - it used to be that I couldn't ride her or even pick her back feet when she was in heat.

Missy and I haven't ridden in the morning for a while.  I brought her in, and she was calling and fidgeting and pawing, most un-Missy like.  We saddled up and then did some leading work to be sure her mind was with me - she only screamed once when we were in the arena - all the mares in the pasture came running and calling up to the gate, led by Dawn.  Once she settled down a little bit, we mounted up and had a very nice work session.  It was my 40th ride on her, and she just gets better and better.  Forward at walk and trot is now automatic, and her softness and transitions off my thought improve with each ride.  When I turned her back out, she went over to the gelding in the pen and did a lot of peeing for him - she actually throws her tail over her back - might be a little bit of Arabian in there somewhere.  She did very well for a mare in serious heat whose routine was changed - good Miss mare!

When you know a gelding really well, and spend a lot of time with him, he can become very bonded to you and also very interactive - Red is naturally this way, more mare like in a sense.  Pie was very standoffish when I got him, but is now quite a communicator.  But mares are so naturally expressive - both Dawn and Missy interact with me very directly, deeply and constantly.  The bond with a mare can be very strong, but it's so important to accord them the dignity they deserve - they will trust you but only if you deserve it.


  1. I'm learning the difference with mares on a personal level. It is something else, that is for sure.

  2. We have two mares now, a TWH rescue and a Quarter. I can definitely see a huge difference. While I'm still a gelding person, I love the personalities of my mares. They definitely pick their person and make sure you deserve their trust.

  3. I am in the " I like mares" camp right along with you. Dusty is very hard to get along with sometimes and at other times she's a mush. It's hard to figure her out. But I will say when you have a mare's trust and respect you have definitely earned it!

    And, of course, I love my geldings too but there's definitely a difference in their attitude towards you. I think it is much easier to earn their trust and respect.

  4. I love mares too! That's all I had until I started riding Ladde when I was almost 40 years old. Not that I don't love geldings too, but mares are (for me) easier to understand and relate to, maybe like you mentioned, just so expressive. And...I think mares are usually braver. I've never had a mare spook like geldings I've ridden have. My mares stop, do the squat-down stance and really look at whatever scares them, they seem to determine whether they should react or not, where geldings just blow outa there and look after the fact. Probably not all, but that's my experience. Kate, thank you for trying to help me with Eagle. Everything you've mentioned, we've been routinely doing for almost 3 years now. I think I just need to work with him a lot more regularly, and this is very early this year for us. I really appreciate everything and if you can think of anything else, please let me know. I will not give up on this horse, and the end of May, I should be starting to work with Rachel. She's very accustomed to working with Mustangs especially, and will work with both of us. It's taken me a long time to get comfortable being in close proximity to Eags, as he's very reactive, big and powerful...and oh, so quick. But I believe that I've finally made the turn into trusting him more, which is a huge step forward. I'm going to start taking him for walks too, hopefully that will help him learn to place his trust in me too. So far, almost everything we've done is in the round pen at home, and I took him to 2 clinics last spring.

    1. I agree that consistent work and interactions will make a big difference to Eagle and his trust level - it's hard to get much done over the winter.

  5. I am very firmly in the "love mares" camp! Love, love, love my mare.

  6. Put me in the "love mares" box too. Like you, I've loved my geldings (especially Jackson and Starman) but my relationship with Lucy is different. I haven't had a mare since I was in high school (riding a very difficult and opinionated one) -- and I still remember her with a great deal of love. It is hard to describe, but my heart speaks differently to Lucy; we speak the same language and I understand all about PMS moods. She reminds me of myself, of my daughter, of my girlfriends... and having her trust means the world to me.

  7. Yes me too- mares are my preference- that's why I sold both geldings and bought Delia. They seem to me to have more heart, although they can get more herd bound than geldings, but that is where trust comes in. My best horses have been mares.

  8. I have what I've been told is the least mareish mare in America. That said she strikes me as much smarter than the boys I've known. Glad to hear mare magic is working.

  9. I'm firmly in the "gelding" camp. I really admire mares, but I just don't seem to get along with most of them... probably because I'm not a skilled-enough equestrian yet. Sometimes I think I "yell" instead of "whisper"


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