Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mares vs Geldings? What are your thoughts?

This is a picture of me and my first horse, Buckshots Sunshine.  She was a good girl, tolerating the horse crazy green novice who took the $500 from the sale of her beater car and bought the horse she'd always dreamt of having since before she could walk.

I didn't know squat about horses.

I didn't know squat about Mares.  And I still don't. 

All the horses I've had since that first horse have been Geldings.  Why?  Because I found them to be solid in behavior and they didn't go into heat.

Yet to be fair, I didn't know what I know now (nor what I will know tomorrow) about horses.  And as I look back on my time with Sunshine, as great as she was then - she'd have been a real gem to ride if I had her today.

A few weeks ago Venom from Canada offered me her horse.  I declined her generous and kind offer because of the distance and because my neighbor breeds and periodically her stallions get loose and come calling.

But I've been thinking about Mares (closer to home) and wondering why shouldn't I consider them in my search to replace Bob?  I have a gate I can close at the end of my road that will alleviate any midnight visits from neighboring stallions.  I have multiple pastures if I choose to place "her" in one of them instead of with Bob.

My pondering couldn't have come at a better time.  A call a few hours ago from my friend/trainer (frainer) says she has a horse she wants me to come look at.  A horse that she thinks might be a good fit for me.

The horse is a Mare.  Noted to be quiet and calm, with the Western Pleasure gaits that I experienced with horses in my past, and recently on Petey.

I head up to take a look at her in an hour.  Taking my saddle with me. 

I'm interested in what your thoughts on Mares vs Geldings (or if you even have a vs in your thoughts)? 

Do you prefer one over the other?  If so, why?

If you prefer a Mare, do you use a hormonal supplement like Regu-Mate?

If you don't use a supplement, does the heat cycle impact on your riding?

Thanks for taking the time to respond to the above questions as I open my mind to the possibility of having a Mare in my future.


  1. I have always been a big fan of mares - sometimes they are more difficult, but they also form really close relationships with people they trust. I now have one mare and two geldings - they're all great horses. I keep the mare on MareBerry (from HorseTech), which is pure raspberry leaves. This has made a big difference to the intensity of her heat cycles. I'm happy with either mares or geldings - it's a question of finding the right one.

  2. Well, all I have ever had is mares LOL. I dont want to clean sheaths! LOL I did have geldings growing up. But I have chosen mares as an adult.
    I have two mares that I hardly ever know when they are in heat, and one that is very "mareish" to the point of almost studdy behavior when she is in season. My belief is you need to discipline them and make them behave when they are in. You do not tolerate a stud acting out, why would you tolerate a mare? I agree some can be bad, but if you can find out her history! They are great!
    Our old mare and I competed in our first competative trail ride, she at 27!!! That mare is worth her weight is gold now! I so wish I could clone her!! (but no guarantee there either! LOL)

  3. I have always preferred mares over geldings, but it is a very personal thing. It depends on the kind of realtionship you want to have. I have found that for me, I form much stronger bonds with mares and have better communication with them. Mares are the natural herd leaders in a any group. In the wild, the studs provide protection, the mares provide leadership.

    Mares are more independant thinkers than geldings, which is why many people don't like them. I have also found that the only time I have ever had any trouble with heat cycles is when there is a stallion around or a gelding acting study. Everyone always blames the mares, but every case of "marish" behavior I have ever seen can be traced back to a gelding or stud teasing the mare. Get her away from the boys and it goes away.

    The only way to for you to really know is to spend some time with the mare in question and see if you connect. If you feel that the relationship is antagonistic from the start, then that mare is probably not for you. If you feel like you are having a conversation with her, you may really have something.

  4. I have a 4 yeat old mare. She is the smartest horse I've had. I never know when she is in season. Just a big loving puppy dog. I'm 57 year old, I'll take lazy over crazy any day.

  5. I had always owned geldings because of the "heat" horror stories I heard about mares but then we got a mare for my daughter and I fell in love with mares! I never notice their heat cycles unless I see them "squirting" in the pasture. It's never changed my riding time or anything and they do love you once they trust you more than a gelding I think. I now own 2 mares and 2 geldings. Go for the mare! Don't be afraid.

  6. What Kate and Reddunappy said. I have had two mares and one gelding. My first Mare, was a realy beeawche when she came into heat. We were working on that. She was not the right fit for me and Now I have Libby. I NEVER know when she comes into heat, as far as her mood/behavior. Buddy my donkey will tell me! LOL It truely is a matter of the right fit. Poncho my gelding I loved with all my heart in the short time I had him. They both have their qualities. Follow your heart with some good common sense, and what ever you do....THINK ON IT FOR THREE DAY! That is 3 days!!!! On the third day, you will know if it is right!

  7. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my Mare. She has balls that my gelding never had (not just literaly LOL). The only time I knew she was in season was when my neighbor had a mare. They'd call back and forth talking about guys I'm guessing. No sheath to clean!!!

  8. Hi, new to your blog but what a great question.
    I have three geldings and one young mare. Of the 4 she is the softest, most supple, mentally and physically. On the other hand, having her around has really changed my herd dynamics, as I now have geldings that are fighting over her. One of those geldings is already handicapped (stringhalt) so for him to run over and start a fight with another guy who out weighs him and can move 3 times as fast, is just ludicrus, (sp) yet he does it every chance he gets. Sassy doesn't get bad when she goes into heat, but she spends a lot of her free time presenting to the boys, but when we are walking she is all business. Everyone in my family blames my herd troubles on her, but she is really only doing what comes natural. Its the boys that lose their minds!
    Yes and no sheath to clean is right!

  9. I've had both, have both right now. Frankly everyone tells me that my mare isn't Mare-ish at all.

    I think if I was considering a mare, I'd definitely want to see her during a heat cycle before I decided. A good horse is a good horse, and it's all about temperament for me. And if once a month my horse had the temperament of Mommy Dearest, that would get real old, real fast.

  10. I have always owned geldings, and have never taking any consideration into owning a mare until recently. In the past, I've always found that I connected better with geldings, and loved to be greeted by my "baby boy" lol!

    I used to believe mares were rude beasts based on past experiences. (I have always worked in barns.) But my trainer got me working on this young, green mare, and I fell in love. She was such a sweetie, who just wanted someone to love on her. It only took a few months to turn her into my perfect eventer!! Once I got throught to her, she would walk through fire for me!

    I still feel like geldings are more affectionate, though...and I do miss having a gelding around, but I do love my mare-mare.;) As for the heat cycle..she can be a rude pig..but I've never been one for putting up with bad behavior. I'm only 5'3", and I could never deal with a rude beast..I'd get killed.

  11. After being 'gelding gal' for decades, I now have my first mare. She is an open book! Love it. No one can pull the wool over her eyes! Not for people, who want a horse on 'auto-pilot'. I really appreciate her wits, charm, and opinions. :-)