Mares vs Geldings – which do you pick?
Some people swear that mares are the best and some swear that geldings are better. Some people say mares are moody and cranky, and some people say geldings don’t have personality. Which side of the fence do you sit on?
I’ve owned many mares and geldings of many breeds, and I have also trained many different mares and geldings of many breeds. I have had a lot of experience of both and these are some of the things I have learned about them:
- They are usually more likely to kick at a horse coming up behind them (like when trail riding if a horse behind them follows too closely)
- They can have times of the year when they don’t like having their belly or other areas touched (especially in early spring when heat cycles are starting again)
- They are less likely to become super dominant to the point of becoming aggressively protective of other horses in the herd.
- Are more likely to become protective of another horse (especially a mare) in the herd
- Are more likely to be the most aggressive in a herd… although sometimes they fool you because they let their ‘girlfriend’ take their food and act like a princess
- Are more likely to have gas
- Usually are super docile and don’t care about getting too close to other horses, or can be very dominant and aggressive towards other horses that aren’t part of their herd
One of the most important things I learnt about both mares and geldings is that they are not the same. There are lots of mares that don’t act like a ‘typical’ mare and many geldings that don’t act like a typical gelding.
Both mares and geldings can perform and do well. Both can be potential Olympic mounts, both can be safe for trail riding, and both have the potential to be your perfect partner.
When deciding if you are going to choose a mare or gelding, I would recommend you forget if it’s a mare or gelding (unless you want to breed!), and instead focus on the horse you are buying – the training, temperament, experience, etc.
The biggest determining factor if a mare or gelding will be right for you has nothing to do with you at all – where your horse is going to live is a bigger concern. Introducing a gelding to an all mares paddock can cause dominance issues and introducing a mare into a bunch of geldings could start fights, so it is important to think about where you are going to keep your horse and if there is room to juggle herd mates if they don’t get along.