Mare, Stallion or Gelding: What’s Best?

“The rider asks the mare, orders the gelding, and consults the stallion” – as an old saying goes. But this definition is not that easy to apply when you are looking for a new horse. Rather, the individual character plays a major role, but it is well known – and thank God – not to be transferred to the genders of the horses. Nevertheless, we take a closer look at the phenomena of mare, stallion, and gelding. Nevertheless, some gender-specific differences can be clearly identified. What is exciting is the observation that the more naturally horses are kept, the more the gender-specific “special effects” can be recognized.

The Mare – the Breath of a Diva …

Mares are considered to be “bitchy” among horse enthusiasts – but of course, there are also exceptions here compared to their male counterparts. Well, this verb is probably assigned to many female representatives – so this is not entirely unknown to us humans either … Horse connoisseurs usually only look horses in the face to recognize that it is a mare. The look, the eyes, the female facial expression of the mare usually already reveal the gender.

If we hike further down the head, we end up at the mare’s neck, which is slimmer compared to a stallion and a gelding. If the mare gets into a rage, there is no fighting, as male representatives do, but a typical squeak can be heard. Mares push away from each other and, if they are kept in a herd, have one or the other argument more quickly. So if you want to keep several horses, choose the number of mares so that everyone can live together stress-free and relaxed, as constant discussions among each other increase the stress level. Mares usually want a greater individual distance from one another. They also show different playing behavior. They usually don’t let off steam as geldings do among themselves. The game behavior looks “more well-mannered”.

Well, there is a little diva in every mare. They also like to show that in training. Mares like to mix in and often use their pretty heads and check carefully whether this exercise makes sense and whether today is the right day for this exercise. If you feel good, communication runs smoothly and if “everything is paletti”, you will notice that your mare is also fully involved in you and the exercise. You must also not forget the cycle – this can lead to fluctuations in your behavior.

The Stallion – Really “Dominant”?

Stallions can usually be recognized from a distance by their large necks and lush mane – beautiful to look at. Stallions have the male hormones that make them what they are: male! This also includes the willingness to show more aggressive behavior or stronger sexual behavior. This is what nature wants. Due to this hormonal balance, a stallion is not a threat to others, Mother Nature had a good plan here too. Because of their courage – due to the support of the hormones – they can protect the herd. If it comes to a serious argument, this is done in a strongly ritualized manner with imposing and fighting behavior, which protects the stallion from injuries. When dealing with humans, the stallion likes to test his rider or trainer at one point or another. A kind of check-off, which however does not have an offensive character, but often happens subtly. It’s nice to see that you can correct a stallion through clarity, sovereignty, and consistency. An answer that a stallion can handle very well and that he’ll probably expect if he’s supposed to trust you. With pressure and violence, you only feel counterviolence from your horse. So if your stallion has a little check, the first step is to ask yourself how you were in the situation yourself. Maybe then it is enough to adjust your mood and the exercise will work.

The Gelding – Somewhere in Between?

Geldings are castrated stallions. The production site of (most) male sex hormones will be withdrawn. However, the point in time at which a stallion is castrated (“laid”) and thus becomes a gelding is often decisive. If he lives as a stallion for a long time, he shows the behavior of a stallion learned up to then, as well as physical characteristics later more than a stallion that was laid earlier. Geldings are often described as nice, the relaxed pole of a herd, so to speak. Geldings also like to play – and that into old age. The training is also a lot of fun, as they are said to be easy to handle.

Of course, these are only points of orientation and as mentioned at the beginning, the horse is not only influenced by its gender, but also by its behavior. When choosing a horse, it makes sense to find out its previous life story and to compare it with your own needs. But the personal gut feeling is also very important. Ultimately, that should also play a role in whether the chemistry is right and the motivation is great to want to take responsibility for this individual.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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