Thursday, August 27, 2015

Gender in the Horse Show Arena


Instead of talking about how I'm super bummed that our schooling show this weekend got canceled, let's talk seriously about gender and horse shows. 

Everyone knows that equestrian events are the only international sport in which all human genders compete side-by-side on equal footing.

It's what's under them that I find fascinating. 

HORSES. Stop being pervs. 

Anyways. 

being a good gelding
I've always thought geldings got the short end of the competitive stick, metaphorically speaking. I mean, let's face it: they never ever get to know what all that junk is for, but they still have to pack it around. Oh, and everyone's all:

"You can't beat a good mare"

"There's something missing from geldings"

"Geldings are reproductive dead ends"

And some people even argue in favor of stallions. I know I did in my stall-cleaning days. Those buggers are freakin' TIDY. 

I mean, I maintain that people tell themselves lies about mares to make up for the misery of owning them, but I realize I'll get some hate for that. I have no interest in owning a stallion for any reason, and I think most ammys are there with me. I feel like geldings get run down for not being "brilliant enough", 

Then the other day, I listened to a mare owner (the poor, deluded soul) explain to another how her brilliant creature needed special riding and care because of her giant opinion, all I could think was:

photo via internet
VALEGRO.

Thank you, Blueberry, for striking a blow for gender equality, common sense, and brilliance. 



45 comments:

  1. I have a mare and a gelding. I prefer geldings all the way. Typically more level headed and less hormonal. I deal better with a horse that's calm and more willing to do a job. If they're mood swinging the whole time I get frustrated.

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  2. I also have no desire to own a stallion, but I am most definitely a gelding person. I have ridden my share of mares, and don't really find their "mare-ness" to be appealing. I know there is a stereotype surrounding chestnut mares, and in my personal experience, I have found that to be true. I am and will forever be a gelding person, regardless if some people don't think they're "brilliant enough."

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  3. I had a mare for a while, and she definitely was a man's horse. She wouldn't give me the time of day, but she took care of my husband like he was her special baby. Beotch.

    I've ridden stallions, and if you're on one with manners, you wouldn't know they're studs. HOWEVER, you do have to be constantly vigilant about what's going on around you, and you MUST keep their attention focused on you. Your gelding probably won't care (much) if a mare passes you 3 feet away on the inside... I guarantee the stallion will at least notice. And sometimes other horse owners are completely oblivious. It's annoying as hell.

    Yep, I'll take my adorable, Yes Ma'am geldings any day of the week. And to those who say they're not brilliant enough... let me introduce you to my Haflinger, who can probably beat your second grader at getting the gate open. Not sure if that's actually a good thing though...

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  4. I agree - I prefer geldings too. As an ex-owner of a mare, I don't think I'll go back to riding mares unless I find one that really, really gets along with me.

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  5. I have both, but I think they are confused as my gelding is way more moody than my mare!

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  6. I have had mares and loved them but .... man I love my gelding!

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  7. Robin is a chestnut mare, and she's crazy special, but a lot of that stems from being raised like a puppy by a 12 year old girl (me...). I take the blame for that one. Paige shows heat like no one's business, but is the easiest creature to get along with ever. As far as mares go, she's amazing. Copper is my only gelding, so technically he's supposed to be easiest but he has tried me the most. ;) I don't really look at gender much with horses. I do wish Copper were a mare because he'd be my best broodmare prospect. haha. Oh well.

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  8. I think I own the most mare-ish gelding on the planet. He's got opinions, man. Lots of them. Each horse is such an individual, I don't think you can really pigeonhole them too much. Although I have NO interest in owning a stallion. Too much worry and work!

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  9. Love me some geldings. Pretty sure Valegro is a unicorn though, not a gelding ;)

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  10. Then you get my gelding, who is basically an opinionated boss mare. Fml.

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  11. While I definitely think it's important to judge horses as individuals, I've found that typically geldings are a little bit easier to get along with, especially for us Adult Ammies.

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  12. I love geldings so much, it'd have to be a pretty freakishly amazing laid back mare for me to want to buy her. I don't like the moodiness or the sensitivity that a lot of them show. BUT there is a mare one of my clients owns who I absolutely adore. She's like the least mare-ish mare ever though.

    I rode a stallion for a couple of years, he wasn't too studdy (all he'd do is nicker seductively at gray ponies and sometimes saddle racks) and I just adored him. Honestly though, his personality wasn't very different from the geldings I knew/know.

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  13. Sara @ agemofahorseAugust 27, 2015 at 9:39 AM

    I love my mare and will most likely always have a mare. I do look over at my husband on his gelding at times and wonder why I do this to myself. Oh well. There is something special about winning over the heart of a mare that gets me every time.

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  14. huh i never knew Valegro was a gelding! (never actually thought much about it one way or another). honestly gender doesn't really play much of a role in my thought process. i've always kinda assumed i'll end up with a gelding, but in the meantime i've had some really rewarding partnerships with mares. and my current lease mare is the epitome of ammy-friendly uncomplicated FUN riding (call me deluded if you like :D !! lol)

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  15. The craziest horse I have ever owned was a gelding. He didn't even have the hormones excuse for his whackadoo unpredictability.

    One of the reasons why so many upper level horses are geldings is also because when traveling internationally, their quarantine times are significantly less than that of an animal that could potentially be bred. :)

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    1. Also, I always thought I'd be a gelding person. Crazy Gelding was not my first nor only gelding. But boy do I love my two mares now. Can't complain there at all! :)

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  16. I have a gelding right now that I'm training for a friend - first gelding I've ever handled. Always owned mares and only ever handled mares or stallions, until recently. Yeah, this boy is sweet and loveable and maybe a bit more level-headed (hard to tell, he's only 3), but goodness, do I adore my girls.
    They are moody and crazy and have opinions, but I seriously wouldn't have it any other way. I can't even explain why. But I'm a mare person - ALL the way :)

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  17. What Saiph said.

    Don't forget to factor in the human working with the horse. ;D

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  18. I haven't ridden LOTS of mares, but all of them have been pretty nice (except for Gina, who is a giant bitch). That said, I much prefer geldings. They seem more level headed, more eager to please, and more pleasant to be around. You're absolutely right that they get dinged for being 'less brilliant', but that's unfair and unfounded.

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  19. I prefer geldings. Mares are so messy and bitchy. Before I got a mule, I would do classifieds searches for geldings only. To get a mule, I had to take whatever I could get and ended up with a mare again, but it was not by choice.

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  20. I love mares. I'm one of the few, I guess, but I've always had mares and the relationships I've had with them have just been so special. I had one princess prissy bitchy mare and then Lucy is so laid back she's probably more gelding-like (despite being my chestnut mare). I've ridden two geldings consistently, but I've just never been able to click with one the same way.

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  21. This is such a good post. I have no bias between the Geldings and Mares and honestly don't have that much experience with Stallions. But I guess that's like people too.

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  22. I am still laughing at your mare quotes. As for the gender thing, I've never really payed any attention to that I guess. I got all excited because a mare won Rolex this year, but that is because I have four and I am brainwashed by them.

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  23. I dunno, as an agent I have a very hard time selling mares. Everyone wants a gelding. Maybe that's just where I live. I know a few excellent mares sitting around while lesser geldings sell. So I suppose I'm not seeing the anti-gelding attitude anywhere?

    I adore mares. Mo is pretty mare-ish for a gelding by most definitions of mare-ish (OPINIONATED TO THE MAX). I've had two chestnut thoroughbred mares and they were the two sweetest, most lovely, chillest, ammy-friendly horses in the world and I miss them every day. Sugar is a sassy-pants but she's also a pony and I think she's hilarious.

    I used to ride a stallion. He was awesome. A kid could ride him. But he couldn't stay sound so he was gelded and retired.

    You know me. I don't always dig gender stereotypes.

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  24. I didn't realize Valegro was a gelding. I assumed he was a stallion! I did some research:He failed the stallion grading test so he was gelded.

    Bet those examiners are kicking themselves in the pants.

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    1. Those pants prolly have no asses left. Whoops!

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    2. He FAILED the stallion grading test!? Seriously, what do those horses have to be in order to pass that, goddamn Pegasus or something?

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  25. My gelding was cut really late - he still thinks he's a big bad stud. Sometimes I contemplate setting him free in the woods - But he's so used to being pampered he probably wouldn't leave! Give me a moody mare any day!

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  26. So much yes to this post! There are only 3 mares out of about 25 horses in my current barn and the BM keeps saying she's never going to let another one in. Geldings for life!

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  27. I certainly won't go looking for a mare. I'd rather have an affectionate, cool-headed gelding. So many bad experiences with mares. I think I'm bit**y enough for two, I need a horse to balance it out. ;)
    Also the discipline I plan on doing involves lots of 2/3-day competition and many people in that sport have stallions. I personally want to be able to rock up and stable my horse without drama.

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  28. "I maintain that people tell themselves lies about mares to make up for the misery of owning them"

    Ahhahahaha yes, yes this.

    I think mares are for people who have some screws loose. Like me, because apparently having a nice sensible gelding is really just too boring. I mean, what would I DO if my horses actually behaved all the time and did everything they were supposed to do?

    I will admit though, a good stallion beats everything else. Even mares.

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  29. I've only owned geldings (one being a complete neurotic mess), and while the second gelding was an absolute angel, the horse I clicked most with was a 4 year old chestnut TB mare!
    She was a shithead for some people, but it really came down to their anxiety or nerves. Weird, because I am a very anxious person, so I thought for sure we would be a mess.
    Nope. She never put a hoof wrong, and she was so polite!
    So, I guess I'm straddling the fence between geldings and mares. They both have wonderful characteristics.

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  30. All of the mares I have owned have been completely moody bitches. No thanks. I have yet to find the "try hard" that everyone keeps mentioning and loving so much.

    Geldings, all day, everyday.

    I dont need a foal anyways.

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  31. There's a lot to be said for having the same (or at least a similar..) horse come out of the paddock every day. I'll take the "how can I help you"" attitude every day. My daughter's mare is BRILLIANT, but I don't want to ride her...

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  32. Stereotypes are always a fail. The chestnut OTTB mare I ride? Calmest thing around. I have no qualms about getting on her bareback in a halter after weeks off and popping her over some jumps.
    My bay non-marked gelding on the other hand? I wouldn't put my foot in the stirrup unless there is a OhS#^T strap on him. Hide joh kids, hide joh wife, he's craaaaazy!

    That being said, I used to be a gelding person....until I got the ride on one of my mares (opinionated, definitely mareish, slutty even, but when she trusted you...wow). Now you have to pry mares out of my hands with a crowbar.

    Don't get me wrong, I won't turn a great horse down just cos it's a gelding. A great horse is great no matter its height, age, colour or gender. But if I had a choice? Mare. No question.

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  33. I own a mare who is totally levelheaded, always calm, and comes out to work every. single. day. She is always the same Arwen and the most consistent horse I know.
    My gelding, on the other hand, is an oversensitive lunatic who some days can be bombproof and other days spooks at the sound of his own farts.
    Honestly, I don't really have a preference between mares and geldings. Like everyone else, I'm wary of stallions; that said, the day you really connect with a stallion you get to a relationship that is just on another level.

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  34. Except for the one saintly school horse type mare we had at my university, every other mare I've ridden has been crazy to some degree. So not worth dealing with. Except that in spite of everything I do love the mare I ride currently (who could probably win a prize for being the craziest, anything new i try with her becomes this big knock down drag out fight until finally she does what I asked in the first place with no fuss) and if her current owners ever need to sell her she will be going to no one but me.

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  35. Pedantic person who can't help being pedantic: two events are gender-blind -- equestrian & sailing. How very random (dad raced sailboats). Both heinously expensive, falling off sucks, & crazy people do it no matter what the weather?

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    1. I knew there was one other and it involved boats, but I kept thinking rowing, which is divided on gender lines. Thanks for the clarification!

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  36. I'm on the stallion team. The extra rules suck, the constant vigilance sucks, and so does Spring and hormones and general but I have never had a bond closer than with the stallions I have worked with closely. When they use that extra spitfire for good, it's a pretty awesome thing!

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  37. Except my mare is the best. lol

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