Mares - Everything They Say is True

* Apologies on the radio silence - it's been a journey, as this post will outline.

We all know the stereotypes about Mares - they are more complicated, opinionated, and finicky than their castrated male counterparts. In the past, even when I worked with mares, I never found that to be the case. I would go about my daily rides and care with both genders, and not really notice much of a difference between the two, even in grooming positions where daily care was part of the routine. So when I bought Callie, the fact that she was a Mare factored into my decision, well, not at all.

Fast Forward to today, and even though I know it takes longer than you expect to really figure out a new horse and establish a true partnership, I fully believe in the Mare stereotypes.

First off, I've learned that a mare in heat can be an entirely different mare (please, save the "duhs" and eye-rolls). When Callie first arrived in February, and when I tried her in January, her lady parts were shut down for the season. But now? Everything is, "Hello Boys, we're open for business!" She cries when her 23 year old boyfriend Parome isn't within eye or ear shot. She pees - everywhere. She requires washing of her lady parts and a slathering of Desitin on the delicate, sensitive pink skin between her legs. She is distracted by anything and everything moving that MIGHT be a boy horse, especially when I'm trying to ride her. This happens for 5 days, every 15 days.

Second off, I've learned that a mare doesn't like being told what to do - you need to make her think that it's HER idea to go forward, or stop, or anything else. I've also learned that what she wants to do wildly changes in any given moment. She can be soft and lovely to one jump, charge at the next, and then be so lazy she practically trips over a trot jump. In that order. She can fall in on her right shoulder - but ONLY at one end of the ring. She can run through your half halt, and then practically stop dead as soon as you give with your hand.

Third and finally, and most importantly, I've learned that a mare is an amazing creature. She tries her heart out no matter what I ask of her. She's extremely loving, and she has absolutely the best brain. She's always game, for a flat, for a jump, or for a walk in the field. She loves loves loves being brushed, especially on her face, where she'll close her eyes in pleasure and lean into your hand. The same qualities that make her complicated also make her amazing, and never ever boring. She demands the best of me, whether it be on the ground, in the saddle, or in her management routine - but she always gives her best back in return. When she rushes a jump, or leans in, I know it's because of something I am doing or asking incorrectly, and not something in her. And while I've also ridden geldings that were great, there's something slightly difference about a mare, because you get the sense that they don't HAVE to do all of these things for you - they CHOOSE to.

Because of all of this, I am confident that once everything falls into place and "clicks," she is going to be the best equine partner I've ever had.

Do you have a mare in your life? Have you in the past? What about mares do you particularly love (or hate)? Leave your remarks in the comments!

My Mare and Me


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