Saturday, January 19, 2008

I Love Mares

Mares get a bad rap. I hear a lot of people complaining about them. I didn’t intend to buy a mare myself because I’d been warned that they were moody and difficult. In my search for a gentle gelding, I ran into Silk - definitely not a gelding, stuck in a box stall for ten years, abused by a man, and still full of spirit and intelligence. I wanted to set her free. I started dreaming about her. She was so beautiful, and despite the history of cruelty by humans, she was willing to do as I asked when I rode her. She could read my mind. I’d think about trotting or turning and before I even had time to let her know what I wanted, she’d be doing it.

Yes, mares “cycle” like all women do. Silk gets irritable when she’s “in season”, just like two-legged females have PMS. Her intuition is sharply tuned. Her mothering instinct is very strong. She doesn’t like to be pushed around, so she’ll fight back. She is keenly observant, loyal and gentle, especially when dealing with children and old people. Silk likes to have a good time. If you can believe that a horse can have a sense of humor, she’s got one.

One day, when I was grooming her, I realized that she and I were remarkably alike. You can take her mane and my hair and mix them together and they are the exactly the same color. She is my four-legged sister. I’m proud to be a woman, and I identify with all the feminine characteristics of my horse. Now, as I help her daughter, Siete, grow up, I appreciate mares even more. Sometimes, she’s like her mother, but her own personality is so strong. Siete is very comfortable being with people, affectionate and sweet. She reminds me of my daughter, of course.

I’m so glad I didn’t find that gentle gelding.


Suzanne said...

I just found your blog and I LOVE it! Your posts remind me SO much of myself and my own journey of understanding through my 30 years of horse ownership.

Please keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Horses are like balm for my soul.
After being involved in a serious
automobile accident they gave me
inspiration to try and physically
overcome many handicaps. I had not
been on a horse for close to 30
years. But I found myself drawn
back to them for the comfort I
needed while healing. Your
photos are great & thank you for
sharing them.

KellyAnn said...

I just looked at your blog. It is fun. I wondered if you are interested at in in Missouri Fox Trotters? My family breeds them. The website is You will have to check it out.

Gecko said...

I have to agree here 100%! I have 3 horses, 2 are mares. One is my sweet old mare whom I grew up on, and the other is a fairly new girl of 11 years. I find a LOT of the time, that our moods match (as spooky as that is). The old girl, if she gets piggy, because I'm female I find I can understand.
I think (to some degree) that it's the males in the horse community whom like to think mares in general are piggy and difficult, perhaps because they don't understand female's in general?

Trée said...

Victoria, the love you have for your horses shows in your writing. I think they are as lucky to have you as you them.

Rising Rainbow said...

I love mares too. I love everything about them including their moods.

I have a bad habit of collecting them. I've had no problem (well not much of a problem) selling the male horses here, but somehow I haven't sold a single filly or mare. I don't think it's because I can't, more like I won't! Even though I know I should if I want to keep breeding.

Callie said...

I am totally with you on the mares. I LOVE my mares. I feel a kindred sisterhood with my girls. Geldings take advantage of me and push me around, no matter how firm I am. My girls are angels.

Victoria Cummings said...

Thanks to all the women who commented - I'm so glad you agree because I talk to a lot of women who don't. I agree with you, Mikael, selling any horse would be hard for me, but a filly - no way!
Tree - Glad you stopped by- You get what you give, right? How are the Kawais?

billie said...

I love my mare and my geldings too - but it's true, they are different, and the mare is attuned to me (and everyone, actually) in a much more potent way.

If she hears children down our little road calling for their mother, she goes to the fence line nearest them and stands, ears pricked, until they are taken care of. The geldings will look up and listen for a moment, but they go back to grazing quickly.

She is incredibly attuned to my moods and feelings. If I'm in the barn mucking stalls and they're all out in the field, she will often come up and check on me, and if I'm feeling down about something she'll stay right there, keeping me company. (in fairness, I have to say my gelding does this too, but he has a more self-centered approach to it, LOL!)

I'd never owned a mare until this one, and it's easy for me to understand now that some horsepeople only want mares. They offer a level of connection that truly does seem to be telepathic.

I'm especially intrigued that you own Silk and her daughter. What an opportunity to experience a multi-generational equine connection! It must be fascinating to see how Siete is similar to and also different from Silk as she grows and learns. Thanks for sharing it so we can all get that experience, vicariously.

Trée said...

Victoria, leading by example, last time I checked. I think I'd like to share some snoot with Rog and listen a bit more to the lessons of the ranch. ;-)

Antonis said...

Very nice horses you have there!!!

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say how much I enjoy your blog. I have never had a horse although I have always wanted one. I love the stories and pictures of yours.

Tanakwagu said...

i like horse but. never ride

detroit dog said...

I don't have horses, but reading this post reminds me of my girldog, a greyhound that died last year at age 14. The first four years of her life were spent at the track, in a crate, and handled by men. When I adopted her, she was afraid of men for months. She was the sweetest! Very intuitive. Everything that you describe about your mares.

Growing up, we could never have female dogs because, my mom said, they are "more vicious" than males.

We females sometimes get a "bad rep".

Thanks for the post.

Grey Horse Matters said...

mares certainly do present a different set of challenges, but they also have so much to offer!

though much that is said about their sensitive, temperamental natures may be true, those who claim mares are simply 'difficult' and dismiss them haven't taken the time and effort to truly understand and appreciate them. the fault is with the human, not the horse. we call ourselves horsemen, so if we then fail to understand mares or to find common ground with them, whose fault can it be but our own?

mares do require a certain patience and sympathy from us. and they don't just ask for our respect; they demand it. taking the time to develop an understanding with a mare is challenging, but it can also be very rewarding.

their intelligence, their sensitivity and their maternal instincts make them unique and special partners. they can teach us about patience, sympathy and humility, and help to make all of us better horsemen, if only we take the time to appreciate them.

jodi said...

Here's where we definitely differ, Victoria; I wouldn't have a mare in my barn (Jenny, being a donkey from Mars, doesn't count.) The first horse our family had was a mare, and she was dandy, and I've certainly ridden plenty of mares that I like just fine. One of my former instructors used to swear chestnut mares were the worst (calling their behaviour Chestnut Mare Syndrome, which seemed remarkably like PMS).

But I like geldings, and they can be fireballs even without the hormones, that's for sure. I also used to ride a stallion that was a living terror to any man who tried to mount him--and I rode him bareback and used him to help roundup cattle on a friend's farm.

My suspicion is that I prefer geldings like I prefer neutered male cats, male dogs (not necessarily neutered!), and all my closest friends are men too. Maybe that's all because I have no brothers, and always wanted an older one! I'm sure a psych major would have a 'hay'day with this! :-)

DaBeiSyin said...

Wow.. I am so glad that you rescued Silk, she sounds like a really good friend.

Lisa said...

wonderful blog of note!
I don't own a horse but my daughter took lessons... we love horses.

ColoradoCowboy said...

Mares do get a bad rap. I'll admit,I own geldings, but I've had the pleasure of riding many mares.

I strongly believe that sex doesn't matter, everyone has their horse out there. Its almost like a human soul mate. And you've found yours.

Ellen Nicholson Walker said...

I love mares, too. I've had horses for over 40 years now, and most of them have been mares, and most of those were just as kind, generous and willing when they were in heat as when they weren't. I believe the bad reputation of mares is 95% a myth that has been passed on by tradition. When a gelding has a bad day, people look for problems with his saddle, bit, rider, or health. When a mare has a bad day, people shrug it off and say, "It's because she's a mare."

Katy said...

Your mare sounds like a great horse, congradulations!

Robbi Nace said...

I agree that mares just seem to "click" I run three horses in Pennsylvania High School Rodeo and other various rodeo events, 2 of them are mares and the other is a gelding (who actually acts like a mare...) and I wouldn't trade those horses for the world! People often pink at my horses, about their bad moods, but really, that is it what makes mares MORE loveable!
Thank you for defending mares!

Robbi Nace
2008 Miss Pennsylvania High School Rodeo Queen

RunAwayPony said...

My mare sort of fell into my lap and is often mistaken for a gelding because she's so even tempered. I've never seen her get cranky with other horses or humans. I think I got blessed with very kind soul, and the more I get to know her the more I see characteristics of myself in her. My next horse will probably be a mare. :)
I found your blog by chance and will add it to my favorites. Good for you for taking in an overused show horse. The poor things deserve good homes and I'm very glad you were able to give her one.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I have a deeper bond with my oldest mare, because she and I are experiencing some of the same mid-life changes in our bodies, like random cysts popping up all over the place. I just posted a poem that is a bit of a tribute to mares on my blog:

I'm enjoying your writing.

Gypsy at Heart said...

I loved the part about your hair and her mane being the same color and you calling her your four legged sister. Your love for Silk and Siete is very touching to read about Victoria. It is also a tribute to the beauty and insight of your writing that I, who have only called a few fish and one turtle 'pets' throughout my life, keep coming back for more and more of your animal related wisdom. I swear you make me wish I had my own farm. And if you knew me a little, you would have some idea of how insane sounding this statement is coming from someone like me. My love to the girls. You've made this total stranger care for them.

Victoria Cummings said...

Thanks so much to all of you for your wonderful comments. There are certainly days when I wonder how can I afford these horses and why do I have them. Feeling your appreciation for them and for what I write makes me realize that those two red mares are indeed precious gifts.

Ginger said...

I also just discovered your blog. We have three horses - all mares - and love our "girls." When I say "the girls," people have to ask me "which ones?" because I refer to my two daughters as "the girls," our horses as "the girls," and our three standard poodles as "the girls." :^) We're full of moody and hormonal here - and like it that way!

Actually, our mares are so much easier to work with and better tempered than ALL the geldings at the barn where they are stabled. We are there daily and our horsey girls are gentle and sweet.

(Okay, Lady wasn't sweet when she got her nasal vaccination today, but otherwise she's a love.)

forskyla said...

Mares will always have a special place in my heart. I as well have only had the pleasure of having mares. I find that there is always something new every single day with them. I figured that a gelding would rarely bring that excitement to my days. I love that they have attitude as I do. Never mean, never angry, but attitude. The "Don't do it like that, I'll show you how to do it right." kind of way. My first pony had such deep mothering insticts. She raised me through my teenage years and is still with me today. I have her picture ironed onto a pillow right here next to me on my futon. Though I do not own horses today, only a small dog, I have not forgotten her. RIP Bay.

Anonymous said...

Mares are great, I love mine, they don't deserve the bad press.

Dusty Creek Ranch said...

I have 15 horses, 2 are stallions, 2 are geldings. And I love all of my babies.... but my girls are my GIRLS! They all have their own personalities and cycles and I can't imagine a single day without them in my life. But then again, I love roller coasters and with 11 mares, life has it's ups and downs!

Anonymous said...

We have nothing but mare and fillies on our property. We had one colt, a minature no less. Totally sweet guy and loved humans. Problem was, he loved the mares too, maybe a bit too much and we were just not set up for his constant breaking into the mares' fields. The mares wanted nothing to do with him. So for his own safety, we moved him to another farm.

Great blog. I will come back often.

Jessica said...

Not too long ago, I wrote a post about how much I love my mare, (see Lena. At the time, we still just had her and I was almost positive we'd get a second mare. We didn't, as it turns out, but our TB gelding is almost as much fun and Lena is totally in love.

I just found your blog and love what you have to say about life and horses and the soul-saving combination of the two. Well, three if you count dirt.

I also fell (twice) recently, so I think I'll check out your links in that post as well. :-)

Keep up the great writing!

deb said...

Hi, I just started blogging, and saw your blog> I have and always will love horses> The love and comfort from horses is like no other, thanx for sharing yours>