Friday, May 10, 2013

It's a Girl!

I haven't owned a mare since I had my very first horse, and in the 15 years since I sold her I've actually never had the opportunity to really get to know another mare at all (with the exception of the small amount of work we did with Cal when we leased her for Brian a few years ago). There is a definite prejudice against mares in the horse world, and most people who want a sane, quiet horse will choose a gelding.

I wouldn't say I'm anti-mare at all, it's just when we've been horse shopping the last several times our favorite horses have been geldings. My first mare was an incredible horse. She babysat me and took care of me in a way I completely did not appreciate at the time.

Brian and I decided a few weeks ago that we'd like to get a 4th horse for the summer. Our plan is to pick up something a bit rough around the edges, ride it a ton and find it a new home in the fall. If things go as planned, we can hopefully take a horse with an uncertain future and give it a chance at getting comfortable with basic work under saddle and into a better situation when it leaves our hands. Of course there is some risk involved, both for us and the horse. But we're not trying to make a profit or accomplish anything specific, just learn a lot and teach another horse a few things. We put an ad on Craiglist, outlining our requirements for said horse, including our price.

We got a huge response. We've spent the whole week driving around Iowa checking out different horses. The only sad thing is you meet all these horses with problems, and people who don't know how to help them, and you wish you could work with them all.

We saw horses that barge into your space, horses that buck like mad when asked to move with a saddle on, horses that don't know how to yield to pressure, and horses that are quiet and accepting but have no try and no feel. We rode a few, and met a couple I would not even consider throwing a leg over without months of groundwork beforehand. When we sat down last night to make a decision, the two front-runners were mares.

It was a hard choice. We liked them both, but ultimately one had quite a few more problems and it was less certain how much we'd be able to help in just a few months. We didn't want to run out of time and find ourselves in a position of having to sell her when she still didn't know enough to go on and be successful with her next owners.

So, a few minutes ago, we made an offer on a bray roan mare (via text message -- that was a first for me), and it was accepted. She'll be arriving at our barn tomorrow afternoon. She is 7 years old, and she's been started English. She's small and cute and sweet, but overall pretty tense with certain things. She has a good work ethic though, and she's been in regular riding the last couple of months. Her main issue under saddle is a tendency to get super forward and unbalanced because she does not engage her haunch. She also requires constant rating of her speed. In my experience this is a really common problem among horses that have been ridden with contact since the very beginning.

She pretty nice to be around when she's not being ridden, although her body language during tacking and grooming is defensive, and she has a tendency to shy from the saddle pad.

If we hadn't bought her, she'd be on her way to the sale barn tomorrow morning.

So, it's going to be an interesting summer. She's very different from our other three, which is what we wanted.



    I am so excited to see your progress with her! What exciting (and slightly crazy!!) news!

  2. I like her. Of course I am fond of bays and really like a nice bay roan (minimal white, too!) and I am a mare gal. We have 4 mares and 1 gelding. With that said, if I were shopping for a horse, my preference would be a mare but if I found an exceptional gelding, I wouldn't pass on him. I have found mares to be bolder and less buddy sour, but it could just be the mares I know. Our Butter (mare) is very barn sour right now but mostly due to lack of riding.

    Is she registered? How is she bred?

    Have fun! Can't wait to follow your progress.

  3. Thanks Louisa! We think she's cute too. And yeah, definitely a slightly nutty summer experiment. :)

    Tammy: She is registered, though there is nothing particularly noteworthy about her breeding. I included a photo of her registration in my latest post. I'm really looking forward to working with a mare again. I know a number of people who prefer mares to geldings in spite of the prevailing prejudice, and I'm interested to see what kind of differences we see.


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