Male Or Female Horse: Which Is The Right One For Beginners?

This type of question is commonly asked by beginners who are new to the idea of owning their own horses. People may be conflicted as to which gender they should be getting.

There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to choosing between the two genders, so in this article, we will be identifying whether a male or a female horse suits you!

Male Or Female: Difference Between Sexes

Before digging into the part where we determine which gender is suitable for you, we will be identifying male horses from female horses. Male horses are also referred to as stallions and geldings, the female horses on the other hand are also known as mares.

male or female horse

For those who may not know, the difference between a stallion and a gelding is the latter is a castrated male horse. The reason for this is because it would make the male horse easier to train and it won’t be too difficult for people to manage the horse. Stallions develop behavioral problems due to their testosterone.

An aggressive stallion can be a big problem for other horses and people. Stallions may possibly hurt other horses, and as for people, they will have difficulty in managing them. As they age, managing stallions would be more difficult if not castrated.

Another reason why castration is necessary is for breeders to stop the spread of undesirable traits onto the horse’s offsprings. According to the Unwanted Horse Coalition and the American Horse Council, castration is a practice that would teach breeders to be more responsible in breeding their horses.

Is it Better to Get a Male or Female Horse?

A lot of people who are mainly riders and trainers, prefer to own a gelding compared to a mare. This is due to the fact that those people who have been working with horses for years have claimed that mares tend to have undesirable traits, whereas geldings don’t. This has become a stereotype when it comes to owning and training horses where people prefer a male horse over a female horse.

There’s a negative effect in terms of prejudice against female horses. Due to the fact that most people see mares as moody and bossy creatures, their welfare will be put at risk. How so? When mares display these kinds of behavior, it is coupled with punishment in order to correct them.

Mares only display less predictable behavior during their heat cycle, so people should avoid having this belief that mares will always be moody regardless of whether they’re in heat or not. Again, the temporary display of unwanted behavior doesn’t speak for their temperament as a whole.

Which Gender Should You Choose?

Deciding on what gender to choose from depends on who’s buying in the first place. People who are interested in purchasing their own horse can be classified under the following groups:

  • Occasional and leisure riders
  • Competitor riders

Usually, beginners who are all new to the horse-riding thing belong to the group of occasional and leisure riders. These are people who ride horses because they are fond of the activity, they love to be around horses, they want to know more about horses, and they want to become better at riding horses even if it’s merely for leisure purposes.

Mares would be the ideal horse for beginners, however, it’s important to take note that mares will exhibit a moody behavior during their heat cycle. Geldings may or may not be recommended for beginners, in order to know if a gelding is suitable for you, make an initiative to know how a gelding is trained and what their temperament is.

Geldings are also known for not having that many mood swings compared to mares which is a good thing, especially for beginners. Lastly, stallions would be the least recommended for beginners as these horses are hard to manage due to their behavioral problems.

12 Reasons Why Female Horses are more Preferable than Male for Beginners

There are several reasons as to why female horses are favored for beginners to own rather than a male horse and here’s why:

Riding

When it comes to riding, both a gelding and mare are great choices. Both share behaviors such as being calm and less aggressive. These behaviors are perfect for beginners. When riding either a mare or a gelding, it’s essential for people to make sure that the horses are trained well and have basic temperament training.

As much as possible, avoid riding stallions, especially if you’re a beginner. Stallions have the tendency to exhibit aggressive behavior and this can be dangerous to humans. So unless you know how to handle stallions and have had experience in training a horse of this caliber, then it’s advised to steer clear from owning one.

Purpose

Horses are used for a wide variety of activities that involve sports, leisure, companionship, transportation, and agricultural purposes. Most often than not, the gender of a horse has something to do with a rider’s preference in a particular activity.

Mares are commonly used for sports like polo, racing, and show-jumping, however, they’re not widely used for dressage and eventing. Surprisingly, mares are also seldomly used for leisure activities because some riders and trainers claim that mares embody undesirable behaviors.

Then there are also some riders who prefer stallions and gelding for racing. This is because male horses are much taller than females so that makes them have longer strides. When it comes to the history of horse races as well, the majority of the horses that win belong to the male gender as opposed to the females.

Speed

Most people agree that stallions are faster than mares because of their physical attributes. Stallions are taller, therefore, they have longer strides compared to mares. Some trainers also state that the high testosterone level in stallions makes them faster as well. However, there has been some debate when it comes to the difference in speed between male and female horses.

Mares have had their fair share of victories in races wherein they have beaten stallions and geldings alike. Not to mention when mares are in heat, they tend to run very fast as well. So the answer would be both horses are equal when it comes to speed. Sometimes both genders tend to be faster than the other, but that will now boil down to how the horses were trained.

Temperament/Aggression

Stallions exhibit behaviors like herding, biting, chasing, and head-posture threats. Stallions are also known to be aggressive due to their testosterone levels. They also start to become more aggressive if they sense a mare in heat. Stallions can also be unpredictable, so owners must always keep an eye out and observe their horses.

Geldings on the other hand are much calmer than stallions and are far more forgiving, especially when being punished. However, there are cases wherein geldings show stallion-like behavior even when castrated. This will most likely happen if the horse is not castrated early on. Furthermore, geldings are big on oral activity, meaning they love to chew on things such as lead rope and rugs.

Mares can be unpredictable as well. These horses undergo a hormonal cycle that will most likely affect how they behave around other horses and people. Mares can be sweet and gentle, and then vice versa.

Physical

A beginner can’t probably tell the difference between a stallion, a gelding, and a mare straight away, however, the easiest way to determine the difference between the three horses will be based on their physical appearance.

Their physical attributes vary depending on their breed, so people can easily search that up. The most obvious difference in the appearance of a stallion, gelding, and a mare would be that a gelding is the only horse that is castrated. Therefore, geldings lack genitalia.

Care

A gelding would probably be the easiest horse to take care of based on its temperament. They are calm and less aggressive compared to a stallion and a mare. Since these horses are castrated, they have lesser testosterone levels, and therefore will not show too much aggression towards other horses and people.

Training

For beginners, geldings would be the easiest horse to train as they are docile and more forgiving. Mares can be quite tricky to train due to their moodiness, especially during hormonal cycles. Stallions are the hardest ones to train due to their aggression. Only experts can handle a horse with such a strong behavior like the stallion.

Price

When it comes to the price, it would mainly depend on the horse’s breed rather than its gender. Typically the price range for a horse would be $1,500 to $3,000. To give an example, an Arabian Horse would cost around $5,000-$10,000.

Friendliness

Regardless of gender, any horse can be friendly towards its owners. It all boils down to how they are raised and trained. An owner must always treat their horses with respect.

Resources:

https://aaep.org/horsehealth/castration-stallion-gelding

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7142782/

https://www.academia.edu/download/41466864/Looking_for_an_Ideal_Horse_Rider_Prefere20160123-13509-1s8189i.pdf

https://www.sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2019/06/24/horses-saddled-with-gender-bias-mares-seen-as-bossy.html