I ride a mare.
That saying was being posted on facebook a couple weeks ago by numerous horse people and every time it made my news feed, it made me smile. Truer words have never been spoken.
There is another horse saying I believe in, "Stallions are from Mars, Mares are from Venus, and Geldings are From Heaven." I'm not saying that my gelding is perfect, he's far from it and has all sorts of behavior issues of his own. But he's very honest in his bad behavior - you always know what to expect with John. I've worked with a few stallions over the years too, starting with Tory, the stallion I took lessons on when I was 12. A stallion that knows the difference between his jobs (working and breeding), can be a really fun horse. Plus the testosterone gives him an extra edge on the performance side.
Sometimes I wonder how I ended up with mares. Looking back at my history of horse ownership, the majority of my horses have been mares. I've had some absolutely terrible rides on Secret this winter, which is why the facebook saying keeps making me smile. To be fair, they weren't terrible, I didn't fall off, no one was injured; she was just obstinate; and acting scared to death of things she's walked by a hundred times. The frustrating part for me is that her "fear" changed from ride to ride. Mounting up, I never knew which horse I was going to be riding.
One day in early December we rode our standard loop of the farm. She stopped and needed coaxing at so many places. I swear she grew roots a couple of times and was turning into a statue. At the end of the loop, I decided I couldn't let her get away with that so jumped off and led her around the loop a second time. You know how much time she wasted standing still staring at things? It only took me half as much time to lead her around the loop than it did to ride it.
Yup, you don't scare me, I ride a mare.
This is Secret on one of our wilder rides in October. It wasn't windy that day - she was just tossing her head and her rump around that much. Deciding to take pictures may not have been advisable, but since nothing bad happened...
Here's the thing though - as much as riding a mare can completely frustrate me, I have learned more from the challenging mares I have worked with over the years than the compliant geldings. Channeling that energy (the good, the bad and the ugly) is an art.