For years, I’ve been a self-proclaimed anti-mare person. Not that all mares are bad, or that mares aren’t right for other people, but I always felt like mares just weren’t for me. Something about them is just different from geldings, who I’ve always found to be generally amicable and eager to please.
I’ve ridden some excellent mares for sure: there was Sadie, my pleasant and safe Quarter Horse who toted me around my very first events.
|1997 Cedar Hills Pony Club Horse Trial.
No idea what my tack choices are about.
And there was Silk Pajamas, or PJ, who was perhaps the best horse I have ever ridden my life. She belonged to my high school English teacher; she’d packed my teacher’s son around dressage, eventing, and show jumping competitions, played polo for a little while, and came out of retirement at age 25 when I was between reliable mounts.
|2002 Pony Club Eventing Rally @ KY Horse Park.
This horse is 25 in this photo!
I rode a couple of mares when I played polo: BC (short for Big Chestnut) and Bubblegum, two little Argentinian Thoroughbreds who were fast and fun.
Of course, at the therapeutic riding center, we had all kinds of mares. There was Star, the lovely palomino western pleasure horse who had the smoothest trot and best manners of any horse there. Crystal, the elderly powerhouse of Quarter Horse who liked to relive her barrel racing days. Kloe, the dainty bay roan with a sweet personality and endless patience with her challenged riders.
And then there is my mare, Gina.
Haughty, imperious Gina who has been a thorn in my side almost from the day I bought her three years ago. Gina, who is capable of great things, but only if you ask politely and only if she feel like indulging you. Gina, who is beautiful and fancy, but who will just as soon bite you as snuffle curiously for a treat. Gina, my potential eventer, who for so long did not jump.
It’s no secret that Moe is my favorite of the two. His sweet face, his hardworking and forgiving attitude, his bravery, his endless trust in me: all of these things make him perfect to me. Moe and I have been a team for a very long time, which would probably make him the favorite even if all other things were equal.
But over the last few months, I have found myself riding Gina more and more. Some days when I go to the barn, I only ride her, while Moe gets his favorite granola bars and another dousing of fly spray.
And Gina has started to win me over. Something in our dynamic has changed. Maybe I’m riding better. Maybe Gina’s come to the conclusion I won’t do anything excessively mean or stupid to her. But Gina’s working harder and being more consistent. I am enjoying riding her again, because she is talented and well-trained. I don’t want to pee my pants every time I point her toward a jump. Slowly but surely, she and I are becoming a team.
Will we ever be as close as Moe and I? Probably not. Will I ever buy another mare again? Hard to say, but unlikely. But maybe I’m a little more of a mare person than I used to be.