I had just fed my horses, turned them out, and was preparing to leave. Pony usually always waits with me for Stu to finish eating. Stu is the biggest horse, has the biggest ration, and makes the biggest mess. He always takes the longest. Pony is the smallest, eats a handful of pity grain, and is very tidy. He finishes is a few minutes, slowly and politely eating his meger meal. Once he’s done, he stands with me, and I scratch him.
On occasion, I’ll let Stu out and Pony will slide right on into his stall to finish off Stu’s mess. I have wondered if that’s the real reason Pony hangs around with me after eating. The mess Stu leaves likely seems like a feast compared to Pony’s usual meal.
On this day, I let Stu out, and he cosied right up to me and the lingering Pony. Pony has a history of picking on Stu (defying all logic really) so I didn’t want to be in between the two of them. But Pony didn’t move, and kept his little head leaning on my arm. Stu put his head against my other arm. We all stood together, and my heart melted. I don’t feed them treats, so my geldings just wanted to hang out with me for the sake of it (and probably a few scratches). I always thought Pony was a one of a kind in his puppy like behavior, but now I have two of them that act like it, so I’m now thinking it’s just a gelding thing. (Or potentially a german warmblood thing, since they are like distant cousins or something)
As I stood there with my two cuddly geldings, it was impossible not to compare them to my two mares. They were approximately 100 feet away, grazing, and had given me only the briefest of a muzzle bump acknowledgement (Berry) or a mere glance before wandering away (Vintage).
I’ve always described Vintage as a professional. She’s serious about her work, puts effort into everything she does, and doesn’t care for being pampered. She’ll accept grooming and scratches, occasionally even enjoying it, but she’s not going to lower herself to begging for it. She’ll take the scratches to make humans feel better about themselves, not because she enjoys it.
Berry is more of a comedian, doing goofy things for laughs, but still, not a cuddler. She is not a fan of being groomed, she’ll take being a filthy wreck over having a brush run over her.
I’ve never really cared about mare vs gelding, a good horse is a good horse. But if I was choosing between two equal horses, my preference was always the mare. I blame this a lot on Vintage. I like her personality, and her “spirit”. She made our adventures so much fun. She was there, present for the moment, instead of just doing it because I wanted to do it. She geniunely seemed to enjoy it.
With Berry, although she was not even close to being like Vintage, her goofiness and kind nature won me other. She had so many aspects to her personality. It was then cemented in my head, mares were rich with their own personalities, and geldings I compared to my first horse and only gelding, Clay. A good soul, but kind of a robot.
Then I got Pony. He was spunky and hilarious, and loved human interaction. He’d coming running to me or my husband in the field. He grew up with me, so I assumed I had something to do with the way he developed. He was more like our pet.
Then I got Stu. I would have prefered him a filly, but for the breeding I wanted, I didn’t have the option. He technically grew up with me too, I brought him home younger than when Pony was and he’s been here over a year now. He follows me around in the field. He wants scratches. He’s too big to be a pet like Pony, but he tries.
They are both fun to be with. And they want to be with me. It’s nice to feel wanted and appreciated.
I don’t want to sterotype mares or geldings since they all have their own individual personalities. But with my small sample size of two mares vs two geldings it seems apparent that geldings are more like puppies, and in a good way. I can feel that perference needle being nudged over to the gelding side of the compass. But I’ll withhold complete judgement until Stu is under saddle.
Are you a mare person or a gelding person? Or a chaotic neutral?