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Mares: The Fairer? Sex?

It is well known that a prejudice exists in the showjumping world against mares and it is not without some cause. Mares can be harder to ride, more highly strung and sensitive, and much more likely to accept suggestions rather than demands from a rider. While it is true that mares do not suit all riders, and few beginners, riders aiming at higher levels should not overlook them. That renowned sensitivity for which mares are famous can be channeled into carefulness with training and trust. With a rider who is equally sensitive and can form a true working partnership with a mare the results can be nothing short of amazing.
A quick glance at the record book confirms this at once. America’s two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, “Sapphire,” is a good case in point. Ridden by Mclain Ward she is a study in consistency, winning all over the world including last year’s Pfizer Million, the richest Grand Prix in the US. “Touch of Class” and rider Joe Fargis achieved the ultimate showjumping success winning both team and individual gold medals at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. “Kitty” as she was known to her fans had three strikes against her: she was a mare, she was small and she was hot. Yet, in the hands of Fargis, a master of American forward riding, she took on the world and made it look easy. At the 1992 Games in Barcelona the Dutch team were Gold medalists and four years later in Atlanta the Germans were victorious. What these teams had in common was a bay mare named “Ratina Z” who has the unique record of being an Olympic Gold Medalist with two riders, Piet Raymakers and Ludger Beerbaum.
Of course, no conversation about mares could be complete without mention of “Halla” who was the longtime mount of Hans Gunter Winkler. She is, to date, the only three-time Olympic Gold Medalist. She was quite sensitive, high strung and “marish” in every way. She was also, in the minds of many knowledgeable showjumping aficionados, the best horse in history!


  Tammy wrote @

SO TRUE….I hate when people say the Mith about Chestnut Mares….It Drives me crazy…:) A Horse is a Horse and theres not one the same. I love the heart and courage of a mare. If they are hard, sometimes it is for a reason and they all have good and bad days. Also if you can work with that instead of against just imaging the amazing animal you can get. Not every horse is a match for every humans personality..If it was it would be a boring sport and also Not fun nor challenging and SO REWARDING when you accomplish what you have been working so hard at and More up a level…:).Remember its what you put in to them is what you will get out of them….:) Just a little of my thoughts. 🙂 …TAMMY CREEL

  halfpass wrote @

Although a dressage rider this post caame up timely to my own experiences with my 2 mares. Never thought i would do well with them!!! And here I am with an FEI Svhoolmistress and a coming 9 yr.old about to do Prix St. Georges. I agree that mares, especially young sensistive ones, are not reaally suited to the beginner or less confident rider. I have owned my younger mare since she was a yearling and it was quite full of setbacks….she didn’t tolererate less than perfect riding and I am definitely less than talented as well someone who took the sport up late in life. I am not “mare material.”

But i really belived in the horse and I made it my business to get help and training for me. Finally, 8 years later, I actually think she often prefers me as I really respect her sensitivity, intelligence and alpha personality. Both mares are gifts from the gods as far as I’m concerned!!!

  Alice Alley wrote @

As the proud owner of two very nice 2 year old fillies, I think you for this blog topic. One if these fillies is especially bred for jumping. Am I allowed to toot my own horn on your blog?

  wexfordshowjumping wrote @

of course

  Nan Martin wrote @

I love my mare Roxie! She is fun, easy, and totally focused in her work. Heart of gold. I wish I had her when I was a kid! Trails, shows, steeplechase, you name it she will do it! All heart at the age of 15! 🙂

  Patricia wrote @

I am a fan of mares for hi performance work. this article pulled together some great stats all in one place, and a reminder not to stereotype!

  laura simpson wrote @

i counted 5 chestnut mares out of a total of 17 horses on the place saturday. also bay mare, gray mare and a paint mare.

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