Give Me a Mare

I’ve seen it happen for years: people turning down the perfect horse because it happens to be a mare.

These riders and owners say they won’t consider buying a mare because of stereotypes that come with them: their mood changes, heat cycles, and their ability to hold grudges.

But I truly believe that there’s something special about a good mare. They give their whole heart, and if you’re respectful of them, they’ll always be there for you. They don’t back down from a challenge, and they’re gritty enough to get the job done. 

I’ve always had a soft spot for mares, and my current mare is no different. She’s everything I look for in a horse, and I’m excited to see where our journey takes us. Photo by Alexander Moon.

A Great Start

It’s too early to tell what my horse’s show career will look like, as she’s still in the beginning stages of training. But I can already tell you she’s everything I could want in a horse. 

She’s brave. I can take her into an outdoor arena that’s next to a busy road—and regional airport—and know that she’s not going to care about the motorcycle that goes flying by, or the noisy jet that’s flying over top of us. 

She’s trusting. My boarding barn has riders of all skill sets and disciplines sharing an arena. With fewer than 60 days under saddle, she lets me weave in and out of traffic, and isn’t concerned with what other horses are doing in the arena. 

She’s kind. It’s no surprise she’s built up a fan club with all the kids who ride at the barn. She has a soft eye, and always has her ears forward. She’s happy to see everyone and is the first horse to stick her head out of her stall door to give love to anyone who walks by her. 

She’s consistent. Each time I bring her into the arena, I know exactly what kind of horse I’m going to get. She gives me 100% during every ride, even when I’m asking her to do things she’s never done before. 

What Makes a Show Horse

A wise trainer once told me that the best show horses are not the ones that are the most athletic, but the ones that have the most drive to do the things you ask them to do—and are happy doing them! I’ve been fortunate enough to own several mares that shared those traits, and my current mare is no different. She’s focused, she’s driven, and she continues to surprise me every day. 

I’ve never had the opportunity to own a horse from the start of their riding career, and I wasn’t sure what to expect in this journey—especially being a non-pro who is essentially doing it all herself. But this mare has made me realize that I can do it, and she’ll willingly be there every step of the way (even if she doesn’t fully understand what I’m asking of her.) 

So, give me a mare, because I know they’ll help me conquer my dreams and challenge me to reach goals I never thought were possible. 

[More from Nichole: Finding Keira]

In This Issue 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the size of this quarter’s magazine. Global supply-chain issues are affecting every aspect of business, and now the paper industry is no longer an exception. We print our magazines at one of the largest printers in the world, and the company’s supply of paper comes from Finland—where a strike in the paper mills has caused global paper shortages. 

So, this quarter, you might notice our magazine is smaller than we’d like it to be because it’s printed on every last sheet of paper available to us. We maintain all hope that our magazine will return to its normal size by next month when we send out a very special issue to make up for this shortage.

However, this issue is still full of all the content you know and love! In “Sorry Horse! It’s Not You, It’s Me,” we help you troubleshoot five common riding issues, and show you what fitness exercises and horsemanship exercises you can do to improve your riding ability. Then on page 56, Assistant Editor Jillian Sinclair talks with six experts who provide information on different youth riding teams that are available so you can decide if joining one is right for your child. 

Plus, we help you get a head start on spring cleaning by showing you some of our favorite ways to organize a feed room, offer tips on how to prepare for fly season (before it even starts), and go over springtime vaccinations to help you get ready for spring riding season.