Should a Starter, Buy a Stallion, Mare or Foal?
To understand first you need to know what’s the difference between a Stallion, Mare, Colt, Filly and Pony?
A young male horse that has not been gelded (neutered). For Thoroughbred, a colt is under four years of age, in most other breeds and contexts, a colt is under three years of age. Sometimes used incorrectly to refer to any young horse.
A young female horse. Normally a horse under four years of age, but can also be used of a horse under three years of age. Any female horse that has had a foal is referred to as a mare, regardless of her age.
A young horse of either sex under the age of one year.
A mature female horse, usually four years of age or older. Also denotes any female horse that has given birth, regardless of her age.
A mature, uncastrated male horse, usually four years old and older, although sometimes refers to a horse three years of age or older. Other terms include entire, stud, stud horse, full, full horse, stone horse, stock horse, or bull.
Biologically, may be used to define small horses that retain a pony phenotype of relatively short height heavy coat, thick mane and tail, proportionally short legs, and heavy build regardless of actual mature height.
Now coming to the actual question, what is good for a starter ?
When starting out, you want to choose a horse with a reliable temperament; hormones like testosterone are highly linked to aggression, which is why most beginner riders are advised to steer clear of stallions. Mares and Filly’s are usually calmer, but there are always exceptions.
Here are some things to take into account when choosing which type of horse is right for you.
In general, stallions don’t make good beginner horses. High-end riding stables might put a beginner on a stallion under close supervision. Stallions can be too self-interested and can become hazardous in the hands of someone who doesn’t understand how to handle them. For most riders or owners just starting out on their own, buying a stallion could be a disastrous move, even if the idea of owning a stallion seems romantic. Some experienced riders and owners refuse to have a stallion because even the most well-behaved, well-trained ones can become temperamental and, without proper handling, dangerous.
While mares are less aggressive than stallions, they can have their difficult moments as well. During their heat cycles, mares can sometimes get “moody” or temperamental. This may be most obvious in the spring, during the natural breeding season. During this time, some mares are very “hormonal” and will have their minds on something other than their rider or handler. Mares can cycle at any time of year, and the accompanying moodiness may also appear to a greater or lesser degree.
Not all mares are difficult to handle during this time. A lot will depend on their training and basic temperament. If a once well-behaved mare becomes unusually moody, she may be suffering from cystic ovaries, or other health issues, which require the attention of a veterinarian. Moodiness aside, many mares make great beginner horses. Although their heat cycles can be inconvenient, it’s rarely dangerous, especially if there is no stallion around.
COLTS OR FILLY
For a beginner rider, there is a slight bias in favor of Colt or Filly. The reason for this is that they tend to have fewer mood swings than mares because they have no heat cycles. Depending on the horse’s training, temperament, a young horse may or may not be the best choice.