Gender Guide For Horse Newbies: Mare, Stallion, Gelding & More!

For those new to the world of horses, understanding the different genders can be a daunting task. Identifying a mare from a stallion or a gelding from a foal can be a challenge, especially for those without prior experience.

That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help horse newbies navigate the confusing world of horse genders.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about horse genders, from the basic terminology and characteristics of mares, stallions, and geldings, to the importance of identifying horses in a herd.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a firm grasp on the different types of horses and be able to identify them with ease. Whether you’re a first-time horse owner or just starting to learn about these magnificent animals, this guide is the perfect place to start.

So, let’s dive in and learn about the world of horse genders.

Female Horses

The female horse, symbolized by the mare, broodmare, dam, and filly, is a crucial member of the horse herd. Mare breeding is a significant aspect of horse breeding.

A broodmare is a female horse used for breeding, and a dam is a horse’s mother. The mare’s reproductive system is unique, as they have a gestation period of approximately 11 months. They usually give birth to a single foal, but twins are rare.

Female horses have a significant role in some cultures where mare milk is used as a dairy product. The milk is rich in nutrients and is consumed by humans in many countries, especially in Central Asia.

Mares are also known for their better behavior than male horses. They are more relaxed and make better herd leaders. Mare herds are known to have a more peaceful and stable social structure than stallion herds.

Fillies, immature female horses, are driven away from the herd once they reach maturity, while broodmares continue to breed until they are too old to do so.

Male Horses

Male horses with testicles are called stallions, while those that have been castrated are referred to as geldings. Stallions are often sought after for breeding purposes due to their ability to sire foals. However, handling stallions can be difficult as they are more aggressive and can be unpredictable compared to geldings. They require experienced handlers who are able to establish trust and respect with the animal.

Stallions also have a strong natural instinct to mate and can be easily distracted by mares in heat, which can make them difficult to handle. Breeding stallions require careful management and attention. They need to be in top physical condition and undergo regular health checks to ensure their reproductive health is optimal.

Stallions also need to be trained for breeding, which involves teaching them to mount a mare and ejaculate. This process can be time-consuming and requires patience and expertise. In addition, breeding stallions require a controlled environment to minimize the risk of injury to themselves and the mare.

Overall, stallions can be a valuable asset to horse breeding programs, but require specialized care and handling.

Identifying Horses

Identifying the sex of a horse can be determined by the presence or absence of certain physical characteristics such as the presence of a penis or vulva, and the presence or absence of testicles. Female horses have a vulva and teats, while male horses have a penis and testicles. Stallions have fully developed testicles while geldings have been castrated and do not have any testicles.

Identifying a cryptorchid horse, which is a male horse with undescended or partially descended testicles, requires a thorough veterinary examination.

It is important to accurately identify the sex of a horse for breeding and general management purposes. Breeding a stallion with a mare can result in a foal, while keeping a stallion with a group of mares can result in aggressive behavior and potential injury to both the stallion and the mares. Geldings are often preferred for riding and work because they are typically calmer and easier to handle than stallions.

Identifying a cryptorchid horse is important because they may have fertility issues and may also be at risk for developing testicular cancer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average lifespan of a horse?

The equine aging process is a complex one, with horse longevity varying depending on factors such as breed, health, and diet. On average, a horse can live anywhere from 25 to 30 years.

How do you train a horse to ride?

Training techniques and equipment selection are crucial when teaching a horse to ride. Techniques include positive reinforcement, desensitization, and consistent repetition. Equipment such as saddles, bridles, and bits should be properly fitted and appropriate for the horse’s level of training.

What is the difference between a horse and a pony?

The difference between a horse and a pony lies in their size, with ponies being under 14.2 hands when full grown. Breeds of both species are available, with horses generally being better for riding and tasks requiring strength, while ponies are easier to care for and better suited for children or small adults. Benefits of owning a horse include their versatility and athleticism, while ponies require less space and maintenance.

How do you know if a horse is healthy?

Ironically, determining a horse’s health doesn’t involve consulting its gender. Signs of a healthy horse include a shiny coat, clear eyes, and strong hooves. Prevention, diagnosis, nutrition, exercise, grooming, and vaccination are key to maintaining equine health.

What are some common health problems in horses and how can they be prevented?

Equine nutrition and parasite prevention are two important aspects of maintaining horse health. Common health problems include colic, lameness, and respiratory issues. Preventative measures such as regular veterinary check-ups, proper nutrition, and parasite control can help mitigate these issues.


I have owned over 50 horses and currently own a small horse farm with 8 horses. I have competed on and off for over 25 years while doing mostly trail riding and cow sorting these days. I write these articles to help anyone out there if you love this article pin it to your Pinterest or Share on other social media platform. Thanks for visiting.

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