Should a Beginner Rider Buy a Stallion, Gelding, or Mare?

Horse and rider

Shopping for a new horse as a beginner rider is an exciting time. There are many things to consider before purchasing your first horse, including breed, use, temperament, and age. You also may wonder, should you buy a gelding, a stallion, or a mare?

The most important thing to remember is that, like people, horses are individuals. Each horse has its own temperament and personality. Bear that in mind because as a beginner you will want to choose a horse with a reliable temperament. Many factors play a role in the decision to buy a horse, but the horse’s sex will likely not be a major one.

Sex Hormones and Horses

As with all mammals, sex hormones may play a role in a horse’s temperament and behavior. Stallions (intact, non-gelded male horses) may have their behavior influenced by their hormones, especially if there is a mare nearby. It is typically advised that stallions be avoided for beginner riders.

It is important to remember that biological sex alone does not determine a horse’s behavior. Beginner riders in the market for a new horse should make sure they spend adequate time with any prospective mount and evaluate the individual horse’s behavior.


In general, stallions may not be the best choice for beginner riders. Of course, there are always exceptions to this. Stallions typically require an experienced handler and may be unpredictable in some situations.

The environment that the horse will be in should be taken into consideration. If the prospective owner wishes to show or trail ride with their horse, necessitating being near many other horses, a stallion may present difficulties. This is especially true if there may be mares present.

For most riders or owners just starting out on their own, buying a stallion may not be the best idea. Horses are large and unpredictable and improper handling of a stallion could lead to injury for both the owner and the horse.


Mares are female horses. Unlike dogs and cats, it is rare to spay (perform an ovariohysterectomy) on a female horse. Mares can make excellent first horses for a beginner. As with all horses, the individual’s temperament and behavior must be taken into consideration.

In the event that a stallion is nearby, a mare could have a behavior change, but this is typically seen more on the part of the stallion as opposed to the mare. Undesirable behavior from a mare is due to their individual temperament and not their biological sex.

Discouraging horse riders from purchasing a mare simply because it is a mare is inaccurate. In fact, mares make excellent mounts for beginners, and any prejudice against mares is typically due to the perpetuation of myths and misunderstandings.


A gelding is a male horse that has been castrated. The majority of male horses are castrated when they are young, and some horse owners prefer to ride and purchase geldings. Again, this belief is typically misguided and rooted in myth.

For a beginner rider, purchasing a gelding is as good of a choice as purchasing a mare. Regardless of the horse’s biological sex, the most essential thing for beginner owners to evaluate is the prospective horse’s individual temperament.

Final Thoughts

When shopping for a first-time horse, beginner riders should look for a healthy, well-behaved mount that can perform the tasks required of them. Age, breed, health status, and temperament are all incredibly important factors to consider. Though a stallion may not be the best choice for a
beginner, a horse’s biological sex should be of little importance when making a decision.