Are some disciplines more amenable towards mares than others?

Despite everyone agreeing that the mare is a vital part of the equation when breeding top class competition horses mares remain in a minority at competitions.

The one major discipline in which mares are as popular as male horses is show jumping. Figures show that, in Britain, there are two mares show jumping for every one competing in dressage and eventing.

However, mares are becoming more popular in the dressage world with Emile Faurie and Richard Davison both having mares progressing through the grades.

Endurance is nearly as pro-mares as the show jumping world, with the Thoroughbred I’m Pollyanna and the Spanish Arab Bella Joya selected for the FEI endurance championships in Italy last year.

In addition to mares competing successfully at top level senior show jumping competition, the top placings in the BSJA’s 128, 138 and 148 rankings are held by ‘girls’, including the multi-gold medal winning Colton Maelstrom.

More mare statistics

  • Only three mares have won Badminton: Emily Little in 1952, Bambi in 1954 and the last to win was at Little Badmintonin 1960, Peggoty, ridden by Captain Martin Whitely
  • Only seven mares featured in the top 100 event horses of 2001 – four of them were chesnut
  • Just three of the 52 starters in the grand prix at last year’s European dressage championships were mares
  • 10 mares feature in the latest top 100 WBFSH dressage ranking, while 24 are in the show jumping rankings
  • Endurance riders appear almost as open-minded as show jumpers. Of the 1,422 horses registered with EGB, 608 are mares (42.8%)
  • Venetia was the last mare to win an individual medal in dressage at the Olympic Games. This was at Munich in 1972 with Joseph Neckermann, who also rode Antoinette to gain team gold in Tokyo in 1964
  • The BSJA has 17,704 horses registered, of which 8,955 are mares (50.5%). BD has 6,867 horses registered and 1,786 mares (26%) and BE has 7,552 horses registered and 2,049 mares (27%)
  • Just 15% of entries at this year’s national dressage championships were mares, with few competing at advanced level and none in grand prix
  • International drivers seem less tolerant of mares than any other discipline. Just eight of the 114 horses were mares in last year’s European event in Aachen. Hungarian driver Jozsef Bozsik was third place with his flamboyant team of Hungarian Lippizaners, which included stallions and mares
  • Jane Holderness Roddam, chairman of British Eventing, wis the only person to have produced a mother, Ebony Green, and daughter, Balingreen, to complete Badminton and Burghley on several occasions

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