Source ANCCE | Text and Photos: Lily Forado
Stallions or geldings are no longer the preference. Mares are beginning to take over the show. Together with their feminine charm, their talent unfolds in competition arenas with excellent results.
There have been many Purebred Spanish Horses that have earned recognition at international events, but Evento, Flamenco, Distinguido, Oleaje and Invasor reached the top of world rankings at the Olympic Games, World Equestrian Games and European Championships. Years later, Fuego de Cardenas, Impaciente II, G-Nidium, Norte Lovera and Grandioso III followed in their footsteps.
History shows that very rarely do you see Purebred Spanish mares at the top of the competition podium, in Grand Prix. Recently, the mare Joya FS established a turning point in SICAB history books, as she became the Absolute Champion (2020 ANCCE Cup Final in Grand Prix).
Her results are behind the current debate about mares. It is a 3-way debate: stallion vs. gelding vs. mare; that is the question humming through Dressage conversations. Whatever the option, it is a decision that completes the shopping list when looking for a horse, and it is obvious that very few top-notch riders sit in the saddle of a mare. Undoubtedly, mares are a polarizing gender and suppositions about their willingness have led many to avoid training them. Nevertheless, there are a growing number of riders who have laid their stakes on mares.
It is evident that a mare’s main reason for being is to foal a new generation. However, when it comes to sports, and more specifically Olympic Dressage, this discipline sparks growing interest in proving the excellence of mares for sports.
Many have debated and questioned the aptitude of mares for sport at the elite level. In terms of statistics, the participation of mares is very low, and the list is extremely limited, but those that appear are very significant and qualitative. At SICAB 2020, the percentage of mares cantering in the Dressage arena reached 12%. Their ridability is something that enhances the breed and emphasizes breed quality. Support is not a need, but rather something obvious. Of the eleven mares competing at SICAB 2020, five stood on the Champion’s podium (45%).
Very few breeders are committed to competing with their mares, but when they do, it is a sure, steadfast win. Joya FS, bred and owned by Yeguada Arroyomonte, is a clear example. The list of competition mares, independently of the season, include Cantora de Indalo, Jara FS, Corsaria CAD, Trigueña IX, Luz FS, LC Ordenanta, Bastis de Trujillo, Diamond Pearl EV IT, Carla de Pereto, Zalacaina JAS, Agora Yet, Alba CB and Suerte de Susaeta, among others.
Their feminine paces are full of poetry as they add color to the arena, while their rhythmic movements transform equestrian ballet into elegant dancing. The feminine charm they show in the arena is unique.
Specific investment and selection of mares is necessary and important for the breed. Purebred Spanish Horses have that special something that makes you fall in love with them; it is all complemented by their noble personality. Purebred Spanish Horses, whether a stallion, gelding, or mare is brilliant and shines in their own light in the arena no matter their gender.
As prestigious Alvaro Domecq once stated: “A Spanish horse is, today, appreciated for its beauty, contained strength, beautiful movements, noble spirit, and its intelligence. It is a horse that when it has an intelligent rider is able to attain the highest levels in Dressage.”