Study: Stallions, Geldings Have Slight Edge Over Mares in Eventing

Stallions and geldings outperformed mares in one-day and three-day events across several levels in the U.K. However, differences were “slight” and performance was equal across sexes at one level.
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Stallions and geldings outperformed mares in one-day and three-day events across several levels in the U.K. However, differences were “slight” and performance was equal across sexes at one level. | Photo: Erica Larson/The Horse

If there’s a battle of the (equine) sexes in horse sport, males might be edging ahead. At least, that appears to be the case in eventing, results from a recent British study suggest.

Stallions and geldings outperformed mares in one-day and three-day events across several levels in the U.K., said Katherine Hanousek, a veterinary student under the leadership of Ali Fouladi-Naschta, DVM, MSc, PhD, FHEA, of the Royal Veterinary College’s Hawkshead Campus, in London. However, differences were “slight” and, at one level, performance was equal across the sexes.

“There may be an advantage to considering geldings and stallions over mares for eventing,” Hanousek said. “However, there are countless other factors which contribute to the success of the horse which are likely to be far more important. The difference (in our study) was proven to be significant, but it’s important to remember the numbers are very slight

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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