Hunting mares can be capricious and even downright difficult but Tessa Waugh says they can also be your horse of a lifetime
People are very rarely lukewarm when it comes to an opinion on hunting mares. The naysayers condemn them as complicated, high-maintenance and slaves to their hormones, while those in the pro camp can spend days praising their bravery and intelligence. “You cannot beat a good mare,” they say but in the same sentence often caution “there are many bad ones”.
On the hunting field it can go either way. A hunter of many years put it in a nutshell when he described the sport as “patience and perseverance peppered by moments of high excitement”. This contrast can blow a horse’s brain, flicking a switch that sends them into freak-mode or triggering another that says, “this is what I was born to do, and I will do it so well that you will never ask me to do anything else again”. Find that mode with a mare and you are in horse-of-a-lifetime territory.
“Peggy was pure Irish draught with a bottom that you could play cards on”
This was certainly the case for Tocky McKie when she bought an eight-year-old chestnut mare called Peggy. Tocky and her husband…