When I started this I had intended to blog weekly, but unfortunately I got sidetracked last week by a health issue that may make that problematic. Please do check back and I’ll try to not go too long between posts.
There is an old horseman’s saying: You can tell a gelding what to do, should ask a mare and must negotiate with a stallion. I think something similar can be said about dealing with people.
A gelding is a male horse that’s been neutered. As such, he’s no longer ruled by his hormones and tends to be more even tempered. Most horses are gelded when they are quite young and often remain “child-like” with a relaxed and playful attitude toward life. Of course, breed and personality influence things too. Some are bred to be hot and excited, such as the thoroughbred, and some are bred to be laid back and cooperative, such as draft horses. But in general, a gelding is easier to deal with.
A mare, on the other hand, is quite influenced by hormones. From early Spring to late Fall, she comes into season about every 21 days unless she is impregnated. For some this is a big deal and they can be unpleasant or irritating to deal with. Most just get a little touchy and distracted. And just like with people, when someone isn’t feeling their best or isn’t attentive, it’s not wise to try to force an issue. Also because of the biological imperative to have babies, mares tend to have a more serious attitude toward life. This means they can get insulted quite easily. That can provoke a sullen shutdown, fearful withdrawal or determined resistance depending on their personality. But their mothering instinct is also a big plus. They want to cooperate and please and most will try their hardest for you if you ask nicely.
Stallions have one purpose in life – to breed and protect their mares and babies. They are the ultimate alpha males. As such they can be quite difficult to live with and that’s why most males are gelded. Given how powerful and determined they are, you don’t want to provoke a fight. It won’t end well. All horses need to be taught to respect and obey humans, and this is vitally important with a stallion. The scent of a mare in season can turn an untrained stud into a dangerous time bomb and be a potent distraction for the well-trained. So, you have to take into account the forces driving them and figure out how to negotiate their cooperation. The results can be spectacular.
Do these descriptions remind you of people you know or characters you are writing about? Who are the happy-go-lucky people in your life? How do you handle the moody characters? Any alpha males that need kid gloves?
Love your analogies, Kate! I love all those character types, but your descriptions give new meaning! I”m going to keep them in mind while I’m writing!