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"Delaware State Fair - 2012" by Lee Cannon is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Every girl deserves a spa day to celebrate the beauty of simply being female and to restore her mind, body, and soul from at least a few of the pains of our gender like being in heat, pregnancy, and giving birth. In the equine realm, mares are often alphas in herds without a stallion, but many riders prefer the calmer demeanors of geldings. When two of my mares retired from racing and then breeding, I brought them to the farm where I live for their final retirements. That was a very happy chapter in our lives, and it was at that time that we started our spa days. 

Every horse in the barn gets a bath almost daily in summer, but the retired mares and I made a special day of it. Neither one was being ridden, so grooming provided our restorative time, woman and mare. I am fortunate enough to have had them both for their entire lives, so we know each other well. In their racing careers, Minnie ran on heart, and Little E ran on a competitive nature and a strong will to be first. Those personality traits remained constants throughout their lives, even on spa days.. 

As I hosed them down and lathered their dark bay bodies with soap, I thought about all they have done in their lives. Scrubbing hard to remove itches and dirt from powerful muscles in their legs and hips, I thought about the days when I went to watch them breeze early in the morning, so fast, strong, elegant, athletic in preparation for the thrill of race days. Working my way to their udders and bellies, I marveled at all the foals they carried and brought into the world followed by months of watching them keenly and putting up with their crazy foal behaviours. And now, retired, older, achy, they stand strong and proud of the mares they have been and now are. 

A few weeks ago I watched Midnight Bisou win the Fleur de Lis by several lengths. What a thrill to see an amazing mare dominate such an illustrious field. She is definitely my pick for the Breeder’s Cup at Keeneland this November. My mares were never so illustrious, but I always love to see a mare in the spotlight as mine always were for me from track to nursery, to our soapy spa days. You go, girls!

Katharine MacCornack
Published on 2020-07-15