Why Geld A Horse? (TOP 5 Tips)

A male horse is often gelded to make him better-behaved and easier to control. Gelding can also remove lower-quality animals from the gene pool. To allow only the finest animals to breed on, while preserving adequate genetic diversity, only a small percentage of all male horses should remain stallions.

Why May a gelding be the best horse for You?

  • Location: The horse should be vaccinated against diseases he’s likely to encounter where he lives or may be shipped.
  • Lifestyle: Horses that go to shows or other venues where they encounter horses from other barns need protection against diseases that spread horse to horse.
  • Use: Broodmares may need protection against diseases that can cause abortion.

What is the purpose of gelding a horse?

A gelding is a castrated male horse, donkey, or mule. Unless a horse is to be used for breeding purposes, it should be castrated. Gelding can make horses more even-tempered and easier to handle. A stallion who is gelded later in life may retain more aggressive stallion-like behavior.

Do horses run better after being gelded?

Gelding a horse does not increase its maximum potential speed. The genetic makeup of how fast a horse is capable of running can not be changed. When gelding improves a horses speed it is just helping it to get to its maximum speed more quickly by improving its focus.

Is gelding a horse cruel?

Gelding them allows them to be in the general population of the rest of the horses, rather than be secluded for fear of aggression or pregnancy. People choose to geld or not geld for different reasons, but it’s not cruel.

What happens if you don’t geld a horse?

Recent research has shown that delaying castration past one year of age does create a horse that will have longer term stallion-like behavior. If your horse remains a stallion through even one breeding season (Spring time), even if he’s not actually breeding, this will have a long term impact on his behavior.

Are geldings calmer than mares?

When starting out, you want to choose a horse with a reliable temperament; hormones like testosterone are highly linked to aggression, which is why most beginner riders are advised to steer clear of stallions. Mares and geldings are usually calmer, but there are always exceptions.

Why would you geld a racehorse?

Reasons for gelding. A male horse is often gelded to make him better-behaved and easier to control. To allow only the finest animals to breed on, while preserving adequate genetic diversity, only a small percentage of all male horses should remain stallions.

Why do they cut horse’s balls off?

Why are horses castrated? Most male horses are castrated for convenience in order to eliminate or reduce male behaviour such as aggression and uncooperativeness in those horses that are not intended for breeding purposes.

How long does it take a horse to heal after being gelded?

Recovery time varies between idividuals with most animals being completely healed within 2-3 weeks. This surgery is performed on young colts or adult stallions to modify or prevent aggressive “stallion-like” behavior and pregnancy.

How many times can a stallion mate in a day?

When a stallion is used for pasture breeding, we know that a stallion will mate much more than 2 or 3 times per day. Sperm numbers per breeding will thus go down dramatically when multiple mares are in heat on any day.

Can a stallion live with geldings?

It depends on the horses. As long as there are no cycling mares around, they should be ok together. My stallion Skippy lives with 1 gelding and one weaner colt. He has lived with the gelding since he was weaned and I put any colts in with him when weaning time comes.

Can a gelding get a mare pregnant?

‘ Geldings still jump mares and are fairly sexual, just not as intensely as stallions. Since they are castrated, they cannot produce sperm and make a mare pregnant (well, as of about 3–6 weeks after castration).

What does it mean when a guy calls a girl a stallion?

“Uncle, what is a stallion and why that man call me that? That’s something that men say to describe a woman with long legs. Most times, this woman is also thick or ‘ slim thick,’ as we often say in the Black community. We really have our own lingo.

Can you reverse a gelding?

There has historically been quite a mystique about the procedure itself – probably because people are a bit shy to discuss it. As a result, there is sometimes serious confusion – remember, gelding is NOT the same as a vasectomy, and it can’t be reversed…

Are stallions more muscular than geldings?

Of course we all know that there are multitudes of very successful geldings. And in fact while stallions may develop more muscle than geldings, this can just as easily become a hindrance as a help, since excessive muscle can lead to stiffness. More muscle also burns more energy, making stallions more expensive to keep.

Will gelding a stallion calm him down?

Gelding a horse, similarly to spaying or neutering a cat or dog, often helps calm him down and improve his overall temperament.

What is a Gelding and Why are Racehorses Gelded?

Any links on this page that direct you to things on Amazon are affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a compensation. Thank you in advance for your assistance — I much appreciate it! At the time of my original purchase of a Thoroughbred colt, my aim was that he would grow up to become a successful breeding stallion. However, it was advised that he be gelded before he competed in his maiden race. In order to make an informed decision, I decided to investigate gelding to understand more about it.

A gelding is a horse that has been castrated.

Some colts are rowdy or have physical issues that make it difficult for them to train or race before they are gelded.

Let’s take a look at the ideas that support gelding a horse.

Why do Racehorse Trainers advise Gelding a Horse?

The first thing an owner should ask is why the trainer is advocating that the horse be gelded, and then whether or not the trainer can ensure that the issue will be fixed as a result of gelding the animal. I was desperate to get these questions addressed, so I decided to take some steps to find out the answers. The most common reason trainers advise owners to geld their horses is to alter the horse’s demeanor and attitude toward them. A stud colt behaves similarly to an adolescent guy, with hormones coursing through his body, and he is rebellious and difficult to teach.

On the track, the majority of the horses are fillies, or young female horses.

Agelding is simpler to train since he can concentrate on his training without being distracted by hormones coursing through his veins.

The task of getting a horse in running shape when it doesn’t want to be trained is extremely tough.


Stud colts are frequently kept isolated from other horses in order to protect them. The inappropriate conduct of a stud colt creates hazardous situations for the other horses as well as the handlers around him. Ungelded colts will almost always have to be kept away from the rest of the herd. Stallions can also acquire heavy muscling, as well as a large neck, which puts extra weight on their front end and makes them move more slowly. Horses that are gelded early, on the other hand, may be better proportional and grow taller than if they were allowed to mature as a stallion.

Furthermore, a gelding has a longer period of soundness than its stallion counterpart. It’s possible that this is due to their proportionately large size. (See below for a list of notable racehorse Geldings.)

It’s medically necessary to castrate some horses.

Aside from behavioral difficulties, there are situations when a horse has to be gelded for medical reasons. ” Cryptorchid” is a term used to describe the condition in which a horse’s testis fails to descend into his scrotum. Walking and running might become difficult as a result of this illness. After an injury, a horse may be required to rest in his stall for a lengthy amount of time in order to recuperate. It is possible that stud colts will not adapt well to the downtime and will injure themselves much more.

The Gelding Procedure:

Horses are traditionally gelded when they are still young, which can be as early as three months of age in some cases. Horses that are younger tend to recuperate more quickly than older horses. In contrast, castration conducted on a colt too soon might result in difficulties since their testicles have not completely fallen by that time. Furthermore, if you wait until the horse is too old to geld him, he is more likely to retain his stud-like characteristics after being neutered.

Gelding a horse is not a complicated procedure.

Horse gelding does not require any special skills or equipment and may typically be completed at the facility where the horse is housed. However, because to the possibility of difficulties related with castration, it is usually recommended that a veterinarian undertake the treatment. Make sure your horse is in good health before you decide to geld him. Check his immunization records to make sure he is up to date on his shots. It is also a good habit to have your pet undergo a thorough vet examination before the treatment.

According to general practice, the technique is as follows: A sedative is administered to the horse, and he is then lay down on his side to rest.

Afterwards, an incision is created through which the testicles are revealed.

It is sometimes required to apply sutures, however this is not always the case.

Horses recover pretty quickly from a gelding procedure.

The recovery period is between 10 and 20 days. It goes without saying that they will be painful and will have some edema. In rare cases, bleeding will occur as a result of the horse exacerbating the surgical site by knocking off the scab on the surgical site. Keep a watchful eye on your horse in the days following his surgery, and call the veterinarian if there are any difficulties at all. If possible, keep the horse in a stable overnight and send him out in a pasture alone the next day to avoid stressing him.

Following that, he should be able to turn out in a pasture with other horses without any problems. Just remember to check the incision on a daily basis for any signs of heat or edema that spreads into the leg area.

Testosterone levels drop within 48 hours after surgery.

After a little period of recuperation, he should be ready to return to his training with a fresh outlook on things. The decrease in testosterone levels happens rather fast, often within 48 hours of surgery. According on the age at castration, it might take up to six months until all traces of stallion-like behavior have been eliminated. It has been observed that after operation, horses continue to perform in a studdish manner; when this occurs, the horse is referred to as ” pride cut.” Once upon a time, it was believed that a piece of the testicles had been retained within the horse, resulting in the horse’s ability to manufacture testosterone and consequently the continuation of stud behavior.

A growing number of veterinarians believe that the horse’s body has overactive glands, which might be the source of testosterone that results in the “proud-cut”behavior and other symptoms.

Some owners avoid gelding their horses.

The Big Dream is to own a colt that wins great quantities of money, after which he spends his retirement years standing at stud and earning tremendous sums of money. Fusaich Pegasusis the epitome of the route that every stud buyer hopes to take when purchasing a stallion. He is the son of Mr. Prospector, and he won the Kentucky Derby before running only three more times for a total of over two million dollars in earnings. He sold his business for $60 million and went on to pursue a new career as a stud.

  • Over the course of a typical breeding season, he earns around $30 million in stud fees.
  • In reality, the odds of owning a horse like this are minimal to none, as only a small percentage of horses ever go on to become successful studs.
  • Trainers think that, had they been successful in convincing an owner to geld his horse, the animal would have gone on to enjoy a long and fruitful race-horse career.
  • This thought process is known as the “gene pool” idea, which states that only the best of the best should be bred in order to produce better horses while breeding out the weak.

Notable Racehorse Geldings

  • In the past five years, Kelos has been named Horse of the Year. He competed in 63 races, winning 39 of them and earning more than $2 million dollars (this was in the 1960s). He competed in motorsports for eight years. He died when he was 26 years old. Voted the fourth best racehorse in the world on a list of the top 100 racehorses
  • Forego, a three-time Horse of the Year winner, is a stallion of the Forego family. In the Kentucky Derby, he finished in fourth place. He competed in 57 races, winning 34 of them and collecting over $2 million in earnings. He lived to be 27 years old, during which time he fractured his leg and was put to death
  • John Henry is a two-time winner of the Horse of the Year award. Started 83 races and won 39 of them, earning a total of approximately 6.5 million dollars. With his victory in the Arlington Million stakes event, John Henry became the oldest horse to do so. At the age of 32, he passed away. Mine That Bird – who won the Kentucky Derby and placed second in the Preakness Stakes before finishing third in the Belmont Stakes – was ranked number 23 in the top 100 horses of all time. He made 18 career starts and earned a total of $2,228,637. His victory in the Kentucky Derby made him the first gelding to do so since 1929. He then went on to win the Preakness before placing third in the Belmont. Funny Cide competed in 38 races and earned a total of $3,529,412
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Aside from the fact that they were all geldings, all of the horses had lengthy lives and had long racing careers.

The fact that these horses have lived such a long life lends credibility to the argument that geldings have longer, healthier lives.

What Happened to My Horse?

The horses enjoyed lengthy lives and successful racing careers in addition to the fact that they were all geldings. It is supported by the fact that these horses have lived a long and healthy life that geldings do not.

Six geldings have won the Kentucky Derby.

Only six geldings have won the Kentucky Derby, despite the fact that there have been 108 geldings qualified to compete in this important event in the United States. Although geldings may not do well in the Kentucky Derby, they do well in the majority of other events.

Ex-racehorse geldings participate in various equine activities.

A horse who has retired from racing might be trained in other equestrian pursuits such as dressage or jumping. Thoroughbred geldings are frequently utilized in dressage and show jumping competitions. Quarterhorse geldings can be trained to be barrel horses, cutting horses, or trail riding horses, among other things. Quarter horses who have retired from racing are in high demand for use in a variety of equestrian activities. Horses who have been retired from racing are let out on pasture where they can enjoy their life as a horse.

An Explanation of What an Equine Gelding Is

A gelding is a male horse, donkey, or mule that has been castrated. If a horse is not going to be utilized for breeding purposes, it should have its castration performed. Gelding can improve the temperament of horses and make them easier to handle. After being gelded later in life, a stallion’s aggressive stallion-like behavior may continue to manifest itself.

Optimal Age for Gelding a Horse

If a colt is not gelded by the time it reaches the age of one year, it is considered to have descended into the scrotum. Many owners believe that the earlier the colt is weaned, the better, in order to prevent the colt from developing any stallion-like characteristics. Among the physical traits of a stallion include a crested neck, and the hormone testosterone is responsible for the horse’s occasionally violent and domineering behavior, which may be a hazard to other stallions or geldings, as well as anybody who comes into contact with him.

Those who want to put off gelding until later believe that the future gelding will have a more flamboyant physical appearance will benefit from doing so.

Geldings vs. Stallions

A colt may be gelded before the age of one year, or as soon as the testicles descend into the scrotum of the male horse. For many colt owners, it is preferable to start training their colts as soon as possible in order to avoid the colt developing stallion-like characteristics. Among the physical traits of a stallion include a crested neck, and the hormone testosterone is responsible for the horse’s occasionally violent and domineering behavior, which may be a hazard to other stallions or geldings, as well as anybody who comes into contact with it.

Those who choose to put off gelding until later believe that the future gelding will have a more showy physical appearance will benefit from delaying the process.

Gelding Procedure and Care

A colt can be gelded before it is one year old, as soon as the testicles have descended into the scrotum. Many owners believe that the earlier the colt is weaned, the better, in order to avoid the colt developing any stallion-like characteristics. Among the physical traits of a stallion include a crested neck, and the hormone testosterone is responsible for the horse’s occasionally aggressive and domineering behavior, which can be a hazard to other stallions or geldings, as well as to anyone managing the horse.

Geldings are likewise generally uninterested in inmares. Those who choose to put off gelding until later believe that the future gelding will have a more flamboyant physical appearance will be more successful.

Cryptorchidism in Horses

One issue that might arise is the chance of an undescended testicle; horses with this condition are referred to as Rigs or Ridglings, and it is referred to as cryptorchidism in horses, which is a disorder that affects horses. These horses may maintain many stallion-like characteristics, and they must be treated as if they were stallions. The fact that they only have one testicle does not rule out the possibility that they will be somewhat stallion-like. Despite the fact that rigs are not capable of reproducing, the presence of male hormones in the horse makes it inappropriate for novice riders.

Should I geld my colt?

It’s not an easy decision for many horse owners to decide whether or not to geld their colt. Whatever the situation, whether you have nurtured a foal that is now nearing maturity and displaying stallion-like behavior, or if you have bought an older horse that has not been gelded, you may be wondering whether gelding is the best option for you and your horse. What happens if the horse’s “spark” is extinguished? What age do you think he should be? Will it have an impact on his development? What is his contribution?

All of these are legitimate queries, and fortunately, the most of them have rather straightforward solutions!


The procedure of “gelding” a horse refers to the process of castrating a stallion. This is done when the horse is anesthetized in order to prevent him from becoming agitated. Small incisions are created in the scrotum, and the testicles and a portion of the spermatic cord are removed through these incisions. It is a simple surgery that can usually be completed at home with only a local anesthetic with the horse still standing upright. This treatment involves relatively little danger in and of itself for a young, healthy horse with completely descended testicles, and it may, in many situations, be performed very early in the foal’s life.

  • It is critical that newly gelded horses have adequate amounts of movement and that their wounds be kept clean as they recover, which is why gelding should be performed during the drier months of the year rather than the wetter months.
  • The likelihood of complications increases if the horse is cryptorchid (meaning that the testicles have not entirely descended – a “rig”), which will need the use of general anaesthetic.
  • In addition, a cryptorchid may pose a threat to both people and horses that come into touch with him since he may look to be a regular gelding on the outside, but will maintain all of the stallion characteristics on the inside.
  • In addition, it is critical that both testicles are removed during the operation.
  • In addition, older horses are at greater danger from the gelding operation as a result of the buildup of blood arteries that supply the testicles.
  • Horses, on the other hand, can be gelded at any age.

This results in a life that is far less stressful, which is one of the most significant health benefits of gelding, as stress is associated with a wide range of other illnesses. As an added benefit, a gelded horse is less likely to damage itself or other horses.

Behavioural Effects

Each individual stallion has a distinct personality that is distinct from that of any other horse. But in general, as a colt achieves sexual maturity, he will begin to exhibit stallion-like characteristics that will become more and more noticeable. Handling difficulties may be greatly reduced or eliminated entirely with proper training. The reality that stallions must be handled differently than geldings and mares will not be changed by the greatest training, though. A good example is that even the easiest to handle stallion should not be set out with mares unless it is intended for breeding purposes.

  • Mare-stallion clashes are regular, and the prospective vet bill for your stallion will be greater than the cost of gelding your stallion at a young age, which is normally a highly cost-effective treatment.
  • Further behavioural problems may result as a result of this isolation.
  • In addition, a horse who is kept in isolation will be more stressed, increasing the likelihood of health problems developing in the horse over time.
  • It’s true that keeping stallions next to other horses can help to ease some of the loneliness they experience, but it’s not quite the same as the stallion being physically near to other horses in the wild.
  • If you haven’t previously had experience with mature studs, it’s not a smart idea to maintain your colt as a stallion – or to purchase a stallion – if you don’t already have experience with them.


Many horse owners are concerned that gelding may cause their horse to lose his competitive edge. He will no longer have “spark,” and he may not develop correctly as a result. Of course, we are all aware that there are a large number of really successful geldings. While stallions may grow more muscle than geldings, this can just as easily become a handicap as it is a benefit, since excess muscle can cause stiffness in the joints. Having greater muscle also means using more energy, which makes keeping stallions more expensive.

They are also more likely to find excellent homes than stallions when breeding young horses for pleasure.

This is due to the fact that horses also generate testosterone from a gland located near the kidney, and in fact, up to a quarter of geldings maintain stallion qualities after being castrated.

Realistically, with contemporary surgical techniques, castration practically seldom leaves any testicular tissue left.

Geldings continue to act in the same manner as other male horses, except without the anxieties that come with the urge to reproduce. They don’t “lose their luster”; rather, they are careless and uninhibited.

Other Considerations

Some of the other arguments for maintaining stallions are a little more nuanced in nature. Stallions, for example, require far more feed to maintain their weight than geldings or mares, for example. Therefore, their upkeep is somewhat more expensive since they require a little greater quantity of higher-quality food to be produced. Additionally, it is far more difficult to locate a livery yard that would accept stallions, and they are frequently more expensive. Additionally, many individuals are uncomfortable around stallions, making it more difficult to locate someone who is suited to fill in for you during vacations or days when you are ill.

  • Even if he is absolutely under control when you are on the saddle, they may be concerned about what would happen after you get out.
  • Finding someone who is talented and responsible enough may prove to be a difficult task.
  • When riding a gelding or mare, the danger of having a terrible day is far higher than when riding a gelding.
  • The majority of individuals are not in the market for a stallion and will not even contemplate purchasing one.
  • Moreover, in the unfortunate event that something happened to you and your horse wound up at a rescue facility, he would very certainly be put down.


Whatever option you choose, keep in mind that your horse does not know the difference between being a stallion and being a gelding, and vice versa. He is not going to miss his testicles. His life will become more relaxed after this burden is lifted, and he will gradually become less concerned with mares and the upkeep of his “property.” He will be able to socialize and enjoy life as a horse in his newfound freedom. When it comes to stallions in the wild, only a very tiny fraction of them ever produce offspring — competition between males guarantees that only the highest-caliber stallions are successful in maintaining harems of mares and reproducing with them.

  1. Keeping a male horse in its whole is, in the great majority of circumstances, exclusively for the purpose of breeding from him.
  2. However, while many of us may be tempted to breed from our much-loved horses, it’s critical to be objective when evaluating the animal for breeding purposes and to carefully consider the potential costs to you, your horse, and any children of the animal.
  3. Consider whether someone else would be willing to pay a stud fee in order to breed with your colt.
  4. In the event that your colt possesses remarkable sought-after bloodlines, a proven performance record (if he is older), or absolutely excellent conformation – or even better yet, the combination of all three – you may have a strong argument for maintaining him as a breeding prospect.
  5. That in no way diminishes his beautiful and unique qualities.
  6. You may also want to think about the potential hazards associated with breeding.
  7. It’s worth considering whether paying a stud fee to utilize someone else’s stallion would be less expensive in the long run and will pose less hazards for you if you want to start breeding someday in the near future.
  8. In the event that something goes wrong, breeding can not only be highly expensive, but it can also make your stallion more difficult to control since the experience might teach him new and undesirable behaviors.
  9. People or other items may be targeted by the behavior, which can become highly hazardous if not addressed immediately.
  10. Keep studs is a common practice in various regions of the world, especially in the Middle East.
  11. As a result, only a small number of individuals genuinely have the facilities to care for a stallion in good condition, even if they have the financial means and the necessary skills.
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After learning about the biology of gelding and how it does not have a negative impact on the horse’s mental health but can actually have a number of beneficial effects on the horse’s physical and psychological health, we can more easily make the best decision for our horse’s well-being without feeling like we are depriving them of something.

As a result, they are well-prepared to cope with this on a mental level.

Of course, this does not rule out the possibility of owning a stallion.

And there are plenty of stallions that, by their nature, are calm and simple to manage, and who do not exhibit many of the difficulties that are typically associated with stallions.

Nothing more than attempting to make the best decisions for each horse in our life, and having a clear understanding of the potential repercussions of keeping a stallion ungelded will help us make those decisions a little bit better.

When Should I Geld My Colt? — Irongate Equine Clinic

Congratulations on the arrival of your baby colt! If you intend to raise your colt to be a breeding stallion, we recommend that you read our blogs on freezing your stallion’s sperm as well as our sites on Dr. Pat Griffin and his reproductive speciality work to have a better understanding of the process. Continue reading if you’re thinking of parenting a gelding.

What is castration?

Greetings on the arrival of your new horse! If you intend to raise your colt to be a breeding stallion, we recommend that you read our blogs on freezing your stallion’s sperm as well as our sites on Dr. Pat Griffin and his reproductive speciality work to have a better understanding of the procedure. Continue reading if you intend to raise a gelding.

Why should I castrate my colt?

Historically, castration of male horses has been employed to suppress aggressive behavior in the horse population. In the development of a young colt’s attitude and behavior style, the existence of testicles and the production of testosterone have a crucial role. Fighting, mounting, and trumpeting are all examples of aggressive or unwanted behavior displayed by stallions. Consider having your colt castrated before he reaches the age of one year if you want to assure a well-behaved and focused gelding in the future.

If you have an ungelded stallion, you’ll need to keep him pastured and away from mares in order to avoid undesired breeding.

Keeping your horse as a stallion for an extended length of time may have an adverse effect on his or her look, according to some evidence.

In the same way, an older stallion may not grow to be as tall as a gelding in his latter years.

When should I castrate my colt?

We understand that there is a lot of nostalgia and historical perspective on when it is ideal to geld your colt, and we respect that. Breed groups, disciplines, and the horse business all have their own ideas on when it’s best to geld your colt, and they all propose somewhat different things. We have gelded horses of various ages, including stallions that are far into their twenties, at our facility. Having said that, from a medical standpoint, there is no need to postpone castration in the vast majority of cases.

Horses are typically gelded between six and twelve months of age, however there are exceptions to this rule.

Why geld a racehorse like Funny Cide?

It’s funny Cide: Is his loss the gain of Belmont bettors? The winner of theBelmont Stakes on Saturday would become the first Triple Crown winner in horse racing since Affirmedin 1978 if Funny Cide wins the race. He would also be the first gelding, commonly known as an equine eunuch, to receive the distinction. After all, what’s the sense of cutting off a thoroughbred’s masculinity, especially when the horse will never be used as a stud? The majority of the time, geldings are utilized as attitude adjusters.

  • To keep an ungelded colt from behaving inappropriately, he may need to be separated from other horses and kept in a stall or confined area.
  • As many survivors of puberty can attest, being preoccupied with one’s sexual wants has the tendency to impair one’s ability to concentrate.
  • It is estimated that 25.8 percent of the thoroughbreds who raced in North America last year were geldings; this statistic does not include the less glamourous quarter horses, which are also regularly castrated.
  • It is important for owners to be cautious about gelding colts too soon since such colts may not be physically developed.
  • It is estimated that just a small percentage of professional racehorses have the exceptional genetics necessary to earn stud fees.
  • Another advantage of geldings is their lifespan, which brings us to our next point.
  • Geldings, on the other hand, can continue to compete effectively for a few more years—the legendaryJohn Henry, for example, was still winning races at the age of nine.
  • Despite the fact that Funny Cide was emasculated for health concerns rather than for behavior control, he is an exception to the gelding rule.
  • If Funny Cide had not been gelded, it is possible that he would not have had any kind of racing career at all.

From 1919 through 1956, horses missing their testicles were barred from racing in the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park. What’s the next question? Karyn Malinowski of Rutgers University is thanked by the explainer.

Gelding: Why and When? A Veterinarian Explains – The Horse

Note from the editor of The Blood-Horse: It was the pursuit of the Triple Crown by Funny Cide that came to light why some horses are gelded and others are not, as a result of the horse’s gelding. Doctor Larry Bramlage, a veterinarian with the American Association of Equine Practitioners who is on call 24 hours a day, provided insight into the situation.

Castration: Creation of a Gelding from a Colt or Stallion

Castration is typically performed on colts in order to make them more tractable and easier to handle in the future. For horses with little breeding potential, the procedure is typically performed once the horse has reached full skeletal maturation. When it comes to horses with potential breeding value, the decision to castrate is postponed until it can be determined whether the horse possesses sufficient athletic ability to make it a desirable future sire. If the horse is not destined to become a sire, castration extends the horse’s racing career by making the horse easier to train and therefore more durable.

Some horses require a quicker castration procedure than others because they have one or both testicles that are partially undescended, which leaves the testicle in the flank of the horse between the leg and the abdomen, requiring a quicker castration procedure.

It is referred to as a “cryptorchid” or “ridgling” in the horseman’s language if the horse has one testicle that has normally descended and one that has remained retained or undescended.

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Castrating (Gelding) Your Horse

Cavalry castration, often known as “Gelding,” of colts or stallions is the most commonly performed surgical surgery on horses. For a variety of reasons, male horses who are not intended for breeding may be castrated; however, the most prevalent cause is to avoid or diminish aggressive stallion behavior. It is generally agreed that castration is an effective method of eliminating this aggressive behavior in the majority of cases; however, it is important to remember that a small percentage of geldings will continue to exhibit stallion-like behaviors such as mounting and aggression toward other horses.

Considerations when castrating a horse:

  • Cavaration can be performed on horses regardless of their age
  • However, most colts who are not intended for reproduction are gelded when they are yearlings. It is always vital for your horse to have a thorough general health checkup before to undergoing any type of surgical surgery, since an underlying ailment may enhance the risks connected with the procedure. Depending on how ill your horse has been, we may propose that you postpone the surgery until the animal has recovered. Prior to anaesthetizing the horse, it is also critical to ensure that both testicles are present in the scrotum. It is possible that only one testicle has descended into the scrotum at a time. Cryptorchids or “riggs” are the names given to these horses. It is more difficult to castrate a cryptorchid horse since the abdominal cavity may need to be opened in order to recover and remove the un-descended testis
  • Hence, it is a more involved treatment. Weather: Following castration, the incision site is left exposed to allow wound drainage to occur naturally. It is common practice to avoid castrating in wet weather because to the greater danger of wound infection in muddy or flooded settings. Castrating is particularly preferable during cooler weather since the number of flies is at its lowest. Castrations are done under a brief general anesthesia in a hospital setting. A vast open grassy space is thus essential in order to offer the maximum level of safety for both the horse and the people. Taking Care of Your Horse: Following surgery, it will be necessary to exercise your horse (see post-operative care) in order to reduce the amount of edema surrounding the surgical site. This is frequently much easier to accomplish if the horse has at least some experience leading walking. Having horses who have been carefully cared for prior to castration will make the treatment of any post-operative issues much simpler. Horses that excel in competition: The horse should be taken out of training and fed lower levels of concentrates for 5-10 days prior to surgery if it is currently in work.

Post-Operative Care

It is possible that your horse will be a bit shaky on his feet for the first hour or two after he has recovered from the anaesthesia. It is critical that you keep him calm and in a clean, dry, and open place for the rest of the day to avoid any potential problems. At all times, make sure he has access to fresh water. During the evening before the treatment, you may feed your horse his regular meal. Increased Bladder Bleeding: The most prevalent consequence related with castration is increased bladder hemorrhage (haemorrhage).

If left untreated, there is a significant danger of serious and perhaps life-threatening problems developing.

In order to guarantee that no significant blood loss is occurring during the first few hours following surgery, it is critical to examine the site for bleeding throughout those hours. It is normal for the wound to flow blood for the first several hours, and this is not a cause for alarm.

Please phone us immediately if:

  • An unbroken stream of blood is draining from the location of the incision
  • The blood is leaking from the incision site at an alarming rate that makes it impossible to keep track of it. Blood continues to seep from the site of castration for more than four hours after it has been performed.
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This location of the incision is dripping with blood on a constant basis. The blood is leaking from the incision site at an alarming rate that makes it impossible to keep track of how much there is. Even after castration, blood continues to seep from the location for more than four hours thereafter.


Dr. Rick Arthur contributed to this article. A reporter once inquired of the trainer of one of California’s billionaire geldings about whether or not he regretted the decision to castrate the horse. “No,” he stated emphatically. It is possible that he would never have achieved anything had I not gelded him. Just look at my kid; if only I had gelded him, he would have been able to do anything.” It’s a cruel joke, but it’s true. What is the purpose of gelding a horse? Because some colts just have other things on their brain and will not pay attention to what is being spoken to them about the task at hand.

Hormones and attitude are both important.

Gelding: the Ultimate Attitude Adjustment

While some colts are kind and gentle, there are just as many or more that are harsh and vicious. They engage in combat with their groom, their exercise rider, and anybody else who comes in their way. Fillies are screamed at and snorted at by some, who then attempt to climb the pony. Some will even pout and refuse to put in an honest effort when they are out running. Colts have a tendency to be disobedient as a group, making them more difficult to teach. They are also extremely demanding of themselves and those around them, increasing the likelihood of accidents to both themselves and their handlers as a result.

When to Geld, Procedures,Costs

In cases where the attitude of a colt interferes with his training or racing, it is time to geld the horse. For some horses, this can occur as early as the breaking period, while for others, it may never occur. While the specialists responsible for your horse’s care are in the greatest position to assess the situation and provide their recommendations, the final choice is ultimately yours. Most of the time, it is recommended to geld a racehorse anytime during its second year of life. An immature or effeminate-looking horse can be gelded too early, while a horse that has been left to his own devices may be too entrenched in his habits to be gelded at the appropriate time.

  1. The scrotum is incised, the testicles are exposed, and the spermatic cords are crushed with a specific surgical device known as an emasculator, which is well named given the procedure.
  2. Local anesthetic is used to geld the majority of the horses at the track, which is done while they are standing in their stall.
  3. General anesthesia is safer, cleaner (especially if performed in a hospital), and provides better exposure of the surgical site than regional anesthetic.
  4. Serious complications like as intestinal herniation or anesthesia death are quite rare, thanks to advances in technology.
  5. Performing a cryptorchidectomy, which is a surgical procedure to castrate a ridgeling, which is a colt whose testicle has not yet descended into the scrotum, requires the use of general anesthesia.
  6. The cost of a cryptorchidectomy can range from as low as $650 if it is straightforward to as high as $1600 if it is performed laparoscopically.
  7. Because the cost of missed training time is so high at the track, surgical aftercare is relatively intensive.
  8. This is owing to the fact that procaine penicillin cannot be employed due to the extended period it takes to be eliminated from a horse’s system (about 30 days).

The antibiotics that are used in place of penicillin are more costly and less effective, but they are eliminated from the horse’s system more quickly, allowing it to compete more quickly.

How Much Training Time is Lost?

Because exercise is an essential aspect of the horse’s post-surgical aftercare, just a few days are typically lost from the horse’s training plan. Some horses will be able to race as soon as a few weeks following surgery, but it is more reasonable to expect them to remain out of commission for roughly four weeks after surgery. It was 8 days after surgery that I had a horse run before the CHRB withdrawal time for procaine penicillin became so long (it is now recommended to wait approximately 30 days after using procaine penicillin before racing, lest your horse test “positive” for a prohibited substance in a post-race test).

Jack Robbins, a well-known veterinary surgeon who pioneered the standing castration operation on the West Coast in the 1950s, had one victory after being gelded 11 days after the surgery was performed.

Better to Own a Profitable Racehorse than a Potential Stallion

Grooming your horse will, without a doubt, have substantial long-term financial repercussions, particularly if you own a colt that comes from a particularly well-bred family. Non-breeding stallions, on the other hand, have limited options once they have retired from the racetrack. Geldings are healthier, race longer, are simpler to train, and are generally more pleasant to be around. They are also considerably more likely to find a home when their racing careers have come to a close than other animals.

There is a decision between owning a prospective stallion and owning an economically viable racing horse that is focused on the finish line.

Rick Arthur has worked as an equine veterinarian on the racetracks in Southern California’s horse industry.

Gelding a Colt

When breeding or purchasing a young male horse, many owners will be faced with the dilemma of whether to geld or maintain the colt as a full-fledged horse. How do you know whether to castrate or geld your colt, you might wonder. Gelding your colt might be the “kindest cut” you can make for him, and it will typically result in a better life for him. Some questions you should be asking yourself are as follows: What is the colt’s future in terms of riding – will he be a pleasure horse or will he be used for competition?

  1. What is his physical appearance and disposition like?
  2. There’s an adage that goes, “A good colt makes a terrific gelding.” This is certainly true.
  3. As I understand it, there are lines that have been proven for specific types of performance, such as endurance, jumping, and so on.
  4. Can you ensure that he has a good quality of life if he is kept as a stallion?
  5. Having to spend the remainder of his life in solitary confinement in his own paddock, yard, or stable is analogous to having to spend the rest of our lives alone in our own home, living room, or toilet.
  6. Please take into consideration the future life of a colt as a stallion before you decide to maintain him in such position.
  7. When a colt is wounded as a juvenile and the prognosis for his future performance is poor, it may be best to wait a couple of years before gelding him to avoid further injury.

But even if he is not capable of being a performance horse, all of the other considerations must be considered, as life as a dissatisfied stallion would be far worse than life as an unattached companion gelding lazing around the field.

Following consideration of all of these criteria and the choice to geld (ideally within the first two months of age), you must choose at what age it is most appropriate to begin operating on your horse’s back.

Many veterinarians prefer to wait until the colt is several months old before performing an anesthesia because they believe the colt will manage the anaesthesia better at that age.

Although it was once more typical to wait until a colt was at least two years old before gelding him, this is no longer the case.

However, gelding may be performed on a stallion at nearly any age, but the stress placed on the animal and the danger of problems rise as the horse becomes older.

Most significantly, they have realized that the smaller the testicles, the smaller the procedure and the simpler it is for the horse.

Equipping a colt before weaning is another positive step in the correct path.

Another advantage of gelding young horses is that their behavior is less likely to become a problem, and if your colt is running in a herd of mixed sexes, you won’t have to worry about producing an unwanted offspring.

Problems that might arise.

In certain cases, when a colt is gelded during his growth spurt, which occurs between one and two years of age, this can occur; however, when they are gelded prior to one year of age, they frequently grow taller than predicted.

Their sexual or stallion behaviors, which can include biting, rearing, self mutilation (usually out of irritation), agitated behavior towards other horses, and even the capacity to service females, may also emerge in some instances (without being a cryptorchid commonly known as a rig).

If this does not occur by the age of two, a significant operation will be required to locate and remove the un-descended testical.

When is the ideal time of year to geld your colt will depend on the season.

The ideal weather is generally found in the middle to late fall, which allows the colt to recuperate before the winter months set in.

You’ve made your decision, and it’s time to start preparing well in advance of the scheduled procedure.

Otherwise, the colt will need to be socialized for at least a month before gelding in order to tolerate being caught, wearing a halter, being led, and having its entire body stroked.

Furthermore, getting him used to being sponged with water and gently hosed, especially around and between the back legs, is beneficial in case major swelling or infection after the operation needs to be treated later on in life.

Your colt will also need to be comfortable with strangers (such as the veterinarian) being near to them, and you may even imitate delivering an injection by squeezing the neck with a hard item such as the end of a hoof pick.

Having a ‘horsey’ friend who the colt has never seen and who can visit and evaluate his reaction to strangers prior to the vet’s visit can be quite beneficial.

A handler for the mare and a second for the colt are excellent.

A stretch of wet weather will only serve to decrease his desire to move.

After a clean paddock has been established for the colt and his mother, relocate them there the next day to reduce the danger of infection when the colt lies down.

Another horse or horses from their herd should be maintained close but out of the working area.

Make sure there is enough of water around as well as a comfortable environment.

You should pick someone who isn’t afraid of handling horses since he may ask for assistance holding a leg or keeping an eye on the breathing monitor.

Immediately following the procedure, keep the mare and colt haltered until he is able to stand and walk without assistance and is able to nurse again.

Keeping the mare and colt apart from the other horses for a few hours or overnight, if they are not upset, would be preferable so that the colt has time to heal from the surgery before having to get out of anyone’s way or play with the other foals would be preferable.

You should keep a close eye on him for the first twelve hours following the operation and contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice any signs of bleeding (which should have slowed to the occasional drip within the first hour) or anything protruding from the wounds – this could indicate a herniation of the gut.

You should use scrubbed clean or gloved fingers to check for these signs of infection.

Sponging the area gently twice a day with lukewarm mildly saline water may help remove any scabs that may be preventing the wound from draining properly, especially if the region seems to be abnormally bloated.

If you detect creamy pus leaking from the wound, contact your veterinarian to see if it has grown infected.

Gelding a stallion or an older colt consists of the following steps: You should remember that it takes many months for hormonal activity to cease and sexual behavior to reduce in a sexually mature colt or stallion, so you should keep him away from fillies and mares during this period.

Even while some may consider a castration procedure to be the “un-kindest” cut imaginable, gelding is the “kindest” cut you can give a horse in order to provide him with a better future, one that includes lots of interaction with other horses and people, if feasible.

For further information about gelding, please see the Cherry Hill’s Horsekeeping web site, which may be found here.

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