“Stallion” is also used to refer to males of other equips, including zebras and donkeys. While some horses will show noticeable speed improvements, it isn’t always the case.
In general, stallions don’t make good beginner horses. High-end riding stables might put a beginner on a stallion under close supervision.
Some experienced riders and owners refuse to have a stallion because even the most well-behaved, well-trained ones can become temperamental and, without proper handling, dangerous. In fact, large-scale breeders commonly turn out all their stallions together during the off-season, while mares and babies stay in a separate pasture.
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. The definition of a stallion is a male horse that has not been castrated, or is slang for a powerful and virile man who has a lot of lovers.
The reason for this is that geldings tend to have fewer mood swings than mares because they have no heat cycles. So geldings, in general, are easier to handle because they have fewer distractions than horses of other genders.
The genetic makeup of how fast a horse is capable of running can not be changed. While some horses will show noticeable speed improvements, it isn’t always the case.
But by and large, geldings are easier to handle because they do not have their minds on sex every few seconds the way stallions do. So geldings, in general, are easier to handle because they have fewer distractions than horses of other genders.
On the other hand, some male horses become geldings when they’re past 20 years old, although this is very rare and usually only done for health reasons. For the most part, gelding is performed when young colts are around 1 year old, or slightly less than that.
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. In general, stallions don’t make good beginner horses.
Some experienced riders and owners refuse to have a stallion because even the most well-behaved, well-trained ones can become temperamental and, without proper handling, dangerous. Misbehaving stallions may look pretty or be exhibiting instinctive behavior, but it can still become dangerous if not corrected.
Semen remains in the horse’s accessory sex glands and the portion of the vas deferens not removed during surgery. 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.
Choosing the best time to geld your colt is a fine line between a horse that is too young and too developed. The most common time to geld a colt is between six and twelve months of age.
Geldings will typically get larger than stallions due to the lack of extra sexual energy. Many horse breed standards require a mare (female) to look feminine and the gelding or stallion (male) to look masculine.
The main reason that people don't usually geld colts is to keep the residual breeding value option alive, not because a colt is a better racehorse than a gelding. Talk to any racehorse trainer who has been in business for a while, and he'll tell you about colts he's had who might have been better racehorses if they were gelded, because if they were gelded they wouldn't have been acting stud dish, or so aggressive around people that it was impossible to handle them properly.
The great Also was supposedly gelded at least partly to correct a problem with his stride. For example, it would be very unusual to decide to geld a son of Storm Cat, because Storm Cat has had sons that were lightly raced and not top-class racers turn out to be decent stallions capable of generating a good income from stud fees.
So even the non-winning or unrated sons of Storm Cat have sufficient residual value to warrant keeping them entire. For a horse sired by a stallion like California stallion Swiss Yodeler, the decision to geld would go the other way: his sons have no discernible residual value and if gelding improved the horse's focus and made him a better racehorse, most owners and trainers would have the vet out in a heartbeat.
The choice to leave a horse a colt is purely from a breeding standpoint.I'm a firm believer that 75% of colts standing today should be gelded though many owners would disagree it seems every owner has the next Man O war in his stall, but the fact is most are just run-of-the-mill claimers who would be much happier than geldings and in most cases their grooms would be much happier too. I would not breed the majority of them to a mule. There is an old saying around the race track-Breed junk to junk and get well you know. We need to start improving the gene pool. People say that geldings can't win the Kentucky Derby, but I think it's just because geldings rarely race in the Kentucky Derby... same with fillies.
So horses with good breeding are generally left intact. The only very young racehorses who get gelded are the ones who are unlikely to have successful racing and breeding careers (horses who don't have very good breeding or haven't shown talent to be a top level racehorse) or horses who are unruly and need to be gelded to calm down.
Look at Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird... he was gelded and run in a claiming race, and he was sold for under $10,000... people thought that he wasn't going to amount to much... his sire was unproven, producing his first crop of 3-year-olds... his grand sire was a good racehorse, but not much of a sire. As it turns out, he was champion juvenile in Canada and a top 3-year-old colt in the spring in the US.
Horses who are gelded usually are not very talented racehorses and usually don't make it to the Kentucky Derby. I don't have the statistics, but I'd be willing to bet that only about 1 or 2 percent of horses who have run in the Kentucky Derby are geldings ... that's why geldings rarely win the Derby... it's not because geldings are inferior, but because 98% of horses who run in the Derby are colts, so obviously there's a better chance that a colt will win the race.
If there was a way to race a colt against himself as a gelding, I don't think you'd find much difference between the two horses. Gelding a horse is just a decision that the owners make... and they like to err on the side of keeping the horse intact in case it turns out to be a champion.
There are instances during a mare’s heat cycle when they can become irritable and more difficult to deal with. Stallions are typically faster to develop as a young horse, which makes them good prospects for performance at an early age.
Stallions can be hard to handle for the less experienced horse person and sometimes for the top trainers as well. Al Dunning of Scottsdale, Arizona, is one of the most respected horsemen in the industry.
He has held numerous national leadership positions and earned multiple honors including induction into the Alpha Hall of Fame. His 50+ years of experience as a professional trainer has led him to produce books, DVDs, clinics, Team AD online mentoring, and AD Tack, selling all the tack he uses as well as his books and videos.
Al’s ability to reach people comes from his love of horses and out of respect to the mentors in his own life. Those who have worked closely with horses, though, know the difference between a colt and a foal or a mare and a filly.
The one you used to describe your horse will tell people whether she's just a youngster or if she's mature, and even if she's a mother. There are many more terms used to describe male horses than females because they not only indicate the gender and age of the horse but can also reveal whether they are fathers, if they've been castrated or not and if they have developed and matured properly.
All horses are considered foals from the time they're born until they're a year old. Author Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990.
She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals.