To Geld or Not to Geld
For those of us in the Gypsy Vanner Breed we have usually spent excessive sums of money and time to acquire and/or breed a horse. There is a 50/50 chance that the offspring will be a colt. Out of those colts less than 10% have the chance to be a genetic superstar.
There are many reasons that horse owners do not want to geld their colts or stallions. If you own a stallion or colt that is not part of a well thought out breeding program it should be gelded and not used for breeding purposes. By a well thought out program I am referring to a breeding program that has breed preservation as one of its goals. We need good genetics to preserve the Gypsy Vanner breed. With the ease of shipping semen most mare owners have access to the top genetic superstars in the breed.
Is your breeding program a well thought out and executed plan – or are you just trying to make some money on your investment by breeding your mare and stallion hoping you will have a commodity to sell?
Horse owners have an emotional attachment to their stallion for various reasons. Stallions are not people. People can control their instincts to breed. Stallions think about nothing else when it comes springtime and hormones are thick in the air.
People bond to their stallions because they have become the stallion’s herd. I was recently talking to one of our trainers, Heather Caudill, and she was explaining stallion behavior when it comes to training. She said because a stallion has limited or no interaction to any other horses that they rely on their “person” as their companions. They typically never get to bond with another horse.
A stallion lives in a small paddock or stall with no chance to interact with the herd. No playing, no grooming, no lessons learned from the mare who might not be interested in his sexual prowess. So as his person, you become his surrogate herd. Now you really can’t bear to geld him because he is so special and he is your special stallion.
Have you ever been around a stallion with other horses when it is breeding season? Unless you are a professional it is dangerous to be between a stallion and a mare in season even if it is a Gypsy Vanner Stallion. Those “Golden Retrievers with Hooves” are nowhere to be found when a mare is in heat around a stallion.
So the real point of this blog is to announce that we have gelded Da Vinci. It is not because he is not conformational correct. He is. It is not because he has an undesirable color. He is a highly desirable tri colored horse. It is not because of his attitude. He has a wonderful fun attitude. It is because he does not fit my breeding program. He is smaller than I want to breed so I won’t breed him. Some breeders like the smaller ones and I was hoping that such a farm would want him as a breeding stallion. But, he is now two years old and decisions have to be made on my farm and based on my management practises. I have a well thought out breeding program that I both preach and practice so I am confident in my decision to geld him. He will be a happier horse and a healthier horse. Stallion management is not a problem because he can be pastured with any of our horses. I want my horses to have the best possible environment and having a colt that I am not going to breed standing in a stallion pen all winter is not the best possible environment.
So think about that young colt in your pasture or that stallion in your barn. Is he really top breeding potential. Does he already have top babies on the ground? Is he winning in the show ring? Has he been evaluated and received top scores as a potential breeding stallion? Most importantly is he happy and are you happy with him. Do you trust him at all times to behave like a gentleman? Is he healthy or does he run the fence line loosing weight and giving himself an ulcer.
If you breed only two to four mares a year it is more economical to buy semen than standing a stallion. Most importantly it is an opportunity for you to improve and preserve the Gypsy Vanner breed by breeding your mare to a genetic superstar.
Now go out there and enjoy your gelding!