Stallions are magnificent animals. The male hormone testosterone produced by stallions cause these creatures to hold their heads high, strut to show off their physiques and bestow the horses with an exceptional desire to perform. The downside of an uncastrated male horse is that the stallion might prove dangerous, uncooperative, unpredictable and difficult to manage.
1. The first step to avoid obnoxious behavior from a stallion is to make friends with the animal. The horse must be able to expect reliable behavior from a human to establish a bond of genuine trust.
2. Show the horse respect by utilizing mild to moderate strokes when brushing, placing the saddle gently on the horse’s back and by picking the horse’s hoof up or placing it down slowly allowing the horse to regain balance when grooming.
3. Bullying or rude behavior from a horse should not be tolerated. Stallions will often challenge new handlers for the leadership of the herd. The behavior must be nipped in the bud; however, isolation only worsens bad behavior in a stallion.
4. Careful attention to the protection of humans should be given in the presence of mares during the breeding season. A stallion’s job is to procreate and fight for dominance. A stallion’s determination and strength increases tenfold when his libido is aroused. A human standing in the path between a mare and a stallion is a recipe for disaster.
5. There is no person, male or female, that has the strength of a horse, especially a stallion. Heeding establishes the human as the dominant alpha among horses. The human’s attention should never be taken off the horse.
6. Managing a stallion or any horse is a mental game. Each request should be presented in a fair and horse logical manner. Human etiquette is of extreme importance. Consistent, precise and clear boundaries are a must.
7. Proper communication is paramount. Human body positions, facial expressions, posture and words all communicate messages to horses. Horses have incredible memories and are incessantly ascertaining knowledge.
8. Reprimanding rude behavior should not be brutal or cruel. A frightened stallion’s inherent behavior is to attack. Abuse from humans often results in a horse that merely goes through the motions and responds with a broken spirit. Meeting belligerent behavior with hostility does not change the horse’s behavior.
9. Do not slap a horse for biting. Instead, utilize a noseband or pinch the horse’s lip. Lead an excited horse around the paddocks to regain his attention. Command the horse to walk, stop or back-up. Do not stop to talk to someone else. Keep your attention on the horse until the behavior is under control and the horse is put away.
10. Gelding a colt at two weeks of age is not cruel. Poor bloodlines, conformation, and personalities are good reasons to have a stallion castrated. This procedure may alleviate a stallion from years of pent-up frustration and is often the kinder approach.
Photography is courtesy of The Stallion by Karen as uploaded by The Brit_2 on Flickr's Creative Commons.
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