EquiSearch's Ask the Vet: Stallion-like Behavior

What should this reader do with her recently gelded horse that still thinks he's a stud? Dr. Joyce Harman answers in EquiSearch's Ask the Vet feature.

Question:I gelded my 4-year-old paint seven months ago. In the four years he was a stallion, I only bred him to three mares. I am a mom, a wife, and I have a full-time job. So, needless to say, I didn’t have time for a stallion. After seven months he is still aggressive in the pasture with mixed herds and still acts stud-like. Is this something that will go away after awhile? Or am I stuck with a gelding that thinks he is a stud? I saw the vet castrate him and it really appeared he got all of it. Is there something I can do to help him forget his past life as a stallion? I love this horse, but if he doesn’t stop I will be forced to part with him.

Answer: A horse with stallion behavior can be a problem in many situations. A simple blood test to check the testosterone level can tell you if there is any chance that some of the testosterone forming tissue was left behind. If the level is very low, the gelding was complete, and you have a horse with a behavior problem. Many horses who have been bred will retain stallion-like aggressiveness forever, while others who have been used as breeding animals will mellow out after gelding.

In some instances, you can treat a guy like this with an herbal formula made for regulating mare’s hormonal issues, and he will calm down. It is also possible to work with a homeopathic veterinarian to find a remedy that may help calm him down. Both these possibilities may work permanently, but there is also a chance they will only be helpful and not a permanent cure.

With children around, it is important to take their safety into account as well as your own time and energy in making a decision as to whether to keep this horse or to find him a new home. He may work very well in a situation where mares and geldings are separated and he does not feel the need to protect his “herd.”

Dr. Joyce Harman is a veterinarian and respected saddle-fitting expert certified in veterinary acupuncture and veterinary chiropractic; she is also trained in homeopathy and herbal medicine. Her Harmany Equine Clinic is in northern Virginia.

Do you have a veterinary question for Dr. Harman? Send it to asktheexperts@equinetwork.com. Check back for her answers on EquiSearch.com.

Do you have a stud-like gelding or have you ever worked with one? Chat about how you handled him in the EquiSearch Forum.

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