Ed Dabney Gentle and Natural Horsemanship Confidence Course. Step by step obstacles to develop confidence, trust, agility, awareness on part of horse.
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"Stallions Aren't for Everyone"

Master of all he surveys, the noble and majestic stallion is the quintessential equine and is exalted above all other horses and rightly so, for the truly exceptional specimen of the species, however, only a very small percentage of stallions deserve this esteemed status. Far too many genetically inferior horses are kept as stallions simply because their owners think it is “cool” or “macho” to be able to brag that they own a stallion. This poor horse, driven mad by his raging hormones, would have a much happier life as a gelding. Instead of frustration, neurosis, and solitary confinement as a stallion he could be enjoying life in the pasture hanging out with his buddies and going on interesting rides with his owner alongside other horses.

As far as the breeding stallion, this horse should be the prime example of the best of the breed, the top one half of one percent. He should meet a rarefied level of refinement in confirmation, ability and character. The stallion standing at stud should be as close as possible to perfect in every way. A horse of near perfect genetics should certainly be procreating and passing on his superior qualities to many offspring. On the other hand, a great disservice is done to the entire breed by continuing to stand at stud any stallion that does not fully measure up to an extremely high standard. Unfortunately many undeserving stallions are breeding and passing on their less than stellar genetics in the form of poor confirmation, nasty dispositions and inferior athletic ability. This random breeding of many average, back yard stallions only serves to dilute and reduce the overall quality of the breed.

It may be a hard pill to swallow but, to be a responsible horse owner is to be able to look with complete objectivity at your stallion and honestly question whether he truly measures up to the highest standard in every way. If you, as a stallion owner, cannot truly be objective then be responsible enough to have a qualified expert evaluate your stallion for desired breeding traits. Instead of standing your below standard stallion at stud simply to satisfy your own ego, do the right thing and be prepared to have him gelded if, after objective evaluation, he is not truly of exceptional breeding quality. As a gelding he will have a better life, be safer and more useful to you recreationally and you will be helping to preserve high genetic standards in the equine population.

Owning and housing a breeding stallion is not a venture to enter into lightly. The management of a stallion is a huge responsibility which requires a high level of experience and well developed horsemanship skills. The housing of a stallion requires a well thought out handling plan which includes the proper facilities featuring separated paddock with stall constructed of substantial material. Even armed with skills, knowledge and experience one can never let down their guard in the vicinity of a stallion.

As a 13 year old boy, I rode my little Quarter Horse mare over to my neighbor’s ranch to visit one day. Only moments after my arrival my neighbor’s stallion broke through his board fence, galloped toward my mare and with a leap mounted my mare with me still in the saddle. This all happened so quickly I had no time to react. Suddenly I found myself pinned to my saddle under the massive heaving chest of the crazed stallion. With adrenaline driven effort I was able to pull my legs out from under the stallions gripping front legs and scramble out over the neck of my mare. All the while the stallion’s owner was beating him frantically trying to dislodge the stallion from my mare which only added more chaos to the already out of control situation. You can bet this skinny 13 year old cowboy was shaking in his boots after this harrowing experience.

Don’t think of a stallion as just another horse. A stallion is a whole different animal with an entirely different way of thinking and completely different motivations from the mare or gelding. The stallion reacts instinctively based on his primal drive to breed and to protect his territory.

A good friend of mine in Wyoming, who is a very experienced rancher and natural horsemanship trainer, raised and trained an excellent stallion. He rode him for years on the ranch and in the mountains. He handled and fed him daily without incident until one evening with absolutely no provocation the stallion attacked him. He had just finished pouring his feed into his bucket and was walking out of the paddock when the stallion suddenly charged toward him and in an instant the stallion had clamped his teeth into the back of my friends’ upper arm. The stallion quickly lifted this large man into the air and shook him like a rag doll then literally tossed him out of the paddock with most of his triceps muscle still in the horse’s mouth.

A stallion’s actions are a direct result of how he specifically perceives the events around him. The reality of these events may be quite different than his perception of them. The most innocent action on our part may, for some reason, be perceived by the stallion as a threat or a challenge, in which case he then immediately proceeds to act accordingly.

In an effort to be a voice of common sense, please take this information into consideration if you are a stallion owner or if you are thinking of owning a stallion. Every horse, but the stallion even more so, requires you to be a confident, consistent leader never displaying reactions of fear, impatience, anger, confusion, uncertainty or violence of any kind. You must always be emotionally fit and prepared to be “the better horse” in assuming your leadership role. In this way your horse can be at peace under your benevolent guidance.