I have handled a stallion for feeding and rugging, he was a lovely respectful gentleman and always handled by a lady for breeding [with her husband holding the mare], and I have seen them at shows, but that is where my personal experience ends.
One of the MANY horror stories I have heard was about a lovely older stud. He had never set a hoof wrong in all the time his owner [another lady owner] had him, which by that time was fourteen or fifteen years. The stallion was twenty-six at the time. He was VERY well broke, very well handled, and one day he picked her up by the arm and THREW her across his yard. Out of nowhere, no warning, he just attacked. Never did it again and lived another four years, due to his age he wasn't gelded but his owner was quoted to have said that he would have been had he been any younger and not already retiring from stud.
So given my understanding of the nature of stallions, which is probably inaccurate given my lack of personal experience, you can imagine my horror the other day at seeing the following:
"[My colt has] just turned two and is being broke to ride. This is his fifth ride ever. His temperament is so amazing, his sire was exactly the same. I'm so proud of my homebred stud colt."
Followed with a photo of a child of MAYBE seven years on his back, in a saddle but with no stirrups, wearing an improperly-fitting helmet. Granted, he WAS being held by someone, but it's not something I like to see.
I don't believe a 2 year old GELDING on his fifth ride is a suitable horse for a child to sit on. Five rides does not a broke horse make. No matter how quiet they are, you never know what a breaker is going to do [and my young horse was trail riding by her FOURTH ride!]. But a STALLION? I don't like seeing children on older well-broke stallions...
So yeah, that photo doesn't do a lot for my faith in the owner as a responsible breeder and stallion owner. [Edit, photo not posted to respect owner's privacy]
However the owner is respected in the breeding community and consistently turns out a nice type of horse. She is in stock breeds if that makes any difference [my limited exp is with a Thoroughbred stallion]. She certainly speaks well and sounds like she knows her stuff. So I feel like I might be overreacting...
Am I being overcautious and paranoid in my inexperience with stallions [having been warned NEVER to turn my back on ANY stallion, and that no stallion should ever have a child put on his back under any circumstance, by a person who I greatly respect... and NOT having the experience to know otherwise], or does every professional I've ever known have it right?
Just wanting a friendly constructive discussion here :)