Stallions are just like any other horse?? I really disagree. You can't really go about training a stallion just like a mare or a gelding. There is that special, and sometimes dangerous, element to a stallion and when you work with them there is an EXTREMELY fine line between getting them to be obediant and them thinking they need to charge, strike, etc. at you because you tick them off. You can tick a stallion off MUCH more easily then you can a "regular" horse.
Here is an article on stallions I've read several times before, and I think it's very good.
Author's Note: Please know that my program is designed to teach people to teach their horses. I want you to know how good you are and to be savvy about when things are over your head. Safety is #1, and until you are Level 4, I have concerns about your safety with a stallion. The solution, therefore, is to put your stallion aside and get your savvy level up first... and remember, good stallions make great geldings.
I once saw a woman killed by a stallion. He bit her throat and ripped her esophagus out. I know another person whose two fingers were snapped off and all the tendons from his forearm were torn out. I have known people who were picked up by the shoulder, or by the belly, in the jaws of a stallion. I myself have been picked up and dragged on two different occasions.
One stallion in California lives in a maze of pens that funnel him into the breeding shed so no one has to handle him. All his teeth have been removed. Another stallion, one of the top thoroughbred sires in the world, was so vicious only one person could handle him. Anyone else entering his stall or paddock had to be protected by someone with a pitchfork.
At top establishments around the world, breeding barns look like torture chambers, equipped with chains, whips, hobbles, helmets and flak jackets. Yet every year, every breeding season, people are still hurt, maimed, or killed by stallions.
What does this tell you about the potential perils of owning a stallion? In a fight, even a grizzly bear is no match for a stallion. Most people who've been on the unhappy end of a stallion will tell you they never saw him coming... the next thing they knew, they were in his jaws.
Some of you may think I'm exaggerating. All too often, stallion owners think, "It won't happen to me." Let me tell you, I'd rather have you mad at me for saying this, than to hear a report of your tragedy. Stallions are magnificent, awe-inspiring creatures. They demand a whole new level of savvy.
A stallion's job is to procreate and to fight for dominance. He lets nothing stand in his way. Stallions will even fight to the death for dominance. When a stallion's libido is aroused, he becomes a superhorse. He has more strength, more fight, more bravery, more desire and more determination than ever. His hormones are like rocket fuel. Mixed with adrenaline, testosterone amplifies potential tenfold.
Recently, a student asked me why some stallions seem pretty mellow compared to others. Aren't these a lot safer and easier to handle? Yes, in some situations, but not all. That's the kind of stallion who ripped out his owner's throat.
For example, take a mild-mannered husband who's out with his wife. Everyone knows this man to be a friendly, reasonable, amicable kind of guy. Never seen him get mean or mad. In fact, wouldn't even think he had it in him. Until the moment some guy gets inappropriate with his wife. Then, watch out!
This mild-mannered man turns into a tornado. He's on the fight, ready to defend and protect his woman. There's nothing "left brain" or logical about this; it's totally right brain, or instinctual. In that moment, he's liable to do anything. His adrenaline is up, and he's become a superman.
With a stallion, everything can be fine until:
He's faced with mares.
You get in his way.
You challenge his dominance, even using the Seven Games.
It's true that some stallions have a higher libido than others. For the most part, this is innate. But health and upbringing can affect behavior as well.
A poorly fed horse, for instance, will have less energy and less desire than a fit horse on full feed and feeling great. I have often seen thin, wormy, listless stallions that turn into fire-breathing dragons once their health is restored.
Upbringing is another influential factor. Let's consider the ways a young stallion might be raised: with other mares and geldings, with other stallions, or in solitary confinement. A number of scenarios can have a bearing on his behavior.
I have found that the more unnatural the environment, the more perverted the behavior. Many stallions are kept isolated from other horses. Often, they're petted and handled by people who are unfamiliar with natural ways of creating respectful relationships. They are handled aggressively, punished for excitable behavior, restrained with chains over their noses or gums, kept on a tight rein. I liken this to men in jail, whose behavior rarely improves in prison; instead, it becomes more perverted.
Stallions crave contact with other horses, so isolation only worsens their behavior. Unable to do their jobs, segregated stallions become extremely pent-up. Then, when exposed to other horses, they exhibit extreme aggression and become very difficult to handle.
Think of it from the stallion's point of view. Kept in solitary confinement, you have no social contact, not enough exercise, and not nearly enough mental and emotional stimulation. Naked "girls" are led past your stall every day. You become very frustrated and bored. Then, you are taken to the breeding barn. When you're led out of your stall, how are you going to act? You know exactly when you are going and what will happen, so you get excited and start prancing. The mare is hobbled and twitched, and all you do is take a flying leap onto her back. No introductions, no friendly chit-chat, no foreplay, no rebuffs from the mare for rough or rude behavior. In my opinion, this is controlled rape. Stallions treated like this are taught to be rapists.
On the other hand, when stallions are raised with other horses, they learn to become polite. If they're rude, a pair of teeth or heels quickly come their way. You must understand the horse's psyche and herd behavior, and with a stallion, you need a truckload of savvy. You must know how to earn his respect without using violence. You must read situations very quickly and stay one step ahead of what he's thinking, all the time. This is why handling stallions is a Level 4 study. You should be at least a Level 3 graduate. You need to be a Bruce Lee of horsemanship, to be Kung Fu, which means excellent - mentally, emotionally and physically.
Stallions Demand Savvy...
You've seen him; you might even own one... the young stud who playfully nips at you all the time. It's probably the question I'm most often asked; "How should I deal with this?"
First of all, nipping is disrespectful behavior. A nipping horse is playing games: the Porcupine Game, to be exact; and he's usually winning them. If he can sneak in, take a nip, and then duck away, he's having a ball. Just watch young horses playing together. You'll see this exact same nip,recoil and duck pattern. It's even better if he can make you mad, more points for him!
The answer for this horse, however, is not punishment. It's the same as for any horse with this behavior. That's why you need enough savvy to win the Seven Games, especially the Porcupine Game, and without your horse feeling like a loser. If you earn a horse's respect, he will not play those games on you. But you can't gain a horse's respect through punishment. Not only does it not cure the problem, it can come back to haunt you on a bad day, and on a bad day a stallion can be your worst nightmare.
Very few stallions are excellent breeding quality. Far too many people keep a stallion because they don't have the heart to geld him. Yet, the stallion goes on to live a life of frustration. Instead of breeding several times a day during the breeding season, he's allowed one or two servings a year, if he's lucky. And yet all his hormonal and instinctual drives are still there. Without enough outlet for his libido, you'll have a very frustrated or depressed stallion on your hands, with potentially serious consequences.
I geld my colts within the first two weeks of birth. After that, the testicles may be difficult to locate, and the next thing you know your yearling has a raging torrent of hormones coursing through his growing body. Some people are concerned that early gelding will affect a horse's growth and performance, but in my experience, this is not true. Many of my geldings were castrated at ten days old, and they've grown into stout, handsome horses.
Don't keep your colt a stallion. There are thousands of stallions around who should have been geldedbecause of poor conformation, bloodlines or personality. They weaken the gene pool and are walking liabilities for their owners. When your horse is a stallion, you can never relax.
Stallions handled by people with a great deal of savvy are exceptions. The Spanish Riding School and the great Fredy Knie (of the Circus Knie in Switzerland) are two outstanding examples. Both use stallions exclusively in their performances because of that "something extra" in stallions. In the right hands, this is truly spectacular. Their stallions are respectful and fulfilled. I repeat, fulfilled. This is probably the part that most people underestimate the most. Owning a stallion is not just about handling his behavior; it's about considering his life-style and needs, too. After all, natural horsemen always think about things from the horse's point of view first.
Put yourself in a stallion's shoes.