saw something the other day, got me thinking [stallion handling]
Now, my understanding has always been that stallions SHOULD be well-mannered and respectful at all times. If he can't be polite, he should be chopped. But that being said, even the quiet sweet and respectful ones can't be trusted.
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 :)
Not the brightest idea, but I have found the most experienced get complacent at times.
I don't have any experience with stallions myself, but a good friend of mine had a stud for most, if not all, of his life and that stud could be ridden by children. He never once put a foot out of line (or at least no more than a well-behaved gelding). There was never a bite or a kick out of him.
I don't think you're overreacting. I'm like you, I've worked with a few stallions (morgans) and two of them were VERY well behaved. The old stallion I worked with (RIP) was a perfect gentleman and actually gave some riding lessons to beginners (like in the arena and stuff with no other horses around). That being said, the lady who owned him was always on her toes and knew when he was having a bad day and which rider he would or wouldn't respect. I guess it depends on the owner and stallion. I've found just in the few I've worked with that some are more trustworthy than others. The one before her most recent one was one I would never turn my back on (well, I wouldn't with any stud, but this one especially). Her stud now is a lot like her old stud and is very respectful even though he can have his moments. I guess no one knows the stud better than it's trainer/handler and can make those decisions, as for the early rides.... I wouldn't trust a horse gelded or not then!
Nope. No overreacting on your part.
I don't like beginners being on/around stallions full stop, much less children. JMO but a child can't assess risk properly and decide for herself that a situation is safe or not. Lord knows I did some dumb things when I was a kid! I'm sure there are one-in-a-million stallions that ARE trustworthy under any circumstances but it's not a risk I would personally take. That being said, I like my Thoroughbreds, not exactly kid-friendly horses to begin with!
Well, to be honest, most two year olds ive worked with...didnt even know they had their parts. He's probably never been bred at such a young age, so...I don't see a big deal in the whole thing. He is still and colt. He's not yet a "stallion" but none-the-less, a young kid should not be on him without a helment or properly fitting saddle.
I rode a four year old stallion when i was 13, on an all day trail ride, with hundreds of other horses. No one even knew he was a stallion. And i was not the most experienced rider then.
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I've ridden a young stallion when I was a like 15 and rode my stallion at 18, but I was always smart about stallions.
You're right to feel that way and stallions can behave one minute and turn loopy the next.
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Well trained stallions always have a part of themselves you should take into account, they are first and foremost a breeding animal. Anyone who handles them and ignores this fact is asking for trouble.
Yeah even the sweetest mild mannered stallions are still liable to lunge at you with teeth bared and practically pick you up by your right breast... always on guard around them now. I've seen too much and been on the wrong end enough times to ever to trust a horse that still has his baby makers.
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