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Gelding a 4 year old Friesian Stallion

Hi Franklin,

I read with interest your answer regarding expected future social behaviour of a recently castrated 17 year old stallion who had in earlier years been used as a stud. My question is similar in that my horse has just turned 4 years so it will be a late castration, however he has never been used for breeding and the Friesian breed are known as late developers. Resultant to the castration will he be able to be turned out with other horses? and will behaviours such as striking and pushing be minimised? He is a very nice natured horse but to be honest I do not feel comfortable handling him from the ground. Here in Holland it was just assumed that I would keep him entire (although that is not what I am used to as I am Australian) and the majority of people that I spoke told me to keep him intact for at least 6 months so that I could really decide. I have now been his very happy owner for about one week and I pretty positive that I do not need to keep him as a stallion (it's not even spring!). Do you think that I am making the decision to castrate too quickly? I understand that he will retain some stallion behaviours but am hoping those driven by hormones will abate?

I have 20+ years experience with all types of horses but NO experience with stallions.

Thank you very much I know you are busy.

Hi Geraldine,

I would suggest waiting a while and get to know the horse very well first. Gelding a stallion that late in its life may not change its behavior at all. If it is a mild mannered, gentleman of a horse, no real need to geld him. The operation is more risky with an older horse like him as well. Has he really been difficult on the ground making you uncomfortable or are you projecting what might happen? Again, at his age, his behavior is habituated and gelding him probably will not change his disposition or behavior much. If he is pretty easy to deal with, I would not suggest it at his advanced age as it may not produce the changes you are seeking anyway and put the horse somewhat at risk medically. The old saying, "if it isn't broken, don't try to fix it." is not a bad piece of wisdom.

Sincerely, Franklin

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