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Franklin Levinson's

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Prospects for a late gelding.

Hello Franklin,

I've read the responses on your site enough to have gained an appreciation for your compassion and alternative to force when dealing with equines. Because of your views and insight I feel like you're the one to approach with my question.

This summer I was given an Arabian stallion (Magic) who had been shown and bred up until he was about 5 and is now 17. My comfort level was good with this as I grew up with horses and was the main caretaker/rider/handler for a very handsome and well mannered Arabian stallion for nearly 15 years. He passed two years ago at the age of 27, and Magic has brought me back to wanting to be with horses again. He's a nice guy with a big trot and a big heart and we look forward to being together every day.

The real question has to do with his potential as a gelding. He was castrated about 6 weeks ago. The operation went great and he's not having any veterinary problems or anything. I know you're a big proponent of gelding horses not used for breeding and have a lot of experience in this area. When I try to chat up other people about their experiences on this matter and ask if they have any tips on helping him become the most social and fulfilled gelding he can be, replies are generally along the lines of : 1. He's an Ay-rab, why waste your time with that. (I live in south western MT) 2. Stallion behavior is learned and since he's been bred he'll always have to live alone and never be taken out in public.

The reason I gelded him has mostly to do with his quality of life, as he is not difficult to handle or dangerous. I feel that without so much of a natural hormonal drive, he will not be constantly frustrated by lovely ladies. While I realize that every stallion responds differently to being castrated, and accept that he may retain "studly" behaviors, I hope that becoming a gelding will let Magic enjoy a better life, perhaps not a solitary one. We will see what time will bring to us, but is there anything that I can do with him/for him to help him understand his new gelding- ness? Most of the input I get consists of "turn him out with a couple of sturdy geldings or a bossy mare to teach him the ropes". At some point I would like to see if he will be happy with pasture mates, but I feel like that's and end rather than a means. Do you have any methods or suggestions for preparing him mentally/emotionally to live with others?

Thank you for any input,


Hi Catherine,

Some of the feedback you got from other has validity. Stallion behavior does become habitual over time. Gelding a horse of his age may not change any stallion like behavior. But, then again, it might. You will have to wait and see about that. The only suggestion I have around getting him socialized as a gelding is this; do a lot of ground play with him and get really good and comfortable with it. Then have other horses, mares and geldings alike, move around him and be in close proximity to him while you are playing with him (you can do this in the saddle as well). Get so that it is no big deal if any horses are around while you are with him. This may help him do well when he is with other horses and you are not around. The suggestion to put him in with other 'select' horses and let them work it out, is a very commmon way to deal with this. If you can really keep an eye on them for a while, it is valid. If you cannot watch them a lot, consider turning them out together only when you can observe the interaction for problems. Lots of action and movement with other horses around is a good thing to do. Also, simply handling him with other horses around is good as well as just tieing him in the vacinity of other horses moving about with handlers and riders and watching what happens will help. Good Luck and please keep me posted.

Best regards, Franklin

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