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"Studly" Gelding

Dear Franklin,

Two weeks ago I brought home a 10 year old gelding who was extremely well behaved and people friendly...he was put into a 3 acre field w/ an older gelding, and went through the motions of kicking, biting, squealing, and asserting their dominance. All has been well since day 2 until earlier this week. His field boards a field where two mares, both of which are in heat, are kept.

Several nights ago my gelding broke down some fence boards to get to the mares, and ripped his blanket into 10 plus pieces. The next day the mares were moved to a non-ajoining field. That evening when I went to feed, he was pacing/running the fence line, and was covered in sweat. Once brought in the barn he squealed, charged the door, and was attempting to bite me. He calmed down when we brought the mares in. Yesterday he had his feet done, was a perfect angel, but when put back in the field, he began running the fence again. We put the alpha mare in with him, she told him who was boss, and all was well..until that evening, when he was brought into the barn where there were no mares.

He was gelded at age 5, and I know he has not been around any mares for at least a year. Is this common for a gelding (are the mares' being in heat the trigger), and what can I do to get my gentle giant back? He's done a complete 360!

Many thanks, Michelle

Hi Michelle,

Yes, you have a 'studly gelding'. Stallion behavior is not uncommon in geldings that have been 'proud cut'. Your horse sounds like may have been. This means he is still receiving some testosterone in his system. As this behavior is 'body chemistry' related, it is difficult to manage easily. Once he gets the 'scent', he will want to hang out with the mare(s) almost at all cost. Once the mares are out of season he will probably go back to not paying them as much mind. Although it will be something you need to be aware of always. To keep peace right now, consider keeping a mare near him. Once the estrus time is over, the mare(s) will really want to keep him away and it will be much easier to manage. It is a tough situation for now I know. I suggest keeping the mares near him until this time is passed and then wean him off the mares. You will need to be aware of his potential for this behavior in the future. Good Luck and please keep me posted.

Sincerely, Franklin

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