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Normal Stallion Behavior ?

This category is to be used for general stallion questions that are not covered by other category descriptions.

Moderator: Jos

Normal Stallion Behavior ?

Postby cowboys_mom_07 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:43 am

Having no prior experience around stallions, I would like to know if the following is "normal" stallion behavior, or behavior perhaps the result of the start of breeding too early.
Coming 6 year old warmblood stallion was first bred at 3 years of age. He is a large ,17 hands and imposing individual.
Let's say he has a very, very good sense of himself and his masculinity!
Owner & trainer has experience working with stallions in he past. He accepts the stallion for who he is. I on the other hand question his behaviors and wonder if he would have been different if started under saddle first and then introduced to breeding.
Concerns:
1. This stallion HATES other horses (geldings) he once got away from on the farm and attacked a random gelding.
2. Goes out by himself in his own paddock once a day - no companion animal for him. Kept in the general barn population, across from other horses but no horse is on either side of him. Do stallions ever have companion "buddies"?
3. Does live cover and is trained on phantom. Has been showing, and away for days at a time on show grounds. Seems to know "work time" and "breeding time" but I believe it is a thin line. When ridden in a group, in an indoor arena, we are told to give him a respectful berth.
4. When covering mares, he does not seem to be aggressive towards them, he loves mares, he does "trumpet" his arrival and grab them by the neck but has never left bite marks, but due to his size, again 17 hands and somewhat long legs he towers over them when he mounts. He seems to scare them a bit. (or maybe that's just me because I'm helping out!) Will a mare who is in a good solid heat stand no matter what the approach?
5. While breeding he is controled by use of chain over his nose. What could be used to command more respect or control?
6. Is there a book you could reccomend that could address these issues?

THE REASON I ASK ALL THESE QUESTIONS IS THAT HE HAS SIRED A COLT (now only a few months old) AND I WOULD LIKE TO SEE HIM BROUGHT ALONG IN A DIFFERENT WAY IF THE ABOVE SEEMS TROUBLING TO YOU.
cowboys_mom_07
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Re: Normal Stallion Behavior ?

Postby Jos » Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:05 pm

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Do stallions ever have companion "buddies"?
While some stallions are turned out with other horses, most stallions "play hard", so the risk of injury to one or other of the horses is not insignificant. Consequently, the vast majority of stallions - especially those that are worth more - are turned out by themselves. A good practice is however to still allow socializing by having a horse in an adjacent pen or paddock that the stallion can see. A divided fence is recommended (i.e. a space in between two fences) to prevent the horses being able to touch. You can see an example of this with our own stallion paddocks at our facility:
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Will a mare who is in a good solid heat stand no matter what the approach?
Mostly (but not always) yes. We sometimes forget that horses are sentient beings with their own thought processes and likes/dislikes, so although a mare may be physiologically in a good heat (excellent uterine edema present on ultrasound, teases well etc.), there are a variety of things that can affect the outcome. Perhaps she simply doesn't like that stallion - it happens! Perhaps the stallion says something inappropriate - it happens! You get my point. It's the reason why AI is ALWAYS safer...!!
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While breeding he is controled by use of chain over his nose. What could be used to command more respect or control?
With some stallions a chain over the nose is perfectly adequate. The next step up is a chain in the mouth. Some people have an issue with that, but if there is a problem with it, then it was not being used correctly. The lead line between the handler and the stallion should always - regardless of the location of the chain - have a loop in it unless the stallion is being asked to do something or told not to (if either item requires tightening of the lead line - if not, keep it loose). Simply because there is a chain in the mouth does not mean it should be used all the time. I liken it to spurs - if you know how to use them, you can ride a horse without using the spurs unless they are needed, but they are absolutely useless if they are hanging on the tack room wall when you need them! Another method of constraint is to have a particular bit that is used only for breeding - some use a Chifney, others use a breaking bit with keys. The advantage to using a different bit or the chain in the mouth ONLY when breeding is that it cues the stallion that different behaviours are going to be tolerated as he is in a breeding situation. note that those are the only times that the bit/chain position is used. That's another advantage to using the chain in the mouth rather than over the nose - it allows the use over the nose for added control outside the breeding situation without triggering an "I'm going breeding" response from the stallion. I will add however that there are some stallions that simply cannot focus or are too intimidated if they have a chain in their mouth, so it will not work for all stallions!
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Is there a book you could reccomend that could address these issues?
There may be, but this is one situation where I do not recommend using a book to learn. There are too many potential variables that can affect a situation and unless you learn to "read" the variables you can end up with a nightmare on your hands very quickly. Learning how to handle a stallion should be done by hands-on training with an expert. Please note that not all trainers are good stallion handlers - indeed, many show trainers are very BAD stallion handlers when it comes to breeding, as you want things in the breeding situation that you don't want in the show ring, and there are many show trainers out there that cannot differentiate between the two, or have applied "show" logic so strongly that the stallion will not respond in the breeding situation. So pick well when choosing a trainer for your stallion and a trainer for you!! :)

We have a video that discusses a few of the most common stallion handing errors that might prove of assistance:http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... KgPkP6Of_0
We're always happy to try and help, but don't forget to check the articles section
of the website too, which has a search engine to help you look for answers!
:)
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