Stallions Are All Business; Part 2
- July 11, 2015
- Jan Swan Wood
Many stallions are capable saddle horses, dependable partners, are gentle and like people, but can react to other horses and get someone hurt. A stallion views other horses as either a threat to his territory or a conquest. An aggressive response toward either or by another horse can catch a person in the middle of a dangerous confrontation. Many people, even if they know someone is riding a stallion, don’t know how to act around one or forget, so it’s the stallion handler’s responsibility to keep the situation under control.
A stallion is aware immediately, due to their diligent reading of their surroundings, whether a person handling them is paying attention and can or will control them. Putting a novice rider on a stallion is asking for problems, no matter how good the horse is.
Stallion handlers of experience all agree that if a stallion needs discipline, do it immediately and make them think you can kill them, then leave them alone. Picking at a stallion is as aggravating to him as it is to a person. Do as much as it take to get the situation under control then be done with it.
A stallion is a terrible adversary when aroused and not easy to stop. In the accompanying photo graph, the wound on the gray horse’s hip was caused by a stallion in an attack that lasted less than 30 seconds. The owner was nearby and yelled at the stallion and the combination of a lifetime of discipline and the fact that the owner was leading a mare was enough to divert the stallion’s attention from the gelding.
The stallion involved belonged to my husband and I, and I am certain that if I hadn’t have been right there when the attack happened, the stallion would have killed the gelding. I am also certain that if that stallion hadn’t have had it engraved on his brain for his entire life that he wasn’t the boss, he would never have turned away from the gelding.
The wound was almost a foot long and about five inches deep and was rendered with one grab by the stallion as the gelding was moving rapidly away.
The stallion that attacked the gelding is a gentle, kind, well broke horse who is easy to handle when breeding. He likes people and is used to having other horses across the fence from him. Ironically, he and the gelding had been hauled together doing ranch work for years and had spent the winter together for eight years before this happened. After the attack, the gelding was too afraid of the stallion to ever run them together again.
There were no mares near the gelding at the time of the attack and the stallion actually had to leave the vicinity of the mares to go toward the gelding. The gelding was simply grazing so hadn’t done anything to provoke the attack. This was simply a case of a stallion being a stallion and this behavior, though horrifying at the time, wasn’t anything unusual.
Any horse can be a danger to a person, from a mini to a draft horse, but a stallion increases that level of danger dramatically. In view of that, how many people are really qualified to handle a stallion? How many want to have the risk of having a stallion on their premises and the liability if anything should happen? How many even need a stallion?
The horse owner needs to examine themselves, their circumstances and realistically assess their abilities before deciding to have a stallion. With so many good stallions to breed to, few people really need a stallion of their own. Stallion ownership should not be taken lightly. It’s serious business because stallions are all business, all the time.
About Jan Swan Wood
Jan was raised on a ranch in far western South Dakota. She grew up horseback working all descriptions of cattle, plus sheep and horses. After leaving home she pursued a post-graduate study of cowboying and dayworking in Nebraska, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota....