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Help with stud behavior in a gelding

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  • Help with stud behavior in a gelding

    I have an eleven year old gelding. He has been to a lot of places, shows, month long farm visits, been there done that. I just moved him a new facility that has a lot of mares, breeding mares. He is now obsessed with these mares. Walks the fence and defends the fence from the other geldings in the field. Any suggestions on breaking this behavior? Another pasture is not an option.

  • #2
    Well the mares are all in heat in Spring. And is there a stud on the premises?

    Really there is no way to change horse behavior when they are beyond your control and loose, other than management.

    My mare is in heat this week and wants to stop and flirt with geldings and pee in the barn aisle. Only way to stop that is not let her do it. She's also not getting group turnout for the duration because she's such a pest.

    You can't stop horse's instinctual behavior regarding food, sex, or survival. You can train a horse to disregard these and listen to you under saddle or even during liberty work in a confined space: don't lunge into the ditch to graze, don't squeal and strike, don't spook at shadows.

    Once they are in the field loose you can't do anything.

    I would move the gelding until the mares are all pregnant and no longer enticing to him.


    • #3
      My gelding was late cut and did all the behaviors up to and including mounting and attacking other geldings over "his" mare. We're not talking a squabble rather a full on knock down going for the throat attack. Until the day he died he couldn't share fencelines with mares, period. There wasn't a damned thing I could do and when he was loose and fixated on a mare he would gladly run me down. Under saddle, no problem whatsoever. Waiting him out didn't work, either. He could run the fence for days even at 20+ years old.

      Agree with Scribbler. Afraid you're not likely to win this one without moving him or the mares.


      • #4
        I have a gelding that will act "studish" with me when I am at a particular point in my cycle. I am lucky that I have been able to control who he is turned out with or near. I don't have anything against mares, but as long as I own this particular gelding, I won't own any mares.

        I agree with the above poster who stated that you can control the behavior when they are within your range of control (under saddle, in hand, or a very disciplined liberty horse), but once you are out of the equation, you are no longer able to influence the behavior.


        • #5
          You can't break their baser instincts. Move him or the mares if you're concerned for his safety or theirs, but you can't train that out of him, especially while turned out and out of your control, but you can shape the behavior while you are working with him in close relation. Under saddle, in hand, in the stall etc..
          I’d rather ride on a Mustang, than in one.

          BaileyAnn Neal


          • #6
            I fixed the problem, I stopped boarding mares.


            • #7
              We bought a mare, still new and in the pens, when she came in heat.

              One normally meek gelding decided he was the biggest stallion around.
              He beat all other geldings, even the boss, into a corner of their mile long pasture.
              He would not let them out of there, not to graze or travel to the pens for water.
              Because, you know, there was a mare in heat there and it was his to guard!

              We had to pen him so the others could have any peace.
              In a pen by her, he totally ignored her.
              Once she was out of heath, he was back to his old sweet, meek self.

              That is horses for you.


              • #8
                I've had good results when using depo for dominant geldings. Talk to your vet about whether that would be a good option for you.


                • Original Poster

                  Thank you all. One1horse, Depo has been suggested and I am hesitant, but it might be my only option. I can not show with the oral herbals. My understanding is that Depo is ok with documentation. Question for you: Did you have to keep him on it forever? I'm wondering if he will be ok once these mares are bred next month.


                  • #10
                    This is timely! I'm having a similar problem. My 7 yo OTTB gelding has been turned out in a 'gelding pasture' for years and has always been a mild-mannered herd member.

                    About a month ago the barn manager added a mare, now a couple of mares, without telling me. Now I hear that my gelding is mounting the mares. One of the mares has become obsessed with him and follows, paces and screams when I take him out of the pasture. At first I thought "this will get old and they all will quit in a couple of weeks", especially if one or more mares came into heat and then go out of heat. I had no idea how constant and severe the behavior had become. None of the other geldings is mounting the mares (some horses do fine in mixed groups).

                    Unfortunately an extended urgent family medical situation took me away from the barn for that same month. I heard about the mounting behavior, but the situation wasn't made clear about the change to a mixed-group pasture and the ongoing mounting. I didn't realize that the mounting wasn't just a few times, then tapering off. I can't imagine what the BM was thinking to allow what was apparently daily mounting behaviors to continue for so long (they are his mares). It could lead to injuries for the horses. Plus IMO this is a board-business basic, and this is a higher-end boarding barn for the area.

                    And, of course, these impulsive behaviors become habitual behaviors. Today I came up to speed on the situation and insisted that my gelding be moved out of the mixed-group pasture and to an all-gelding pasture. But in his first introduction to the new gelding pasture, he is exhibiting stud-y behaviors and looked very much as if he were intending to mount the geldings. The other three geldings are older and in no condition to deal with this, either physically or from a standpoint of dominance of wills.

                    So my gelding is shut in a stall for now. When he's not eating he's fussing. Although he is out of reach of the mares, he isn't that far from them and can see and smell them.

                    For the last 4 years this farm has had almost no mares, but suddenly there are fillies everywhere as the BM is ramping up his flipping business. Care has been excellent until now, but with my gelding behaving as he is, this will sadly be a dealbreaker. With great regret I think my gelding is going to have to move where the turn-out has a gelding pasture that will stay a gelding pasture. I have liked this barn the best of anywhere I've boarded (over 20 years of boarding at probably 6 different barns), but it's one of those 'things have changed' situations, and so it is.

                    Thanks for the thread suggestion about depo! I will ask the vet about depo, in case that will buy some time. But I'd rather have certainty about the turn-out than a long-term medication.

                    How fast word gets around! I'm already getting random remarks from others "geldings and mares don't mix!" I have known and boarded with mixed-turn-out situations that worked in the past (before this horse), so I don't believe that is a universal. But some horses are just not good for it.
                    Last edited by OverandOnward; Apr. 20, 2019, 07:41 PM.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by foxford View Post
                      Thank you all. One1horse, Depo has been suggested and I am hesitant, but it might be my only option. I can not show with the oral herbals. My understanding is that Depo is ok with documentation. Question for you: Did you have to keep him on it forever? I'm wondering if he will be ok once these mares are bred next month.
                      Sorry OP, just saw this now. In this gelding's case, he was on it pretty consistently for about 6 months. There was one mare in particular he really had a thing for, so when she left the property he was a lot better. Ended up being one of those things where the bottle of depo ran out, mare had been gone for a few months, and the owner of the horse (I was assistant BM at the time, ie managing and giving his shots) didn't re-order another bottle and he just stayed status quo. Could very well be that your horse will be the same, and the depo may just be a seasonal part of his maintenance when the mares aren't bred. Feel free to PM me if I can give any more insight! It really is pretty non-invasive and for showing may be the easiest option.


                      • #12
                        I am also having a similar issue and looking for help. Had a new boarder (8-year old gelding) brought to my barn for "retirement." Owner lives out of state. Owner said he had an excellent low-key disposition and had been easy to handle at his last two boarding barns. Although he had always been turned out with geldings, he was stabled and turned out next to mares without an issue. He is a cribber and had some "anxiety" type behaviors such as weaving.

                        I put him in a small paddock which had an open alley (20') between him and a pasture of 4 mares. He seemed fine for the first few days. When I went to turn him out with the gelding group (maybe 40 feet from the mares) after a week of settling in, he became extremely agitated, trotting the fence line, screaming for the mares. I tried moving him to a different paddock next to the geldings where he could still see the mares, tried him with a different group of geldings, tried putting him a stall for 12 hours to "reset," basically everything I could think of over the course of almost two weeks. His agitation only increased, he lost even more weight (would not eat, only scream and pace the fence line), and continued to be completely obsessed with the mare pasture.

                        I finally gave up and stuck him out with the mares so he would at least eat. He is very happy out with the mares, no more fence walking or screaming, and eats all his food now, but has all of the behaviors described above. Has full on attacked scary-stallion throat grabbing style another gelding over the fence and almost took the whole fence down. He now has lost a shoe and stepped on the clip. We got the shoe off him, but the farrier will not re-shoe him because his anxious mare-obsessed behavior is so bad (he is not even happy in the barn with another mare near him, he has to be out with the whole herd touching all of them). He's now very lame and wearing off the hoof that lost the shoe. I tried bringing him to a stall to treat his hoof and get him out of the rain/mud but he was stallion type screaming, cribbing, weaving, and running in circles. After about 6 hours I gave up and put him back outside.

                        I'm now in a really bad spot because I have no idea how to take care of this animal. He needs to get his feet done but I'm not sure how a farrier can work on him. He also had an EPM diagnosis a few months ago and has gone through two-rounds of EPM treatment, but I am nervous about drugging him heavily in case his balance is still impacted.

                        I do have an appointment with the vet on May 14th for hormone testing.

                        Any advice appreciated.