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General Questions re: owning a stallion

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  • General Questions re: owning a stallion

    I need a reality check from those who have been there/done that.

    I have ridden/handled stallions in my past, and the horse I am considering is mature and well behaved. Still, I have never boarded/managed a stallion, and don't want to get in over my head or be ill prepared.

    Please note, I would not be breeding the stallion here...any breeding/collecting would be done either at my vets, or at a local breeding farm.

    My interest in the horse is primarily to show him, but the added bonus of being able to offer him for breeding may make him an easier sell to DH. Horse has some babies on the ground that are showing and proving themselves to be athletic ammy/junior friendly mounts.

    Interested in thoughts, warnings, considerations....
    Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

  • #2
    I'll chime in since I am a new stallion owner (since January). I purchased my guy similar to your situation, a mature stallion with offspring already on the ground. I had already known him for about 2 years prior to purchasing him so I already was familiar with him and his personality.

    Honestly, I have not really done anything differently with him other than he has his own turnout paddock (the one that is completely viewable from the house and barn) and I turn him out only in the daytime, so I have one less paddock to rotate the other horses through. I have the three year old geldings in the paddock next to him so he does have "friends" he can "socialize with" over the fenceline aisleway. He is stabled in my barn with all the rest of the horses (mares included), I do have two "stallion" end stalls so he is in one of those and I have a gelding next to him and one directly across from him.

    I guess it really depends on your stallion's personality, mine is very respectful of humans and other horses. This is the reason that I purchased him, I knew we would have no problem handling him. Had it been otherwise, I would have never purchased him.

    The only problem I have run into is with fresh semen collection. We do not have an adequate collection facility near us and I am not set-up to do it on my farm at this time. The closest collection facility requires 4 plus hour round trip trailering (this does not count the time to collect) so to do fresh semen collection, it takes practically my whole day for one collection which was not condusive to my "regular job" this year (luckily I work at my husband's office so the "boss" won't fire me ). This next season he will also begin showing again so I made the decision to do frozen semen only with a live foal guarantee for the 2011 season.

    I have really enjoyed owning him. He has such a different, really a more engaging personality, than the mares or the geldings. We are having a lot of fun with him.
    Richard, Approved Black KWPN Stallion
    Website
    and Facebook page
    Oh Kaptain Underpants SFS, Approved BRp pony stallion
    Website and Facebook page

    Comment


    • #3
      We had a stallion on our farm & the only issue we had with him was he was an angel around the girls but HATED my gelding! He was the most laid back horse ever until he saw my other boy, then the horns came out!
      If you're going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you're going to be locked up.
      -Hunter S. Thompson

      Comment


      • #4
        I can provide a few general observations about boarding.

        I board at a barn where there are/have been several stallions and in nearly every case (as far as I am aware) they've proven to be excellent citizens. I'm in a part of the country where turn-out is limited, so the stallions have easily fit into the individual turn-out situation. Some have lived in box stalls out of contact with other horses, while others have worked well in the stalls with runs or "mare-motels" when placed on the end next to a gelding. In fact, one stallion spent at least a year living in a stall with a run that looked out over the wash racks. I parked the mare I was leasing right in front of him, oh maybe 50 times, before he finally said "hey baby here's my number," and I went "!!! a stallion ??!" His body was always partially blocked from my view by some bushes and I had never noticed that he was intact. After that, I started to "check" in some of the stalls whenever I walked around the property and at one point counted nearly 10 stallions/stud colts! Who knew! They were all well-behaved. I've also seen several participating in group riding lessons with mares with no issues.

        I've noticed that stallion owners generally tend to treat their horses the same as any other - reward good behavior, reprimand bad. When out of their stalls, they are always watched carefully when in cross-ties or in the wash racks and the owners/trainers are very good about giving the other riders a heads-up if necessary. I haven't seen anyone use them, but if you are in a high-traffic barn, it may be a good idea to install rings in your stall so that you can cross-tie and tack up in the stall and avoid the aisles or other community areas when people (children) are likely to be behaving like idiots.

        In general, I've had no bad experiences boarding at a barn where there are stallions.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          My barn is small and populated by responsible people...I no longer teach kids under 12, and parents are good about supervision (I am seriously lucky with my current parents!) Horse would have an end stall with a gelding beside him...he would be at the far end where no one ties up.

          I would need to build a pen for him though...I have training pens he could use, but would rather keep those for training horses...his pen would likely not have a shared fence line with any other horses, but he would be able to see a few other pens and the driveway/house. Is that fair to him?

          I suppose it makes sense to discuss costs of semen collection/breeding with my vet..I have NO idea what that costs!

          How DO you manage during shows? Do you just not show much in the spring? My shows are at MOST 4 days long, but that is still 4 days he can't be bred/collected. I noticed some farms only offer collections two days a week. Is that standard?

          Is breeding 5 mares a season sound reasonible?

          Is there a good stallion ownership resource out there that covers things like marketing, contracts, feeding and so forth?
          Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by CHT View Post
            I need a reality check from those who have been there/done that...
            Just geld him, do you really think that the slaughter houses need more horses to kill?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by CHT View Post
              My barn is small and populated by responsible people...I no longer teach kids under 12, and parents are good about supervision (I am seriously lucky with my current parents!) Horse would have an end stall with a gelding beside him...he would be at the far end where no one ties up.

              I would need to build a pen for him though...I have training pens he could use, but would rather keep those for training horses...his pen would likely not have a shared fence line with any other horses, but he would be able to see a few other pens and the driveway/house. Is that fair to him?

              I suppose it makes sense to discuss costs of semen collection/breeding with my vet..I have NO idea what that costs!

              How DO you manage during shows? Do you just not show much in the spring? My shows are at MOST 4 days long, but that is still 4 days he can't be bred/collected. I noticed some farms only offer collections two days a week. Is that standard?

              Is breeding 5 mares a season sound reasonible?

              Is there a good stallion ownership resource out there that covers things like marketing, contracts, feeding and so forth?
              1. I prefer to have them in contact with another horse. Most stallions get along well with geldings, or barren mares, or in some cases bred mares, or molly mules, etc. There are many options. I do not like to have one w/o some companion. Matiz' companion, is a QH colt .. well stallion now i guess. He's a year younger than Matiz, and has bred mares (Mat has not yet). They get along quite well though, and can see/hear/smell the hussies.. err.. i mean mares. There are geldings that they can rub noses with over the fence as well. As he is a mature stallion though, I'd ask current owners about companions, etc.. and do careful introductions before putting them in together. (but i'd do that with any horse, especially if they've lived fairly solitary until present).

              2. The mare owner usually pays collection fees and shipping.

              3. A lot don't breed during show season, some ship frozen.. some.. collect at shows with nearby facilities (that was an extraordinary circumstance though i believe.. that i heard of). Most farms offer collection 3 days a week, some do more. A lot i notice are going to 4-6 days.

              4. 5 mares is a good number. Most WB stallions don't get more I have read I think.

              5. Marketing.. well, first, determine your target market. And probably the best resource, IMO, is COTH actually. Feeding.. follow vet guidelines.. all stallions are different. Some, during breeding season, are very hard to keep weight on, especially if training as well, some are not phased at all, some are in between. They can also discuss (depending on your area) what supplements, etc could be helpful. My boy gets Health-E Oil, Source, and that's it. He's not in heavy training though, and not breeding yet.. so as that changes, that may change. Contracts.. well pretty much every stable that has a website and a stallion, has the contracts online.. here is one example.. click stallion ship semen link on this page.. http://www.midwestarabian.com/contra...rms/index.html

              Comment


              • #8
                The average stallion breeds 6 mares a year. Some many more and make money at this....most do not and are happy to break even. If you are content with the very possible prospect that your stallion will only breed 6 mares a year then you are being realistic.
                We are on our second stallion.The first I had delusions of making money with our colored TB stallion. The reality was he had 12 foals when he died at only 5. With the added costs of stallion ownership over a gelding...didn't make any money. However, he is the best horse I have owned. He was an easy to handle stallion that had no bahvior problems as clinics. At 4 years old he was at group clinics. He had an amazing personality. He got passing scores with 2 WB registries at 3 but both said he was too immature/please re present when older. I was about to and he was just starting to get a lot of interest from MOs since his first foals came out nicely when he passed away. I have his last son intact/is now 3 and if possible has been even easier to start under saddle. He lives in a mixed barn with mares and geldings....it's the only barn we have! He has to cope or get snipped. He gets treated no differently than any mare or gelding here. He gets no excuses for being a stallion but is not treated any more harshly because of it either. He is turned out with bred mares, weanlings or geldings for company. Since we have no bred mares or foals under 2 at present......geldings it is. At clinics and shows we just made sure to request he was stalled next to geldings. That worked well at all shows except Devon. When he was 2 we showed him in hand at Devon. He did get an end stall with a gelding next to him. And a mare directly behind him......luckily that went OK and she was not in heat. He was sniffing at the wall and squealing a bit but nothing happened. As it so happened I knew the lady that got the stall behind us the mare was in.....so someone else was also around to keep an eye on "the situation". Fortunately he did not need to be moved. We only had trouble keeping weight on Boomer (the first stallion) when he was both breeding and growing in the spring/added rice bran oil to his feed for extra calories. My guy didn't show far from home at only 5 so we just collected as his usual location....which was New Bolton at 4 and Select Breeders at 5. With horses that do show more extensively SOs handle it differently. Some figure out the show season in advance and tell MOs what dates upon booking when they will not be available. Some go to places there is a backup collection facility near a show. Some just don't show very far from home until the breeding season is over. This time around my goals are different. I have this boy for me. I am tryly enjoying riding him. I am not marketing him as yet but do have half a dozen MOs that had either bred to or wanted to breed to (and didn't) breed to his sire when he passed away when he gets phantom trained. That will probably be next year. We had issues with the EVA vaccination schedule for the collection facility this year and he wasn't breeding any mares this year anyway so gave up til next year. Our guy gets fed his grain (amount depending on the season...less in summer pasture), pasture or mixed hay and Source. In the winter or if he looks thin added ricebran oil. With frozen: some stallions freeze well and some do not. Even with good post thaw motility some just don't freeze well. I have seen many SOs offer free test breedings to MOs with their initial semen test freezes to see "if the stuff works". Doing that the MOs are already investing a good bit of vet money in breeding their mare with something they are not sure is "good stuff" or not. As the SO: if the mares take on the test freeze then you still have the benefit of having foals to show the next MOs when you charge for stud fees. It is not so cheap to freeze...it takes quite a few collections...but it is a good option for folks not close to a collection facility IF he freezes well. For fresh shipped: your market is better. Not all MOs have vets nearby that are good with the added skill that dealing with frozen takes on the vet's end/there is a much bigger timing margin for error with fresh. Some barns work on a M-W-F only collection schedule. As a MO I personally refused to work with any stallions that do that. It is hard enough to get the mare to ovualte when you think she will and get the fresh shipped/there in time without the risk of getting 3 day old semen between collction and shipping....and that is before the mare decides to retain the follicle anyway...
                Last edited by camohn; Oct. 1, 2010, 09:06 AM.
                Providence Farm
                http://providencefarmpintos.blogspot.com/

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have just added Stallion #2 to the mix and I am counting my blessings, with 2 mature breeding stallions on the property in reasonably close quarters, in an 8 stall barn, everything is quiet and serene and as calm as can be. I really thought I would need to stagger turnout times and have only one out at a time, but that has not been the case at all. We have 3 paddocks in a row and GG is in the far one, he has the mares and foals in front of his paddock, the 2 open mares beside him and then Winner - the new stallion - is directly beside those mares.

                  Winner spends most of his time in the farthest corner watching the squirrels, birds and chipmunks in the little forest behind him, GG eats and snoozes

                  One of them will occassionally call or nicker to the mares and the other will stick their head up, look to see if anything interesting is going on, and then go back to eating or sleeping

                  I wont do anything dumb like lead one by the other and invite trouble but overall, I am gratefully amazed at how well everything has gone. Heck - the mares kicked up more of a stink than either stallion did about each other!

                  We are going to put one more paddock in, in another few weeks, to segregate them both a little bit more but so far - so good!

                  Good luck with your decision. I have always found stallions to be just fine as long as you use your head and allow them some sort of normalcy and interaction among the general barn population so they dont get to feeling frustrated, isolated and alone ...
                  www.TrueColoursFarm.com
                  www.truecoloursproducts.com

                  True Colours Farm on Facebook

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Some tips on showing a breeding stallion....
                    As soon as you get there, arrange with those around you for tack stalls and geldings to surround your guy. For times when this is not possible, trust me it will happen and a mare (always in heat) is placed near by, a small portable electric fencer and one line of braided rope strung around the top of the wall is invaluable for peace of mind at night.
                    Always give people the heads up in the wash rack, people cannot be aware of and respect your stallion if you do not tell them.
                    In CDI awards ceremonies we always ask permission for your younger stallion to be presented out of order so he can stand on the edge, slightly separated with room to do a walk circle because there is always a mare or two in the line up. If he does get excited, excuse yourself from the victory lap so it is a calming walk experience, not something he associates with nervous, explosive tension and bad behaviour.

                    At home....
                    I agree with the other posters, Sandro's Heir is stabled in-between two geldings in the barn and has lots of social contact. We often rotate his neighbours at home which helps when he goes to shows and can sniff other geldings, it is not a big deal. Mares live right across the isle from him and he is fine with it.
                    He has his own personal high fenced turnout paddock (no other poop helps them establish their domain) that is calm, quiet, well seeded and separated from the others. At the start this was less about him being a stallion and more about him being an imported German horse that wasn't used to turnout and needed allot of babysitting when outside. 2 years later he is a great turnout stallion and really seems to enjoy and relax in his downtime in the field. It is important that they are still horses, i.e: come in covered in mud, sprint around a paddock for the fun of it and have friends. We send him out to be collected and this has helped "define" the lines and roles of his life: home is training and relaxing, shows and clinics are for training and competing, the breed farm is for collecting and "being the man". We do not collect our younger stallion right before a show but that said, Harvard could have probably collected in-between classes and not been phased which brings me to my final point. I have been in charge of 4 FEI level competing dressage stallions and none have been remotely similar. Each one requires a tailor-made program and management. Take away from here the tips you like but most importantly listen to your stallion on what he requires for a mentally and physically healthy life.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You could also look into freezing and storing straws then gelding so that you have "both" options and other than the initial expense and annual storage fees are not plagued with concerns/issues of boarding a stallion. I have my own place and can dictate things the way I see fit. I don't think I could deal with a boarding situation. My stallion is still very young but he is turned out 24/7, has gelding buddies in constant contact, trail rides with mares (both of my kids own mares), hauls and shows with mares, and so far is pretty manageable. He is going through a teenage phase right now but I am pretty confident having dealt with this before that it has nothing to do with the testosterone level; however, I am fully prepared, equipped and ready to castrate the boy if at any time he gives me reason to do so. Fortunately he is a pretty even keel sort of guy. The only thing that sets him off are horses running loose but even my geldings have issues with that too (neighbor's horses tend to get out).
                      Ranch of Last Resort

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Rockin H Transport View Post
                        Just geld him, do you really think that the slaughter houses need more horses to kill?
                        Wow , opinionated much? I have owned breeding stallions for almost 30 years and can tell you without doubt or hesitation that not one of my foals have been sent to the slaughter house.
                        Lapeer ... a small drinking town with a farming problem.
                        Proud Closet Canterer!

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          I really appreciate the amount of time, thought and typing that has been put into the replies!

                          I am heading off to talk to my vet about costs and considerations, as well as about info I should get about the stallion's breeding history. My vet does not do frozen, but if I decide to go that route I could use another clinic for that as it wouldn't be as time sensitive.

                          This horse seems to have attributes worth passing on with get that has proven themselves...but not sure if he is approved with any registry which is a concern I will also have to look into (he is registered).

                          I think he just lives outside right now, next to geldings. I do not think he is in with any other horses, but that seems standard any way for a show horse. I do have possible friends for him...just would need a new paddock.

                          Not worried about stabling at shows; the shows I go to seem to be able to accomodate stallions sensibly. Slightly worried about hauling to shows as my other show horses are bitchy mares...but I don't need to take them all to the same show.

                          Lots to think about.

                          And yes, gelding him would be an option if stallion ownership proved too much or he was unworthy, but I am looking at this as a business decision, and owning a stallion may make more sense than a gelding...particularly as a loath selling my personal riding horses.
                          Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Emy View Post
                            Each one requires a tailor-made program and management. Take away from here the tips you like but most importantly listen to your stallion on what he requires for a mentally and physically healthy life.
                            I agree with this. You have been given a lot of good useful advice.
                            Stallions are like any other horse, only more so.
                            They require more thought, more planning, in terms of stabling, turnout,trailering to shows.
                            I believe strongly that it is important that stallions not live lives of isolation, frustration or abuse. They need socialization, to see, be near other horses, and fair, consistent treatment.

                            My own stallion lives in the main barn with a gelding colt beside him, and mares every where else, right across from him etc. The walls in my barn are solid only half way up, with bars, so he can see clearly, and play with the colt beside him. They have a play ball that they share.

                            Outside, he has one large pasture which is adjacent to another large pasture. Although he is separated by a tractor aisle and two fence lines, he can see, hear, smell, 'be with' other horses. As a young horse he did go out with another baby. His other paddock is smaller and right in the middle of all the other pastures. He only has to rotate to see everyone.

                            When boarded in the show barn, he had very capable, experienced handlers, who treated him consistently, with respect and fairness. His turnout/riding routine was no different than any of the other horses. He tacked up beside, stood in the wash stall beside, rode out, schooled etc with mares and geldings.
                            But they too had to remember that just because the horse is quiet, calm and well-behaved, he cannot be taken for granted.
                            What I mean by that is just keep a higher level of attention and focus. You may not know that there is a mare in heat coming around the corner, but he certainly will.....

                            I did trailer him myself to shows. At shows he always got the end stall, with a gelding or hay stall beside him, and the barns behind us would be very cooperative and put either a gelding in behind him or use that stall for hay storage.

                            What also put my mind at ease at the outdoor horse shows was that the trainer's house trailer was only a few feet away - so that if there was a loose horse, or any other problem, he could be there in a flash.

                            Boarding at regular barns can be a problem, but if the barn owners/manager are experienced with stallions, and there is appropriate turnout, fencing, - and most importantly, the other boarders are aware and understand the special considerations the stallion requires, it can work fine.
                            Here, you and the barn manager need to be vigilant and aware. Post signs on his stall door if necessary. Be clear, be firm.

                            Good luck in whatever you decide - keep us posted.
                            A Fine Romance. April 1991 - June 2016. Loved forever.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              So do showing stallions ever have pasture mates? Do any stallions have pasture mates? (apart from a pasture herd stallion, I mean) Can they ever live in gelding groups?
                              www.juniperridgeranch.us
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                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Molly Malone View Post
                                So do showing stallions ever have pasture mates? Do any stallions have pasture mates? (apart from a pasture herd stallion, I mean) Can they ever live in gelding groups?
                                Mine do. Right now he (the current one) lives with 2 geldings. He was used as a weaning buddy for the 2 fillies that are now 2 YOs. He has been turned out with bred mares. His sire was kept the same way. Now we do not show hunter breeding and yes, he has nicks and scratches on him from wrastling with his boys.
                                Last edited by camohn; Oct. 2, 2010, 11:38 PM.
                                Providence Farm
                                http://providencefarmpintos.blogspot.com/

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I've had three different stallions here at various times and they were all out 24-7 with turnout buddies (variously with bred mares, or a gelding, or mixed gender weanlings, or another colt/young stallion).
                                  Liz
                                  Ainninn House Stud
                                  Irish Draughts and Connemaras
                                  Co. Westmeath, Ireland

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by appaloosalady View Post
                                    Wow , opinionated much?
                                    Yeah, pretty much.

                                    For the most part, I need to keep my mouth shut

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Molly Malone View Post
                                      So do showing stallions ever have pasture mates? Do any stallions have pasture mates? (apart from a pasture herd stallion, I mean) Can they ever live in gelding groups?
                                      People do it all the time, as the posts by camohn and waterwitch indicate. I think that is great! When I have colts they are turned out together.

                                      AFR was turned out with another foal until the end of their yearling year, and since then not.
                                      But he has always been turned out side by side/close to other horses, and they always graze in proximity to one other.

                                      The subject/thought of him having a turnout buddy is always in my mind, in fact I was just talking about it with a friend a few days ago (she has a young stallion) but now that he is close to 20, and seems to be happy and relaxed with the status quo, I hestitate to change things.

                                      I would imagine if the stallion had always been turned out with someone it would be different, but at this point, I would be afraid of one of them getting hurt.
                                      A Fine Romance. April 1991 - June 2016. Loved forever.

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                                      • #20
                                        You've had a lot of response...but I'll add one more.

                                        I never dreamed I would end up with a stallion but I did and wouldn't have it any other way. He is a gentleman and is boarded with my 2 mares, and 2 foals (one is his). His pasture is one side of the barn, theirs are the other side, and never the twain shall meet! He is sane, I trail ride him (now he's retired from jumping) with my friends and all their mares and I just make sure we stay ahead or slightly behind and I always carry a whip just in case.

                                        At home he has an empty stall between him and the girls, although he always lets me know when one of them is in season by nickering louder than usual when I bring them in.

                                        I think the trick is do they have a good brain to start with and then work with them to get the behavior you want and expect it every time. I've taken mine to the University a few times for ultrasound etc. and they say they are always amazed how well behaved he is and how he respects me. I am very lucky b/c he came with a good brain but I love working with him.

                                        I have a colt this year and am thinking he may be a stallion prospect, but don't know about having 2!

                                        I used to be around another stallion who was not so nice and honestly could be quite scary and intimidating at times. He was a bully and would try to bite, that is not fun to contend with when having to mess with them. Again, goes back to a good brain.

                                        Good luck with your decision.
                                        Fernhill Warmbloods
                                        www.fernhillwarmbloods.com

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