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How do you decide who gets to stay a stallion?

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  • How do you decide who gets to stay a stallion?

    I'm not involved in breeding, but I was thinking about this the other day, and I thought it might an interesting discussion.

    What factors going into determing whether a colt will be kept as a breeding stallion?
    Bloodlines, conformation, athletic ability, show results, temperment - which are most important?
    Do you assume that you will geld pretty much every male horse? Or do you see every male foal as a potential stallion prospect?

    When the foal is born, how long does it take to see that potential?

    The reason I got to thinking about this, is that I've seen ads and websites for some stallions who have very little in terms of show results, but still seem to be successful as studs.

    Then you see a gelding who is winning lots of GPs, and think "why didn't they keep him as a stallion?" Because of rideability? Or did the owners/breeders see something in his conformation that makes him unsuitable as a stud?

    I'd love to hear some thoughts on this, purely for my own curiosity!

    PS- I apologize if this topic has been discussed before, I'm new here.

  • #2
    This is a great thread! I actually have been wondering myself. I would think that conformation and bloodlines are gonig to be two biggest factors. When I was talking to a breeder last weekend, she said that she only keeps the really special colts stallions and she cuts the majority of them. So they must have something that sets them apart from the rest. I guess Stallions can be so difficult and probably don't have a huge market to sell to since amatures usually prefer geldings, so unless you think that the stallion has amazing conformation and a good pedigree, you probably geld it.

    I would love to hear more opinions though!


    • #3
      Some of those stallions you see aren't all that successful regardless of bloodlines, approval, etc.

      You didn't list what is the single most important thing required: MARKETABILITY. Is there a market for the stallion prospect in question? Everything else pales in comparison.


      • #4
        The WHOLE package must be darn near perfect or off with the nards
        Temperament has to be exceptional.
        Conformation has to be "way above average". Same with movement. Horse must be SOUND.
        Pedigree must be solid.
        We would never consider keeping a stallion who couldn't (or wouldn't) go to horse shows, behave like a gentleman AND be competitive.
        Follow us on facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/River...ref=ts&fref=ts


        • #5
          I second Tri: marketability. I purchased an Arab stud colt last fall intending to keep him a stud. He is quite nice, and I knew that I would be thrilled with him as a stallion or as a gelding.

          I kept him a stallion initially to give myself a chance to make an informed decision on gelding him or leaving him intact.

          Marketability eventually made the final decision. Dressage is my passion, and there are several very nice Arab stallions in the sporthorse world. I know the owner of one of the stallions, and she has put a ton of money into training and showing him, and he is still getting very few breedings. He is doing 2nd level successfully, both open shows and the Arab circuit. His father competed at PSG.

          My boy doesn't have the big names in the Arab sporthorse world on his papers. There is no record that comes up in the Arab database for his parents' show history. He is very very nice, uphill movement, nice long stride, and will be big, but marketing him would have just been too expensive for me.

          Given that I would not be able to market him well, and that he is too much of a social butterfly to thrive on solo turnout, I made the decision to geld him. It was really in his best interest so he can have turnout buddies, since my other two horses are mares.

          I personally feel that there are many stallions out there who should be gelded, and there are some geldings who would have made nice stallions. In the end, I think it has much more to do with the owner than it does the horse. If the owner has the money and wants a stallion, then a horse is likely to be left intact even if he is really not prime breeding material. If the owner does not have the money to market a stallion and maybe is less concerned with showing or otherwise proving a stallion, then gelding a nice colt is more likely going to be the outcome. I am not talking about sporthorse stallions in particular, but stallions of every breed and type. I board in a barn full of stallions, and there are a couple that I would geld tomorrow if it were my decision. They do not have the personality for it IMO.


          • #6
            I wish more people would make more informed decisions about keeping a colt a stallion for life! As far as I am concerned to keep the "rights" (testes) the stallion should be darn near perfection in everyway! I am saddened by how many get kept as a breeding stud with out all the valid reasons to do so. Temperment is at the top of my list but everything else is equally important. I say temperment of the stallion himself, but I wish that more owners would take a look at the temperment of the offspring - there are a few stallions out there (we wont mention names!) that did well in their own right but as soon as the offspring hit the ground it was evident that the temperment was not being passed on. I wish that more breeds would do full inspections for their stallions, ie the Irish Draught gives papers by breeding but the stallion is not approved for breeding until passing an inspection.

            There is the consumer side of this though, and that is that if people continue to breed to stallions with cheap stud fees becuase they are not really very good, we perpetuate people keeping not so steller horses as stallions. As a rule we do not breed to any stallion that has not competed himself, have an outstanding conformation and soundness record - for us there is no reason to bring a foal into this world that does not have the best chance of improving the breed or sport that it is meant to represent.

            And to this i remind our yearling Irish Draught, that keeping his "rights" is a day by day privlage for him - you have to accept in the beginning that your colt may make a very nice gelding!
            Home of RID Stallion "The Pride of Gloster" (xClover Hill RID)


            • #7
              Originally posted by Orkney96 View Post
              And to this i remind our yearling Irish Draught, that keeping his "rights" is a day by day privlage for him - you have to accept in the beginning that your colt may make a very nice gelding!
              I very much like this thought process. That was my mentality when I bought my colt. If he turned out not to be stallion material, he would be gelded, and that was the outcome.


              • #8
                I think everything needs to be exceptional. Off the chart.

                If you have that, they will come.
                Randee Beckman ~Otteridge Farm, LLC (http://on.fb.me/1iJEqvR)~ Marketing Manager - The Clothes Horse & Jennifer Oliver Equine Insurance Specialist


                • #9
                  I have to agree with everyone on near perfection. To me they need: a world class pedigree, stellar conformation, intelligence, personality, fantastic athletic ability, a great temperament, trainability, rideability. Then I want them to prove themselves in competition, and be tops of their chosen discipline. Then-- after some test foals, I want to see them throw themselves in the foals and I want to see the foals as an improvement over the mares. I almost forgot, one more thing, --- presence, that inner quality some individuals have. The type of wow factor you can only see them in a ring of horses. I think a horse needs to be great not good, not even very good. The life of a stallion is not the easiest and people forget that. The average stallion in this country breeds 1.7 mares.

                  Home of Ironman: GOV, BWP, RPSI, CSHA, AWR, ISR Oldenburg, CWHBA, CSHA, CS, and PHR.


                  • #10
                    Pedigree is HUGE and often greatly overlooked in North America. If they don't have that, then I wouldn't consider it any further. The motherline is most important. For example, Silver Lining (aka Landwerder) is from a mother who has produced 4 approved stallion sons (Landor S, Lagoheidor, Landwerder, and Coulthard) who were all also successful in sport, an international showjumper, Laertes, and a States Premium mare, Heidegluck, who is the dam of an approved stallion, Incello. It doesn't matter how great the sire of the stallion prospect is ... the motherline must be outstanding.

                    Marketability is actually second on our list. The market in North America is pretty specific. A versatile stallion (i.e. jumps like a hunter, scope for the jumpers, quiet mind, and three good gaits) who is also "pretty" and suitable for the mare base (heavily TB influenced) is what is desired by the bulk of the breeders. If he has black color, blingy markings, big hair, and/or a lovely head, then you are one step ahead of the game.

                    Trainability and rideability are going to be impossible to judge in a young horse until he has been started into work, so I take this off the list as we typically decide before the stallion is 3 years of age. Character is sometimes also tough to judge as I have had very difficult foals grow up and be stellar undersaddle and vice versa.

                    Some colts can not handle being stallions (we call it testosterone poisoning). This is not a temperament issue as it is easily resolved with gelding. Often, people have unrealistic expectations that stallions must act like geldings or they are considered to have a bad temperament or will produce bad temperaments. Not true! Stallions should be mannerly and well behaved with the expectation that they will act like stallions from time to time. Our colts live outside 24/7 until they are 2 years old. If they can not handle coming in and minding their manners, we decide at that point to geld.

                    If the colt has the pedigree and the potential to be marketable, then we look at him as an individual. He must have that "WOW" factor that Nancy speaks of. We will let him grow up and then will decide.

                    Another thing to consider when producing horses of this caliber is that many upper level riders looking for their next Grand Prix mount want stallions. Not for breeding but for competition. If we think that a colt may have this kind of potential, then we will wait until he is going undersaddle before deciding to geld.


                    • #11
                      I assume all colts will be gelded unless there is a special reason NOT to. So far that has been 2 colts. One was an Arab/WB cross. Super mover, popular Arab half of pedigree, super temperment. He was sold because of the marketablility as I saw it. He was going to mature to about 15.3H...a little too small to appeal to the WB folks. The WB dam was a Hungarian WB. Not exactly a popular/more well known/easily marketed WB line....and the fact the SIRE was the Arab made him ineleigible for the WB stud books. I couldn't geld him though and did sell him to Arab sporthorse folks where last I heard he was showing well. Thge other is my current yearling colt. He IS nice of course of he would not have da bits but the clincher for him was his sire died young so he is one of only 2 intact colts by his sire. In additon they just need the inexplicable IT factor. Not hot....far from it for my needs...just bright and alert. What the TB folks call the look of the eagles.
                      Providence Farm


                      • #12
                        Another thing to consider when producing horses of this caliber is that many upper level riders looking for their next Grand Prix mount want stallions. Not for breeding but for competition.
                        I have found this to be true as well. Do you think it is a factor in that not many U.S. bred horses have made it to the top levels? Meaning, in europe, more stallions are left whole until the age of 3 or 4 and going under saddle whereas, in the U.S. people tend to geld in the first year? Deductive reasoning leads to the rest. What do you think?


                        • #13
                          If they aren't sold as a stallion prospect by the time it's spring of their yearling year - we cut them. There are far more buyers for super geldings than there are for super colts. I'm sure we all can attest to seeing far more colts that should have been gelded than vice versa.
                          Summit Sporthorses Ltd. Inc.
                          "Breeding Competition Partners & Lifelong Friends"


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ise@ssl View Post
                            If they aren't sold as a stallion prospect by the time it's spring of their yearling year - we cut them. There are far more buyers for super geldings than there are for super colts. I'm sure we all can attest to seeing far more colts that should have been gelded than vice versa.
                            This is our policy as well. We do our best to breed superior quality and temperment, but realistically there are few stallion homes and I am just as happy providing someone a stunning gelding.
                            Epona Farm
                            Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

                            Join us on Facebook


                            • #15
                              We haven't found that to be true at all. Our top quality colts always sell first for very good prices, but the quality has to really be there. They need to exceptional. I do think too many average or just above average colts are left stallions, for sure.

                              Originally posted by horsetales View Post
                              This is our policy as well. We do our best to breed superior quality and temperment, but realistically there are few stallion homes and I am just as happy providing someone a stunning gelding.


                              • #16
                                we have bred 60+ warmblood foals over the years, 4 of these total were considered as stallion "prospects". I agree with many here in that they must be "darn near perfect " in every direction to keep their jewels.

                                Two more were sold at 3 days old( different years) to one person, who made the choice to consider their future, of those one was later gelded as a youngster, the other did not have good fertility as a 4 year old and was later gelded by the owner. The owner's first interest was FEI competitive horses, and both of these made that level.

                                One had two foals as a young horse, but the choice was made to geld him to enjoy him as a riding horse.

                                One was sold after completion of his stallion testing. He is now about 20 years of age and has produced many top horses.

                                One is our current WB stallion Beste Gold,a fourth generation of our breeding program, who we kept for my riding horse and as a stallion. His bloodlines are very solid, traditional, not overused, albeit not trendy.
                                1.He is a very well rounded individual athletically and conformationally with national level Hunter and dressage horses and other top breeding stock in his mare family.
                                2.Until his breeding injury he was bringing me up through the dressage levels with great success.
                                3. His early offspring were of very good quality, regardless of mare type, or pedigree, helping him retain his stallion status.
                                4. His own character is impeccably honest and kind, and he is passing that along.
                                5. His first offspring are now under saddle and proving his many contributions to their quality. Younger ones are proving successful in hand.
                                6. Both his fresh and frozen semen is of stellar quality, making him a viable choice for more difficult mares.
                                7. As far as marketability, many who breed to him are breeding for themselves, so there are not many offspring even ON the sales market. However those who are breeding are from several disciplines with goals of mid (amateur) and upper level Dressage horses, A/O hunters and the Big EQ. At MO's request we have nominated him to the IHF for 2008, but I am still on the fence about that. There are very few of riding age (3 or older in '08) who are not already in permanent type homes, which I consider to be a HUGE compliment to his abilities as a sire.

                                At age 9 now, he has more than proven himself to us and earned his future.

                                The final stallion is our 5 year old sportpony stallion who was an experiment that worked out even better than intended, and who is proving these same qualities. He has a bit of time before his final fate will be sealed.
                                Last edited by MagicRoseFarm; Apr. 17, 2008, 02:35 AM.
                                "It's not how good you ride, It's how good your horse covers for you." -Kristan
                                Magic Rose Farm- home of Beste Gold & Hot Shot
                                Beste Gold & Offspring on Facebook
                                Magic Rose Farm Warmbloods on FB


                                • #17
                                  In my mind the stallion must be exceptional at what he is bred for...ie possessing all the components needed. He must be ideal in breed type and he must possess a very strong pedigree..motherline included! I won't breed to a stallion with an unknown motherline.

                                  On the other hand, I know of some incredibly famous sires who were forgiven minor conformation faults. But we are talking top producing international calibre stallions here.

                                  All in all, there are very few stallions that I see out there that I would keep intact.

                                  "Simple: Breeding,Training, Riding". Wolfram Wittig.


                                  • #18
                                    I have a hard time imagining making the decision to keep a colt entire. I tend to think there are already enough very good stallions out there. *IF* I were to do so, the horse would have to be exceptional in all regards. Even so, I think it is barely feasible to raise, train, and stand a stallion in the US. There are very few that get more than a handful of mares a year, even among the nice ones. If I had a really large mare base and could better take advantage of breeding my own stallion to my own mares (as some have done with some of the more popular stallions here), it might make some sense. But standing one almost exclusively to outside mares is a lot harder, I think.
                                    Roseknoll Sporthorses


                                    • #19
                                      I agree Yankee. There are quite a few superb stallions over here that I know don't get more than a handfull of mares..simply because they are either not promoted a tonne or because there are just so many excellent stallions to choose from. Plus, they have to compete with frozen as well.

                                      I think if I were ever to have a stallion it would be something already liscenced and I would use him as my main competition horse, otherwise it is not much of a life and I also wouldn't want to go through the whole inspection process ect. That way even if you aren't getting alot of mares it's ok because the horse serves a purpose of competition and they do often make super competition horses.

                                      "Simple: Breeding,Training, Riding". Wolfram Wittig.


                                      • #20
                                        As many of you know, I own my stallion with Christine Smith. The reason why I bring this up is when one of her mares has a boy she always says "Mare had a gelding last night"!

                                        Now, having said THAT, the only reason why Omni still has his family jewels are his bloodlines, which are exceptional, top and bottom. Of course, it goes without saying that he needs to behave like a gelding, except in the breeding shed.

                                        IMHO, performance is still the acid test, and as we all know it's tough, tough, tough. I think you give them a chance ... then cut. After all, it's pretty difficult to glue them back on!!!
                                        "For God hates utterly
                                        The bray of bragging tongues."
                                        Sophocles, Antigone Spoken by the Leader of the Chorus of Theban Elders