Horse Problems: Controlling a Stallion Around Mares

Many people want to keep a stallion for his bloodlines but also want to ride and/or compete with the same horse. That becomes a problem if your stallion becomes unruly around other horses. Untrained stallions begin to snort, fight your control, walk on eggshells, and generally become out of control in an effort to approach another horse. Given no restraint, they can hurt their rider, other riders, or get other people and horses hurt.

Not all beautiful boy horses should become breeding stallions. The vast majority, although loved and cherished by their owners, contribute nothing important to the gene pool (in fact might be adding detrimental genes). Unless you are an EXPERT geneticist AND an EXPERT stallion handler, a stallion can be a HUGE LIABILITY. Think in through carefully. It’s expensive. It’s a huge amount of work. It can be very dangerous! (I personally know a woman – a wonderful horsewoman – who had her arm actually bitten off by a stallion she had owned for many years). All of that for a couple of colts that look like Daddy.

If you really want a riding and competing horse, GELD him.

This is a good time to understand natural, wild horse behavior. What keeps a stallion in line in a wild herd? There is no human being there to teach him restraint. He learns to control himself.

In a wild situation, a stallion may approach a mare. However, mares who are not in season or who are already in foal don’t want to be pestered by a stallion. Therefore he is told in no uncertain terms by the mare if she is not ready for breeding. Her ears go back, she swings to bite, and she will ultimately double-barrel kick him if he persists. After experiencing this a few times, any stallion worth his salt will approach respectfully, notice the warning signs, and find a safe distance where he can watch, and even interact with the mares but stay away from non-receptive partners.

Stallions who are raised with other horses as youngsters learn a lot about horse etiquette during their formative years. If they live with geldings, a pecking order is established. If they live with mares, they take instruction from them.

The key to training your stallion how to remain respectful and under your control when you are both around other horses lies in giving him the deterrence training in a controlled situation – a situation you set up in your time, your space, and under your control.

Set up the scenario and be prepared to demonstrate to him what happens when he approaches another horse in a “studdy” way.

See Warwick Schiller’s demo.


From personal experience I can tell you that managing a stallion is difficult. I waited until the last minute to geld a beautiful baroque pinto colt hoping that someone would like to purchase him as a whole stallion. As it become more clear that he would not find that home, I finally gelded him at 27 months.

He was always in a paddock what his younger brother. The two played, the baby gave him proper deference. However, when his brother went to a new home, the older colt began to change. He got lonely, and his desperation for companionship, he became pushy and demanding. A larger, younger, or more experienced stallion handler might have found him to be fine, but I was afraid he would eventually run over me, so the decision was made to geld him so that he could go back into the group of horses where he desired to be.

It made all of the difference.

A couple of other considerations

Most boarding facilities will not allow a stallion. They have neither the room, the staff, nor the facilities to keep a stallion. Some municipalities or counties will not allow stallions to be housed unless they have very particular and very secure housing.

Stallions crave the contact of other horses as much as any horse, so keeping them in perpetual isolation only drives them to more and more desperate behavior. Stallions should be raised with other horses where they learn to be polite or meet the other end of another horse. It is good if they can be kept with other horses throughout their life. A nice older gelding is often the best choice.

It is a good idea for your horse to get used to breeding (or being collected) in only one place where only that activity takes place. It is easier for him to decipher when it is or is not appropriate if he has place-specific clues. And he should be allowed to meet and greet the mares in a safe environment if at all possible. In my humble opinion, pasture breeding is always the best. A natural herd. A natural cycle. Plenty of exercise and natural horse behavior. Or AI will be just fine: no stallion, no mare, no problem.

Not all beautiful boy horses should become breeding stallions. The vast majority, although loved and cherished by their owners, contribute nothing important to the gene pool (in fact might be adding detrimental genes) to the breed. Unless you are an expert geneticist AND an EXPERT stallion handler, a stallion can be a HUGE liability. Think in through carefully. It’s expensive. It’s a huge amount of work. It can be dangerous. All of that for a couple of colts that look like Daddy.

Stallions can be gelded as early as 10 days old. Ask Pat Parelli, who gelds all of his colts at that early age with NO detrimental affects to development. If you really want a riding and competing horse, GELD him.

Horse training can be dangerous. Not all methods work on all horses. Instruction presented here is not meant to be prescriptive in nature, and Horse-Pros.com takes no responsibility for the welfare of any animal or person using our methods.

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