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NOT TO GELD

The Iberian Perspective

TO GELD or

By Patti Schofler

The machismo of the Iberian bull ring, the fame of Austria’s white Lipizzan stallions, and the legendary temperament of the Baroque horses at one time made gelding

these majestic stallions unheard of. Today the Andalusians, Lusitanos, Lipizzans, PREs and other Baroque breeds are usually imported to America as stallions, but then they are often gelded when they reach American soil where marketing considerations and breed development commands the transformation of the male horses.

I

n Europe and most of South America, the Baroque stallions’ place in society and lifestyle dictated that these male horses remain whole. On the

Iberian Peninsula the culture of riding has for centuries related to agricultural life and to the bull ring where men on their male horses dominated. The tradition lives today and generally- speaking horses are not gelded in Spain, Portugal and South America. Visitors to the Spanish Riding School of Vienna watch Lipizzan stallions, originally of Iberian blood, work and live together in close quarters allowing the white stallions to carry on the 400 year old tradition imprinted by the royalty of Imperial Austria.

26 May/June 2010

The Baroque stallions’ position in society has also, in general, produced horses with gentle, willing, nonaggressive temperaments. The culture in which they are bred has also desired the stallions’ sensitivity, alertness and muscular development.

WHY TO GELD

Portuguese native and dressage trainer Vitor Silva of Sons of the Wind Equestrian Center in Merrimac, Massa- chusetts, began importing Lusitanos from Brazil in 1995 when gelding a stallion was out of the question. “Mostly males were riding and they took gelding a horse very personal. A man was more of a man if he rode a stallion. Women don’t care,” Vitor says. “And with such wonderful temperaments as these horse have,

people would ask why do we geld them?”

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