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One of the answers has been the growth

and strength of the competition market. Tina Cristiani Veder, owner of Caballos de los Cristiani in Wilton, New York and Ocala, Florida, explains, “Northern Europeans geld stallions more because they have many more horses to choose from for breeding stock. Also they stepped forth in the early 1900s to develop competitive events where geldings were needed.” Geldings have been more suitable for the large

American market of amateur women who train and compete at public boarding facilities and who are attracted to the temperament of the Baroque horse without the accompanying hormones of the stallion. Simply put, no matter how wonderful the temperament, stallions are not geldings, and handling, stabling and competing with a stallion requires its own set of rules and horsemanship skills. “Most of my clients are looking for nice saddle

horses that they will put in a public boarding situation,” says June Boardman, Lipizzan breeder and owner of White Horse Vale Lipizzans in Goldendale, Washington. “It’s usually an issue to find facilities willing to take in a stallion. Why would you want stallions in your barn with all that hormonal drive? Unless you’re going to use the horse for breeding, I don’t see why one should keep him a stallion.” “The market in the United States is mostly women

who want a horse to be a partner or companion, and that’s difficult to do that with a stallion, even one with a wonderful temperament. Geldings often make better competition horses,” says Vitor. “Not everyone has the horsemanship management knowledge to handle stallions. “Stallions are the closest horse to the wild. When he comes into the barn, he thinks he is going to


dominate. But the head of the barn has to establish obedience so no one gets hurt. I’ve had stallions that knew their jobs and I could take them anywhere. But it’s not always that way,” explains Vitor.


The horse’s mental and emotional health and the quality of life is an

important consideration in the decision about gelding. Usually a stallion cannot be

turned out in pasture with other horses, and his life is often quite isolated because of the living situation at a public facility where barn owners and staff may not have the necessary experience. “A lot of times bad stallion behavior is not the stallion’s fault. It’s the negligence of the owner or the staff at the barn,” says Vitor. “Stallions need interaction with other horses and

with you,” describes Tina. “Our stallions have big openings in their stalls and can nuzzle and interact with each other. We find that when you isolate a stallion he doesn’t know how to behave around other horses. I hate to make general statements, and a few will prove you wrong, but usually if you raise a stallion correctly, everything is in balance, and they can handle things correctly.” After many years of experience with stallions, Tina

says, “They require a certain understanding, no matter what their temperament is. They need affection and attention. They are not as independent as mares who in nature are the leaders. Stallions look for leadership to follow. People say, oh, a

Vitor Silva riding the Lusitano

stallions Luar (left) and Paragrafo

(right). Photos by Susan Kerr.

Picture of Spanish Riding School at top: courtesy Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0.

Warmbloods Today 27



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