Our readers support us. This post may contain affiliate links. We earn from qualifying purchases. Learn More
What is a gelding horse? A gelding is a male horse that has been castrated. When a horse is castrated, his testicles are removed, so he is no longer able to reproduce.
Geldings are easier to work with than stallions and are often more well-mannered. Geldings are preferred riding mounts over stallions, especially for beginners since they are safer.
What Does Gelding Mean?
Unless a horse is going to be used for breeding, he will likely be castrated, which is also referred to as gelded.
The act of gelding can be traced all the way back to 350 B.C.E., as Aristotle mentioned it in his writing. The process is quite simple and is performed by a veterinarian.
Gelding can be done with a horse standing up or lying down. Sedation is administered, with local anesthesia given when done standing up and general anesthesia is given when done lying down. The typical cost for the procedure will be around $250, but different factors may affect the price.
Complications from castration are very rare. During the recovery period, light exercise is allowed while the incision is healing. The incision area should be cleaned and antibiotics are often given to prevent infections.
Within a few weeks of being gelded, the horse will normally be completely healed and his stallion tendencies will diminish.
When Should I Geld a Male Horse?
The ideal time to geld a colt is between the ages of six months to a year. As long as his testicles have descended, it is safe to geld a colt.
If you know you aren’t going to be using your male horse for breeding, it is ideal to geld him at a young age. This will prevent him from forming stallion behaviors that can be aggressive and dominant.
When castrated at a younger age, a gelding will likely not show interest in mares and they can be pastured together. However, stallions can still be gelded well into their teens. The older the horse is when he is gelded, the more likely he will display stallion behaviors as a gelding.
Interesting Facts About Geldings
- When trotting or cantering, a unique groaning like noise can sometimes be heard from the sheath of a gelding. This is often referred to as the “gelding noise” and is believed to be caused by tension in the abdominal muscles, which results in air being sucked in the sheath producing the unusual noise.
- The world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales that pull the signature Budweiser hitch must all be geldings.
- Geldings are often the most popular choice for riding horses, as they have easy-going temperaments.
- Though geldings have won individual races, no gelding or filly has ever won the Triple Crown.
- During the American Civil War, soldiers often rode geldings, but generals typically rode stallions.