Thursday, April 19, 2007

Gelding Party Saturday - Another Day Raising Arabian Horses.

Taking into consideration that I currently had three mature stallions (my herd sire and two youngsters), two 3 year old stallion, one 2 year old colt and two yearling colts and one suckling colt, it was definitely time to make some tough decisions.

I had really expected to have one of the older stallions under saddle and sold by now. The appearance of the twins last year really messed up my farm plan and it would probably be a couple of years before I could get things back on track. I just wasn't willing to hold out that long with that many intact male horses.

The mature stallions are past the hard part as far as teaching them to be gentlemen. So that meant the younger ones would be the one's to be gelded. .Once our tax refund arrived, I made an appointment with the vet

Well, last Saturday was the big day. Four colts on my farm had a date with the veterinarian. The weather co-operated and stayed dry so we could geld them in the grass.

I'm pretty sure if any of them had a clue what was waiting for them, the horses wouldn't have been so willing to come with me out of their stalls. All of them were good getting their sedatives behaving in a gentlemanly manner. Other than the vet looking at me as each horse came out and asking me if I was sure I really wanted to geld this horse (4 times he did that to me) things went fairly smoothly.

The surgeries each had their own little issues, seems like that's always the way it goes. The biggest problem at the time was the last colt to be gelded, Scandalous Trouble, the twin. Even though he was out cold, he didn't like the idea much and every time they tried to touch his testicle it retracted deep inside. They finally had to deaden the muscle that controlled it to be able to finish the operation.

Getting a horse to its feet after it's out with a sedative is an art form as far as I'm concerned, particularly with Arabian horses. Other breeds tend to stay down until they're ready to get up but Arabians usually will try to rise when they are really still to groggy to be doing so.

Over the years, I've seen some wrecks when vets weren't prepared for the early risers. Last time I had horses gelded here, I had one of those wrecks. Scandalous Chase got up way too early and fell a number of times cutting his stifle and skinning his knees. He ended up with about twenty stitches.

This time was different. Jack Gillette really understands how horses move and where they're going even when they're under the influence. After watching him get the first horse, Scandalous Pursuit, to his feet, I knew I wouldn't have to worry about wrecks getting up.

I can explain exactly what he did but timing was a big part of it. I know he pulled the horses front leg way forward and then pulled it's head back like the horse was going to scratch its flank. With that leverage when the horse started to rise he pulled it around in a circle and just kept pulling the horse in the circle until it got its feet well under itself.

After a horse has been gelded it needs to be monitored and exercised. This article by Cherry Hill has a thorough description of the necessary aftercare.

I've dealt with a number of geldings over the years and am used to the routine. I have had some horses that experienced an excessive amount of swelling but nothing that ever got too complicated. This time was different. Not only did the weather turn ugly so that it was difficult to get the horses as much exercise as I would have liked but one of the horses experienced complications.

The first horse that we gelded, Scandalous Pursuit, seemed to be sorer than the other horses . As the days went on I realized the actual swelling seemed to be different than normal. It appeared more localized in the area of the horse's scrotum instead of spreading across the entire area including the sheath. His sheath was swollen but it looked like it was a different compartment that the scrotum. For all of the newly gelded horses I had ever dealt with before, including my other three horses now, the swelling looked like one continuous event.

At first the difference was subtle and I wasn't quite sure but by Tuesday I believed there was a problem and called the vet. Jack came back out, mildly sedated and examined the horse. He found that the gelding had thrown large clots. As you might imagine, clots can be very dangerous. The horse had to be more heavily sedated to get the clots out and then he was flushed out with an iodine and water solution. We hoped that one treatment would be enough but looking at him again this evening, I'm not so sure. I think I'll be calling the vet again in the morning.


  1. I must be a hard decision, but definitely one worth making. Well done. I think there aren't enough people gelding their horses in this world and way too many breeding horses that really have no business being bred. It's really great to see responsible horse owners such as yourself making those tough decisions regardless.

  2. I agree with Sarah.

    Not only does it take responsibility, but also a keen eye to see the future for your business, and the horses which carry on the desired conformation and overall mind, personality etc.

  3. Hi MiKael

    I am trying to catch up again. 4 geldings at one time Sheesh that is a nightmare, but one that I may have to face too soon. I have two mature stallions and three yearlings that need to be done, just have to convince my husband. I don't see the point of keeping them as studs when they are not breeding mares and we cant sell the babies they have already sired because the market is so bad. They just have a dreadful solitary life and I would far rather be able to put them out with the mares with no worries and have happy horses. Also I think they would be easier to sell as geldings.

    Will keep reading on.