Today I am going to give you some tips on handling a breeding stallion as recommended by Dr. Dickson Varner at Texas A&M. Handling a stallion can sometimes be a real challenge and someone without experience can not only endanger themselves but can also cause major long-term breeding problems for the stallion. Although each stallion is an individual, there are some general recommendations that can be helpful and some of these may be applicable to all horses. It is important to watch the stallion in the paddock to determine if he is timid, frightened, anxious, or aggressive. Does he strike or bite at the handler or try to kick, and what kinds of handling has he been exposed to in the past?
Next, Dr. Varner indicates you should never completely trust any stallion. Many people have been seriously injured by apparently well-behaved stallions. This does not mean you should use excessive force, it just means to be alert at all times. Dr. Varner recommends using a leather halter with a 30-inch chain attached to a leather lead. The halter needs to have round metal stays, should fit correctly, and should not be too loose or too tight. Rope halters like those sold for natural horsemanship training are not recommended for stallions unless they are very gentle. The chain on the lead works very well; it can just be used as a lead only, or if necessary it can be attached on the right side of the halter and passed either over the nose, under the chin, or through the mouth over to the left side if more control of the stallion is needed. Dr. Varner prefers the chain rather than chifney or bar bits for these stallions. Join us next time when we will discuss some training methods to prepare stallions for breeding.
VIN News Service commentaries are opinion pieces presenting insights, personal experiences and/or perspectives on topical issues by members of the veterinary community. To submit a commentary for consideration, email firstname.lastname@example.org.