When most riders hear “Stallion,” they give me one of three reactions: the cringe of judgement, the frown of disgust and disapproval, or the wide eyed panic of an owner of the world’s most hormonal mare. Having given all three myself before I purchased a stallion, it’s time to lay down some truths about Sport Horse Stallion Owners and their boys.
Myth #1 – Stallions owners are crazy!
I just want to say ALL of us horse people are crazy…we just categorize ours! Owning a stallion actually takes a lot of pre-planning, and careful thinking that the average owner doesn’t need to worry about. Things like turnout situations and handling situations, also at shows we have a whole extra line of rules normally that mean we need an extra handler so he’s not tied unattended to the trailer, or that he’s specially marked at shows etc.
Myth #2 – Stallions can never have as good a work ethic as others because they’re always distracted by their “need to breed”
~ In the same way we teach our horses the difference between a fun day in the field and a hard workout over fences or in the dressage ring, stallions are expected to know the difference between breeding time and work time. My stallion regularly works and shows which he has learned is a different time than breeding time at the vets.
Myth #3 – We make serious money off of breeding…
~Nope… not even close. Before purchasing my stallion I spoke with two friends who own stallions (Thank you Dana, owner of Commandalena, and Jenni, owner of Saphiro!) and we talked about costs, special needs, level of personal training I had to have. I met with our wonderful vet hospital to talk about costs and needs. It’s like any other horse venture, costly and not necessarily lucrative.
Myth #4 – We breed to ANYTHING, if you pay your fee you get to breed…
~ Absolutely not! That baby on the ground carries our reputation, our stallions name and essentially our business. We are very selective to who we breed to so we are creating superb babies who will represent us well. Most stallions only offer a limited number of breedings per year.
Myth #5 – Stallion Owners are the enemy of rescues
~ Ok, as a bleeding heart horse person I used to think that, but as a volunteer in a rescue I see more often than not it’s not the stallion owner who’s sabotaging the rescue. Now, there are indiscriminate backyard breeders who DO exist and are part of the problem but the unwanted horse problem extends far beyond a stallion. Again, we are very careful to breed only to quality mares to make quality horses which should have a greater likelihood of staying out of a rescue, once inspected they are microchipped for accountability. Three of my horses are from rescue/abandonment situations straight from the auction block or abandoned on a property to die. None of them are top level conformation horses like we are breeding for, but they are all loved as such.
Myth #6 – Stallions must live alone
~ My poor boy would be so lonely!! He currently lives in a herd of geldings and young colts who are still intact. Everyone gets along and the geldings actually beat him up most often! Stallions can safely live with geldings, other stallions and, technically, bred mares. We haul to shows with a pregnant mare right now and he gets more upset about leaving his boys! And hes a fantastic snuggler with humans!
Myth #7 – Stallions cannot be near children
~ This is a mixed myth. Stallions should not be near people who don’t know what they are doing, which at times is kids… but there are plenty adults I won’t hand my boy off to, and plenty kids I would. Being a 4-H club leader means there’s always kids on my property. Every kid who comes on my property has a lesson in stallion herd dynamics and behaviors. Only three of my olders are permitted to have supervised contact with him but they have parental permission – and they have horses that act worse than him. They also know about the manners expectations of him. Ironically, I have a Welsh stallion and at the Welsh breed shows, children can ride stallions! Now if that doesn’t throw intuition for a loop and break all the unwritten rules I don’t know what does!
Yep she’s 12, and playing around bareback on him…
Conversations on Stallions
#8 At the show where we’ve parked off the end of the trailer line up and I’m trying to flag the stressed-out show lady pulling in: “Hi! Before you park your trailer I just want you to know we have a stallion which is why we are over here. You’re welcome to park here but we wanted to make sure you’re aware.”
Sleep Deprived, Under Caffeinated show lady, in an extreme turn of face from smiles to lazer beam eyes: “Oh great… another one of you showing up here.”
#9 Knowing my conformation class is coming up and seeing that other horses are being sent in with kids handling, I send my helper up to clear a path and notify adults: “Hi all, there is a stallion in this class and we are waiting on the other side of the parking area to safely come through… please make a safe space.” *Half of crowd runs in panic to secure their mares, half of crowd descends on him to get a look as we try to hit the in gate*
#10 That well meaning horse person everyone knows, and who is known for speaking her mind, comes over to meet your stallion. “He’s super cute and I really love his movement…So when are you going to geld him?” (I walk a few steps away before I get really upset… it’s really like asking why your horse is even being kept alive to us.)
So without further Adieu I present my Stallion, the newest part of the HJU family of bloggers…
Janas Kernel of Independence “Indy” a Sec A Welsh stallion
Standing a firm 11.2 hands of welshy pride!