Dear Friend and Horseman,

Here it is, Springtime again. I both love and hate this time of year. I love it for the nice weather, spring flowers etc. I also hate it because this is the time of year when the 3 year-old stallions get zapped with their first big dose of testosterone. It turns some of them into holey terrors. It’s also the time of year when the mares start to cycle, driving the young stallions crazy. All this makes a trainer’s job more difficult, oftentimes unpleasant and sometimes down right dangerous. But that’s just part of the profession, you take the bad with the good.

If you have a stallion and you are inexperienced with studs, let me share with you my personal philosophy…

If your stallion ever gives you that “I’m going to get you” look, it would probably be wise to let a more experienced handler take over. No stud is worth getting hurt or killed over. Hardly anybody realizes it but many people have been injured by stallions. More people than you would ever imagine, have been maimed or killed.

Now, let me make something perfectly clear… Not all stallions are overly aggressive. In fact some of the best horses I’ve ever ridden were stallions. However, let me point out that they were the exception, not the rule.

If a stallion is to become a sire, he should be exceptional. To my way of thinking, the only horse that deserves to be a stud is one that possesses those exceptionally good qualities and consistently passes them on to his offspring.

On the other side of the coin, we have the problem stallions. These are the ones you need to watch out for. These are the ones that are overly aggressive and threaten to get you. This over-aggressiveness is sometimes a stallion’s normal behavior. Sometimes the aggressiveness is man-made. Either way, it’s dangerous.

Some owners who have a problem stallion, refuse to castrate them. These folks have not been viciously mauled… yet. Their time will come.

I have been attacked several times and luckily escaped without serious injury. But, I have personally witnessed people getting maimed by studs. One guy lost his ear and part of his shoulder muscle. Another guy was almost mauled to death before anyone could get the stud off him.

A trainer friend of mine came crawling to the show arena on his hands and knees, covered in blood. His cutting stallion had attacked and mauled him just a few minutes prior to the class. Pretty scary stuff.

Most people don’t have a clue how quickly a stallion can change from “passive” to “attacking”. Seldom do you have much warning. With experience, you can learn to read a stud and learn what they are thinking. But, the learning process can be a little risky.

I remember well the first time I was attacked by a stallion. I was 10 years old. I wanted a palomino stallion in the worst way and to my surprise my folks got me one. (In my parent’s defense, I should tell you I had horses since I was 7 and was a heck of a good rider by the time I was 10. They just didn’t realize the danger).

I can remember it like it was yesterday. It was Spring, a Friday and I was walking home from school. As I came down the driveway and into the barnyard, there was a cattle truck parked there at the loading chute. My folks were standing there talking to the driver of the truck. I approached and asked what was going on. With an enthusiastic smile on her face, my Mom said there was a surprise waiting for me in the barn.

Just then I heard the unmistakable scream of an excited stallion and I knew my dream horse was inside our barn.

I ran to the barn and went inside. Standing loose in the big stall was a beautiful palomino stallion with a white mane and tail. He was short, about 14.1 hands, but he was stout. He was upset because he could see the mares standing outside in the pasture and he wanted to get out there with them.

I should have known better than to go in his stall without haltering him first, but I went in to pet him anyway. As I walked up to pet his neck, he opened his mouth wide, like an alligator, and lightning-fast took hold of my shoulder. He picked me up, shook me like a rag doll, then threw me into the corner.

He wasn’t finished with me yet! I’m on the ground and here he comes again with his mouth wide open. Man, I was scared. I figured here he comes again and I’m a gonner. My hands and legs were flailing about trying to fend him off. Just by shear luck, I hit the stud in the eye just as he was coming in to bite me again. The poke in the eye startled him enough to give me time to get the heck out of there.

If you have children who love horses, pay close attention to this next part.

There I was, 10 years old, shirt all torn up and I’m hurt bad. What would you guess I did next? If you guessed I ran to my parents and showed them what had happened, you guessed wrong. If they knew the stud had attacked me, they would have gotten rid of him.

I was way more afraid of losing the horse than getting mauled again!

I stayed in the barn until the coast was clear, then ran to the house, cleaned myself up and went upstairs to my room before anyone suspected anything. While I was going up the stairs, my two younger sisters saw my injured shoulder and I had to bribe them to keep their mouth shut. (Actually, during my entire childhood, I had to continually bribe them to keep quiet about stuff I had done).

Next morning, I was up at dawn. I fed all the horses but not the stud. I had other plans for him and I had to do them before my parents came outside.

First thing I did was rope that rank little stud in the stall and snub him up real short to the corner post. I managed to get him saddled and bridled without getting bitten. The next part was the most dangerous. I had to figure out a way to get him out of the barn and get on him without being attacked.

The stud had that mean, “I’m going to get you” look in his eye, so I knew I didn’t dare untie and lead him. Instead, I climbed on his back first, gathered up the reins and then untied him from the safety of the saddle. Once he realized he was untied, he bogged his head and gave a couple of crow hops but nothing too bad.

I stayed on his back while opening the stall gate. Once we were outside, I headed him up the drive way and away we went. I figured I would tire him out by riding him to all the neighboring farms and ranches and show them my new stallion.

That little palomino son-of-a-gun was rank… and not very broke. For the first hour all he did was scream and run off with me. After about three hours though, he was dripping with sweat and starting to run out of steam. I just kept riding him and visiting all my friends in the area.

By the time we returned home, it was almost dark. And guess what? That little stud was too tired to do anything but hang his head and put one foot in front of the other. When we got to the barn, I fed him a double ration of hay and said good night.

The following morning, when I went out to feed, my little stallion had a different expression on his face. That mean “I’m going to get you” look was gone. He still was a handful to saddle and bridle. And he still tried to bite me, but the “viciousness” was no longer there.

I gave him another “all day” ride. And for the next two weeks, I rode him everyday before and after school. I rode him so much, that stud thought he had died and gone to hell. Within a month he was dog gentle.

I learned a lot about horse nature from that little stud. Most of all though, I learned that the easiest horses to get along with are the tired ones.

Take care and have fun training your horse.

Larry Trocha
Larry Trocha
www.HorseTrainingVideos.com

 Now, Watch Training Tips Video Clips Online!

Back to the TOP

Comments

  1. joykay vallandingham says

    Hi, I’m joykay. I am 13 years old. I bought my QH stud a few months ago. I’m so frustrated with him right now. One day, it was about a month ago, I went out to my barn to ride him, well I rode him about 30 minutes which was a very short ride. When I got off of him, untacked him and everything. I gave him his treat for being good. While he was eating his treat I was at least 5 feet from him, when he bit me, HARD, on my upper thigh. It was so bad I had to go to the doctor, they told me it was gonna scar. Since his teeth went inside my leg. Please help me. I cry a lot now, it hurt my feelings he had to be mean and snappy toward me. I’ve gotten attached and love him so much. What do I do about his bad attitude? Thanks.

  2. Anne Pearse says

    You responded quite some time ago to Doug who told you the story about his horse running off through the woods, breaking his ribs, etc. and that he likes to ride his wife’s reining horses and in your audio response you told Doug, yes, ride your wife’s reiners (it was really funny actually to hear you say that). Well I am Doug’s wife and I still own both those reiners one of who is a 14 year old stud, son of Hollywood Dun It, gelding with balls basically. I am so fortunate because I am an amateur and he is a wonderful guy but I have definitely experienced his “moments” when in the spring he has started to get dangerous with me and at that moment I realize he’s beyond my level of expertise and he gets sent off to my trainer. I have been able to enjoy him because of his temperament and training but I know that most studs are not like him. I also spent one whole winter doing ground work with him which was never part of his training as a young horse. I have to make sure I tell people he is a stud because even the most seasoned horse person, unless they look under his belly, they just assume he is a gelding. I also own both of his sons, one is 12 years old, the other eight months old, which I think is cool because I am not in the breeding business. Anyway, I get your point on people who get mauled by stallions. My only experience has been in the positive but I now how wrong things can go. Keep up the reality postings!

    • LarryTrocha says

      I’m pleased to meet you, Anne.

      Thank you for posting your comment and say hello to your husband for me.
      His story about his broken ribs is one of my favorites =o)

      Take care,

      Larry T

      • Anne Pearse says

        It was a classic case of this horse is going to kill you sooner rather than later. I don’t think Doug mentioned that prior to that, after a two hour ride in the winter forest and getting lost, we finally got our bearings and I saw a hill that I was familiar with that would take us back to our home destination, gave Ben his head and he pitched his head and bucked so hard I remember looking down from way far above at the tooling on the cantle of my saddle. I was incapacitated for months. Reiners and cow horse horses are the way for me going forward. Wish we lived closer to you. My bucket list includes a training session with you at some point in time.

  3. diego says

    hola querido larry gracias por el concejo sobre padrillos casualmente estoy trabajando dos pero es uno es muy agrecivo otra ves gracias soy diego de argentina

  4. Patrick Ireland says

    Thanks Larry for your comments. I hope it helps those who are contemplating ownership of a stallion. At the ripe young age of 66, I have, since I was 3 years old, had the privilege of the company of countless horses and some of the really historic greats as well. Some were mares…some stallions…and some exceptional geldings. Of the stallions I have encountered, the ones I remember most were the exceptions to the rule and they were stallions. In my life, this number totals 4. That is 4 stallions in 66 years that one MIGHT call dependable, predictable, mild mannered, respectful and to (some extent)…trustworthy… always keeping in mind they were stallions.

    I now have a stallion which from the moment I carried him in my arms to a holding pen after his birth to this very day has been treated as a stallion. He was born to be one, raised to be one and is so treated to this day. He is respectful, kind, with the softest eye I’ve ever seen, gentle, intelligent and a pure joy to be around. He is exceptionally well mannered around mares and after a few minutes of puffery, ok around geldings. However, should his attitude around new geldings ever get the better of me, I would have a loose stallion among mixed company horses which is a prescription for disaster. I will most likely geld him after servicing two last mares this February/ March. He is what he is and will be until I change that.. No matter how nice….A STALLION IS ALWAYS A STALLION PERIOD. That’s why we have geldings, Aside from breeding needs, there is no truly safe stallion or need to ride one. We need to be realistic more than romantic with our horses realizing that Hollywood portrayals of stallions is just “the movies” and most of the really good horses even the movies are geldings. Not breeding a fine stallion??? People should in my opinion geld the intact male horse. It is safer for the rider/owner and safer for those who ride with them.

  5. Patrick Ireland says

    At the ripe young age of 66, I have, since I was 3 years old, had the privilege of the company of countless horses and some of the really historic greats as well. Some were mares…some stallions…and some exceptional geldings. Of the stallions I have encountered, the ones I remember most were the exceptions to the rule and they were stallions. In my life, this number totals 4. That is 4 stallions in 66 years that one MIGHT call dependable, predictable, mild mannered, respectful and to (some extent)…trustworthy… always keeping in mind they were stallions.

    I now have a stallion which from the moment I carried him in my arms to a holding pen after his birth to this very day has been treated as a stallion. He was born to be one, raised to be one and is so treated to this day. He is respectful, kind, with the softest eye I’ve ever seen, gentle, intelligent and a pure joy to be around. He is exceptionally well mannered around mares and after a few minutes of puffery, ok around geldings. However, should his attitude around new geldings ever get the better of me, I would have a loose stallion among mixed company horses which is a prescription for disaster. I will most likely geld him after servicing two last mares this February/ March. He is what he is and will be until I change that.. No matter how nice….A STALLION IS ALWAYS A STALLION PERIOD. That’s why we have geldings, Aside from breeding needs, there is no truly safe stallion or need to ride one.

  6. Linda says

    Glad you lived to tell the story of your palomino stallion.

    I have known and had experience with four quiet, mannerly stallions over the past fifty years. The rest became geldings.
    What makes me angry is a lady who tried desperately to sell me her ” well trained quiet stallion” merely because she wanted the money…she was asking seven thousand. She told me of all the wonderful stuff he won in reining and cutting and all the accomplished horsemen that showed him but I kept thinking, “how come she has him if he’s so good”. Thank goodness, something told me to put this piece of junk horse back in his pasture and he should have been put in a hole….meanest, predator horse I ever saw. (This was about four years ago.) Turns out, the lady that owned him was scared to death of him but she was going to let me ride him if I could. Every time I see her, I think of this and what might have happened. I had the saddle on him and was about to bridle him, but I kept watching his ears and his eyes……nasty!! You could just feel the meanness in his bones. She ended up taking him to an auction and sold him for two hundred dollars…she had paid four hundred dollars for him, I learned later.

    I currently know of a sixteen year old girl that owns the best stallion ever and she almost sold him to me but changed her mind….but I’m hopeful she’ll change her mind again.

  7. Daryl says

    Hi Larry
    I have a 6 yr old quarter horse mare that carries her head very low in a trot and lope but after a stop and ask for a backup
    she nearly head butts me. How can I get her to drop her head whilst backing?
    Regards Daryl

  8. Sylvia says

    Hi Larry,

    I have a 3 month old stud colt that I am definitely going to have gelded. I am just wondering what is usually the best age to get it done? I live in Canada so have about October to May when there are no bugs because it still freezes at night.

    Thanks
    Sylvia

  9. Stella says

    Larry,
    Just wanted to thank you for your Great Advice and Opinions you don’t “butter” things up and that is always appreciated!! I think a stud is no different than a gentle bull they can turn on you at any given time for no apparent reason so they should NEVER be trusted not even the “gentle” ones. I too have a “nice” QH stud, but I never let anybody handle him. I feel I raised him and broke him and since I choose to have him intact, only I should take the risk — my kids can be around the mares or geldings but leave the stud for me…..just a safety rule on our farm!!! He is 8 yrs old and has never acted up, he always treats me as the “Alpha” and is very submissive to me, I always make him give to me when I approach him.
    Once again thanks for all the knowledge you share and may God Bless you and always keep you safe!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>