Castration Day!

Castration day! We are blessed to have a fantastic vet in Dr. Allen Landes with Equine Medical Services in Colorado. He's curious, excited about the animals, and a wonderful human. He is a blessing to what we do, taking great care of the horses and providing a sounding board for all of the ideas that we present to him.

Castration day is always a day of decisiveness, at least that's how it feels, which likely is more thought than the action requires. We decide to end that horse's genetic potential, which seems to come with a sense of obligation. It requires an honest look at the individual and trying to predict their potential performance and future self. If that colt grew up with his testicles, would he have anything to contribute to the genetic pool? Would he improve the breed? Sometimes, reality means that even exceptional individuals cannot remain stallions due to facility, financial or personal limitations. Sometimes, they will have more opportunities to reach their potential if they are gelded, which is important to consider, as well. If he doesn't have much to contribute genetically or as reality dictates, the testicles need to go. That doesn't mean that the individual doesn't have talent, a good disposition, or nice conformation. It just means that we expect the individual to contribute more to the horse world as a gelding rather than as a stallion. Sometimes exceptional horses check all of the boxes to be stallions, but they could only get there because they were gelded. Not all colts can be good stallions, but as the saying goes, good stallions can be great geldings.

Castration also encourages an honest look at our breeding stock. Are our stallions and mares producing something that we can be proud to present? Do we think that we are contributing to the quality of the breed? If not, then we need to make changes, whether that's retiring stallions or mares, trying different crosses, or ceasing to breed at all. If we are not producing quality minds, quality movement, and quality conformation, then we should stop.

Yes, the vast majority of colts should become geldings, but it doesn't mean that each castration decision is taken lightly. Every decision that we make for each horse requires thought, keeping in mind what is best for the individual, what is best for our situation, and what we expect to be best for the little piece of the horse industry that the horse will impact.

Sometimes, the decision is made a little easier. Today, Damien made our decision easy when he decided to rear and strike instead of crossing the arena threshold, something that he has never done. Diego made it a little easier when he bolted on his way to the arena and ran into Kaitlyn. Those boys are both as sweet and friendly as they come, but boys will be boys, especially when bad weather is blowing in. Now, their best selves can come through.

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