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The name Gelding is given to a castrated equine, such as horses and donkeys.
When a horse is castrated it more often than not eliminates hormone-driven behaviour that is associated with a stallion.
Many people have their stallions castrated as this usually makes the male horse a lot calmer and better behaved.
Having a calmer male horse usually makes them a lot more suitable for everyday work.
‘To geld’ means to castrate, which is where the name ‘gelding’ comes from.
It is believed that the Scythians were the first people to geld their horses, which they used as war horses, this is again because the horses didn’t have the urge to mate and remained quiet and calm.
They were also easier to manage and keep with other horses as they were a lot less likely to fight with each other.
Gelding horses allows for only the best genes to be reproduced into a new generation. Some people say there is only a certain percentage of male horses that should remain stallions and breed on which is similar to the numbers that breed in the wild.
Again, geldings are a lot easier to handle due to their calmness and better behaviour. In some cases, competitions don’t allow stallions to be entered due to the danger in handling them, so geldings are often used for competitions and work.
Stallions may be gelded at any age, however, if an owner wants the geld a particular foal it is recommended to geld them before they become a yearling and definitely before reaching sexual maturity.
There are two main methods that are commonly used to castrate a horse. Both techniques have advantages and disadvantages.
Standing Castration - A technique where the horses are sedated and put under a small amount of local anaesthesia so the horse can still stand.
Recumbent Castration - The horse is put under general anaesthesia and castration is carried out by veterinarians. This is because surgical exposure is improved and it carries less overall risk for surgeon and patient.