Its been a few years since I had to have a colt gelded and remember then that the hype was to always geld asap....the sooner the better I would always hear. And now Im wanting to geld my colt at 2 weeks shy of 9 months because he is beginning to act "studly" and my mare will be here at the end of the month and all that I am hearing is that its to early to have him gelded. So when do you geld your colts and why??
We've gelded at ages running from 3 mo. to 16+ years. The older the horse the more careful you have to be in post-op care. Just like kids recover from surgery faster than adults foals to the same thing.
Right now I've got two coming three year olds in a pasture together (with other geldings and uncut colts; we call it "Boys Town" ). They half-brothers (same sire) born two weeks apart. They are maturing at a virtually identical rate.
I second the idea that you cut in the colder weather as that reduces the risk of insect-born disease and discomfort for the horse.
Thanks Im glad to hear that more people are thinking like me. I have an appointment tomorrow for Goose to be gelded. Im just hoping that the vet can find the other testicle again. She felt it a few months ago as did I. But now one is really big and fully descended...Im talking stallion like. And the other seems to have retracted up some. Im just hoping to get this done because I need to put my mare in with my colt to help him learn some etiquette! lol Ive waited till the very end to give him time to mature (growing wise) some before gelding him and I really need to get this done.....Im telling ya though this boy is going to be trouble I can already tell! Its one thing after another with him!!
We have changed from gelding as early as possible, because of our type of horses. With gelding early, they wouldn't quit growing! They are from tall horses to start with, and gelding early lets EVERYTHING go to height. And being big horses genetically, the geldings grow until 7-8yrs. They just get too big for our uses.
These days we geld at about 2yrs old, which seems to "stunt" them a bit in the height department. The weanlings go in with the older geldings after mom is removed. Geldings teach them manners and play hard with them to use up that energy. The babies are NICE mannered for handling and in the herd, good socially because they are kept in a group. Ours don't seem to get the early stallion behaviour, because the older horses don't let it develop. Someone will go over and bite a colt, give him evil looks, if colt acts up at all. Keeps them squelched pretty well! Our colts all seem to be late bloomers, slow growing, ignore the mares until that 2nd birthday period.
We always take these older colts to the clinic for gelding, having those big blood vessels with the age. Better to have everything at hand, not need it, than lose a horse in the paddock to save a few $$ on gelding cost at home. They do bleed out fast if there is a problem.
I am liking these young horses as they continue to grow and finally get worked. Seem to be a bit bolder, more confident usually, than the early gelded colts, at facing new things, a bit more of a thinker as stallions can be. No stallion behaviour after gelding, beyond being "looky" in pasture as herd stallions are. Ours turn out with mares fine, friendly, but leave the mares alone.
We figure that late gelding saves us at least 2" in height, so we don't have to sell off those too-tall ones anymore. We breed for ourselves to use the foals, so this is IMPORTANT to us.
Interesting detail, is our old Vet won't geld colts now that weather is often below 40F and going into winter. Over his long years of work, there seem to be a lot of problems happen with late season gelding. More sickness, infections, other problems happening to the newly gelded animal. Even losing some, because few owners ACTUALLY do as instructed after gelding in care. So he quit gelding colts or stallions over winter. He has been practicing a VERY long time, has enough evidence to make his decisions, so we go with his advice. That might not be an issue in other locations, different weather patterns.
Are you breeding ponies? Just trying to imagine "too tall" to the point of needing to be culled from a performance program.
I am in the geld early camp. DH is in the geld late camp because he wants them to be bigger... I think he's got that backwards, honestly...
No, these horses are out of 17H mares, with usually a 16+H stallion. When the one horse got to 17.2H as a 6yr old, he was too big for our uses. Had to sell, which made all of us real unhappy. Everything else about him was perfect, but those darn long legs. He actually continued growing until 8yrs, ended up over 18H. His buyer LOVES him, he is a rock star for her in Dressage. His full brother, gelded at 2ys, has about finished growing, 17H and a fraction as he goes into his 8th year. Still usable, trained well for us, equally beloved here. So his present size is a big load off our minds, won't have to sell him on.
We figure it is genetics. They will grow or not, finish sizes by what is programmed into their genetics. Gelding them young will let them grow taller, stretches out the growing time longer than if horse is left entire. Several studies were done years ago, about comparing brother horses and growth with gelding young, gelding slightly older or not gelding at all, to compare heights. Stallion always lagged behind in height, to the geldings at all ages. Mature stallion was always shorter than his gelded brother of the same age. Same feed and exercise programs. Stallion testosterone makes for stallion build, heavier neck, closes the knees a bit earlier, which does slow or stop the height growth at a younger age, though body continues to fill out on a colt. No testosterone in the geldings, so they grow and grow.
Our colts-then-geldings grow slowly, since we don't feed much in grain quantity, supplements or other additives, no commercial colt grain mixes. No push to get size on them young. They have all the good hay they will clean up in winter, good pasture for 12-14 hours a day in summer. "Old-fashioned" colt growing slow and steady, which we believe makes for sounder horse body over the long time of using him. Again, genetics will decide the finished height, but none have ended up under 16.2H with this program, various stallions used for our mares.
When we raised Western type horses years ago, early gelding did help get that fraction of an inch to make some finish horse sized. I swear some folks were out there trying to stretch their animals taller! I gelded one colt at six weeks once, he was very pretty, long slender neck, almost feminine looking when grown. We did it so young because the buyer wanted him gelded and healed at weaning to come home to her. We were afraid the testicles would disappear again if we didn't do him then. We had seen that happen before. But those Western ones all came from short-horse genetics, no tall, leggy horses hiding in the pedigree to surprise us. No chance of them EVER getting "too-tall" with those lines.
We don't have anything on the place under 16H these days. Too tall is a very real problem with big horse breeding. And no, there is no draft horse blood in them either.