Knight's Gate Hanoverians
  • (905) 397-5268
  • 2276 Port Robinson Rd., Welland, Ontario, Canada

Since 1997, Knight's Gate Hanoverians has earned a reputation for breeding champions.

Discussion about Stallion Handling and Ownership

Posted Feb 21st, 2014 in News

Many ask me what it is like to own, handle and train a breeding stallion day to day. This is a somewhat complex question, but I will do my best to share some breif aspects. Stallion handling shares all the same responsibilities as dealing with any other horse but doubles the risks, responsibilities and safety protocols that must be observed. Stallion handling requires careful planning, organization, awareness of your surroundings (i.e. the equine environment around you) and a great deal of caution. A stallion handler must become familiar with the stallion's personality and behaviour patterns both on and off the stallion's home property. 

Most importantly, the stallion handler must make it clear to the stallion as to what purpose (the handler) intends for the stallion each time prior to being brought out of his stall. This is done by cues. No matter the stallion's job, the stallion is expected to behave in safe and orderly fashion each time he is handled. Cues that handlers use vary from one stud handler to another and from farm to farm and stallion to stallion, depending on the stallion's personality and excitability, but what is important is that the stud understands his own cues and respects his handler. Having explained that, a dependable routine is important for a stud, and the same handler (or a very limited number of handlers) is preferred to many because handlers do things in different ways and it is important that the stud recieves the same cues done in the same ways each and every time he is handled in order to reduce miscommunication that could lead to confusion for the stud and endanger those around him. 

There are too many factors that a stallion owner and/or handler must premeditate to list here; however I will provide a few examples. There are cicrumstances that the stallion handler must be aware of and plan to avoid, such as stabling (especially cycling) mares too close to the stallion, parking your horse trailer next to another at a show that has cycling mares competing, it is also not advisable to school most stallions at smaller indoor shows along side children and their ponies. 

Regarding housing, we designed our barn in such a way to accomodate the requirements of a breeding stallion, young horses, broodmares and riding horses. Our stallion's stall is located in a particular area of our barn that is away from mares and even the general sight and smell of them; however, I adamantly believe that a stallion should not be socially isolated. Stallions also need as much of a social life as can safely be afforded. Stallions also, are herd animals that thrive on social interation. Many people forget this and this makes for a very lonely and unhappy life for a stallion. How can he be expected to perform at peak when he is unhappy?

Our stallion may fraternize with occupants in the surrounding stalls and paddocks that we know to be particularly passive geldings. During ridden work, we like to train him with other geldings in the arena and on occasion, even non-cycling, well-behaved mares. Since our barn is attached to our arena, the stallion's stall is not right up against the arena so that cycling mares working in the arena do not cause him undue stress when the arena door is open between the barn and arena. 

As you can tell, there is a lot of planning that goes into owning and handling a stallion and pretty well everything has to be premeditated.