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Cowboy, I see Castration in Your Future

By Cindy Hale

Monday, May 4, 2009

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The clock is ticking for Cowboy. My mother’s palomino colt—sired by an all-around champion AQHA stallion and out of a Trakehner/Dutch show hunter mare—is soon to become a gelding. It’s not like we were planning on ever allowing Cowboy to mature into a Cowman. We were simply waiting for the right time. And based on three signs, that time has come.

The first sign that Cowboy had reached the zenith of Coltdom came when he intimidated my mother out of his paddock. She was shuffling his feed around and he strutted up to her, his silver tail aloft, and nipped her in the arm. Then he did the horse version of screaming, “Gotcha!” and scampered away. I call these naughty outbursts The Nippies. Playful biting is standard behavior for a colt. It’s a compulsive desire to orally grab leather, nylon, cotton rope, horse hide and human flesh. Plus, it’s obnoxious.

The second sign was when April, Cowboy’s dam, came into season. I don’t want to go into any descriptive details, but I’m sure you can imagine how demonstrative a yearling colt can be when he suddenly discovers amore. The fact that it was his own mother who stirred his passion was doubly obnoxious.

 The final motivating moment came when I was standing at the checkout counter of the local vet supply store. It was a Saturday afternoon and there had to be a dozen horse owners mingling by the cash register, their arms laden full of hoof dressing, feed supplements and topical ointments. During a lull, one fellow in jeans and a khaki shirt made a general announcement to the captive audience.

“I have this really nice stallion,” he began, speaking to no one and every one, “a palomino stud colt. He’s beautiful. A really nice horse. And I’ll breed him to your mares for $500!”

Keep in mind that the horses in my town already outnumber the people. The last thing we need around here (just like nearly every place else in America) is another horse. It was Jamie, the nice girl who works the cash register, who was diplomatic enough to say, “Oh really? What kind of a horse is he?”

“A Quarter horse,” was the response. That was followed quickly by, “But I don’t have his papers. His past owners never registered him. But he has nice bloodlines. Hollywood something-or-other. And he’s a really pretty golden palomino. I’ll breed him for only $500.”

Jamie said, with her trademark smile intact, “Honestly, I think the people in this town care about registration papers.”

And that ended that. Not even I, who rarely can contain my impulse to add a snarky comment, kept my mouth shut. But as I left the store, not far behind the man with the stallion, I realized that was my final clue to get Cowboy gelded. Heaven forbid that someday my family ended up shilling out Cowboy’s services at the local strip mall. And thus, after a short consultation with my mother and my sister, I made the fateful call to our vet, Jennifer. Cowboy’s date with destiny, when he joins the multitude of geldings on this planet, is May 11.



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Reader Comments

Samantha    Lindstrom, MN

12/26/2010 6:30:42 PM

Isnt there a more humane way to do this? Mabey without surgery? I find it cruel!

Lina    Anderson, SC

5/21/2009 7:30:51 AM

When we gelded our Pinto colt, he really calmed down, and is actually paying attention. "Good stallions make Great geldings!"

Vicky    Martin, TN

5/14/2009 1:16:52 PM

That is so funny! We had a quarter horse stud colt that we wanted to keep a stud for a while longer for him to develope the "masculine" look, however, it soon became apparent that this idea needed to be nicked in the bud when our little "man" started mounting anything and everything in sight. Not such a good idea so he because our beloved gelding.

Marion    Sussex, NJ

5/8/2009 6:03:56 PM

Just remember, the best riding and all around horses are geldings. Reliable and calm and quiet. He's doesn't need that extra bagage in life. He will be just fine and happy as a gelding and mom won't lose any flesh over it. I only wish my horse when I got him 16 years ago was all ready a gelding. As I walked him off the trailer after purchasing him, he grabbed my upper arm and wouldn't let go. When I got him to the barn and in his stall, the next thing I did was call the vet and make that serious appointment in life. He's still a mouthy thing at 17 years of age. Because the people before me, let him get away with it and I couldn't stop him. Not till this day. You made the right decission.

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