Keeping a Stallion to Breed

Before you enter into the arena of keeping a stallion on your property, you should acquaint yourself with what actually happens at breeding time. Visiting an established breeding shed in your area is a good way to do this.

Story originally posted by: Maggie Flowers

Breeding methods vary, from “pasture breeding” (as in the wild) to artificial insemination and even embryo transplantation. The method known as “hand breeding,” even under strict controlled conditions can be dangerous to the mare, stallion and the people in control of the process and accidents are known to happen.

One might begin to think, if it is that difficult and dangerous, how is conception achieved in the wild or in pasture, why not let nature take it’s course? Stallions in pasture breeding become mare selective. They learn quickly which mares they can cover and when it is safe to do so, but injuries to stallions (broken legs) or a bad debilitating, crippling wound to his penis or testicles are common. An experienced pasture stallion will “quarter” up to a mare – take his time easing up to her at an angle. On the other spectrum, an aggressive, ill mannered, stallion can hurt mares by crowding them into corners and/or severely biting their neck, buttocks, genitalia or even rupturing the vagina or rectum.

If you have decided to have a stallion on your property, you must establish one major rule … You Are The Boss. The stallion must exhibit exceptional, general manners and respect voice commands. You must never forget that once the hormones at breeding time begin to flow they tend to override the “manners” of the even the best-trained mare or stallion.

Stallion are usually kept separate from other horses. More than one stallion can be housed under the same roof, but they should all have separate paddocks or grazing patches. Fences used in stallion pastures should be about 5 1/2 – 6 feet high and if more than one stallion is housed on the premises, there should be a lane of about 12 feet around each stallion paddock. A larger space is needed between stallions and other pastures used by geldings and other horses. The stallion, however should be kept in such a way to prevent him from seeing any of the mares or other horses except other stallions. A dense screen of vegetation is absolutely necessary if the paddock is to hold the stallion.

Allow the pastures to be of sufficient size, allowing 5-6 acres per horse, to enable each horse to feel safe and be able to escape from the more aggressive ones of the herd. This will also ensure that the ‘run area’ will not be in close proximity to the stallions’ pasture.

If your decide to stall your stallion, the general rule of thumb is to give him a 16 x 16 foot stall and perhaps have the walls solidly built and slanted out about 12 inches from floor upward to the ceiling. This is a safety factor. Stallions that are stalled tend to move about more and sometimes roll more frequently then when they are turned out. The slanted wall protects the stallion from getting a leg stuck and allows him to stretch his legs as he is rolling to ensure the roll is completed without injury.

Stallion are by far a profitable investment for their owner but you need to be totally familiar with all aspects of owing a stallion … the cost involved and the time needed to educate the stallion, and yourself, so that your efforts will be rewarded in the end.