Gelding is the castration of male equines, including horses, ponies, donkeys, and mules. The procedure involves an injection of anesthesia, a small incision to remove the testicle sac, and no sutures are needed. It is recommended to rest for 24 hours and give NSAIDs for pain relief. Geldings are easier to train and socialize with other horses, making them more desirable for showing. It is recommended to geld horses before the age of 10-12, and it helps control the horse population.
A gelding is a castrated male of the equine family. Most commonly, gelding refers to a horse but also applies to a pony, donkey, or mule. The term can also be used to refer to the procedure itself, as in “the horse has been gelded and is now a gelding”.
The procedure is simple but it is recommended to have it done by a veterinarian in case of complications. First an anesthetic is given in the form of an injection which puts the horse into a twilight sleep. This state will last about 20 minutes. It is important to be aware that the horse may need assistance to dismount as the medication works quite quickly. Once the horse is unconscious, a small incision is made and the testicle sac is cut out and removed. No sutures are needed and the area will heal easily, usually within a week or two.
It is recommended to rest in the stall for at least 24 hours to ensure there is no bleeding. It is recommended that the horse be given an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) such as phenylbutazone for the first 24-48 hours. Bute, as it is commonly called, relieves any discomfort and helps prevent any swelling.
A gelding’s testosterone levels will begin to decline within the first few months and within a year or two, his stallion demeanor will decrease significantly. Some older horses never completely lose that behavior and will need to remain isolated from other horses.
The benefits of gelding your horse are many, the most important being that your horse will not be condemned to a life of solitude, as is the case with stallions. Second, because your gelding won’t have the hormonal fluctuations that a mare or stallion has, he’ll be much less challenging to train and work with. Geldings socialize well with their grazing mates, be they mares or other geldings. Also, if you’re showing your horse, geldings are generally welcomed much more readily than their unaffected competition.
A final consideration for the gelding is the continuing increase in the horse population worldwide. It’s important to note that any horse that doesn’t have the desired characteristics you’re looking for should be gelded. This consideration will give you peace of mind and prevent a situation where you may not be able to find a good home for the offspring.
Ideally, equine males are castrated soon after both testicles have dropped. This is usually between 12 and 18 months. Gelding can occur at any time during their life, but it is suggested that the procedure be done at least before the age of 10-12. Horses over the age of 18 have been successfully castrated, but it’s a much more difficult procedure and complications range from excessive bleeding, swelling and infection.
Geldings are considered good citizens and well educated. If you don’t intend to use your horse for breeding, we recommend gelding it.