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Problem with a stallion

I have a 5 year old stallion. He has been in the back field with 4 mares for 60 days. I pulled him out and put him in an adjacent field with one of the same mares that did not take. The fence line is secure with electric fencing. He immediately became very aggressive to this mare. They had hung out together for 2 weeks prior to that. He would cut her off and make her stand in one corner of the field. If she tried to move or run away he would chase her down, ears pinned back and bite at her. This went on for about 1 hour until they both were exhausted. When he would catch his breath he would start again. After an hour I took her out and put another mare that he had been in the back field with in this same new field. He did exactly the same thing! He chased this quarter horse mare around and would herd her like a border collie herds cattle. Ears were pinned back, teeth showing. Very aggressive behavior to this mare. Both of these mares are open and were in heat last week. No signs now. Can you tell me why he would get along with these mares in one field? Of course there were 2 other mares in that field so it was 4 mares to 1 stallion and then be so nasty to one of the single mares in a new field? Was he trying to let them know that this was "his” territory?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Hi MaryAnn,

Well, if you were a stud and you had a bunch of hot mares and then just one, you might get a little upset too. Perhaps, you might even take it out on the one remaining mare. Can you introduce another mare or two in with him? He'll probably settle down for that. Also, whenever we change pastures for our horses it’s a different ball game. Every enclosure produces a different response from them. Has he been in this pasture before? Can he see the other mares that used to be in with him? That may be a factor also. In the wild he has a harem. He guards them and herds them around. We create an artificial world for them and then wonder why they act weird, by our standards and neurotic. You may have to keep him on his own. How is he with geldings? Is he very aggressive with them? Some stallions are and some aren't. Sounds like he would be. There really is no easy fix to your problem. Either he is by himself or with mares he is to breed with. Let me know what you think of his responses to geldings? You may get lucky there.

Keeping stallions is a whole other ball game. How serious a breeder are you? Is he that great a stallion that people will want his 'get'? Are you committed to keeping him a stallion? Please take a look at these questions and let me know your thoughts. Thank you for your question. I look forward to hearing from you.

Aloha, Franklin

Hi Franklin,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my question. I have had numerous mares, babies and geldings before but this is my first stallion. He is a very well mannered stallion even when we hand breed him. I have had people that have had stallions for several years come over and work with me so I would be comfortable and be able to read this body language to the mare as we breed her. He has been wonderful. He can see all of his mares at this time but can not get to them. I tried to put another one of his mares in the field with him and he did the same thing up. I did figure out he was just herding her up, but is it to let her know he is the boss? I have not tried 2 mares at one time but separately he had both mares pinned in a corner and when they would try to move he would herd them like a border collie. As long as they were still then he was fine. I will try putting him with one of our geldings and see what happens. When he was in the field with the 4 mares they quickly put him in their place and everything was fine. The pecking order had first been established and they all got along just fine. He had just lost a couple hundred pounds and it is too hot to breed the mare for I do not want July babies. It is in the high 90s with a very high heat index during the month of July.

I am just a hobby breeder. I do not show but enjoy dealing with the horses I have. I have 3 or 4 babies every year and have no problem selling them. He is a beautifully marked overo stallion although he is a little on the small side. He is homozygous and has 2 blue eyes. The 3 babies he has given me have had nice confirmation, markings and wonderful dispositions. Yes I am committed to keeping him a stallion. I bought him strictly to breed to my mares. Please understand I have had no problems handling this stallion for he is very respectfully of the person that is handling him. I had him sent to a trainer and spent 2 breeding seasons with them just to make sure he knew there was a time to breed and then there is a time not to.

Once again this keeping of a stallion is new to me. I have a stall complete with bars for him and he has a large pasture with eclectic fencing around it. I always make him stand outside the gate and put the halter on him to take him in the barn to feed him. I do the same thing going out of the barn. This behavior is just something I had not yet experienced and was wondering what signal he was trying to send to the mares I know they are not weird or neurotic. I find their natural behavior to be fascinating and was just trying to get some insight on why he acted that way in the different pasture.

Thank you once again for taking the time to talk with me. If you could offer me any suggested reading material on stallions I would greatly appreciate it.

Best wishes,

Hi MaryAnn,

I think he is just trying to keep the mares where he wants them, but you move them away. He is exhibiting normal stallion behavior. Be careful introducing a gelding to him. Stallions usually drive off other males (gelding or not). He can hurt the gelding really quickly. Be very thoughtful and very careful about this. I don't have a selection of books to suggest. Please consider the library as a great source of reference material.

Thanks again for your question. Please keep me posted and the best of luck to you.

Aloha, Franklin

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