Stallions: Tips on Housing and Caring for a Stallion
#EverythingHorseMagazine – Stallions
Without doubt Stallions, no matter how big or small, require different care and handling from a mare of gelding. Here, Lara Dyson of Dyson Stallions, focuses on field and stabling requirements, handling and other tricks that owners can take away to help keep him as happy and settled possible.
With stallions, like any horse they appreciate time out in the field and as long as you create the right field for them there should be no reason to keep them stabled. All my stallions go out in standard fields, although the first time we put them out we always put them in a 6 ft high pen to see how they react to being out, this also stops them from running around and injuring themselves and also you will be able to see if they look like they will try to jump out of a normal field.
First time in a normal field I take them with a lunge line around the perimeter and allow them to have a roll still holding onto them, as normally it’s after their first roll they will get up and buck and clear off. I allow them to buck on lunge line but you can, at the same time, stop them from charging off and hurting themselves. After doing this for a couple of days and allowing them to eat the grass on a very long loose lunge (under close observation), I would let them go and stand quite close still, so they use your calming influence.
Top Tip: Always boot up all round for the first time out in a while, or for the first couple of weeks, if they haven’t been out before or if they are new to you.
Turn out also with no other horses in fields that can touch with your stallion, some stallions prefer to not see any other horses as this can wind them up, however some do prefer company. Bodyguard and Amigo, our stallions, used to love been next to each other but this is very rare, so best to start with distance and see how they settle.
Our stables have brick walls so the horses cannot touch other noses and this will suit a stallion, there are not many who will accept touching noses with other horses without squealing. If your stables have grills between, a cover or rug to close the grills off would be advised till your stallion settles and feels at ease and safe in their own stable. One of my stallions used to have a bed sheet at the front of the stable, as he did not like the grills at the front and horses to come close to his stable! He used to hide under the bed sheet, and would often be seen asleep with his head under the sheet.
If you have a particularly strong willed stallion, you may find electric fencing and a little battery is necessary if the stable has low sides to stop them rearing over the sides to touch the horses in the stables behind or next door.
Top Tip: The small battery and electric fencing is particularly a good piece of kit to have if travelling and staying away as you just never know what type of stable you will be given!
I have always done halter training (natural horsemanship) with all my stallions, this allows them to understand my space and their space! It also makes it very easy to them lead a stallion in a halter and not in a bridle or chifney as you may see a lot in. Some stallions can be particularly adverse to a chifney as some have very soft mouths, but again it depends completely on your stallion, and if this keeps you and him safe then there is a time and a place for one.
With halter training, I just teach the very basics like when I stop they stop, don’t walk into my area, and if I walk towards them with a gentle wave of my arm they back up; again helpful if you come across another horse when leading your stallion.
Ellen terray, a professional trainer of young horses, is also an advocate of correct training on the ground with stallions. “I worked in a large stud in germany for some time and we did a lot of basic ground work with all the stallions. Not only for basic discipline but it also meant that all the horses were treated as individuals and according to how they were most happy. The stallions daily routine was also structured to what they needed as individual horses but, also kept quite structured as that seemed to help the horses remain happy and calm”
One thing I was taught by the dutch was to use Vaseline and Vicks. The Vaseline first all over there nostrils and then Vicks so they don’t smell any mares. The Vaseline stops the Vicks from burning the nose.
Then common sense things – like if you have traveled a mare in the lorry or in a stable and it has urinated or done droppings, I always remove these and the smell so it doesn’t upset your stallion.
Hay – keep their hay and your mares hay in separate nets as you don’t want a stallion jumping onto a net thinking it’s a phantom and getting their legs stuck.
With special thanks to Lara Dyson. For more information on the Dyson Stallions, Bodyguard and Amigo, please visit www.cydendressage.com or the Facebook Page