Recently I made a difficult decision. I had my stallion castrated. Something I never thought I'd do.
I bought him at the age of 10 and have him for about 2,5 years now. He came from Spain bought by someone from Belgium and then came to me. I was most impressed by his presence the first time a saw him. He had what I lacked in my own personality; so I knew he could teach me how to integrate this feeling as well. Another reason why I was attracted to him was because I knew he could teach me more about riding.
The plan was and still is to ride dressage at liberty. People who follow my page know that I often ride in freedom.
This is a very good exercise to gain more confidence in myself, my horse and life. But we always want to develop and for me next step would be to ride dressage at liberty. This would teach me more discipline, structure and body knowledge.
There was only one problem before we could start with that and that was that he was too skinny to ride. Because being a stallion he was always separated from other horses in his past. This created a big mental issue for him. There was no goal in his life. He couldn’t for-fill his job being a horse in a herd. Because of this he wasted all of his energy going up and down on the pasture looking for other horses instead of using that energy to gain weight. So first we had to solve that problem and this seemed much more complicated then expected.
I did all the physical check ups first just to be sure that this wasn’t causing any problems as well. We checked for worms, took blood samples, checked his teeth,… But he seemed 100% fine so that wasn’t the problem. It could only be a mental problem.
I tried a lot of exercises to calm his mind. But it didn’t seem that anything was working. I tried to give structure to his chaos by spending a lot of time together by doing walks trough the forest and did groundwork exercises to build op his muscles. This worked fine if I did this every day. But when I had to leave home for a few days and came back he lost his weight again. So this wasn’t working neither, we kept repeating this several times in hope that it would change but always ended up with the same results.
I’ve tried to put him with other stallions in a herd, but because he never had physical contact with other horses before, he exaggerated in his actions towards them so this wasn’t working neither.
There was only one more option that I could try and that was going back to the roots of animals and people; going on an adventure for couple of days. By doing this you leave your comfort zone and get “thrown“ back in the “real life”. Together you have to overcome obstacles and fears, you will share difficult but also beautiful moments. Because of this the connection with yourself and your horse will become much stronger. This doesn’t only apply for the human but also for the domesticated horse.
If you look at the life of wild horses then you will see that nothing is for granted this keeps their intuition and spirit alive. What we offer them is the complete opposite; we offer them a routine and because of this a lot a horses loose there natural spirit a bit. Vise versa for the human; a lot of us like to create a routine in our daily live as well. Which is understandable, this gives us a certain “security”. The only problem is that by doing this we loose our intuition a bit as well. This habit is really difficult to let go, but not impossible.
Anyway, we came back from our hike and the people who followed this journey on my Facebook page know that is was a big difference for him, he was standing much calmer on the pasture. But this only took about 2 or 3 days. The memories from before where to strong rooted in his mind and because of his age it’s more difficult to let go of them.
I waited to share this with you guys because I wanted to see first where this was going.
After a couple of days I finally made a difficult decision. I decided to castrate him.
If I would have more and bigger pastures with a big herd then it would be a different scenario but that’s not the case yet (project for the future ). The result is that he can finally let go of his stress and stand in a field with other horses. Btw we also have another stallion but he doesn’t have this problem, he is raised with us and was from a young age in contact with other horses. So the problem of my stallion doesn’t count for al of them. Depends from their background and Character.