“I can’t keep a stallion in Germany.” We hear this sentence from our students again and again. It appears that it is very difficult to accommodate a male, uncastrated animal in an appropriate way – at least if you require a boarding stable and cannot keep your horses on your own.
But what is the reason for this? Why does keeping stallions in Northern Europe not only seem almost impossible, but frowned upon in certain circles? Where does the fear of testosterone come from? And why is it so much easier to manage in the south of the continent?
If you’re thinking: “It’s obvious: the animals are in solitary confinement there, too, in dark boxes, isolated from the rest of the world and all external stimuli! We have to say: This may be so in many cases and is of course to be deplored. But there are also plenty of examples where even a coexistence of stallions and mares is no problem at all.
We currently have three mares in the stable, within sight of each other and more importantly within smelling distance for many of our stallions. And yet there is never any trouble. Why is that?
The answer is simple, yet difficult for many to understand.
What matters is that both stallions and mares rest in themselves – mentally as well as physically. This is achieved first and foremost through a good working concept: A horse that is physically active every day and uses itself well and comprehensively in the process feels comfortable in its skin. The physical condition interacts directly with the mental condition. Everyone knows how good one feels after an intensive exercise. Those who have found themselves in this way are hardly susceptible to external disturbances of any kind. Of course, exceptions confirm the rule. And if the stimulus is just big enough, you can go ballistic. But the threshold for this is much higher, and the tolerance for outside stimuli – even of a sexual nature – is greater.
Additionally, our mares are also being continuously worked. This gives them a task and takes them mentally a bit away from their inherently strong instinct-driven sexual behavior. In this way, they are no longer easily upset by an excited stallion, which would only make him more excited – the vicious circle is broken.
With us, every horse has its own place. The hierarchy is clearly defined. Each horse is seen with all its traits and needs and can confidently “hand over” to us, let itself go and trust us as herd leaders. This also brings a great deal of calmness to the stable community – no one needs to get upset because of a mare passing by. That would be much too stressful for our boys.
In many boarding stables, such an environment is utopia. The fluctuation of horses, inadequate promotion in a mental an physical way, as well as a lack of understanding and basic knowledge of the owners have lead to this situation.
As long as this does not change on a large scale, it will probably remain difficult to keep stallions in Northern Europe.