Castration of horses
Castration of stallions is a simple surgical procedure with little risk. Sperm are produced in the testes, mature and stored in the epididymis, from where they are excreted through the vas deferens during ejaculation. The testicles, epididymis, part of the spermatic cord and testicular covering are removed from the stallion. After that, already at the gelding, sperm production is immediately stopped, but the recently castrated horse is still responding to the mares.
This is due to the presence of an ampoule, a sperm reservoir at the end of the vas deferens. Because the ampoule is not removed during marinating, the gelding can potentially cover the mare for up to one month after castration. But a month later, the sperm that remained in the vial during castration no longer exists.
Improving the quality and productivity of the horse gene pool should begin with the selection of only the best representatives for breeding.
Therefore, up to 90% of stallions do not have breeding potential and often become geldings. Due to the decrease in the production of androgens (male hormones) after castration, geldings tend to have more stable behavior than stallions, which makes the gelding suitable for a wider range of applications.
Male hormones are responsible for much more than desire and ability to reproduce with mares. Testosterone can help sports performance or vice versa. It can help the stallion to be more energetic and brilliant, but it can also distract him from work. Similarly, secondary sexual characteristics, such as muscle mass and strength due to the level of testosterone, can provide a good physical condition for the horse, but can also cause undesirable effects, such as a thick crest, which interferes with the flexibility of the neck.
Castration is often used as a means of changing horse behavior. Sound production, capricious behavior, and sexual interest in mares are often considered undesirable characteristics in the behavior of one-year-old and two-year-old stallions.
Although sexual interest is necessary for reproduction, sexual aggression is unacceptable during training with the horse. The desire for copulation is only part of the tribal ritual, which includes various forms of neighing, screeching, pushing, finding out the leading relationship, striking and biting – all this is socially acceptable behavior among horses, but it should not be manifested in relation to people.
A small percentage of young stallions show sexual dissatisfaction or a tendency to self-harm. If such a horse is not intended for breeding, it is best to castrate it before the habits are strengthened.
Although the gelding will be removed the reason for this behavior, but it will not change bad manners and bad habits. This should be achieved through proper preparation. Traits that the gelding previously acquired, especially if it had previously been diluted, will not disappear immediately after castration, and may never be completely eliminated.
Some horses retain sexual behavior after castration and are often referred to as “proud stump”. In the past, it was believed that this could be due to some kind of testicular tissue that was missed during the marinating procedure, which allows the production of testosterone (but not sperm production). In some cases, this may be true, especially given the various raw castration practices over the past 2000 years. However, today, given painkillers and a high level of knowledge in surgical methods, it is unlikely that skipping any testicle tissue during surgery is the reason that approximately 25 percent of the geldings retain the type of stallion. Since the adrenal glands (located near the kidneys) also produce testosterone, it is believed that the reason for this behavior may be related to the hyperactivity of the adrenal glands of a particular horse. On the other hand, the lethargic behavior of some stallions may be due to a lack of testosterone production.