Deciding to geld your colt or stallion is a very personal decision. There can be many reasons for making the decision; breed, discipline, you may not have the facilities to keep a stallion or the experience to look after one. For whatever reason it is quite often confusing as to when is the best time to have them castrated.
Colts can be gelded from a very young age if both of their testicles have descended. This should happen from birth, but it can sometimes take a little longer, in some cases it doesn’t happen at all or only one testicle will descend, this is referred to ask Cryptorchid or “Rig”. This does make castrating them a bit more difficult and a slightly more complicated procedure is required. Your veterinarian can talk you through this and what is required. The average age for getting a colt gelded is somewhere between 6 – 24 months, some owners may like to let them mature a bit more and leave them until approximately 2 years or more, but it can be done at any age as long as there is adequate development.
Some of the pluses and minuses for gelding you horses at a young age.
- Delaying can lead to colts developing more stallion like behavior which can take longer to subside the older they are.
- The older a colt the more developed they are, meaning increased size and blood supply to the scrotum, this can lead to complications such as increased bleeding and swelling post-surgery.
- Most castrations are performed under general anesthesia, it is less risky to recover a smaller younger horse than it is a larger more mature colt.
- Younger horses will heal faster given the smaller amount of tissue and scrotum involved.
Ater care for your gelding is most important. You should monitor your gelding closely for the first 24 hours, checking for an excessive bleeding (bleeding should stop within the first couple of hour’s post-surgery, a small drip is fine but anything more than that you should contact your veterinarian immediately). They should remain confined in a clean environment for the first 24 hours (clean straw stable or small grass yard) after that some light and controlled exercise is very important to prevent swelling and help reduce any chance of infection. After the first 24 hours (unless otherwise instructed by your vet) move them into a small grass paddock so they can be free to move around but not overexert themselves. They should have their vital signs checked regularly and if there is any signs of increased temperature, abnormal swelling or lameness call you vet straight away so they can come and assess your gelding for you.