Dutch warmblood stallion Uron M is one of the happiest horses I know. I got to know him when had stabled Triple Fire in the same yard as him for over a year. Uron is a prize winning elementary- medium dressage horse and show horse and a sought after breeding stallion. What’s so amazing is that he is an absolute gentleman, he has a tangible bond to Mandy and he almost seems to glow with glee. I asked Mandy Schroder, his rider and care giver, and a professional horsewoman, how to keep a stallion happy. She gave me the following advice:
Your stallion must know what to expect each day. This doesn’t mean that everything has to be done at exactly the same time each day. It does mean that he should expect consistency in activities. For example feeding times, to be groomed and worked once a day, he can expect to go to the paddock each day.
Stallions need to socialize with other horses. They need to touch, see and smell other horses and not just in a breeding sense. Uron does not go into a paddock with other horses as the risk of injury is too high. He plays over the very high paddock fence with an old retired pony. He also has a window between his stable and the stable next to his so that he can socialize with the gelding next to him. Lastly he hacks out with other mares and geldings.
Mandy warns that this isn’t possible with all stallions though. Stallions all have their own personalities and libidos. It’s important to work out what’s possible for each one.
Stallions have a huge work ethic. They are naturally the drivers and protectors of the herd. To keep your stallion happy you should give him work to do. This could be dressage, in hand work, hacking, jumping, whatever you want. Uron works six days a week. While he is a competitive dressage horse, his work routine is varied and includes dressage, hacking and jumping.
4. Consistent rules
Consistent behavior and rules are required from the rider and handler at all times. This way the horse knows what to expect at all times. Mandy explained: “I have a wide black line on one side is good behavior and the other is bad. One toe on it is not acceptable. If he goes onto the black line I’ll give a verbal reprimand.” When asked for an example Mandy explained: “If we are walking and a stallion wants to bulge a shoulder, I never allow it. That way I don’t have to deal with a bracing neck later”.
Mandy ascribes having a happy stallion to loads of love that she showers on him. If anyone sees them together the bond between them is clear. I asked her to tell us how she built that bond with Uron. She said “I spend loads of time with Uron. I groom him myself, tack him up myself and walk him cool myself. I’ve made sure that he is not just a number to me. I sometimes just stand and lean against him and talk to him. He knows my voice and my touch.
While I know what Mandy spoke to me about works for her stallion, it also seems to me to be very good advice for horse owners in general. I’ve been putting it into practice and seeing very positive results.
If you want to see more on Uron, who is a really wonderful horse and very easy to fall in love with; and if you want to read more about Mandy who is the ultimate professional you can look them up on on facebook on Uron M.
“The blog is the personal opinion and views of the author. It contains general information and may contain inaccuracies. You should always seek the advice of a professional horse riding instructor on your own specific situation and circumstances.”