I have a question about the colts. When is the decision typically made whether to geld or leave them intact, and what factors go into that decision?
A:Typically we will never geld a colt before it leaves the farm, either for the sales or to be broken in, unless there is a medical issue involved. We often have a good idea that they may become geldings fairly soon into their training careers though! Some colts are definitely more “studdish” than others.
Buyers usually don’t want to purchase a yearling gelding, as this will often indicate they have a difficult temperament. On top of that, this is a dreamers game—when someone buys a colt they like to think they have a shot at owning a horse that will have a stellar racing career and go on to leave his legacy as a stud.
Some of the colts that are headstrong and studdish as yearlings improve once they are in training and they have a job to do. With the horses that don’t settle down, it becomes a question of whether you can get the horse to train and race to his full ability if his mind is not on the game and he’s fractious and difficult to handle. If the answer is no, then often he will be gelded at this point.
The other reason to geld a colt is if they are clearly not going to compete at the levels that would then lead to a career at stud. A gelding is usually easier to handle and deal with on a daily basis. I know a lot of people will say they have had difficult geldings or easy colts, and of course that can be the case but generally it’s easier to have a gelding in the shed row, especially when there are fillies in the barn.
Yearling Manager, Lane’s End
Cooper was born in Lexington, KY and graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Agriculture. He started working with horses in 1997 in the training barn of Al Stall Jr. Before coming to Lane’s End as the Yearling Manager in 2010, he worked at Wimbledon and Mill Ridge Farm.