Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek

Rodney’s Reaction

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I have written two posts about Rodney’s Happy Meter [Progress, Taste Vs. Authenticity has commentary on the photo in Doctor Whooves]. Each time, I get a host of anecdotal agreement. Horses who enjoy grooming. Horses who embarrass their owners in front of children. I wonder if these events are more common that I realize, only we don’t hear about it because we don’t talk about such subjects in polite company. After all, I don’t see ‘Does Your Gelding Display?’ as cover story for Practical Horseman.

Also, is this behavior more typical of geldings than of stallions?

Previous Horse was gelded late, possibly as old as four or five. He may have been used as a tease stallion. He had a host of stallion behaviors including assertiveness, screaming to announce himself, and showing off for mares. OTOH, he was never one to let it all hang out for nonbusiness purposes. As far as I know, Rodney was gelded at about one year, a standard time for domestic horses.

From this extensive data sample, I could make an argument for neoteny, i.e. “the retention by adults of traits previously seen only in the young.” Wiki. Previous Horse went through the full development cycle. He exhibited adult stallion behaviors. Rodney > early gelding > lack of testosterone > retention of foal behaviors. Or am I flailing about in an unscientific haze?

Any foal/stallion/gelding experts care to weigh in?

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Comments on: "Rodney’s Reaction" (3)

  1. My beloved Chief was gelded at age 14. He frequently embarrassed me in front of children. And adults. He seemed to think of me as his alpha mare, and was perfectly well behaved in front of real mares and geldings. Was fine when I rode him or even just walked him when my spine got too bad to ride, but when i groomed him or just scritched his itchy spots. Not an expert, just some thoughts.
    Neoteny usually applies to younger behaviors.

  2. Somewhere in the wide sea that is the Internet I read a theory that stallions know what it’s for, so don’t drop without reason, but geldings don’t know, and drop when they’re feeling stimulated in other ways.

  3. Exactly. Dropping down without reason seemed like something little boys, and therefore little horses, might do. I never had a little boy, or a little horse. I guess not. Chief was all boy & quite grown up.

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