wikiHow to Handle and Control a Stallion

A stallion is an uncastrated (entire) male horse. They produce the male hormone testosterone. This hormone can make these magnificent creatures unpredictable, hard to manage or handle, uncooperative, and sometimes dangerous. Testosterone is also what makes these magnificent animals perform; galloping around their paddocks holding their heads high and strutting to show off their physical condition. The famous Spanish Riding School uses only stallions because of their unique desire to perform, and because they have a higher center of gravity than mares. Stallions are not monsters, but some care should be taken in handling them.


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    Become proficient in handling a mare, foal, or gelding first. A "mareish" mare is a useful to bridge the gap between a docile gelding and a stallion. A good idea is to practice leading and controlling a horse. You must have confidence and know the commands and rules for handling horses.
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    Ask the stallion's regular handler how the horse is normally handled. Ask about the equipment and techniques usually used on the stallion.
    • Halter and lead rope: A common halter with strong buckles and a strong, heavy-duty lead are quite adequate to lead a stallion. Many stallions are quiet and will only need a basic halter and lead.
    • Bridle: A bit can also be attached to a halter for the same effect. The horse must be lead from both bit rings, either by passing the lead through one ring and clipping in to the other, by passing the lead though both rings and clipping it to itself, by using a coupling to join both rings or leading from the reins. A horse can be lead from any bit, but a straight bar snaffle is preferable.
    • Halter and stud chain: Commonly used when showing in Halter events, the stud chain is passed though a side ring on the halter, passed over or under the nose, or though the mouth and clipped to the other side ring or passed though and clipped to itself the form a triangle. The stud chain can be snapped, (quick yank or a tug, providing a snapping action on the horses chin or nose). This stops a horse being rude and unruly. When the horse stands and behaves, the chain is released providing the reward.
      • Make sure you're using the stud chain in the desired way. Some studs are trained that having a stud chain a certain way (for example, over the nose), or even using a stud chain at all, means breeding time.
    • Chifney bit: Also called an anti-rearing bit, this bit allows the handler to lead the stallion as normal. If and when the horse rears up (this can happen if they smell a mare in season), the bit puts pressure on the tongue, making it uncomfortable for the horse, thus resulting in a 'safe grounding', when the stallion or rearing horse settles back on the ground. The reward is the release of the pressure. This tool is commonly used during breeding; the handler will hold the stallion while the mare's handler holds the mare. This way, exact dates and times can be recorded on breeding certificate.
    • Free Lunging, also called free schooling, is when a handler lunges the horse without using a lunge rein. The handler uses voice, body language, and sometimes a long whip to control the pace and directional changes. Stallions taught with this method can often be settled faster as they are quicker to respond.
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    Bond with him and earn his trust and respect. Ride him, talk to him, or whatever. Just remember to have authority and confidence, and you can earn his respect.
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    Keep the stallion in sight when leading him. He may not intentionally want to hurt you, but like horses in general, he can easily injure you.
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    Take advantage of his gut instinct. Food is often a tool of bribery, which is good, but when handling a stallion, they can become nippy and begin to play. Colts and foals will play as if you were another foal, but as they grow older this can become dangerous. Stop this before it becomes dangerous by flicking his nose when he nips, or using a citronella or chili treatment.
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    Teach him to wait. Many trainers and handlers will repeat words such as 'manners' and 'wait' while feeding; the handler uses a lunge whip to keep the horse at a safe distance (without hitting the horse). When the handler is done, the handler will say 'okay' or a word to express to the stallion that he may eat.
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    Managing a stallion during breeding season is especially important. You need to be aware of the stallion’s power. He will be full of hormones and he may become rude or disobedient. This can be often seen in cases where you are handling a stallion with a mare.
    • Always have two people present, in case of an emergency.
    • Try to make it as safe as possible – use smaller paddocks to direct the horses together, or use a large paddock with the mare and stallion at either end.
    • Many stallions and mares don’t like to be watched, so let them have their privacy.
    • When it comes time to bring the stallion back from the mare, use a bribe. Many mares will be ready to give the stallion back. They will push him away and may kick at him, so make sure to avoid the firing line.
    • If and when it is time to bring the stallion back, it may be easier to bring the mare back first. This depends on the situation and each individual horse.
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    Find out the rules for handling stallions in your country or state. Many Show Councils have an age ruling on showing a stallion or colt. A message in the code of conduct may read, No stallion or colt is to be handled or ridden by a person under 18 years of age. If unsure, contact your breed association or show council.
    • Though this is a show rule, it does not prohibit a minor from handling a stallion while at home. Many junior handlers are quite competent in handling a stallion, but as a general rule, any handler or rider of a horse or pony should have a second person watching or who knows they are riding or with a horse. Then, if something should happen, such as the horse kicks or bucks, the adult or other experienced person can intervene and ensure a safe and happy ending.


  • Insist on good manners. Do not tolerate kicking, striking, bucking, rearing, etc. when he is being handled.
  • Always have another person with you in case of an emergency, and always have contacts near the phone (vet, hospital, etc.).
  • Use a breeding shed for matings, an arena for training, and a separate paddock for turnout. He will soon learn what he is supposed to do at each place.
  • Before purchasing a stallion, ask yourself why you want one. If your answer is something along the lines of "I want to enable an extraordinary animal to make a genetic contribution to benefit the breed", go for it. However, if you want a stallion for any of the reasons below, you may want to re-think your decision:
    • You want to save on stud fees.
    • You don't understand that they are more than just beautiful (chances are, you have seen the movie Spirit).
    • You think your mare could use a friend.
    • You've always wanted to see a foal be born.
    • You want to prove your horsemanship skills.
  • Speak firmly. They are stronger, but you never let them know that.
  • Keep the horse's attention focused on you.
  • Try using one halter when you take your stallion to the breeding shed, and a different one when it is time for him to work. He will know what he is supposed to do by the halter you put on.
  • Always be careful.
  • No matter how well mannered the stallion may be, always be alert!
  • Try to have a separate paddock for the stallion, and then during breeding, let him into an unfamiliar paddock; this will mean he is the lesser dominant in the paddock.
  • Be confident; this means that the horse feels an authoritarian figure is in his paddock.
  • Although this is primarily aimed at stallions, this advice is also true for rigs (a horse that has been improperly castrated) and geldings with some stallion-like behavioral traits.


  • A stallion is a hormone brick; they can throw their weight around without even realizing what they are doing.
  • A stallion should never be handled by an inexperienced person or by a child. It is very dangerous even if the stallion is well-mannered.
  • Most stallions have a gentle side. Don't agitate or provoke them, as their natural fight-or-flight instinct will kick in, and stallions fight.
  • If you are bringing in a stallion into an area where there were mares recently, chances are your stallion is going to get aroused by the ladies. Try to have the stallion be first, or get him into another area. Preventing little things like this can make the stallion much easier to control.
  • Stallions are also often handled solely by professionals. If this is the case, they will not be used to clumsy handling.
  • Always wear a helmet, as a stallion is strong and can simply bump you over. Safety first!
  • At shows in Australia, the handler of a stallion or colt must be 18 years or older, and handled in a chain or bit.
  • Some stallions are used to being overbearing and powerful, so don't get in their way!

Things You'll Need

  • At least one other person to help you out
  • Halter and strong lead
  • Stallion bit
  • Boots or joggers (steel cap or heavy duty work boots)
  • Jeans
  • Helmet
  • Stallion

Article Info

Categories: Horse Training