A very awkward and embarrassing question

I have an eighteen year old notoriously quirky gelding. He’s my oldest horse and the one I’ve had the longest, we have a good relationship and though he is annoying he’s a member of the family. Was late cut at seven and can be a bit studdy. He has a chronic injury and as I have two mares I thought perhaps it would be the right time to retire him, so he’s been living a life of leisure with a pasture friend. I clean his hooves and fly spray him when I grain but I haven’t been grooming him. Since we moved he’s been calling to me and pawing at the gate to be let out, and he’s looking sound so I’ve started bringing him back into work. Here’s the problem - he’s acting like he’s sexually attracted to me. It’s very awkward and annoying. I have to give this horse credit though, he’s been finding new ways to be an idiot for the past 10 years, he definitely keeps it fresh. Our trainer has said to drive him off when he gets inappropriate, and I’m doing that, but he’s at a rate of displaying this behavior about once per day. I’m hoping he comes back sound to work and having me gallop the snot out of him will take him down a notch. Luckily we are at a secluded private facility with a gifted trainer who is also a great friend, I would be mortified if he was pulling this nonsense at some huge public boarding facility. Any advice is most welcome.

Has he been given anabolic steroids?

Personally I would start with a vet check


Does he act studdish around other horses, animals, or people? Or is it just towards you?

Maybe he likes your perfume. :wink:


Does he smell the mares on you? Are they in season?. I have an older stallion who used to act this way from time to time…he gets a certain tone to his talking along with the other actions. Hasn’t happened in a couple years, but I would just walk away, leave him in stall or cross ties till he cooled off…:crazy_face:. It was usually in late winter or spring.


What exactly is he doing towards you?

I’ve had stallions and geldings drop or become excited when I approach, for grooming, etc. but if they do not lash out, I ignore it.


Yeah, not to get too graphic (or go ahead, it’s a horse forum!), but what exactly does he do? I mean, is he dropping and getting an erection? This can be embarrassing at times, especially around the non-horsey relatives, but otherwise I ignore it. Or is he going full bore Stallion Mode and acting like he wants to mount you?


I have an Icelandic gelding with an insanely itchy sheath. He would like me to dig into it with a hoof pick every day and scratch him for an hour…. OMG. Bi :roll_eyes:

“Dropping” is a very common issue within the R+ community. Over stimulation of the para-sympathetic nervous system ( I think ???). Anyhow, yes, geldings that are too ‘pleased’ by your presence can drop down a lot. Older horses can get wonky in their bodies and then things can happen that never happened before. (Geriatric wonkiness Happens in Humans too, oh joy…. :grimacing: :woozy_face:). Including edema, that you might not necessarily see outside the body.

I am not sure what your horse is doing, exactly, but my guess would be closer to he wants his itchy sheath scratched. (FYI thorough cleaning does not help my Icy. The itching is allergic and the Icy allergies are notoriously intractable.).

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Don’t recommend galloping the snot out of him or any horse as a behaviour modifier, especially a horse with a chronic injury.


Very fair questions, I should have been a bit more descriptive in the behavior but I’m finding myself having the ICK about the whole thing lol. The behavior is dropping/erection, neck arch and deep nickering. This horse has always been super studly, when I first got him I had to clean my own stalls because the staff were scared of him. I’ve seen him hit on mares of all ages though he is pretty breed and color specific, he does not like QH/Arabs or greys, anything else he will cat call and drop for. He was notorious when he was younger for going around the warmup with his weener flying about, I was the laughing stock for his eighth and ninth years but it did improve with really hard work. He’s an odd horse and I’ve also seen him do this to a barrel that had fallen on its side but he’s never done this to humans, ever. He’s always been quite possessive of me though and nearly killed an ex boyfriend. He’s hyperemotional, needy and has been diagnosed as neuro several times. To the person who asked about any recent steroids, he’s not had any vet care for years beyond shots and an exam in march for a busted splint. I do think it’s very possible that he smells my mares on my clothes, that’s such a great hypothesis and has taken my “ick” level way down actually. I keep my mares in with a broodmare herd of four and I’m constantly spending time with all of them in the field and it’s an estrogen extravaganza out there.

Thanks all for the contributions, this was great, I feel way less grossed out.


I’ve had this guy for ten years and once he’s tuned up each spring he comes very sound, but he has an old SI injury that makes bringing him back to work a bit of a more thoughtful, careful process. But, once this dude is back in shape he can be a real handful and the best approach has been a lot of gallop.

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I’ve never seen or experienced this before, but it sounds like smelling mares on you is a likely explanation.

My 22 guy “drops” after every single ride and stays that way all through untacking and grooming until he’s put in his stall. Often does it during grooming / tacking up too. No studdish behaviours to go with it though…just a quirk he’s apparently had his entire life so I don’t even bother trying to change it.


My friends horse, retired for years, has always hated grooming. Yet every single time she grooms him he gets an erection and slaps his belly with it… while grinding his teeth and wringing his tail. Horses are weird.

I’d guess for yours it is the mare smell. He sounds like a weird dude in general, so I’d just do whatever you’ve done in the past to stop studdy behavior. Backing, a quick smack, whatever the weirdo needs to know he needs to cool it.


My hypervigilant guy…I got him when he was 3. He’s now 13. We have a great partnership despite his spookiness and hypervigilance.

He really needs a “boss mare” and I am it. He drops and gets erect when we do carrot stretches, drops and gets erect when I hose his face which he hates (my vet hasn’t had to clean his sheath in years), drops and gets erect after I dismount after a riding session. He only vocalizes to me when I come get him out of his pasture. In the warmer months he’ll frequently “ask” be to scratch his navel and sheath because of the bugs and will even lift his hind leg. He grooms my butt and hips.

I have always come to the pasture with carrots and he’ll drive off his run-in buddy sometimes violently when I’m leading him out.

He’s a horse, there is no “ick” level. Horses aren’t perverts. They are animals reacting to natural hormone levels whether we like it or not. You may not understand what he’s sensing but that isn’t his fault. Act like a boss mare and be as fair as a boss mare would be with a horse just nickering and pawing. Be fair and give horse social cues, not human social cues.


Where did I say my horse was “a pervert?” I know it feels good to “educate” strangers on the internet but try not to twist peoples’ words in order to fit your own little narrative. Also it’s quite useless to tell people how to feel. Several other members had really useful replies, you should take a look at those to improve your own.


Wow, that was really uncalled for. Her answer was helpful, just like everyone else’s. You were the one who said the horse’s behaviour gave you an “ick” feeling; she was just explaining why there’s no need to feel that way.


Yes, I thought @J-Lu was astute and kind!


J-lu is spot on.

Years ago I took an old gelding from my cousin’s ranch. Cousin thought he was past his useful days, but what he needed was a good hoof trim and some Adequan.

“Tom” had likely never had his sheath cleaned. One day I did just that, At first he seemed surprised, “shocked”, but then quickly decided he LIKED it. A lot. He got an erection, arched his neck and nickered in a most un-geldingly way.

I think he fell in love!


Me OTTB gelding would play raise the flag which would then do push ups on his belly whenever I’d brush his back legs. So I tended to hose off the back legs instead.

Also that horse: brush tail, get farted on.


My guess, too, is that he smells your mares. Years ago I visited a Kentucky Thoroughbred farm and had the privilege of seeing a famous retired stallion, aged 33. The manager who showed me around related that he had recently worked with breeding mares all morning, then went by to check on the station and had to literally run for the fence line when the horse smelled the mares on his clothing.


As long as we are having this conversation, I will get somewhat more specific on what my horse would do. First, he is now 20, never bred or collected, and incredibly well mannered. That said: he does what I call his “Weenie Workout” :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: very regularly - stall, cross ties, wash rack etc. Mostly a non-event. Sometimes he drops and does nothing. In the past, he would sometimes, while tied, get a different, deeper sound to his nicker, try to get into my space, and would do a mini-rear, kind of banging his front feet together along with the erection. Never figured out the exact cause, but it was the time to move away or maybe change the water temp in the wash rack!