New behavior, especially in older horses (or other animals), may signal a health issue like a tumor. I would encourage a vet visit or consult if you can.
On this topic … my gelding will often drop while I am grooming him. Sometimes before a ride but maybe moreso after. I chalked it up to being relaxed? I am misreading signals?
I don’t understand horse hormones. While my mare was pregnant, at about months 4-6 she got very studdy. Arched neck, low nickers, trying to herd me and get in my space… turns out she was having a colt and and her body was flooded with testosterone. She still occasionally does this at the most random times. So when I saw your description, it made me think possible hormone imbalance.
I ride a PRE stallion and he likes to drop and flip it around. After very collected work (piaffe, passage, pirouettes) he drops and will full-on ejaculate in the aisle. I have no idea what triggers this, as he is very mild mannered and doesn’t respond to mares whatsoever. You can turn him out next to them, trailer him with them - no stallion behavior.
Horses can be weird.
I would strongly suspect he smells the mares on you. As long as he isn’t being aggressive or disrespectful to you, I wouldn’t worry about it and tend to ignore “inappropriate” but harmless male reactions.
My stallion smells mares on me every day, but is only interested when I’ve been helping the vet and holding tails/cleaning them up for palpations. He doesn’t act dangerously, just extra sniffing as you would expect. He tends to drop and “daydream” when I curry his back and hindquarters, or if he’s left standing tied for a long time for the farrier (or embarrassingly, when he gets bored standing around during a group lesson). His behavior never gets out of hand; he isn’t acting dangerously to people or horses, he’s very much “minding his own business” though sometimes I wish he would do that “business” in private! As such, I don’t punish him but I will back him up, or move him around and he puts it away.
I’m probably going to hell, , but I find it hysterical when a gelding drops at a horse show and a child invariably points at him and says “Mommy, what’s that?”
So many expressions of parental horror or “Oh, crap!”, or noncommital hemming-and-hawing, or simply dragging the kid away as quickly as possible. It cracks me up every time!
I have a gelding, now 22, who would drop pretty much every time after riding. Often, he would go full erection, with masturbation, rubbing his penis along his belly, rocking his pelvis so hard he would actually end up backing up. This was as we were leaving the arena, and I was always afraid my elderly neighbor would be out working in the yard and be subject to this sight.
The gelding would also go into masturbation on the wash rack, and many times while getting a massage. The bodyworker would just laugh and say “at least his pelvis is mobile!”
Sometimes this behavior would be accompanied by snuffling and stud-like nickering, but many times not. Testosterone levels normal on bloodwork, so no idea the cause. Horse is retired now, but will still drop out on the way to the paddock, but I try to distract him to stop it before it starts.
It’s not restricted to kids either! My husband is not horsey, and when he saw the live cover scene in Silicon Valley he was so stunned that it took him a minute to recover He even asked me if that was real or just CGI. He couldn’t believe 1) the size, and 2) that “they just climb up there” lmao.
Which I also find hilarious… because I have a very curious 3.5yr old boy, and his most likely reaction would be to point and say “Look at the penis, when he drinks water, he does a pee pee from his penis” and then go back to regular scheduled activities like ant squishing.
It’s only embarrassing to kids (or other adults) if you make it embarrassing.
Lol my husband and I drove up to a local repro center to pick up a mare and while we were waiting former COTH poster Facinated (sp?) drove up with his stallion to be collected. Stallion (Silvano?) clearly knew why he was there and did his thing in a matter of minutes, after which Mr P rushed to help him load. While I stood by, on crutches, thinking of all the things that could go wrong.
A child you say? My FATHER said this right outside the arena gate at a very crowded horse show!!
Having my daughter around our horses was a super easy way to teach anatomy! I just explained that most boy animals you see will have penises, and that’s just how they potty compared to girl animals. Never had another question, and now she knows how to tell apart every horse and dog she meets!!
My gelding frequently dropped and got an erection whenever he went to a new place, and often during grooming, or chiro or massage work. There was also an episode when one of the barn workers led my mare into the adjacent wash rack to be groomed as I was hosing off my guy after riding. Maresie was in heat and promptly spread eagled herself, lifted her tail and peed. Gelding immediately got very studdy - grew about 3 inches, arched his neck, started nickering very deeply to her, and even “hunched” a few times. He wasn’t gelded until shortly before his 3rd birthday and had a hard time believing at times that he wasn’t still a manly man.
Someone very wise and very experienced with stallion handling always said, “Ignore the penis and focus on the behavior.”
If the horse isn’t trying to mount you or bite you or otherwise get too fresh with you, ignore the fact that he has dropped. If you can’t ignore it, you can try backing him up - that often makes them put away their fishing tackle.
Not to derail, but I recently did a group tour of a Thoroughbred breeding farm. A mom brought her two children, maybe 8/10ish? Not that young, but kids. Every stud was…showing off and she seemed displeased. Then she made the kids wait outside while the tour guide walked us into the breeding shed and explained the process of having a stud cover a mare. She was very thorough so it was maybe 15 minutes of the 45 minute tour. This was a breeding farm tour…I’m not sure what she expected.
Dropping is common in geldings when they’re relaxed, so no there’s problem with yours.
The OP’s horse is becoming erect, arching his neck and nickering in a studly manner. That’s different.
You did say:
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 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.
You mentioned his studly behavior towards you “grossed you out” and develop “the ICK about the whole thing”. Based on your words, you can’t deny that you described your horse as a pervert. I didn’t twist your words and quoted your post.
I suggested he’s a horse and doesn’t think human thoughts. None do.
I suspect you really weren’t in the frame of mind to “hear” that the fault isn’t your horse’s. He’s an animal and has thoughts of his own that likely don’t align with your thoughts about sexual stimulation. He’s a horse.
I don’t mind you lashing out at me; it seems like you’re having a problem with a gelding expressing sexual behavior with you. That’s not very uncommon. The advice is sound: treating him fairly like a boss mare would could shut his behavior down. Alternatively, find a good trainer to help you deal with his horse mind as a horse mind.
I’m sorry that you’re hung up on my reply and can’t appreciate what I said. Re-read it. 1 sexual reactions are natural in some geldings like mine, who I had to ask if he was proud cut and 2 train you horse out of the behavior instead being subordinate. Be Boss Mare and learn what this entails. Neither point is hard to learn how to enact.
Your horse’s behavior isn’t atypical. Your response is the key. Sorry, but the responsibility lies with you. Yep, I’m telling a “stranger” on the internet about an approach to “fix” her “very fixable” problem that she posted to an internet board. Your response isn’t about me at all. Maybe introspection can help your perceived relationship with you horse. Attacking me won’t help your relationship with your horse, it just likely makes you feel emotionally better in your time of frustration.
Will be willing to help you more if you are willing to hear.
What J-Lu said. Just don’t be like the “trainer” Bristol Bay referred to. Hitting a horse on the penis is abuse - pure and simple.
We were trained that when a horse drops just make him take a few steps backwards. Nice and gentle.
That’s a terrible thing to do to a horse.
I kept my horse at home and once I was in the barn in the crossties. My horse was fully dropped down when the UPS man drove up and delivered a package. He left pretty quick.
FWIW, a male doesn’t necessarily need to smell mares on a person to become erect. At times, excitement, relaxation or even boredom can trigger them. The crucial element is if there is other behavior accompanied with it. If not, carry on.