When do you geld?

I have a 9 month old colt that I will be gelding. I did a quick search on here to see if I could find an older thread on this, but couldn’t seem to find any.

What age do you geld your boys? I have always done my guys during the winter months as a yearling (with no flies) so I’m still good for a bit, but I’m not sure if I should geld in the next month or wait until next fall when he’s a bit older.

He is a “coltish” boy, but I’m on a private farm and have no problems handling him. He just loves to play and chew anything he can. A very typical boy. He’s turned out with 4 other geldings ranging in ages of 3-26 years old and he’s at the bottom (as he should be) but does play rough with them, and gets told of course, but will come right back at them.

I’m sure it sounds silly, but I know there has been some recent studies on dogs and later neutering (especially for giant breed dogs) due to quick growth once fixed and hip dysplasia, acl tears etc due to the quick growth. I know when I gelded my last guy as a yearling, he shot up as well and ended up tall and lanky. I purchased a coming 2 year old colt that I gelded then, and he filled out quite well, did not get lanky and is a solid boy, and only grew 1 inch (he’s 13 now). I know horses are different than dogs of course, and a coltish boy is a lot more difficult to handle than a 100lb dog, but not sure if anything can be said about this??

My vet does not geld, but I did just contact a local vet that does and asked them what age they suggest, but I would love the wisdom of COTH as well.

Thanks in advance.

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I usually do mine about eight to nine months during the winter. Less bleeding as they have less fat and they seem to recover quicker.

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We have a colt the same age, our vet recommended gelding at a later date, when I am not sure as colt is daughter’s

The reason given was to improve bone density

here is a CoTH discussion
Bone Density and Gelding

The reason we Agree with our vet is we lost a very good youngster because he broke a leg in the pasture… every part of his cannon bone above mid break was exploded in pieces…this was the worse loss we have experience, one that almost made us to just get out of horses altogether

he had been gelded at an early age, five or six months

(I edited out some material that was sort of a distraction from the specific topic)


When they need it! Spring may bring manly thoughts to a young colt. This time of year is ideal to geld. Good weather encourages movement in turnout but no bugs. Theoretically, if you geld before the growth plates are closed they will grow a bit bigger. I had a Hanoverian/tb colt that was a bit weedy when young and was lucky enough to have similar age colts to live with. He was gelded spring of his 3 year old year. Generally the younger you geld the easier the recovery.

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@clanter - I’m so sorry for your daughters loss on her beautiful boy. My in laws had their stallion on single turnout also shatter his front leg in a freak pasture accident when he was in his teens. He was not gelded of course, so it can still happen. But it does make sense to me about waiting for growth for bone density, and perhaps even soft tissue damage in the future (not sure if studies were ever done in horses for this though). Thank you for your input


When you neuter or geld later, secondary sexual characteristics will develop and some are permanent. This is why you(g) can usually tell a gelding that was gelded as a yearling versus a gelding gelded at 7. Their body shapes are different, faces are broader, bodies usually more muscular, etc.

The best time to do it is when works for you - other than the consideration of doing it during the seasonal lull in biting insects, if there’s no reason to geld right this minute, you don’t need to do it right this second.

I’m a believer in gelding a little later, but there’s many reasons people can’t - including being at the mercy of boarding barns policies (many don’t allow stallions) or having mares adjacent who could be at exposure risk, etc.

I don’t find that stallions are extra challenging to handle versus geldings — the real issue with handling stallions in my experience is finding people who won’t behave differently around him. I’ve seen fairly competent barn help go from confident to treating a stallion like it’s a ticking time bomb — even the quiet horses can pick up on this, and stallions like any other horse are really a reflection of their handlers and training.


The advantages of maybe more bone against the advantage of a less rambunctious colt or one that will be getting into more trouble that may cause injuries, some serious, your pick.

We had one colt born with a large scrotal hernia that needed gelding at two days old.
He grew into a big, heavy boned strapping gelding just fine, as his genetics indicated, and had all along a lovely disposition.

I would go by what your vets recommend for YOUR colt and you think makes sense for HIM.


Well it depends on your situation, the horse himself, and what plans you have for the horse.

As a race prospect, leaving them a colt will tend to close growth plates faster, earlier maturity, and higher muscle mass. Gelding early tends to lead to more growth and less maturity, as growth plates remain open longer. If you value TALL horses, geld early. If you are wanting a boarderline pony to remain under 14.2, early closure of growth plates may be helpful to attain this goal.

If you have a crop of all fillies except one colt, gelding early, as a weanling, will allow that young gelding to remain with his sisters to grow up in a herd environment with his agemates… a huge bonus for him instead of isolation or removing him from his agemates and friends. If you have a group of colts together, without fillies, they can often remain colts together for longer. If they enter training without the testosterone becoming a problem, and you have the facilities to keep them adequately, they can stay that way if you like. I’ve had some colts that no one knew they were not geldings when out in public.

I’ve gelded horses at various different ages, depending on my plans for the horse, his behaviour, and my situation. As soon as they have descended, and the hole is closed in the body wall, they can be gelded. As weanlings, the testicles are very small, and sometimes hard to find, but are often there and available. The earlier you geld, the easier it goes for the horse in terms of recovery (usually).

With young colts that you want to geld early, get them accustomed to being “checked” for nuts. Take a feel under there. The last one I had gelded early, before weaning actually, STILL loves being “checked”. It’s his favourate thing ROTFLMAO!!!


I gelded my boy at around 18 months-2 years. He was perfect in every way, well-behaved with his two turn out buddies, but one day the switch just flipped and he was over-interested in our donkey.

Gelded 2 days later!

He has great bone, a lovely neck, and fortunately stopped growing at 16.1 hands. I have no idea what any of that may have to do with gelding closer to 2 years.


agree, our vet has seen then new boy multiple times, he is an easy to handle colt.

Part of the reason we have delayed gelding at our vet’s recommendation is he is a half brother to one that we lost. The vet is one that responded to the loss of Socrates, the vet was as shaken of the loss as we were. He liked Socks very much.

Together, we want the best possible out come for the new guy

We have the room to allow a delay in gelding him without causing any problems


Thank you all for your insight! I appreciate all of the posts.

I did speak with the vet (not my usual vet) and he had no concerns on gelding this early. I think it would be best for my herd and for my farm help in the summer when we are away for handling him as a gelding and not a colt (he’s not terrible, but for sure knows he has some extra testosterone there!!).

I have made the appt for gelding next month.


Good plan ! Jingles & AO ~ the procedure is uneventful as should be ~

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I’m sorry for your family’s loss.

thanks, it was a Very Hard loss


The ones I raised were always gelded around 8 months. I had a mule I did as a yearling and the current gelding I got as a 18 month old and he was gelded later ( i am assuming) as his first 6 months he was extremely attentive and mounted my daughters mare whenever she came into heat .

My mare would not tolerate any of that and the past 2 years he has behaved as he should. The mares seem to gravitate to him when in heat but he would rather eat now :innocent:


I am debating this question myself. 3 bossy mares and one 10 month old colt who gets picked on. He seems to be fine in a pasture by himself and is okay with the mares being next door. So for now I’m hoping to wait until December. I can always move him father away from the mares if needed.

I have gelded at many different ages depending on the situation. Some were older stallions I acquired (oldest was 12). Some were junior stallions that I decided by age 4 or 5 made better geldings. Youngstock who I either think do not need to be a stallion or I’m going to keep and I already have that slot filled, usually get gelded at 8 months - timing correlates to when there are few to no flies and before I have to worry about the girls around the place becoming too interesting. I have not personally had a gelding not go well, all good outcomes but I do find that the less than one-year olds seem to pop up the next day like nothing happened the day before and just go about life as if all is good.

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For many years I boarded at a breeding farm that also had a lesson program. I was crossing the parking lot and saw a young girl leading the most notorious of the stallions out of the breeding barn. As I’m trying to walk extra nonchalantly over, the BO comes out of his barn and quietly said to the girl “ that’s not your horse today please put him back”. If BO had walked over to take the horse he might have gone into breeding mode. She turns around and he walks back in his stall quiet as a lamb and I made sure everything was properly closed up. Amazing! The instructor gathered any lesson horses from that day on.


Usually geld in Dec/January of yearling year. But have also gelded between 20-24 months, and 3yrs. Earlier is usually easier recovery-- smaller spermatic cord, less swelling, less complications. Mostly the decision is guided by 1) bugs, 2) temperament, and 3) environmental situation (turnout with buddies of whatever sex). Life is too short to deal with studdy obnoxious colts, if they are not of EXCEPTIONAL breeding quality, genetics, and future performance. Yes, you can leave them alone while they are quiet, easy, and innocent… but as with all adolescent males, one day they will “wake up” and test the boundaries. One colt was an absolute lamb to handle, but around 18 months he turned into a holy terror in his turnout herd (mature playful geldings). The colt’s play became very rough, aggressive, and while not “dangerous” to his friends I could tell they were losing patience with him and someone was about to get hurt (maybe him). Two weeks after castration, his attitude toned down and his play became more civilized with his buddies. Still lots of bitey face and chase, as geldings do, but no more out-and-out rearing Wild Stallion neck-grabbing trying to throw his (much bigger) friends to the ground.

I gelded one yearling colt in August, NOT my favorite plan, but I was potentially going to haul him to an in-hand championship show with a filly. And despite being polite to people, he was showing too much interest in the ladies to risk a trailer romance and lovesick behavior at the show. Thankfully no complications despite the humidity and bugs.

Just recently gelded a two year old TB colt (24 months) because in the recent weeks he decided to go through life standing on his hind legs, along with nipping, pushing, bowling his shoulder into you, and having a permanent mischievous look in his eye. We raised him, and he’s had excellent handling every day of his life, but when The Bolls take over, sometimes manners take a back seat to testicular arrogance. His testicles are not worth risking injury (to me, or him) so off they went. Two weeks post-castration, he is very much humbled with a softer eye, more focused work ethic, and much more apt to keep his feet on the ground where they belong.