Monday, November 7, 2011
A Ticking Clock
Efforts to stave off the extinction of the Colonial Spanish mustangs of Corolla face obstacles on every front. All are frustrating, but none are as frustrating as the problem of placing stallions that have to be removed from the wild. We need to place them they where will be maintained as stallions. Instead the stallions are too often gelded. The scalpel of the vet ends their lineage as efficiently as does the gun of those who have shot and killed wild Corollas. Whether gelded or killed by a drunk driver, the lineage ends all the same.
The gelding of any of the few Corollas that we have left should never be viewed for anything other than what it is--vandalism. I find no virtue in doing so what so ever. Unfortunately, I have as many stallions as I can effectively use at our horse lot. If no one else comes forward to adopt any of the male colts the Corolla Wild Horse Fund has no choice but to geld them while they await adoption. They certainly cannot be criticized for having to take such a horrible action. They have no choice. Were it not for the Corolla Wild Horse Fund and its selfless staff, these horses would be already gone. The CWHF is not the villain. Ignorance among horse owners is the villain.
What passes for horsemanship in America has come to believe that horses come in three varieties--mares, geldings, and stallions. They do not. Horses come in two types--trained and untrained. If a stallion is poorly trained, kept up in a stable, fed sugar and not given the opportunity to move about, he will become very dangerous. So will a gelding. So will a mare. Of course, maintaining a stallion requires additional steps in training and handling than maintaining most geldings do, but the task is not all that daunting.
My mother's horse was a stallion. She rode him in shows, parades, and rides in the woods with children. Not a week goes by that we do not have several rides with Corolla stallions being ridden along with, and by, children. We train wild stallions with the assistance of elementary school students.
Over the next year I fear that the Wild Horse Fund will have to geld some young stallions that for various reasons must be removed from the wild. To do so is much like having a man lost in the desert with only a bottle of water stop every few miles and pour out some of his only remaining water.
The man lost in the desert has a choice. At this point The Corolla Wild Horse Fund does not have a choice. Without adopters that will take on and gentle a wild stallion they have to geld them.
All horses are potentially dangerous. All horses that are untrained are even more so. The only horse that is completely safe is a dead horse. All horses regardless of sex must be trained and handled by competent, confident handlers. I do not suggest that a novice, without training or assistance should take on the sole responsibility of a stallion--or of a mare or a gelding.
Posted by Steve Edwards