Oscar came to SAFE as a stallion, one of 16 horses seized from a breeding operation by Pierce County Animal Control in Dec 2011. Oscar had been starved and badly neglected. As a breeding stallion, he’d lived a life of isolation and was aggressive and “studdish” towards humans and horses. Oscar was gelded immediately after SAFE took possession of him, and for a period of a few weeks, he was only handled by Dr Hannah, who used his post-surgery exercise sessions to start teaching him ground manners. To everyone’s surprise, Oscar responded beautifully to his lessons, and showed a willingness to learn and to connect with his human handlers.
Recovered from his gelding surgery, we sent Oscar on to the next phase of his life: under-saddle training with Andrea Lucianna at Half Trak Farm. Andrea is an experienced stallion handler, and Oscar was treated very carefully in her care, but apart from some initial calling behavior (“talking” to other horses) he did not display any aggression — no striking, biting, or even ear pinning. Oscar took to training like a pro, and after 60 days under saddle, he looked like a real dressage prospect!
Upon graduating from training, Oscar was sent to White Birch Farm to continue his training with Melonie. Melonie admits that she was a bit nervous at first, taking on a horse that had only been gelded 90 days previously, but once again, Oscar proved to be a perfect gentleman. She never saw anything from him as far as talking to other horses, screaming for other horses or any other behavior one might expect with a late gelding. In fact, Oscar was so gentle and well-behaved that soon he was being used in lessons with beginner riders who’d never even sat on a horse before. At White Birch Stables, Oscar is such a good boy that Melonie’s neighbor girls can practice grooming on him. His size helps — he’s little — but he’s got great manners and he’s not at all intimidating. He’s a friendly guy with a great future ahead of him.
Becoming a gelding opened up a whole new world for Oscar. Instead of living in isolation with minimal handling, he now has friends, a job, and positive interactions with the people and horses he lives with. Here at SAFE we truly wish that more stallions could undergo the fairy-tale life transformation that Oscar has enjoyed. Overbreeding unwanted horses is a serious problem, so putting a stop to backyard breeding is the best reason to geld and to support gelding clinics, for sure. But the life improvements that go along with gelding are a gift to the horses themselves. We can’t wait to see what is in store for Oscar, a perfect gelding, a perfect gentleman!