I've not had many dealings with stallions in my life, but I've come to know a few. As a teenager, I worked for several weeks with three (very dear) pony stallions. In the years between then and now an occasional stallion crossed my path, such as the affable Welsh Cob to whom I was introduced when he came to greet visitors in the pasture where he ran with his mares. As a hoof trimmer, although I haven't worked on any full-size stallions (there just aren't that many around), my clientele has included three donkey stallions and six miniature horse stallions.
There is something different about these guys. They have all been so ready to engage - more than other equines, they seem to embrace a spirit of rapport and rapprochement. They are easier to flatter - but also more flattering. ("Oh, you like me? That's great! I like you too!") All have been characterized by an eagerness to enter into the moment, by magnanimity, by playfulness, by unservile cooperativeness. When I'm with them, I feel as though I'm being welcomed onto a team.
I know we can't let all the colts turn into adult stallions. They can be harder to handle, and I've witnessed stallions who basically had turned into menaces from boredom and lack of attention. Uncontrolled breeding leads to neglect and unwanted horses, so housing stallions is a problem if there are any mares around. I accept that gelding is necessary. But I wonder if we haven't gotten rather complacent about this seemingly routine procedure, giving it the same perfunctory attention we might give to worming or vaccinations.
I don't want to try to sketch the characteristics of a gelding compared to a stallion; every horse is different anyway. But perhaps something more than fertility may be lost in the castration of the male horse, and I want to acknowledge that loss, even it it's unavoidable.
There's plenty of stuff in this world that maybe ain't wrong but somehow just ain't right.
(Now, when Moshiach comes ..... )