"Starting a novice breeding stallion can range from a quick and easy project accomplished in a few brief sessions to a challenging and time-consuming effort over many sessions and even a few weeks," said Sue McDonnell, PhD, a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and head of the Equine Behavior Lab of the Veterinary School of the University of Pennsylvania (New Bolton Center), at the Hagyard Bluegrass Equine Symposium held Oct. 20-23, 2004, in Lexington, Ky.

Although it's most efficient to customize the protocol for each stallion, McDonnell recommends a general 10-step process for a novice breeding stallion. The steps are described at www.TheHorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?id=1789.

McDonnell stresses, "Our goal of early training is to see progress in each step with each session." Planning, preliminary ground handling, positive reinforcement rather than a punitive approach, and patience can result in efficient, safe stallion handling for breeding, even with the most enthusiastic or awkward beginner stallion and handlers.

About the Author

Marcella M. Reca Zipp, MS

Marcella Reca Zipp, M.S., is a former staff writer for The Horse. She is completing her doctorate in Environmental Education and researching adolescent relationships with horses and nature. She lives with her family, senior horse, and flock of chickens on an island in the Chain O'Lakes.

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