The name for a horse’s sex progresses as the horse ages, just like humans, and whether it has a breeding career or not, so what are male horses called? The term for all baby horses is a foal, whether if it is male or female. However, males and females also have a name specific to their sex.
The name for a male foal is a colt. The term foal stays with the horse until it turns one, at which time the name changes to yearling. This applies to female foals as well.
However, if the colt is not castrated, it remains a colt until it reaches the age of four. Colts usually reach sexual maturity by the age of one. However, many will show an interest in mares before this time.
It is a good idea to separate colts over six months old from mares, as there is a chance they can impregnate them. Even though this is possible, most colts don’t start a breeding career until at least the age of three, when they have better fertility.
At the age of four, a horse is no longer a colt and becomes a ‘stallion’. A stallion is an uncastrated mature horse. A mature, uncastrated horse can have a breeding career. For a familiar example, take a look at horse racing.
Flat racehorses stay stallions during their racing career. This is because a highly successful racehorse is potentially worth millions of dollars. If the horse falls on the racetrack, the owner will castrate it and it will start another career.
There are far fewer stallions than geldings. In an ideal world, only horses of good enough quality remain as a stallion. These quality stallions are then used for breeding during and after their sports career.
Stallions are not for everyone. A stallion needs special management and training to ensure their own safety and the safety of the people who work with them. A stallion can exhibit behaviors that are dangerous, though there are always exceptions.
Other Terms For the Stallion
When a stallion takes part in inbreeding, a couple of other terms come into play. These are sire and stud. Sire is referring to a horse’s specific pedigree. For example, if you are looking at the pedigree tree of Secretariat, his father is Bold Ruler.
In this case, Bold Ruler is the ‘sire’ of the Secretariat. If you put it another way and asked someone the question, ‘Who is the sire of Secretariat?’ The answer is, ‘Bold Ruler is Secretariat’s sire.’
The other term to understand is ‘stud’. When a horse has a breeding career it is ‘standing at stud.’ In some parts of the world, people swap around sire, stallion, and stud. For example, ‘I’m going to use this stud to breed my mare’, or, ‘I own a stud’.
A gelding is a castrated colt or stallion. Gelding occurs between six and twelve months of age for most horses. Though, for some horses, this does not occur until the age of three to see if they are of good enough quality to remain a stallion.
The gelding is another term for the process of castration. For example, ‘Bill is having his horse Dancer gelded on Friday.’ It is possible to geld a horse at any age, but the older they are, the riskier the procedure becomes.
Castrating an older horse removes the effects of testosterone but does not necessarily stop learned stallion behavior. This is another reason why it is good to geld a male horse as soon as possible. Early castration can help a horse grow taller, as it delays the closing of growth plates.
One of the most popular types of horse is the gelding. When buying horses, riders generally prefer a gelding. This is because they usually have the easiest temperaments.
Geldings tend to have better cooperation and are not as unpredictable as a stallion or as moody as a mare.
In between a stallion and a gelding is a rig. A rig is a horse that did not have a correct castration or whose testicles never descended. Rigs can display some stallion traits in their behavior.
Conclusion About Horse Male And Female Names
As you can see, male horses have three main names depending on their age and castration status. Under the three main names, other terms come into play. Female horses also have different names.
The name for a female foal is a filly. Filly, just like colt stays in effect until the horse turns four, after which she is a mare. The dam is the name used for a horse’s mother, similar to the male version of sire.
We hoped this helps you understand what are male horses called. If you have any questioning, put them in the comments below.