What Are Male Horse Called? More Than One Name

Last Updated on March 11, 2022

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.

What Are Male Horse Called - Colt

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.

Stallion Horse

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.

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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’.

Other Terms For the Stallion


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.

Gelding Temperament

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.

Why is a horse called a gelding?

A gelding is a castrated male horse. Castration is the removal of the testicles and its adjacent tissues such as the spermatic cord and epididymis. Castration is usually done to control breeding and reduce aggressive behavior in horses. It can make an animal more even-tempered and easier to handle but it needs to be done early in horse’s life. A stallion gelded later in life may retain more of a stallion-like behavior and stay more aggressive.
Horses with undesirable characteristics and those of inferior bloodlines will most often be gelded to prevent them from passing on their genetic traits. This is especially true when horses are used for breeding purposes.

What does proud cut mean on a horse?

During the castration both testicles and associated epididymis are removed from horse’s body. Epididymis is a sperm storage organ that is located next to the testicles. The term “proud cut” means that during the castration of a horse a part of epididymis was not removed. This tissue is usually left attached to the testicle and is sometimes referred to as a “false testis”. The term “true testis” means an intact epididymis.
Proud-cut geldings are normally not fertile, but a retained testicle in a horse is not that uncommon. A veterinarian can determine if your horse has a retained testicle by measuring the testosterone level in the horse’s blood.

What is a newborn male horse called?

A newborn male horse is called colt while a newborn female horse is called filly. This terms should not be confused with a “foal”. Foal is the gender-neutral term for a young horse. While all colts are foals, foals can be either fillies or colts. 
The terms “colt” and “filly” are used until the horse is three or four years old. The term “foal” is used for a horse of either sex, that is less than one year old. A young horse of either sex between one and two years old can also be referred to as a “yearling” while a foal that is nursing from its mother may be called a “suckling”.

What is a male horse over 4 years called?

A male horse over the age of four years old is usually called a stallion or a gelding. If the horse has been chosen to become a breeding animal, then it’s called a sire or a stud.
Is a gelding a stallion? No. A gelding is a horse that has had his testicles removed. It means the horse will not be able to produce sperm, but he may still have a penis and be able to ejaculate. A stallion, on the other hand, is a male horse who has not been gelded. A stallion can be a breeding animal.

What is a father horse called?

The sire is a horse’s father or, in other words, the sire is the horse’s male parent. A sire is the stallion who was bred with the female horse to produce the offspring with hopefully all the sire’s qualities that can be passed on genetically. A female horse (a mare) can’t be referred to as a sire, as sire is the term reserved only for the male antecedents of a horse.