This is a question that comes up every now and again and I hear many thoughts on why gelding drop when we are training with them. Having worked with a large number of horses, and some of them having been stallions, I have watched with great interest the reactions of each of them to clicker training.
Reactions to Clicker Training
Some horses instantly understand clicker training and just take it on board as if it had been there all along, only now they can converse better, others need encouragement to come out of their shells and try new (or even old) behaviours because they have never been allowed/encouraged to do things without being ‘told’ what to do, and there is another general category who get really quite excited about clicker training. It is this last category that seems to raise most eyebrows.
In case you don’t know what we mean by ‘dropping’, let me explain; some geldings with drop their penis when they get excited by clicker training. Some get a little more excited and even get a full or partial erection, and some even start to get excited in the behaviours they offer (people often say their gelding is acting like a stallion).
Mares can also show excited reactions, but they can’t drop. So mares can emotionally react to clicker training the same way geldings do. However, when you work with stallions you find that they don’t tend to drop during clicker training.
What Does It Mean ?
The stallions I have worked with tend to be stallions that are in a breeding environment, are breeding already, or have bred in the past. As such, they know the reason for and level of excitement required for an erection. Much as these stallions love clicker training, the level of excitement that clicker training creates is not anywhere near to that of breeding, and so they don’t get ‘that’ excited when they are clicker training.
The majority of geldings have not bred, they were gelded prior to ever being mature enough to breed. As such, they have no excitement level comparison and so it seems that clicker training is about the most fun they could be doing.
How Do I Manage my Excited Gelding or Mare ?
Clicker training with S.M.A.A.R.T. Horses is all about physical and emotional balance. If your horse is getting over excited about clicker training then there are behaviors you can use to help them manage their emotions. These can include targeting, head lowering and stand on a mat though which behavior you choose depends very much on your horse and what is calming to them.
You can use the calming behaviours interspersed in to the more active behaviour you are training to prevent your horse from getting emotionally aroused.
If you have a horse who gets over-excited about training and you need some advice or help with teaching him or her emotional control.