Disclaimer: This is my personal experience with Carbon being gelded and NOT a replacement for veterinary care, advice or information. Always consult and listen to your vet. I have only owned mares and stallions since gelding was not really an option where I grew up at the time. When we first bought Carbon we talked about keeping him intact or gelding him. We wanted to wait a bit before we decided, just see what his personality is like with testosterone involved. He has shown some stallion-like behavior mostly around his mother: biting, pawing at, and mounting her. I said in a previous post, she is so sweet and just lets him do whatever but that also encourages his behavior. He would try to do the same thing to us but I made it clear we would have none of that he can be nippy and mouthy at times. Carbon is milder than Hidalgo by far which may be due to me just having more experience. I like to think so at least. Carbon is still very young and I know with proper consistent training he would be a fantastic stallion however we decided it was best to geld him.
There are ups and downs to keeping a horse a stallion, like breeding and they tend to be more muscular which is desirable for some people. The downside is he would have to be isolated from other horses in general. That was my problem with Hidalgo he was not aggressive and would listen and not step wrong if I was present but he couldn't be left alone with Sahara alone because we would end up with a foal for sure.
That was the number one reason for us deciding to geld him. Carbon is a very social, friendly playful horse. As much as I love him and how gorgeous I think he is, for breeding, he is not cream of the crop, let's be realistic. I also know the growing pains that can come with hormones and I would rather not go through that especially since he will be ridden (when the time comes) by my husband who is fairly new to horses. Plus Carbon seems the type to be leaning toward a fairly confident likes to challenge leadership based on how he has interacted with other horses.
We made the appointment to geld him. I will admit I was worried because I have zero experience or even know what to expect. We had the option to bring him to the vet or do it at the barn. Carbon is a pretty calm boy in general except I felt it would be more stressful having his first trailer ride away from home be CASTRATION! Not something I wanted him to go through, and then on top of that being overnight in a strange place, I am pretty sure that would be the part that would bother him. So we opted for doing it at the barn.
It was surprisingly stressless. I think I was more stressed and affected by it than him! The vet came and made sure both testicles had dropped. That went smoothly because Carbon has been handled. A lot. I was not shy around that area for that reason, didn't want the vet to have to deal with a colt not ever being touched there. They even mentioned how calm and ok he was with it. *proud horse mom* Carbon probably wondered why we were so focused on that area haha. In our case, his stall was not an ideal place to do the surgery. Too big, with no door to turn out to close, and no solid wall. They needed a solid wall and a bale of hay to prop him up when he was on his back. We had shavings (sawdust) for his bedding in his stall and where we did the surgery which I read was not ideal. Straw is best as won't get in the wound (that they leave open to drain) as easily but we all know Carbon would just eat it up because he is that kind of horse.
After confirming both of Carbon's testicles were out and about like they should be we brought him to a regular stall. He was so well-behaved. He was facing away from us with the door open as they gave him the medication to make him sleep. He was looking back at us (which was the sweetest thing ever) and it was funny watching him go from "Hey guys! What you two doing back there?..." to "zzzzZZZZZ" real quick. They then gave him the medication to help make him lie down and we flipped him on his back and got him to position. The vet did his thing and we left Carbon in the stall to rest and wake up. It was hilarious. I guess it is the closest thing to seeing a horse drunk. He got up and was a little dazed but not stressed out and he seemed pleased to see us still. Phew. I think he was just wondering what just happened more than anything. He got up in one wobbly attempt and made some funny noises. We knew for sure he did not care about what happened because he spotted a pathetic amount of hay near the door of his stall left over from moving the hay bale out of the stall. He wobbled over and tried to eat it though his aim was a little off.
Once he was more awake the vet said we could move him back to his stall and he should be fine. I held Carbon's tail to help keep him straight while Nathan lead him back into his stall where he had fresh hay and water waiting for him.
We were instructed to make sure he gets exercised 20-30 mins a day and cold hosing 10-15 mins a day to prevent swelling. No one really tells you exactly how much swelling will happen. I have tried to find pictures of the healing process and whatnot. Just seems all that is out there is just of the actual surgery not the after. Anywho, The next day he was running around with his friends just as if nothing happen, with no swelling, ZERO signs of pain, or soreness. So incredible. On day 3 it was pretty swollen. I was a little concerned but it didn't slow him down at all or bother his appetite. Still, as if nothing had happened. The 1st week it was swollen but I noticed it was going down by the 3rd week it was clearly getting better but I am still keeping my eye on it just in case.
I read that it can take several weeks for testosterone to decline/leave the body. Carbon has had a lot of energy the past weeks which I am surprised about but not complaining.
***Graphic Content Warning***
if you scroll down you will see pictures/videos of Carbon's surgery, incision site, and healing process. Not super scientific but it is something. I asked if it was ok to take pictures of the procedure and the vet was super chill about it. He was super kind and made the whole thing stress-less. And yes I was in an awkward position getting some of these post-procedure pictures and glad Carbon was fine with all of the attention.
Carbon stands up after he is more awake.
Here Carbon is just rambling on. None of the other horses replied so I bet you it made zero sense. ;)