MOST male horses in the UK are castrated or 'gelded' before maturity to reduce or prevent the difficulties associated with keeping and riding entire male horses. The majority of castrations are performed in young horses (colts) but, from time to time, mature animals (stallions) also need to be castrated due to poor breeding performance or demand, change of career, or because of testicular or inguinal pathology. The choice of castration technique is governed by the age, temperament and size of the horse, the presence of concurrent abnormalities, the preferences of the clinician or owner and by the facilities available. This article discusses these factors and describes the procedures involved in both open and closed castration.
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