A Testament to T’s Testicles

By Patty Wilber 


 Yep! It is done!  

 T’s Dad says:  

There once was a stud named T.
The vet said I’ll change THAT for a fee.
So a quick cut.
South of the gut.
And T was no longer a he.

On Tuesday, three vets from Meddleton Equine, a veterinary assistant, T’s Dad (working on the barn roof) and me were all here for the work on Tabooli (tooth work and castration), Buckshot (tooth work and chiropractic) and Show Boy (chiropractic).   

Normally, Tabooli is a cinch to catch while Buckshot tends to flinch and  move off as I approach (working on that).  

Tuesday, though, they both were wild-men, running about, tails arched up over their backs.  They rushed to one corner (it is a 1/3 acre pen) then turned to snort at me.  As I’d get near, they’d charge off, tossing their heads and looking at me over their shoulders!  

Maybe they were just being silly, maybe they were excited by the metal going up on the hay barn (which is not that close to their pen), or maybe Buckshot was telling Tabooli about the castrations he’d witnessed at home, Whispering Spirit Ranch. (If you click the link, Buckshot’s real name is  “A Para Dox”, and if you click the “Winners” tab, you can see me–whoo hoo–“kick ass horse trainer”…which might need to be the topic of a pyschology related blog…but ANYWAY…)  

Tabooli tired of the game first.  I tied him up.  Buckshot snuck in to be near his buddy and I sweet talked him.  Show Boy was, of course, perfectly happy to be haltered and led to the tie-rack.   

Then they waited.   

Tabooli, waiting.

Well, as long as we have to wait, might as well work on Buckshot's scardy-cat thing--looking pretty confident here!

Show Boy and The Supervisor (Risa). Penny is also supervising, but she is just not in the photo.

 T had his teeth worked on first (more on that next week  in “A Testament to Teeth”).  And then, the castration.    

 Warning:  The pictures show the real deal, so if you don’t want to see them, stop now!  

 Since Tabooli is four, the vet elected to lay him down rather than do the “procedure” standing.   



Down and getting cleaned. The ropes are to keep the vet (Dr. Jessica Marsh) safe and give her room to work

Making The Incision

Extracting the first testicle.

Risa says "HOLY COW! What on Earth are they doing? Don't look, Penny!"

Extracting #2! Note the metal instrument, called a "cremaster". It is clamped on to the severed artery and tubes, which were also wrapped with suture material to prevent bleeding. It stays put for about 3 minutes.

Both testicles, along with the epididymis (which you can't see) are shown.

Tabooli was still out of it for about ten more minutes.

    The epididymis is a series of coiled tubes that lie next to the testes.  They collect  and allow further development of the sperm, which is produced in the seminiferous tubules in the testes.  The seminiferous tubules can be 400-500 feet long! The normal ejaculate of a horse contains 6 BILLION sperm. And it only takes one…  


I am bringing up the epididymis because it if is left in, this is called “proud cut”.  Often when a gelding displays stallion-like behavior, people will ask if he is “proud-cut”.  Turns out, according to Colorado State Univeristy, the epididymes does not produce testosterone, so leaving them in should not result in a horse retaining stallion-like behavior due to hormones.  The testosterone comes mainly from the  testes.  

Complete sperm development takes 21 days, but sterility after gelding should be complete in as little as three days since once the sperm enter the epididymis, they typically don’t live more than 72 hours.  Stallion-like behavior, according to Dr. Meddleton, should be pretty much gone in 60 days, but opinions do vary.  

Horses gelded after sexual maturity, like T, may retain some stallion-like behavior that was learned rather than hormone driven.  Since he was always pretty low key, I fully expect he will end up a pretty typical, ho hum, gelding.  

Post castration care: Lunge 2x per day for 15-30 minutes and hose his nether parts.  Both of these should reduce swelling and chance of infection.

We had fun with that on Thursday because it was snowing! Lucky it was so warm on Tuesday!

Ok Ok Ok. Yow! Do I HAVE to do this?

Ok--crappy pic because it was just me and the snow, but see how quiet he is? The hose is laying on his leg and making a big puddle!

He should be ok for riding in a week, although full recovery will be a few more weeks. 
Next week I will finish up the vet visit–I have some fun pictures of Buckshot on drugs getting his teeth done!

About BlogPatty

Here's the skinny: I have a thing for horses. They make sense to me. I have a small horse training business (it's a "boutique" training business, not because it's super fancy, but because the horses get a lot of personal attention). I also go by Dr. Wilber, and teach biology full-time at a Central New Mexico Community college.
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18 Responses to A Testament to T’s Testicles

  1. Peggy says:

    A very interesting blog, especially to me a non horse person

  2. Patty says:

    Thank-you Peggy!

  3. Jim Edmiston says:

    there once was a reader like me,
    who read your blogs with glee,
    but when you talked about “T”
    and his “unfortunate” cut
    it made want to bust a gut
    and ponder what is “he?”

  4. Jim Edmiston says:

    we can add another line:

    and Thank God it wasn’t ME!

  5. Patty says:

    I think we might have to have a “poetry” contest!

  6. jlh says:

    ah, the sadness that is a drugged drunk horse.
    we’ve got a routine that involves me at the head, and DH gets stuck holding back legs for the vet. (we did the last two boys on the place this spring).
    Some of your readers might be interested in the reasons for the toweling over the head – when our boys were under, the blinking reflex slows down or stops. I usually wind up with their head in my lap with the towels.

  7. Patty says:

    jlh–thanks! I left out this part, but as he was recovering his eyes began to flicker back and forth–similar to what happens to someone when they have had too much to drink and the world is spinning. Fortunaely, that didn’t last too long!

  8. jlh says:

    yeah, gelding this way is the ultimate, “whoa dude, what happened last night” kind of experience. ;-D
    it always feels so cruel to work them like they have to be worked, but even being a little “kind” is so hard on them, because if they don’t drain actively, the swelling can be horrible and dangerous.
    we had one boy who we bred one season, then gelded the first part of March:
    the end of March these two arrived:
    We couldn’t help wishing we could put ’em back on him for at least a little while.

  9. jlh says:

    forgot to add with regard to the “proud-cut” issue – on some boys, the whole issue resides not between the legs, but between the ears.

  10. Patty says:

    jlh–really nice color on all of them! It was interesting to learn more about “proud cut” when I was trying to figure out the importance of the epididymes!

  11. jlh says:

    patty – thanks for the link. I appreciate the extra research there.
    always appreciate a good castration story!

  12. Barb McGuire says:

    Whoa, I haven’t seen a gelding since vet school! Good shots and description. The poetry was a bonus. Keep up the fun stuff.

  13. Patty says:

    Hi Barb! Glad you liked it. See you soon! Yeah!

  14. Jackie says:

    Oh my gosh!! Soooo interesting. Who knew they were that big! The nurse in me loved this blog. Think I’ll forward it to Casey and Laura! xoxox Jackie

  15. Susan Lathen says:

    This was a VERY interesting blog. My youngest daughter who’s a whiz kid in all types of science is a high school and already has received her first scholarship to start school at the university this summer in pre-med to study to be a vet because of her love of animals. I am saving this blog on her next visit home.

  16. Doranna says:


    My boy was cut quite late (being run on, and I had him gelded when I got him at 4yo) and to this day (19yo), he still thinks he is what he was in some respects. A little more mellow, finally. Totally between the ears!

  17. Patty says:

    Hi Susan–so glad you enjoyed it! I was plannig to do teeth next week–and she might also find that interesting, but I think teeth will be in 2 weeks because I have come up with a Christmas theme for next week.

    Tabooli is 4 so I really hope he gets OVER his studliness. He actually already seems more relaxed and he is not as vocal.

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