Friday, November 04, 2016

The kindest cut of all

As outlined in the last chapter, we've had changes recently in the canine population of this property.  One hopes that such changes don't happen often, but we do become accustomed to saying both 'Hello' and 'Goodbye' to animals on a regular basis.  We have recently had to say 'Goodbye' to a much-loved friend, but we've also said 'Hello' to a horse who I hope might turn out to be as special as the other one.  We bade farewell to Cottesloe a week ago, which was sad, but two days previously we had welcomed Kryptos, who seems a lovely horse.

Cottesloe (pictured in the first paragraph) has recently proved that he has a future over hurdles as he jumps extremely well, and he has already proved that he can gallop effectively.  The upshot is that he has been sold to a patron of Neil Mulholland's stable, and it'll be interesting to follow his progress.  He is at a stage where he should go to his next start (presumably over hurdles) with a very good chance, and it would be lovely to see him build on the promising start to his National Hunt career.  He's in a good stable where he will be well cared for, and he ought to give his new owner plenty of fun - for several years, as one could see him racing until he's aged 12 or more.  If Neil and his staff enjoy his company as much as we did, then they'll be as blessed as we were to know him.

Kryptos - formerly trained by Dermot Weld, for whom he has run twice, finishing fourth on the second occasion - seems as kind a horse as Cottesloe.  Until today he was a two-year-old colt, but he's now a two-year-old gelding.  But one would have thought that he was a gelding already because he's so calm, so kind, so sensible.  In one sense there was no need to geld him, but really it has to be done at some point because one can't have mature stallions wandering around unless they are actually allowed to cover mares - it's not fair on the horse to keep them entire if they are doomed to a life of celibacy and isolation, as that's no fun for the horse.  Or his handlers.  And if they have to be gelded, the earlier the better from the horse's point of view.

There is, of course, a chance in a thousand that a horse might end up required for stud duties, but even if Kryptos (pictured in the second paragraph, at Tattersalls before he went through the ring) were to turn out to be a really good horse, he'd be unlikely to fall into that category: the stallion market is so biased towards quick-maturing horses, and his two-year-old form is not nearly inspiring enough to make him of interest to stud-masters.  He's a full-brother to a Group One winner (Mutual Trust) and that horse hasn't, as far as I know, ended up at stud, so I don't think that we've done him out of a future stud career.

And if we haven't, then we've done him the biggest favour that one can do a colt: within a week he can be out in the field with the gang making friends and enjoying life, which is a luxury which could never be extended to him while he was still a colt.  One doesn't dare turn a colt out with fillies as he'd probably cover them, which wouldn't be good news; and one doesn't dare turn a colt out with other male horses, either colts or geldings, as he'd probably fight with them, and that's not good news either.  It annoys me when people refer to a gelding operation as 'the cruellest cut of all' because it isn't: it's the kindest cut of all.

People totally miss the point when they observe that they wouldn't want to be castrated.  For a human it's totally different.  For a horse, once he reaches maturity, not being castrated (unless he is one of the select few who becomes a stallion) means living a life of total solitary confinement.  Not merely complete celibacy, but no contact with any member of the opposite sex whatsoever.  Not even conversation.  And not just that: no contact with any member of one's own sex too.  So sexual intercourse.  No physical contact.  No social intercourse.  As a gelding: well, you can socialise with the herd as much as you like - as you'll have seen in umpteen photographs on this blog of members of the herd hanging out with each other.  If that was the choice, would you really prefer to remain uncastrated?  A life of isolation and frustration, or a life of friendship?  A no-brainer, surely?

1 comment:

neil kearns said...

Hi John excellent piece which apart from being very illuminating does raise a couple of questions firstly how do wild mustang males go on from what i know they run in packs and whilst there is almost certainly a dominant male does he see off all other males ? Or do some run with the pack as sub servients ,Just wondered if you know what happens ?
the other one involves entire colts running against both each other and fillies how come we don't get more incidents of one horse biting into another ? Is this trained out of them or down to having a rider aboard something else ?