Horse Care Other

The Proud-Cut Horse: What You Need & What to Do

Gray Stallion
Written by Natalie Gasper

Gelding acting studdy?

Proud-cut is a confusing term, as its most correct definition isn’t always the way it’s used.

Proud-cut is a term to describe a gelding with an incomplete castration. When this happens, part or all of one testis or the supporting structures are left behind. While this typically doesn’t cause any problems, it can lead to a cryptorchid, which is an undescended testis that leads to an infertile stallion.

What makes it somewhat confusing, however, is when some people use proud-cut to refer to any gelding who behaves like a stallion. A blood test is the only way to know for sure what you’re dealing with.

The Proud-Cut Horse: A Definition

The most generic use of proud-cut refers to a gelding that acts like a stallion. While this can be due to an incomplete removal of both testes during castration, there are other causes.

The Castration Process

Castration is to horses as a vasectomy is to adult male humans. Once a stallion has been castrated, he can no longer reproduce. A vet removes both testicles and all of the supporting structures.

This procedure is done to either reduce aggressive behavior or to control breeding.

Stallion vs. Gelding Behavior

There are some distinct differences in the behavior of stallions and geldings. Stallions attempt to mount mares (or other geldings), screech, kick, fight, or show aggressive behavior towards horses and humans.

Geldings tend to be much more mild-mannered. They can be safely turned out with mares, rarely if ever try to mount them, and aren’t usually aggressive.

The biggest reason for this difference? No testosterone.

Stallions fighting

Photo Cred: Canva

Cryptorchid Stallions

No, this doesn’t mean a creature out of myth. Cryptorchid refers to a testicle that doesn’t descend (not even once the horse is fully grown).


This diagnosis can be challenging. The hidden testis can be located anywhere from the abdomen to the scrotum. If you suspect this condition, your vet will run a blood test to check for testosterone levels.

In geldings, testosterone levels are low.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a proud-cut horse?

A proud-cut horse is typically a gelding with an incomplete castration, resulting in stallion-like behavior.

Q: What does proud-cut mean in horses?

Proud-cut is a term that is only ever applied to geldings (never to mares). If a horse is described as proud-cut, it may mean an incomplete castration (the vet left all or part of a testicle behind, which continues to produce testosterone and can cause unruly and aggressive behavior).

Some owners use it to describe a gelding that behaves like a stallion. In these cases, the term is being used inaccurately, as some of the behaviors associated with stallions are learned.

Q: Can a proud-cut horse still breed?

Proud-cut horses are unable to breed. Even in those that have a full testis, the higher temperature makes the sperm un-viable. This doesn’t stop them from behaving like a stallion, however, so keep them away from mares in heat.

Q: How common are proud-cut horses?

There’s no set number, but chances are good you’ll encounter a few proud-cut horses in your lifetime.

Stallion behavior

Photo Cred: Canva

Parting Thoughts

Proud-cut is a widely-used term in the horse world to describe any gelding that acts like a stallion. While some of these geldings might truly be proud-cut, many might just be rude or expressing learned behaviors. Be careful if you’re considering a horse described as proud-cut if you own or board with mares.

Have your vet run a blood test to check testosterone levels and see whether you’re dealing with an incomplete castration, a cryptorchid, or just a gelding with rude manners.

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The Proud-Cut Gelding – AQHA

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About the author


Natalie Gasper

Nancy loves retraining off the track Thoroughbreds and working with her dogs!