When I hear people talk about how hard their job is or how rough life is for them, all I can do is silently shake my head. I’ve got a buddy who has them all beat when it comes to having a crummy job. Please don’t get me wrong, while his job may suck, it is a vital one. His job helps to protect some of the greatest athletes in New York. Does he ever get a thank you from them? Not a one, but he doesn’t let it bother him. He performs his job with enthusiasm and vigor, whenever asked. This thankless hero is my teaser.
A teaser is a vital part of the stallion barn. He is the first step before any breeding can ever begin. Upon arrival, the mare will be placed in my teasing stall. Then the window separating the teaser and her will be raised. His head will shoot though the window and the fun will begin. There will be lots of “talking”, love bites, and lip curling. The mare will generally react one of three ways. In a perfect world, all the mares would simply break down and show obvious signs of willingness. However, we all know the world isn’t perfect. You will have some mares that are very passive and really do not show anything one way or the other. The teaser simply jumps these mares and we proceed from there. The real fun is when you have a mare who is squealing and trying to kick my wall down between the two stalls. This is where the needle and syringe come into play.
When I give a mare tranquilizer it is for the safety of all involved. Maidens are always given a little something as well as any mare that may be trying to kick my teasers head off in the teasing stall. They all react differently to the tranq. For some the effects are barely noticeable and for others they look like Bill Cosby has been mixing their drinks for them. My goal with the tranq is just to keep their feet glued to the ground.
Once the mare is teased, tranquilized if needed, and washed up she will move to the breeding shed. My guys will put breeding boots on her back feet, apply the twitch, and use the leg strap to hold her front leg up. I will latch on to the teaser which by this time he is wearing a breeding shield. A breeding shield is in simple terms a tarp that straps to the underside of his body that allows him to jump on a mare without the risk of him actually breeding her. This allows me to use the teaser to jump the mares prior to the stallion breeding them. If there is any kicking, the teaser is on the receiving end of it.
Next time you think you have a bad job, just think about what my teaser goes through. He must go through all the motions, receives all the punishment, but none of the rewards. Let’s be honest guys, if your girl punched you in your throat every time you tried to get close to her, I’m thinking you’re going to learn to stay away. My teaser will take a kicking and keep on licking. He is always ready. He has such enthusiasm and a willingness to do a job that must be one of the most unrewarding jobs there is. He is the unsung hero of the breeding shed. He is my trusty teaser.
Kevin Stephens, Stallion Manager @ Sequel New York