Gelding - the invisible practice
I've been reading some of the early animal literature in the Hockliffe Collection, a collection of children's literature which is available on the net. There's rather more about dogs and cats - Mary Martha Sherwood's The Little Woodman and his Dog Caesar (1818), described as being as "thoroughly entertaining and as heavily didactic as it is possible to be," and Mary Pilkington's Marvellous Adventures; or, the Vicissitudes of a Cat (1802) being just two, but there is one about a pony. This is The Memoirs of Dick, the Little Poney (1799 - Anon).
Not so Dick.
Later children's literature about horses, most notably Black Beauty, does not shy away from cruelty, and leaves readers in little doubt about the miseries of the bearing rein or long and hideous hours of over work. It is strangely shy, though, about gelding. Black Beauty must presumably have been gelded - the vast majority of male horses are - but the subject is simply never mentioned. For Black Beauty, like many of his successors in horse literature, gelding appears to have happened by magic, buried in the blank pages between chapters.
Not so Dick.
"....they next proceeded to an operation, the exquisite torture and fatal consequences of which I still feel in reflection, though delicacy forbids me to explain it. Nature produced me a male, but my tyrants were not satisfied with her decrees, and they deprived me of all the privileges of my sex, except those of mere existence."