Today’s breeding technology provides horse owners more options than were available in the past. Artificial insemination and semen preservation techniques make it possible to ship stallion semen to mares nearly anywhere in the country. But success with transported semen will depend on the careful reproductive management of both stallion and mare.
WHY SHIP SEMEN?
Even under the best conditions, transporting horses long distances can be stressful and costly. Mares with foals are of special concern, since foals are particularly vulnerable to disease and injury when exposed to new horses and environments. Older or injured mares, or those requiring special care, may also benefit from staying closer to home during the breeding season. The ability to ship cooled semen makes it possible for breeders to arrange matings that might otherwise be impractical due to distance, economics or health issues.
Many -but not all-horses are good candidates for the use of cooled, transported semen. Both mares and stallions should be in excellent reproductive health, since fertility problems tend to be compounded when transported semen is added to the breeding equation.
With shipped semen, there is generally only one opportunity per cycle to breed a mare. Problem breeders may fare better at the stud farm, where they can be monitored and serviced at regular intervals throughout their heat cycles.
Also, be aware that not every stallion’s semen cools or ships well. Therefore, it is critical for a stallion’s sperm viability to be checked after a dose has been extended and cooled for 24-36 hours. This is generally the interval between collection and the time the transported semen is placed in the mare.
If you are planning to raise a registered foal, be sure to check the appropriate breed association’s rules regarding semen transport in advance and follow them. While registry acceptances are growing, not every breed registry permits the use of transported semen.
Breeding with cooled, transported or frozen semen is more management-intensive than with on-site matings. Timing is critical. For the greatest chance of pregnancy, a mare must be bred from 12-24 hours before ovulation and up to six hours after ovulation. To more accurately determine the time of ovulation, many mares are treated with a hormone to speed follicular maturation and ovulation.
We can help you manage your mare from breeding to foaling. Call for a consultation appointment.