courtesy of American Association of Equine
Practitioners and Bayer Corporation
With Transported Semen
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.
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 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
Many - but
not all - horse 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.
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 to 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 association's rules regarding
semen transport in advance and follow them.
While registry acceptances are growing,
no every breed registry permits the use
of transported semen.
cooled transported 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 to up to six hours after ovulation.
From a practical standpoint, however, once
the mare has ovulated, it may be difficult
to determine whether you are still within
an acceptable time from e for fertility.
Also, remember cooled stallion semen only
has a shelf life of 24-48 hours.
Prior to breeding
season, a mare should have a full reproductive
examination. A uterine biopsy and culture
may be indicated to get a clearer picture
of the mare's overall reproductive health.
During breeding season, the mare should
be kept where she can be teased by a stallion
on a regular basis in order to detect the
onset of estrus reliably.
Once the mare
comes into heat, your equine practitioner
will need to predict the onset of ovulation
accurately - allowing time for the semen
shipment to arrive. The veterinarian will
monitor the mare daily or every other day
via rectal palpation and ultrasound throughout
her heat cycle to determine the appropriate
time to breed her.
should also be evaluated for fertility prior
to the breeding season. Semen should be
tested by extending, cooling and storing
it in the same way it will be handled for
shipping. Commercial extenders have different
formulations. The stallion manager or veterinarian
may want to experiment to see which extenders
promote the greatest viability. Proper handling
is also important. Here are some considerations:
dose of cooled semen requires 1 billion
progressively motile sperm cells, twice
the number used in fresh insemination doses.
Following storage and transport, 500 million
progressively motile sperm cells would be
considered a minimum insemination dose.
and stallion managers should have the equipment
to determine sperm concentrations and motility
accurately. Doses should not be estimated.
should contain antibiotics to help reduce
bacterial contamination and the spread of
A high quality
shipping container is essential to semen
viability; directions should be followed
Due to variability
between individual characteristics of each
stallion's semen, the procedures for extending,
shipping, handling and insemination may
vary. Directions from the attending veterinarian
or stallion manager should be followed precisely.
Any semen which
remains after the mare has been bred should
be checked for quality.
Semen not used
within 48 hours should be discarded even
though it may still appear to be viable.
between stallion and mare managers is essential.
Coordinating semen shipments will take planning
and cooperation. Most stallion managers
plan collection schedules so as not to overtax
a stallion's fertility or reproductive performance.
Collections made 3-4 times per week will
accommodate most cooled transported semen
requirements without negatively affecting
fertility, while allowing breeders to meet
on-site demands as well.
The mare should
be on a regular teasing and examination
schedule to reliably ascertain the proper
time to breed. This will allow planning
and timely shipment of cooled semen. Many
overnight shipping services provide prompt,
reliable deliveries and can reduce the need
for last-minute trip to the airport.
seen may have some cost-saving benefits.
However, they can be offset by increased
management costs. Additional costs may include:
and shipping charges
care, teasing and management at a breeding
facility or clinic.
examinations, palpation's, ultra-sound and
artificial insemination charges.
with transported semen are somewhat lower
than with on-the-farm breeding. This means
it may take more than once cycle to get
a mare in foal. The mare owner absorbs the
cost of additional semen shipments, veterinary
procedures and mare care.
A Team Effort
cooled transported semen is a team effort
requiring the expertise of qualified professionals.
The goal is to produce a healthy foal in
the most efficient, effective way. To prevent
disappointment, undue expense and loss of
valuable time, you must do your part to
credentials and references of the breeders
and professionals with whom you plan
to do business.
stallion and mare management facilities
and an equine reproductive specialist
whom you trust.
a good line of communication between
facilities if possible.
breeding contract carefully.
the associations with which you are
affiliated for their guidelines.
and instructions are available for you to
download. You may retrieve the documents
and view them on your screen. You may also
print the forms, fill them out and mail
them to the ApHC for processing.
The ApHC forms
on this page are in a Portable Document
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