Last Updated on February 21, 2022 by Allison Price
Artificial insemination (AI), a great option for breeders, eliminates the need to transport a horse for breeding. It also allows a mare to be bred by a stallion that can immunize a greater number of mares than if he were to use live cover. AI is now a viable reproductive option due to its superior insemination and collection techniques.
The stallion’s equine semen can be collected and used fresh, cooled or frozen. The mare should receive fresh semen within a short period of time after it is collected. The mare’s reproductive tract is only viable for 48 hours. Therefore, it is important to make every effort to ensure that the mare ovulates within this time. Before insemination, it is important to check that the mare has developed a mature follicle. There are many drugs available to induce ovulation.
If the semen is not intended for immediate use, it can be cooled or frozen. The semen that has been cooled is mixed with an enhancer before being packed and shipped in an insulated container. Delivery usually takes place the same day or next day. When a delivery date has been set, it is considered the expected ovulation. Consider the semen characteristics of each stallion. Some semen retains sperm viability for longer than those from other stallions. If a mare is expected to ovulate within 24hrs of collection, and the semen is from a stallion that has a poor record for cooled semen quality, it should be arranged for shipping to ensure same-day delivery. Overnight shipping is an option if the mare doesn’t ovulate in this time and the stallion has a great record for cooling semen quality.
When frozen semen is stored properly, it retains its quality for many years. You can freeze it and then put it into a mare right before or after ovulation. This can be confirmed by ultrasound. Frozen semen retains its properties better than cooled semen for certain stallions. When deciding whether to use cooled or frozen semen, owners should look at the AI breeding record of a specific stallion.
If you want to have a pregnancy, it is important to inseminate as close to the time of ovulation as possible. A mare that produces a follicle of 35mm or more in heat is close to ovulating. However, “close” can also refer to days or hours later. There are many drugs that can induce ovulation in known time periods. AI should be used immediately after ovulation to settle the mare.