While most stallions start producing sperm as early as 12 to 14 months, most are at least 15 months of age or older. Until they are able to breed successfully. Before two years of age, few stallions are used at stud. And most stallions meet most reproductive ability at about three years of age.
This does not mean that a younger stallion is unable to breed before 12 months of age. And caution must be taken to distinguish young stallions from fillies or mares. Before they achieve sexual maturity. To avoid unintended pregnancies.
There are two testicles surrounded by the scrotum. And found in the prepubic part of the stallion. Sperm and the male hormone testosterone are being formed by the testicles. The scrotum covers and controls the test temperature. Several degrees cooler than the body temperature of the stallion. Since higher temperatures reduce the development of spermatozoa.
The scrotal width is lower in a two to three-year-old stallion. Than in a fully grown stallion. And the normal sperm production is smaller with less reserves. Many stallions under 3 years of age are considered sexually immature for this reason.
Normally, stallions do not mate more than three times a day.
Types of Breeding Stallion Management
Managing breeding stallions has two basic styles: natural or isolation management.
Sometimes, these two styles are being used depending on the time of the year.
In this management, you allow a stallion to run in a pasture with a herd of mares. But it includes the risk of injury to the stallion or mare during the breeding process. And problems related to the determination of the breeding date and the foaling date of a given mare.
Other risks include that stallions may break down fences. To fight with another stallion. Or possible mate with the wrong mare. Thereby, putting the pedigree of a foal in question. There is also a risk that the stallion may be stolen. Or may escape and wander the nearby roads.
When they are in confinement or isolation, it is usually in a small pen. Or corral with a tall fence and in a stable small paddock with a strong fence. Less risk of injury to the stallion and to other horses are some of the advantages. Also, breeding of mares is under control and which mares are bred is certain.
But one of the disadvantages of this management is lack of exercise. As well as the potential development of aggressive behavior. Or stable stereotypes because of pent-up energy. Isolated or confined stallions need careful balanced nutrition. And exercise for optimal health and fertility.
If stallions are properly trained, they can live and work close to mares and other horses. Including other stallions. There are many race horses that are stallions. And many stallions are shown together or with mares at most horse shows. They can do very well when trained to focus on their work. And if they are properly handled.
How to take care of stallions?
You may be dreaming of breeding your own horse. Owning and breeding a stallion needs commitment, time and discipline.
It is a serious business. There are lots of thoughts. And preparations to consider before jumping in the venture.
Do you have a proper facility? Are you experienced and skilled enough to handle a breeding animal? Can you check a mare’s cycle?
Handling stallions begins at birth. You should not treat them different from other horses. But there are important precautions.
Know your stallion’s character and manner. Have their total respect and undivided devotion. If you get intimidated by the strength of the stallion… it’s better to leave the business of handling to someone else. There is no room for fear nor second guessing.
A stallion should not be totally stalled and brought out only for the occasional stud duties. They also need companionship and plenty of exercise to keep him happy and fit.
Oftentimes, they are misunderstood and given bad impressions. If a stallion is disobedient, it is usually the result of poor management.
In breeding stallions, you must teach them some protocols. They are creatures of habit. So, a routine devised for breeding purposes must be forged.
Be wise in choosing your handling equipment. Such as the quality of the stud chain. Maintain enough length of line to be at a safe distance during breeding. Bring a whip. And do whatever you can to keep the situation in your arena. You should always be conscious of the stallion. And prepare to be unyielding. And be firm if any infractions of the rules occur such as rushing or charging a mare. It can be dangerous for everyone.
There are three basic methods for breeding horses:
1. Pasture Breeding
The stallion is put out with mares in a large natural setting with nature. It is an excellent training for young stallions. Stallions who learn to mate through contact with experienced mares.
Disadvantage: The risk that the stallion will get injured by kicking a mare. Although the chance of this to happen is small.
2. Hand Breeding
It allows direct management of the process. It provides the opportunity to select breeding individuals for complementary characteristics.
- Safer and injuries to both mare and stallion are less likely to occur
- Risk of sexually transmitted diseases will be less
- Fertility problems can be readily identified early enough. To allow time to achieve pregnancy during the season
3. Artificial Insemination
Is the procedure during which semen is collected from a stallion. And introduced into the reproductive tract of the mare. It increases the number of mares that become during the first cycle. It also decreases the risk of spreading reproductive infections. And eliminates the chance of breeding injuries.
- Breeding accidents and injuries will be less. Since the mare and stallion don’t have physical contact with each other.
- The mare does not need to travel to the stallion so the process is less stressful for her.
- Reduces the chance of spreading sexually transmitted diseases. And infections between the mare and stallion
- It allows mares or stallions with health issues to continue to breed
- Semen may be frozen for later use
If you decide to breed your horse, there are a lot of considerations to take. It is better to consult a veterinarian. Whether to breed your horse or not. And also, which procedure to use if you decide to move ahead with your plan to have a foal.
By nature, stallions have that personality which sets them apart. Learn to work with the stallion by displaying the same respect. It will result in a problem-free breeding session. Take the time it takes. And give him a pat every once in a while. Lavish him with kind words during your daily grooming and stable routine. Because you want him to be a staunch ally. And a friend who will obey under all circumstances.
I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!