What is artificial insemination?
Equine artificial insemination is an increasingly popular method of breeding horses in a way that can help improve the health of each herd but also ensure the safety of the horses during the insemination process. Artificial insemination includes the collection, preservation, and transfer of semen from the stallion into the mare. Equine artificial insemination may be used if the stallion will be used to impregnate one or more mares that are a long distance away and also to carry out the breeding process with difficult mares. This is an all-around safer and easier method of breeding for both of the horses.
Equine Artificial Insemination Benefits
Breeders find equine artificial insemination to be the preference. Using this method, there is no limit to how far away the stud may be, and you don't need to worry about travelling with the mare.
Traveling with mares comes with its risks of injury along with high costs. Traveling is likely to stress out the mare, which could lead to a decrease in fertility.
What should you know before seeking equine artificial insemination?
- How will the stallion's semen be cooled and shipped to the mare?
- Does the equine vet or breeder have experience? How much?
- Should the mare have a breeding soundness exam prior to breeding?
- Will your mare stay with the equine vet during the breeding process, or will the vet travel to you?
- What will the cost be for breeding, and what happens if you need repeat attempts?
- Does your mare have a healthy reproductive system?
Reasons to Choose Equine Artificial Insemination
- The stallion is far away from where the mare is located
- You wish to use the semen of a stallion that has died
- A gelding has performed well, and there is frozen semen from prior to sterilization
- To establish new and rare bloodlines regardless of location
The Difference Between Frozen and Chilled Semen
While certain situations may lead to frozen semen being the only option, many vets and breeders recommend using chilled semen when possible. Here are the main differences between frozen and chilled semen:
When inseminating using frozen semen, there is a lot more monitoring and planning as the mare should be inseminated within 6 hours of ovulating.
This means that you should take into account that frozen semen may cost more than chilled. One benefit to frozen semen is that it can be stored with your vet until it is ready to be used.
Generally, the rate of conception with equine artificial insemination is higher when using chilled semen as opposed to frozen.
Unfortunately, there is less flexibility as the semen must be shipped right at the time it is needed, leaving room for issues with postal service closures while on strict ovulation timelines.
While there can be some stress involved, equine artificial insemination is a popular choice as it can be safer for the horses and allow for strong matches between stud and mare since the distance is not an issue. Even so, you should remember that this can only be successful with great timing and collaboration of all parties involved. Speak with your vet or local breeder to learn how to begin this process.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding animals or professional advice regarding equine regulations. For the diagnosis of your animal's condition and help to navigate rules governing the care and transportation of equine animals, please make an appointment with your vet.