Horse Artificial Insemination (A.I.)

Artificial Insemination for your Mare

 

The success of an Artificial Insemination (AI) program for your mare is dependant of a number of factors and any one of these can have a domino effect on the others. Most mares cycle normally and generally mares will conceive easily even in adverse conditions. We only need to think of them in their natural wild state to visualise this.

In the more domesticated environment that we place our horses, other factors come into play to potentially limit the success of breeding. High up on this list would be:

  • Nutrition and socialisation
  • Stallion effect (known as the pheromone effect)

For this reason we are making a few changes to the way we do AI in Mares this season.

  • We will have a fixed price which will cover all the costs (except travel and treatments relating to animal health conditions, e.g. uterine infections) for up to 3 cycles. Naturally, we hope to get your mare pregnant on her first cycle, but often this is not the case. For a second or third attempt for up to 3 cycles each, the price will be the same. Costs will include pre AI ultrasounds, the AI procedure and post AI pregnancy checks up to 42 days post insemination. For more details, please refer to the details of our AI Agreement.
  • We recommend you using the equestrian centre of Astek Stud, just south of Wakefield on the main road. Astek Stud is owned by Sue Fowler. Sue has recently shifted her successful stud from Canterbury up here to Nelson, and Sue has been involved with AI and ET work for a number of years now and so comes with a wealth of experience. All the emphasis is on getting mares pregnant. This involves careful attention to the mare’s nutrition, particularly a rising plane of nutrition, and to the socialisation of the mare. In other words ‘making her feel at home’. Alternatively, a client has the option of using the facilities here on a ‘walk in walk out’ basis as well, if they are local.
  • Stallion pheromone effect: Sue also has 3 resident stallions on the property, which provide that necessary pheromone effect that helps mares cycle successfully. Sue has built some great facilities, safe for both mares and operators. For more detail please visit her website www.astek.co.nz
  • On farm AI. This is still a great way to perform AI, and we will still come to your place and do them. A mare in her home environment is great, but it is dependant on all the little variables being spot on for success. For many people, we think the Astek Stud option would be the better choice, but please call and discuss.
  • This season, our AI will be headed by Hanna Loefflar. Hanna has spent time at Canterbury’s Nevele R stud during their busy AI period where they are home to up to 500 mares. She is backed up by John, Kelly and Andrew.

 

Why A.I. your Mare ?

Where permissible and transported semen is available, AI should be considered for breeding mares because of the many advantages it offers.

Your mare does not have to be sent away to stud to be mated (particularly appealing if she has a foal at foot), and the risk of exposure to infectious disease that can occur when horses are brought together on studs is eliminated.  Overseas stallions, or stallions in areas difficult to get your mare to, can be used.  The chances of injuries during mating are greatly reduced and AI is also a cleaner process than natural service, and can be beneficial in some ‘problem’ mares.

We will advise you on the best time to have your mare scanned to begin the AI process.  Initially the mare will be given a full reproductive examination.  The reproductive organs are checked and her cycle stage determined, allowing estimation of the likely time of ovulation.  This allows semen to be ordered and insemination to occur at the optimum time.  Once inseminated, the mare is rescanned to check for ovulation.  Scans are then carried out at 16-18 days, 28 days and 42 days to confirm pregnancy.  The reasons for scanning at these times are to: confirm pregnancy; check for twinning; and to monitor for early pregnancy loss, ensuring that re-breeding (if necessary) is not delayed.

Breeding with frozen semen is not for the faint hearted. The rewards are immense, but the factors that make it successful must be fully understood before you start. Even with the best procedures in place the success of frozen semen is only 30-40% pregnancy rate per cycle and will vary based on both the mare and the semen used and the operator performing the insemination.

Give The Vet Centre, Richmond (5445566) a call to discuss what works best for you and your mare. We will be happy to answer your questions and work out a program for you.