Reproductive Services - Horse Breeding

Breeding with Transported Semen
Breeding a mare and raising a foal is a project that many horse owners choose to undertake. With the advent of transported semen, the ability to breed to very exceptional stallions is almost unlimited. Always breed to the very best stallion you can possibly afford. The stud fee is such a small percentage of the overall cost of raising a foal; this is not the place to economize.
Before signing any breeding contract, be sure to clarify what additional charges will be incurred during breeding the mare, such as mare care/board, stallion collection fees, and semen shipping fees. If semen is being shipped to you for insemination, specifically inquire about how many mares were bred to that stallion the previous year with shipped semen and what percentage of the mares got pregnant on the first and second shipment. The quality of the answer will give you an idea of the professionalism of the people you are working with on the other end as well as a perspective of how satisfied you might be at the end of the breeding experience. If semen was not shipped on your stallion the previous year, be prepared to encounter some issues in shipment which may cost you time and money. If they had good success in shipping semen the previous year, it is likely they will this year also.  It is desirable, for competition purposes, to have a foal as early as possible in the calendar year. However, a mare’s and a stallion’s fertility peaks in the spring, so waiting until later in the year is better if you don’t intend to compete with the foal at an early age. 
Additional Considerations
The entire process is less problematic if the mare owner can tell when the mare is in season. This can be difficult if there is no stallion on the property to tease the mare. If the owner can tell when the mare is in season, begin charting those cycles on a calendar for several months before breeding.
If the mare is not a maiden mare or has a current year’s foal, it is often necessary to culture the mare’s uterus to check for possible infections. This is best done when the mare is in season, but the sample can be collected when she is out of season if necessary. 
When it is time to breed the mare, it is necessary to do one or sometimes two trans-rectal ultra-sounds to determine when the mare’s follicle is mature enough to order semen. Once the semen arrives, the mare is inseminated once or twice, depending on the dose of semen provided by the stallion. Frequently the mare is given a dose of human chorionic gonadotropin to make the follicle ovulate. 
The first pregnancy check is scheduled for 15-17 days after breeding. At that time, an ultra-sound will confirm a pregnancy, determine if the mare is coming back into season, and check for a twin conception. 
Under ideal circumstances, this will require a minimum of three visits: ultra-sound follicle check, artificial insemination, and pregnancy check. These may exceed $500. With challenges such as poor semen quality, atypical follicle development, or failure to conceive, the charges may approach double that amount. If the mare or stallion is sub-fertile, breeding can be a frustrating and expensive endeavor. 
Consult your EVA veterinarian for advice.
Dr. Valena Wasmund, DVM
EVA clients are fortunate to have the services of Valena Wasmund DVM to assist with all of their Equine Reproductive needs. Dr. Wasmund completed a residency at UC Davis in equine reproduction and brings a wealth of skill and expertise to the EVA clients who wish to breed their horses.
Whether it is fertility evaluations, management of infertile mares or stallions, breading with transported semen, or supporting a pregnancy in a mare which is attempting to abort, Dr. Wasmund is a top choice for equine reproductive work in the Orange County practice area.