Artificial Breeding in Horses

Artificial Breeding in Horses

Artificial Insemination is the process of introducing semen into the Mare’s reproductive tract without a natural mating. We can use fresh collected, chilled, or frozen semen to achieve a pregnancy. Which type of semen you use for your mare will depend on a number of factors which may included breed registry restricitions and your mare’s individual breeding situation.

There are numerous advantages of artificial insemination which range from simply improving safety for the mare and stallion and minimising the spread of disease, to greatly increasing the availability of a stallion in an AI program, as well as increasing the availability of bloodlines from anywhere in the world.   With good comes bad and aritificial insemination is not without some disadvantages. There is an increased expense and there can be lower pregnancy rates compared to natural cover matings.

Whether it is fresh, chilled, or frozen semen, the process of artifical insemination begins with the semen being collected from a stallion using an artificial vagina. The semen is then assessed and processed for the intended its use. Any step in the process of semen collection to artificial insemination without appropriate attention to detail can lead to a reduction in fertility. While there are many pitfalls along the way the most critical stage is the cooling process in chilled and frozen semen. This step may result in irreversible damage of the individual sperm cells which can negatively impact fertility. But despite the risk involved in processing semen, when done properly the advanages of chilled and frozen semen may significanlty outweigh the risks.

The most important factor to recognise and consider when chosing an artifical insemination program is that each fresh, chilled and frozen semen each has it’s own set of advantages and disadvantages. While pregnancy rates may be higher with fresh semen there is a set of limitations for its distribution. And while frozen semen increases the availability of genetics that are available from deceased and international sires there can be a significant variation in pregnacy rates. As a rule when comparing the three; fresh semen is higher than chilled which is higher than frozen.  However you choose to breed, artificial insemination offers benefits that are not available via live cover. Through artificial insemination mare owner’s may increase the available gene poll and increase the choice of stallions without having the risk of transporting a mare and her foal. For stallions, they may be able to overcome size discrepancies between a mare and stallion, and improve the breeding efficiency in both pregnancy rate per insemination and the number of mares breed per ejaculate.

To learn more about the ins and outs of fresh, chilled and frozen semen please join us on Thursday September 21st 2017 for an in depth discussion or read more on our services page.

September 7th, 2017|Equine Reproduction|