Breeding season is upon us! Many of you are in the midst of preparing for daily collections, semen processing, and shipping as we quickly approach February. At Breeder’s Choice, we have a lot of discussions with our clients about how to best prepare your lab, farm, mare management, and personnel for breeding season. But, what about one of the most critical component of your breeding operation; your stallion? The University of Kentucky put together a fantastic article this past November on this topic. We’ll share tidbits with you below, but you can read the complete article on the Stable Management site, here.
From the University of Kentucky via Stable Management, “Because overall health is critical to a stallion’s reproductive success, a stallion must be in good physical condition and not overweight at the start of the season. Stallions carrying too much extra weight might show decreased sperm quality. Like all horses, they need exercise to maintain mental sharpness and a healthy body condition.”
So often we concern ourselves with the semen quality, but don’t necessarily take into account factors that can cause poor motility and quality. In the article, Dr. Squires, at the University of Kentucky, writes, “It’s important to look at semen, usually by January, to assess the horse’s semen parameters going into the breeding season…Breeding soundness is an indication of where the horse is in terms of quality and sperm production, and those factors will determine how many mares he can handle. Additionally, once the stallion reaches his ‘teenage’ years, it’s important to check sperm regularly so you have a baseline for his sperm count and quality in case changes occur dramatically.”
The article describes the basis of a breeding soundness exam, consisting of Motility, Total Number of Sperm in the Ejaculate, Bacterial Shedding, and Morphology. According to Dr. Squires, execution of this exam before the season begins helps owners determine how many mares the stallion can likely handle and can better prepare the entire operation for a successful breeding season.
For all your equine breeding needs, check out the full catalog of laboratory equipment, breeding supplies, and shipping equipment at www.BreedersChoiceOnline.com. We’re wishing you a productive and safe breeding season!Follow @breeders_choice