Unique Breeding – Zebras

We’re changing up the blog a bit this month to discuss a unique equine cousin, the Zebra! A lot of horse lovers over look the rarely domesticated Zebra, one of several species from the African Equid family. There are three species of zebras: the plains zebra, the Grévy’s zebra and the mountain zebra. Both the Grévy’s and mountain zebra are protected and are actively supported by international conservation societies to ensure they are around for years to come.  Have you ever thought about owning a horse/zebra hybrid; a zorse, zony, or zonkey?!

Rarity, a zebra stallion studded by Rarity Acres located in Kalamazoo, MI

There are a number of farms around the world that engage in active breeding of zebras. We were fortunate to be made aware of a unique farm in Michigan which studs a zebra stallion; Rarity Acres, located in Kalamazoo, MI. Their zebra stallion is Rarity, a 2004 Grants, one of many subspecies within the Grévy species native to Tanzania and Kenya.  Rarity Acres also boards a number of zebra fillies and mares; Sierra, a Grant filly and Marti, a Damara mare.  Rarity Acres is also home to a number of horses, including a host of Arabian horses.  Rarity Acres has an active breeding program.  We think this is a wonderful and unique side to equine breeding, offering a new way to work with the species and share the “zebra love” with others.  You can check out Rarity Farms on Facebook, here.

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Mares & Hormones


Mare & Foal on Farm, Breeding health is a major consideration for breeding managers during the equine breeding season. Picture courtesy of Wikipedia.

It’s always critical to consider the health of your mare when preparing for the breeding season.  This concern should extend well beyond the basic “health considerations” and should take a look at other internal factors, such as hormones.  The Horse has a great article on this topic written by Jeffry Cook, DVM, focusing on mare hormone health in their November 2012 online edition.  Here are some excerpts, below.  We especially love the “take home” message.  Well done Dr. Cook!

Mares & Hormones

Jeffery Cook, DVM

Many owners stand by the statement that there’s nothing quite like a hard-trying, intelligent mare. But if you ask for her full attention and cooperation while she’s showing signs of estrus (heat), good luck! Whether they’re causing unsavory behavior in the show arena or preventing a broodmare from coming into estrus, a mare’s hormones can present challenges for owners. With a veterinarian’s help, however, owners can either prevent their mares from cycling or make mares’ estrous cycles more predictable. Let’s first review what estrus is and then explore conditions that can affect a mare’s cycle and how to treat them.

Signs of Estrus

A mare in heat typically exhibits gait abnormalities, raises her tail, urinates repeatedly, and interacts unpredictably with people and other horses. This estrous behavior normally lasts five to seven days, becoming more intense as the ovarian follicles increase in size and produce more estrogen. As the mare ovulates, she goes out of heat and structures on her ovaries begin producing the hormone progesterone (which prepares the uterus for pregnancy). This quiescent period when the mare is not receptive to a stallion is called diestrus, and her behavior can vary from ear pinning and unwillingness to cooperate to kicking, squealing, and striking at other horses. A mare should normally be out of heat for 14 to 15 days; this is the most consistent period in the estrous cycle, so any deviation should alert an owner to have a veterinarian examine the mare.

That Time of the Year

Horses are seasonally polyestrus, meaning their estrous cycles depend on the ¬season. The length of a mare’s natural breeding season varies, but for the northern hemisphere it typically starts in March/April and extends until October/November. Primarily, the amount of daylight hours regulates a mare’s reproductive activity: As day length increases in the spring so does ovarian activity, and vice versa when day length decreases in the fall. This seasonality results in transition periods in the spring and late fall when a mare can show signs of heat for weeks at a time. Transition heats can frustrate owners and riders, as mares are often unpredictable and unresponsive to ovulatory drugs during this time.

Upon veterinary examination, a transitional mare’s ovaries typically have multiple small- to mid-sized, grapelike follicles. They might also possess one or more large hemorrhagic (ovulating) follicles. By definition, the mare’s transitional period ends after her first ovulation of the year. It’s possible to hasten her body into predictable estrous cycles sooner by tricking it into thinking it is later in spring; this is generally done by exposing mares to increased periods of daylight, up to 14 hours per day. There are two primary reasons to shorten this transition period: 1) to begin breeding early so the mare foals early the following year; and 2) to cause a show mare to begin having a predictable cycle earlier in the spring for behavior purposes.

The simplest way to expose mares to increased daylight is to house them in well-lit (artificially) stalls from dusk until midnight. If mares are placed under lights in early December, most will ovulate eight to 12 weeks later. Another method of shortening the transition period, which can be used in addition to supplemental lighting, is to administer oral or injectable progesterone for 10 days. This method is only effective if a veterinarian determines the mare has adequate-sized follicles on her ovaries, indicating she’s ready to ovulate. After this ovulation a mare should continue having predictable 21-day cycles until the fall. During late fall about 80% (according to published research in Veterinary Clinics of North America Large Animal Practice) of mares transition into a quiescent period as daylight hours dwindle.

Abnormal Cycles

Some disease processes can affect mares’ reproductive hormones, resulting in inconsistent or extended estrus. Etta Bradecamp, DVM, Dipl. ACT, ABVP, of Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, in Lexington, Ky., says potential causes of abnormal cycles include ovarian tumors, uterine infection, equine Cushing’s disease, and poor ¬nutrition.

Uterine infection “The most common cause I see of a mare having erratic cycles is a uterine infection, either acute and chronic,” says Bradecamp.

Veterinarians see acute infections more frequently in mares that have been bred or have foaled recently. They rarely find them in young maiden (never been bred) mares. Older mares or any mares with poor perineal conformation (that of the region encompassing the anus and genitalia), however, could be susceptible to either acute or chronic infections.

In both cases, excessive fluid and inflammatory cells accumulate in the uterus, which can cause a mare to “short cycle.” This limits the time she is out of estrus and results in more frequent heats.

If you suspect your mare has a uterine infection, based on clinical signs such as frequent cycling, vaginal discharge, and shortened diestrous period, have your veterinarian evaluate her reproductive tract. He or she can perform an ultrasound exam to determine if there is fluid or inflammation in the uterus, obtain a uterine culture to evaluate the cause of inflammation, and formulate a treatment plan based on diagnosis. The veterinarian likely will lavage (flush) the uterus and infuse an appropriate antibiotic into it for several days.

Granulosa cell tumor Another issue affecting mares’ cycles involves reproductive tract tumors, usually granulosa cell tumors (GCT) of the ovary. Veterinarians have reported these tumors in all ages and breeds, but they detect them most commonly in ¬middle-aged and older mares.

A GCT causes an increase in various hormone levels; this imbalance can affect a mare’s reproductive behavior. Mares with GCTs exhibit three types of behavior, depending on the amount and type of hormones the tumor produces: 1) prolonged anestrous behavior (not showing signs of heat); 2) stallionlike behavior and aggressiveness; or 3) persistent or intermittent periods of estrous behavior.

Initially, performance horses with GCTs might show signs of mild lameness or a change in attitude. Owners might also cite back pain or saddle fit problems, because as the GCT grows in size, it can place pressure on the ligaments suspending the ovary in the abdominal cavity. Riders might notice a sore back, abdominal pain, resistance to pressure on the flank, and/or reluctance to move forward at speed or when jumping. All of these complaints should initiate veterinary investigation.

Veterinarians diagnose a granulosa cell tumor based on rectal palpation, ovarian ultrasound, blood hormone levels, and these behavioral changes. The affected ovary is generally larger than the unaffected one. This size difference is due to tumor growth and production and secretion of high levels of the hormone inhibin, which inhibits the other ovary’s follicular development.

After determining a mare has a GCT, a veterinarian should surgically remove the affected ovary. The approach used depends on the tumor’s size. Brett Woodie, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, a surgeon at Rood & Riddle, says most affected ovaries can be removed via a flank approach during standing sedation. The ventral (toward the belly) approach, on the other hand, requires general anesthesia and is reserved for large ovaries that cannot be removed through a flank incision. Some surgeons now use less-invasive laparoscopic surgery. Most mares cycle and behave reproductively normal after three to 12 months, and they can conceive and have a normal pregnancy with one ovary.

Manipulating Estrus

If a mare has a history of being difficult to handle or unwilling to perform while she is in or out of heat, a veterinarian can offer methods to help prevent or limit the behavior. First have your veterinarian evaluate the mare’s reproductive soundness and estrous cycle stage; it’s important to rule out reproductive abnormalities before moving forward with manipulation methods, and some approaches depend on the stage of the mare’s cycle to be successful. It is possible to prevent a mare from coming into heat, lessen the severity of behavioral changes as she comes into heat, as well as shorten the time she is in estrus.

Mares can also ingest progesterone (pregnancy hormone) supplements that suppress estrous behavior. As a mare goes out of estrus her natural progesterone levels rise, preventing her from showing signs of heat. Traditionally, Regu-Mate (an oral synthetic progestin) has been the most widely used method of estrus suppression. Clinical trials using Regu-Mate have demonstrated that it suppresses estrus in approximately 95% of treated mares within three days of administration. Caretakers administer Regu-Mate daily and can stop giving it at any point, at which time a mare should come into estrus within five to seven days. Wear protective gloves when handling Regu-Mate, as the solution can be absorbed through human skin and adversely affect women’s hormone activity.

Other forms of supplemental progesterone include a daily injectable solution or a long-acting injectable given every 10 days up to a month. The longer-acting formulations can be very effective in keeping mares out of estrus and last for seven to 10 days, but these can cause soreness and fibrous tissue development at injection sites.

Injectable medroxyprogesterone (Depo-Provera), a synthetic progestin, can be effective for 60-90 days. Its advantages include infrequent administration and a relatively low incidence of injection site reactions. However, studies have shown this product to be only sporadically effective.

Bradecamp says placing a sterile marble in the uterus near the time of ovulation can keep a mare out of heat for up to 90 days. She notes that this method does not work in all mares, but it’s an inexpensive approach that does not require administering drugs or injections. A permanent method of preventing estrus is an ovariectomy, or surgical removal of the ovaries.

Take-Home Message

A mare that misbehaves periodically or is unpredictable in her interactions with other horses due to her heat cycles can benefit from estrus suppression. Several methods have been proven effective, and a veterinarian can help determine if your mare is a candidate for hormone therapy to suppress such behavior.

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AAEP Annual Convention

The Annual Convention for The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) is scheduled for 1-5 December in Anaheim, CA.  If you’re not familiar with the organization, AAEP was founded in 1954 by a group of 11 charter members who saw that together they could direct the focus of equine veterinary medicine. Today, the AAEP, headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky, represents an educated group of men and women who cover a broad range of equine disciplines, breeds and associations. Over 10,000 veterinarians and veterinary students in 57 countries are members of the AAEP.

The AAEP’s mission is to improve the health and welfare of the horse, to further the professional development of its members, and to provide resources and leadership for the benefit of the equine industry. These principles have guided the AAEP for more than 50 years in the activities and services it provides.  The organization and especially the annual convention is a fantastic way to become more connected with the equine practitioners, new techniques and technologies, and the equine industry.  To qualify to become a member, an applicant must be a graduate from a college or school of veterinary medicine or is licensed in good standing to practice veterinary medicine in the United States or Canada.  Corporations serving this industry can also be members.

During the AAEP’s 58th Annual Convention, attendees will go from “how to” to “can do” as you develop knowledge that will transition to your day-to-day treatment of patients. The educational program provides the opportunity to: Learn imaging techniques to get a fast, clear picture of the problem, Get the facts behind medications and your legal limitations, Learn resourceful skills to perform joint treatments in the field, Develop your understanding of areas of equine health that are inevitably addressed in practice, including dermatology, ophthalmology and dentistry, Master the form and function of the foot for complete diagnostic competency, Observe ethical standards of conduct to uphold your practice’s integrity, and Prepare for critical care scenarios. Here is AAEP’s website for the 58th Annual Convention.

Breeder’s Choice is a proud member of AAEP serving the equine reproduction industry.  We’ll be attending the event this year in Anaheim with a GREAT new product announcement.  This new product will be on display  and is anticipated to create quite the buzz, so make sure you follow us on Twitter to hear about all the buzz!!  Check out our website in the coming week and you’ll get a chance to get a sneak peek at this new product.

If you will attending AAEP this year, please let us know! We’d love to host you in our booth. Check out the AAEP 2012 app that gives you the low down on schedule of events and booth locations.

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Tips for Shipping Cooled Semen

The economy has rebounded enough to show an improvement in the equine breeding industry in 2012.  Horse shows & industry events are seeing growth this year in participation and attendance, farms are back into aggressive breeding programs to support their customers, worldwide.  Semen is being transported at an increasing rate around the world.  As you begin thinking about breeding new offspring, how do you appropriately and safely transport cooled semen for your customer?  The folks at Appaloosa Horse Club put a great blog together on tips for transport of cooled semen, we wanted to pass it along to you.  Don’t forget to check out Breeder’s Choice for your full need of cooled semen transporters and equine breeding equipment!

From The Appaloosa Horse Club:  Some Facts About Cool Semen Transport

Excerpts courtesy of American Association of Equine Practitioners and Bayer Corporation

Breeding With Transported Semen

Today’s breeding technology provides horse owners more options than were available in the past. Artificial insemination and semen preservation techniques make it possible to ship stallion semen to mares nearly anywhere in the country. But success with transported semen will depend on the careful reproductive management of both stallion and mare.

Why Ship Semen?

Even under the best conditions, transporting horses long distances can be stressful and costly. Mares with Foals are of special concern, since foals are particularly vulnerable to disease and injury when exposed to new horses and environments. Older or injured mares, or those requiring special care, may also benefit from staying closer to home during breeding season. The ability to ship cooled semen makes it possible for breeders to arrange matings that might otherwise be impractical due to distance, economics or health.

Good Candidates

Many – but not all – horse are good candidates for the use of cooled transported semen. Both mares and stallions should be in excellent reproductive health, since fertility problems tend to be compounded when transported semen is added to the breeding equation.

With shipped semen, there is generally only one opportunity per cycle to breed a mare. Problem breeders may fare better at the stud farm, where they can be monitored and serviced at regular intervals throughout their heat cycles.

Also be aware that not every stallion’s semen cools or ships well. Therefore, it is critical for a stallion’s sperm viability to be checked after a dose has been extended and cooled for 24 to 36 hours. This is generally the interval between collection and the time the transported semen is placed in the mare.

If you are planning to raise a registered foal, be sure to check the association’s rules regarding semen transport in advance and follow them. While registry acceptances are growing, no every breed registry permits the use of transported semen.

Intensive Management

Breeding with cooled transported semen is more management-intensive than with on-site matings. Timing is critical. For the greatest chance of pregnancy, a mare must be bred from 12-24 hours before ovulation to up to six hours after ovulation. From a practical standpoint, however, once the mare has ovulated, it may be difficult to determine whether you are still within an acceptable time from e for fertility. Also, remember cooled stallion semen only has a shelf life of 24-48 hours.

The Mare

Prior to breeding season, a mare should have a full reproductive examination. A uterine biopsy and culture may be indicated to get a clearer picture of the mare’s overall reproductive health. During breeding season, the mare should be kept where she can be teased by a stallion on a regular basis in order to detect the onset of estrus reliably.

Once the mare comes into heat, your equine practitioner will need to predict the onset of ovulation accurately – allowing time for the semen shipment to arrive. The veterinarian will monitor the mare daily or every other day via rectal palpation and ultrasound throughout her heat cycle to determine the appropriate time to breed her.

The Stallion

The stallion should also be evaluated for fertility prior to the breeding season. Semen should be tested by extending, cooling and storing it in the same way it will be handled for shipping. Commercial extenders have different formulations. The stallion manager or veterinarian may want to experiment to see which extenders promote the greatest viability. Proper handling is also important. Here are some considerations:

An insemination dose of cooled semen requires 1 billion progressively motile sperm cells, twice the number used in fresh insemination doses. Following storage and transport, 500 million progressively motile sperm cells would be considered a minimum insemination dose.

Veterinarians and stallion managers should have the equipment to determine sperm concentrations and motility accurately. Doses should not be estimated.

Semen extenders should contain antibiotics to help reduce bacterial contamination and the spread of disease.

A high quality shipping container is essential to semen viability; directions should be followed exactly.

Due to variability between individual characteristics of each stallion’s semen, the procedures for extending, shipping, handling and insemination may vary. Directions from the attending veterinarian or stallion manager should be followed precisely.

Any semen which remains after the mare has been bred should be checked for quality.

Semen not used within 48 hours should be discarded even though it may still appear to be viable.

Communication and Cooperation

Good communication between stallion and mare managers is essential. Coordinating semen shipments will take planning and cooperation. Most stallion managers plan collection schedules so as not to overtax a stallion’s fertility or reproductive performance. Collections made 3-4 times per week will accommodate most cooled transported semen requirements without negatively affecting fertility, while allowing breeders to meet on-site demands as well.

The mare should be on a regular teasing and examination schedule to reliably ascertain the proper time to breed. This will allow planning and timely shipment of cooled semen. Many overnight shipping services provide prompt, reliable deliveries and can reduce the need for last-minute trip to the airport.


Transporting seen may have some cost-saving benefits. However, they can be offset by increased management costs. Additional costs may include:

Special handling and shipping charges

Board, mare care, teasing and management at a breeding facility or clinic.

Veterinary examinations, palpation’s, ultra-sound and artificial insemination charges.


Pregnancy rates with transported semen are somewhat lower than with on-the-farm breeding. This means it may take more than once cycle to get a mare in foal. The mare owner absorbs the cost of additional semen shipments, veterinary procedures and mare care.

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Teaching Novice Stallions to Mount a Breeding Phantom

Whew, the breeding season is in full swing.  We’ve been busy over hear at Breeder’s Choice, shipping products, working with our wonderful clients!  It’s been a wonderful year and great to hear your breeding stories!  We came across this great article in The Horse by Dr. Stacey Oke, we thought we’d share it with you!  If you have any questions related to  equine breeding phantoms, don’t hesitate to give us a call or check out our phantom products & accessories!  Enjoy!

“Some of us will do our jobs well and some will not, but we will be judged by only one thing: the result,” said Vince Lombardi of Green Bay Packer lore. So what does this have to do with equine reproduction? It is this very attitude that behavior specialist Sue McDonnell, PhD, from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine adopts when training novice stallions to use a dummy mount.

During her presentation at the 2011 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention, held Nov. 18–22 in San Antonio, Texas, McDonnell explained how training a novice stallion properly can result in more successful and safer semen collection.

For a complete overview of reproduction and stallion management, read Understanding the Stallion.

The time required to train a stallion to use a dummy mount can just a few days to several weeks. McDonnell described the typical training process and relayed these practical tips for efficiently starting stallions:

  • Conduct two to three training sessions for three to five consecutive days.
  • Schedule the dummy training separate from the breeding soundness examination, and do not add pressure to the situation by expecting to sell or evaluate the semen, as the training process might be deleterious to semen quality (the training process has the potential to be a stressor for the stallion).
  • Use the “KISS” theory—keep it simple, stupid— only using the staff and equipment necessary.
  • Ensure the breeding shed large enough for the activity (approximately 40-by-40 feet) and has solid, slip-free footing. Loose footing can get kicked up onto the stallion’s penis, be abrasive, and contaminate the sample.
  • Consider factors such as the number of people on the training team, the choice of artificial vagina and restraining equipment (bridle, lead shanks, chains, etc.), the availability of stimulus mares, and the mount itself.

“Always remember that each stallion is an individual and to leave each session on a ‘good note,’ ” advised McDonnell.

With these suggestions and some patience, you’re more likely to end up with a well-behaved and workmanlike breeding stallion, as well as higher quality semen samples.”

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Stallion Leg Protection

One way to ruin the breeding season is to have a stallion with sore legs or injuries that cause him to not want to do his job.  With multiple mounts, sore knees can become a problem.  We’ve found a number of excellent products for you to consider if this issue plagues your stallion.  Dr. Sue McDonnell, at the University of Pennsylvania, turned us on to a new product called ReWrap-Pro. Breeder’s Choice also carries a fleece breeding boot product, ideal for collection and protecting your stallion’s legs.

breeding boots | equine reproduction | equine breeding | leg protection | fleece boots

Breeder's Choice Equine Breeding Boots & Leg Protection

The Fleece Breeding Boots are a great and straight forward way to protect your stallion’s legs and knees from damage during semen collection on phantoms. Over 25 inches tall with enough Velcro to fit most stallions, they are a great way to ensure your stallion doesn’t receive skin abrasion injuries during the collection process. They can be placed on the stallion’s legs in a matter of minuets and since they are made with a durable canvas outside and premium fleece lining they will last many a breeding season.  These fleece breeding boots are used by top breeding farms and universities such as Select Breeders Southwest and University of Florida.  You can find additional information on this product at the Breeder’s Choice website.

The second product we found to protect stallion’s legs is the ReWrap-Pro knee protection product, a soft, flexible bandage (think “Ace Bandage”) designed to conform to virtually any location on the stallion’s legs to prevent slipping and protect skin abrasion.  The unique design characteristics of ReWrap-Pro bandages make it possible to bandage the most difficult areas with confidence.  This product is excellent for use beyond simple leg protection, we’ve seen it used as treatment, hock, knee, standing, shipping, and exercise bandages as well!  Most importantly, they can be washed and reused.   We believe these wraps are ideal to use on stallion’s knees as a standalone product,  or in addition to the Fleece Breeding Boots to provide ultimate protection for your stallion. Below is a helpful YouTube video demonstrating the application of ReWrap-Pro made by Dr. Sue McDonnell at the Hofmann Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

For more information on either product, please visit Breeder’s Choice at www.BreedersChoiceOnline.com.

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Happy New Year!

A quick post to wish everyone a safe and prosperous 2012! It was a great 2011, we hope to continue carrying that momentum on this year and provide you with a continued outlet for equine breeding news and information. If you have any current events or breeding topics, please don’t hesitate to contact us so we can consider them for this post.

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Lada Gaga’s “Equine” Attire?

We recently got a kick out of this recent posting, thought we’d share the humor with our equine breeding colleagues.

Lada Gaga rocked a “sperm hat” at a recent event. The Equine Breeding Blog wonders if she is a quiet supporter of the Equine Breeding industry? =) You can see her wild attire here.

Check out the full selection of “sperm” products at Breeder’s Choice, your single stop for high quality equine breeding products and a proud vendor at the recent American Association of Equine Practicioners (AAEP).

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Planning Ahead for Breeding Season

Now THIS is a novel concept, but all too often the Breeding Manager (and in many cases that is the same individual as the farm owner) gets caught up in other activities and overlooks a very important step late in the year: Preparation for Breeding Season! It is THAT time of season as we roll quickly into the Thanksgiving holiday season, late November is the time to begin planning for the 2012 breeding season! Whether you’re breeding 1 or 100 mares, a few key steps can be taken now to help save you time and headache this coming season.

America’s Horse Daily had a great blog here on this topic, they provided some fantastic tips to think about to help simplify your efforts over the next few months.

One simple step Breeding Managers can do is to research your favorite stallions now, getting a contract in place, to help ensure you get access to your choice stallion. Talking with the stallion’s owners and handlers is a great way to ensure you have selected a complimentary stud. November is NOT too early to open this dialogue.

The AQHA blog also recommends a late-fall pregnancy check and even the use of lights for your mare should you want your mare to cycle early in the spring. Talk with your vet, they can help you define the best path to a successful spring pregnancy.

What about your lab and breeding shed? Have you ordered your supplies and updated your equipment for next season? All too often, we at Breeder’s Choice get a slew of rush orders from a few customers who overlooked this important step! Updating centrifuges, consumables (what about your extender, like INRA 96?), or even your breeding phantom are important things to be thinking about in the late fall. Lead times, shipping and delivery schedules, and updates need to all be taken into account when making these decision. You can find a wide range of great breeding products at www.BreedersChoiceOnline.com. We’ll be at the AAEP convention in San Antonio next weekend (19-21 November), stop in and we’d love to discuss this with you!

Regardless of where you are in your off-season process, we know you’ll do great this year, just think ahead and have a little forethought to help ease the pain and suffering that we all too often fall into during the breeding season.

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Spring vs. Fall Equine Breeding?

THAT, is the question that many equine breeders around the world face. The dichotomy of the universal horse birthday, January 1, poses this dilemma for those breeders interested in showing their yearlings. However, mares are seasonal breeders and their normal or physiologic breeding season is usually April to October. Mares come into heat in response to the lengthening of daylight that occurs in spring. So how should a Breeder proceed, what information is available to make an informed and educated decision?

The Colorado State University Equine Reproduction Laboratory in Fort Collins, Colorado, performed a study on this very topic and made some recommendations to help breeders define a path forward and make this decision for their mares. A report on this study can be found here.

The answer, although still a bit complicated, is “it depends.” However, major impact on this decision can be supported through controlling the lighting in the stall to help the mare naturally adjust to the summer foaling cycle. In the study, CSU does a fantastic job of prescribing the amount and duration of light to support this practice. Despite the use of these techniques, it still may be a realistic decision for breeders that reside in northern states with severe weather not to breed for foaling early in the year.

Stay tuned to The Equine Breeding Blog for more updates on this topic and other publications and reports from studies similar to this in future blogs!

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