Foaling season is once again approaching and many pregnant mares have been left out on pasture to eat to their heart’s content over the winter. Often pregnant mares have minimal monitoring throughout most of their pregnancy, but there is a strong case to be made for closer monitoring, especially in mid to late gestation due to the risk of placentitis.
So, you want to breed your mare. You think you have the perfect stallion to match her and so it should be easy, right? Not quite. Nowadays, it can be much more complicated than just getting a mare and stallion together. There are many different options available for breeding your mare. In this blog post, we will discuss the mare’s reproductive cycle, the different types of semen available, and when to have pregnancy checks done on your mare.
Whether this is your first adventure into the world of mares and foals, or you have been down this road before, you may be wondering what happens between the time you say your farewells at the clinic and the time you get that wonderful news. Well, wonder no more! In this article I will explain all of the techniques, technologies, and tricks we have at our disposal to make the process as reliable and smooth as possible.
We can start freezing a stallion’s semen as soon as he is sexually mature. For most horses this is any time after 4 years old, but some horses mature earlier or later than others. If your horse is not mature at the time of collection we will be able to see signs of immaturity when examining the sample under the microscope.
It is important to know that every stallion freezes differently, and freezes better in different agents. There are a variety to choose from, and so before performing a commercial freeze, a collection will be “test frozen” with a variety of different agents in order to determine the best agent for your stallion.
First ultrasound for pregnancy: 14-16 days post ovulation
This is the earliest time at which the growing embryo can be identified ultrasonographically, and if twins are present, in many cases both embryos can be visualized and the condition dealt with at this time. However, in some instances a smaller embryo (usually due to the mare ovulating a second follicle days after the first) can be missed in this exam.
- Don’t expect a stallion to “fix” the faults in your mare or vice versa.
- Spend some time researching a prospective stallion for your mare. Talk to breeders as well as trainers in your chosen discipline – see what’s working.
- Make sure your mare is in good breeding condition. This includes up-to-date vaccinations and deworming as well as the mare being in good body condition.
- Track your mare’s cycle – mark it on the calendar. This will save you time and money in the long run.