September 7, 2012
Breeding with frozen semen from a syndicated stallion.
By Dr. David Stone
Sometimes in the life of an exceptional stallion, it becomes necessary to utilize frozen semen. When the stallion is owned by a syndicate, additional challenges are brought to light simply because of the number of people involved with making decisions.
A syndicate is formed by an original owner and/or partners, who sell a limited number of shares of ownership in a stud horse. Each share is allotted a certain number of breedings or breeding certificates in a year. Syndicate members can either use these breedings or sell their shares to other owners.
Every syndicated stallion has a manager, who is responsible for meeting and reporting to the syndicate members, keeping impeccable records with regard to semen management and semen storage. Their goal is to get as close to 100 percent of the allowed conceptions with the fewest doses of semen possible; therefore, maintaining a professional facility and aggressive mare management are extremely important.
While the syndicated stallion is alive, breedings can be done with fresh semen. After the stallion dies, the only option is stored frozen semen. The obvious difference is the unlimited availability of fresh semen vs. a finite amount of frozen semen, in which conception rates can vary.
Since each syndicate member is usually allotted a specific number of breedings per season, it is important to have young, fertile, healthy mares to increase the odds of conception. In order to accomplish this and have the best conception rates possible with frozen semen especially, it is important to have a limited amount of professional
“Equine Insemination With Frozen Shipped Semen” includes information about processing semen for freezing; how semen is stored and shipped; international requirements; and tips for successful mare insemination.
For example, the First Down Dash syndicate’s frozen semen breedings are only handled by two facilities: Vessels Stallion Farm in California and the Four Sixes Ranch in Texas. In this partnership, we are able to manage the semen with good communication between the resident veterinarians and their technical staff, ensure limited handling of the semen with efficiency in records and tracking the inventory of frozen semen. This partnership also creates an environment of safety and security, which is imperative.
Because semen is stored in liquid nitrogen and there’s a finite amount of frozen semen available to use from the syndicated stallion, making it even more valuable, the storage and safety of the semen is critical, insuring against theft, fire loss, etc.
Conception rates are also increased with responsible mare selection. The ideal mare choice is a young mare between 3 and 12 years old, in good health, with no history of reproductive problems, that can carry her own foal.
Maximizing the number of pregnancies involves some additional use of management techniques and technologies. Limiting the number of embryo transfers and the use of aggressive mare management will conserve semen.
Get “Equine Insemination With Frozen Shipped Semen” today. It’s an excellent educational resource for students and breeding barn help as well as any mare or stallion owner.
Another way to conserve semen is finding the minimal optimum dose by decreasing the number of straws used in a breeding dose until the pregnancy rate drops below an acceptable percentage. At that point, return to the lowest previous dose used at the acceptable pregnancy rate.
Although expensive and not widely accessible, employing technology such as Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injections can also conserve frozen semen greater than 100 fold.
To ensure success, while employing all of the above techniques and technologies, the members of a syndicate have to work well with the manager and veterinary staff to conserve and protect the frozen semen. When everyone works together to maximize the integrity and efficiency of the semen, while protecting against loss, legends are made and maintained.
Dr. Stone is the resident veterinarian at Vessels Stallion Farm in Bonsall, California.
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